Posts Tagged ‘faith’

03 (2)

I was at a camp when I heard about the war between Israel and Hamas.  This skirmish should come as no surprise to believers because the conflict is written in the Bible.  The unrest will continue despite President Obama’s best efforts.  The peace will only happen albeit temporarily when the Beast (of Revelation) or King of the North (Daniel 11) strikes a covenant.  This covenant will assure the world of a false peace and will signal the start of the Tribulation (Daniel 9:23-24).  While the US plays a major role today in the peace talks it will soon find itself on the outside looking in.  Someone new will step in and be able to do what no other nation could do.

This individual will use his new found fame to capture the attention of the world.  The Tribulation will be a turbulent time to say the least.  However, the Beast will grow in popularity until all the world recognizes him and worships him.  The ironic part is the message that the new atheism espouses about the end of Faith.  I have been amazed by how they evolutionist and humanist alike can speak of the end of God with confidence and yet ignore what is happening right before their eyes.  Say what you will, disagree with me but there is an unrest in the Middle East and in Russia, that should make the world take note and pause.  As the old saying goes, “There are no atheist in foxholes.”  Everyone believes or exercises faith in something.  Now that faith may be in science.  Those who exercise their faith in science feel comfortable because they believe they have the facts or at least smarter people in their corner.  The god of atheism is the god called self.  Or as Richard Dawkins might put it, “The selfish Gene.”  Nevertheless, despite this new atheism the world will exercise faith and put that faith in the Beast of Revelation.  It will be a fatal mistake.

When will all these events take place?  They are beginning to happen, but the next event on God’s time table is the Rapture of His church (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17).  Afterwards the covenant with Israel will be signed.

What do we do now?  Put your faith in Jesus for eternal life (John 6:47).  You do not need to join a church or get baptized in order to be saved.  You simply need to believe in the Son (Acts 16:30-31).

He had to speak to him.  He had questions, questions that he or any other person he knew could answer.  Therefore, he waited.  He waited until it was dark enough so no one would notice him.  He was afraid that if caught it could mean he would lose his powerful position in Jerusalem.  He ducked in alleys and peaked around corners as he made his way closer and closer to where Jesus was that night.  It was upon arriving and seeing Jesus that deep down he knew he had made the right decision to visit him.

Jesus told Nicodemus not to marvel that you must be born again in order to see the kingdom of God.  Nicodemus was perplexed by Jesus’ statement.  The reason he did not totally understand it was because in Pharisaic Judaism there were six different ways of being born again.  In Nicodemus’ eyes he had qualified for four of them.  The other two ways were: 1. Gentiles converting to Judaism (said they were born again), 2. To be crowned a king (would be said you were born again).   Nicodemus did not qualify for either way.

However, the first four he did.  Those ways are: 1. When a Jewish boy becomes bar mitzvahed (this had of course already happened for Nicodemus), 2. When a Jew gets married (He was already married as well, you had to be in order to be apart of the Sanhedrin), 3.  Ordained as a rabbi (He already was a rabbi, because he was a Pharisee), 4.  To become head of a rabbinical school (Jesus said that Nicodemus was a teacher of Israel, the head of a rabbinical school was referred to in this way).  In his eyes he had done everything he could have done to be born again.  Jesus responds to his disbelief with you must be born of water and spirit.  To be born of water was a Jewish expression of physically being born.  This is why he asks Jesus about going into his mother’s womb again.  Being born physically into Judaism was sufficient at that time for entrance into the Kingdom.  Much like Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount,”  he was trying to correct Nicodemus’ theology here.  It wasn’t good enough to be born a Jew.  One has to believe in Jesus for eternal life (John 3:13-15).

More than any other book in the bible, the Gospel of John deals directly with the issue of what it takes to go to heaven.   John 1:12 says, “But as many as received Him to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.”  Receiving Jesus is the same as believing in Him.  To go to heaven one must only believe in Jesus (John 6:47, Acts 16:30-31).  It is really that simple.

1 Thessalonians 5:3 says, “While people are saying. “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman and they will not escape.”   This verse follows the famous the Lord shall come as a thief in the night verse.  What this means is that sometime before or even after the Rapture there will be a time of Peace and Security that the world will proclaim.  Keep in mind that the Tribulation will not begin until the covenant with Israel and the Antichrist or The Beast (whichever name you prefer) is signed (Daniel 9:27).  

Therefore, here are a couple of scenarios of what could happen.  1.  The Rapture before Peace and Security Theory:  What would happen is that the Lord would take up His church and then the rest of the world would be in utter chaos.  The world would look to the religions of the world for comfort in this time frame and the world would rally around these false religions that would become one.  This one religious mega church would be the Harlot of Revelation 17.  The world after surviving the chaos and disorder after the Rapture would enter into a time (who knows how long, could be years, months, even decades) of Peace and Security.  Then once the covenant was signed the Tribulation would begin.  

Theory 2 would be that the world is entering or heading to a time of Peace and Security right now or at least the world is working towards that end.  Then the church will lulled to sleep and then the Rapture happens and then the covenant is signed and then the Tribulation begins.  I think both theories on when this could take place are viable.  The church at this time of the Rapture would be like the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3.  

