Relevant ideas . .
2Pe 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
2Pe 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
2Pe 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
2Pe 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
2Pe 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
Pre-Tribulation Rapture and the Bible
"Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen" (Revelation 1:7 KJV)
THE VERSES . . . WHAT DO THEY REALLY SAY??
Let's get one thing straight. This is not an attack upon Christ's coming for us, the blessed hope of the Church! This is about the timing of that coming. The teaching that Jesus comes secretly before the "every eye shall see him" coming is only about 150 years old. For nearly 2000 years we taught Christ would come after the tribulation, as in Matthew 24 because the Bible taught it. It's not a salvation issue. As the Church comes under persecution here in America (as it has in the rest of the world) you will need to know that your Savior told you this would happen. "These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended" (John 16:1). He didn't warn His disciples so that they would be offended, but rather that when persecution came they would remember that He told them, and not be offended by this message. Lets's do a verse-by-verse study. No intimidation here, just drop your preconceived notions for a moment and let's see what the text says, O.K.? Open Bibles to 1 Thessalonians 4:15 and follow me . .
(1 Thessalonians 4:15) "For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. (Paul is recounting Jesus' own words, that living believers at Jesus' coming do not go before those who have died trusting Him) v.16 : "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:" ( Doesn't sound very secret here does it? The Lord comes down with a shout, along with the sound of a trumpet, (see Isaiah 42:13, Jeremiah 25:30, Joel 3:16, Amos 1:2) and those who have died trusting Him rise first. THIS IS A RESURRECTION. v.17: "Wherefore comfort one another with these words. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord " (those who are alive when He comes join those who have gone on before us trusting Him, and meet Him in the air, to be with Him forever, wherever that is). Now turn to chapter five verse 1:"But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you (you know this so well, there is really no reason to write) v.2 "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night" (you understand that Jesus returns as a thief in the night to the lost) v.3 "For when they (who are they?) shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. (for when the unsaved shall say "peace and safety" sudden destruction ensues, which they (the world) will not escape) v.4 