This false sense of Peace and Security is to counterfeit the Peace and Security that God’s Kingdom will bring.  However, there will truly be no Peace and no Security because as the verse says then sudden destruction comes.  

“For this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie…” (1 Thessalonians 2:11).

A question I always had was can people who have heard the Gospel before the Tribulation be able to get saved in the Tribulation.  In a sense will there be a second chance?

Many bible teachers feel that you will not be able to receive the gift of Salvation in the Tribulation.  While this view makes sense because if people reject the free gift then why should they have another chance to receive Christ?

God in His infinite Grace and Mercy will give the whole world one more chance during the Tribulation.  Once believers are Raptured up there will be no one left here on earth to tell them about the Lord, however, God will provide two witnesses to introduce the Gospel one more time (Revelation 11).  The identity of these two witnesses is unknown.  Through their ministry in Jerusalem, there will be 144,000 Jewish males, who hear the Gospel message from the Two Witnesses.  They will go and tell the whole world.  At this point in the Tribulation, Antichrist is still a little horn as Daniel calls him.  He has not yet reached world-leader status yet.  Half way through the Tribulation he will require people to worship him by accepting the mark on their forehead or wrist.  People will not be able to buy or sell unless they have the mark.  It is important to remember that the mark has nothing to do with a cashless society or credit cards.  The mark is the name of the beast or Antichrist.

I believe the “strong delusion” of 1 Thessalonians 2:11 will not happen until after the abomination of desolation, which is halfway through the Tribulation.  Therefore, people will still have the opportunity to accept Christ.  I make this assumption because there is nothing in the bible that says that they can’t.

What does this mean for us living today?  Tell others about the Lord.  Allow the Holy Spirit to work through you in your life to share the Gospel. The Gospel is free to us, but it cost Jesus His life.  It is our responsibility to go and tell.  It is up to us.  If someone in your family, or relative, or friend rejects Christ then there will still be one more opportunity for them to believe.

How do you know that you will be Raptured up?  It has nothing to do with how faithful, or how many times you go to church.  In fact, you may never go to church and still get raptured up.  Jesus said in John 6:47, “He who believes in has everlasting life.”  Jesus did not give any qualifiers, just faith in Him.  Everlasting life or eternal life starts the moment you believe in Christ.

Ephesians 4:30 tells that we are sealed with the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption.  That day is when we are raptured up to be with the Lord.  Our salvation is not based upon how good we can be.  If it were then why did Christ have to die.  We are not saved because we are eternally faithful to the Savior, we are saved because He is eternally faithful.   In Acts 16:30,31 a jailer asks the Apostle Paul what he must do to be saved, and all Paul tells him is to believe on Jesus.

I have read and heard from some bible teachers and pastors use Matthew 7:21 which says, “Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord shall enter the kingdom of heaven.”  I believe there is even an extremely popular Christian writer, pastor who proclaims this in his best selling book.   Please remember any body can make the bible say what they want it to say.  The truth of what a verse is saying is in the context of the passage not a single verse.  If you look back at Matthew 7:15 you see that Jesus is speaking about false teachers.  This passage is from the famous Sermon on the Mount.  When you go even further back you get the audience of who He is talking to in Matthew 5:1, the disciples.  Multitudes of people were there yet Jesus takes the disciples out of the crowd and to a hillside to privately talk to them.  Therefore, Matthew 7:21 is not talking about the regular Christian person who stumbles but the false teacher who leads people astray.

Salvation is free.  You don’t need to say a prayer or join a church.  It is not conditioned upon your faithful or faithlessness.  It is a gift that Jesus offers.  Only He can offer it because only He rose again.

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye we will be changed forever (1 Corinthians 15:52).  At some point in the Lord will come back for His church and when he does we shall be caught up to meet Him in the clouds (1 Thessalonians 4:17).  In churches, seminaries today we call this “caught up” the “rapture.”   The word “rapture” is a Latin term that means “caught up.”  There are many terms that are not in the bible, and yet they are still true concepts.  For example, the word Trinity is not in the bible.  Yet we see that concept throughout it.

I believe in a Pre-Tribulational Rapture of the church.  What that means is that the church will be raptured up before the Tribulation begins.  The Tribulation is a time when God will judge the earth, and put His attention back on His people.  When you read through Revelation you notice that chapters 2 and 3 discuss different churches then all of a sudden the church goes missing from chapters 4 to 17.

The rapture can happen at any moment.   1 Thessalonians 5:2 tells us that the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night.   Obviously, a thief does not tell people when he is coming to break.  The same can be said of the day of the Lord.  Some people subscribe to a Mid-Tribulation, or Post-Tribulation or even a Pre-Wrath Rapture views.  Here is a quick summary of those views: Mid-Trib= God raptures us in the middle of the Tribulation, Post-Trib= God raptures us right before He returns, Pre-Wrath Rapture= God raptures us about 3/4 of the way through the Tribulation.  My problem with these different views is that they take away from the suddenness of the rapture.  If you know it is happening in the middle or 3/4 or you gotta go through the whole thing then you will be ready.  Yet when you scripture like 1 John 2:28, which talks about abiding in Christ so we will not be ashamed at His coming, you realize that it is sudden and without warning.

The life I have now I want to live for the Lord.  I do not have to be perfect because He was perfect for me and everyone.  I just need to live my life knowing He could return and to be ready.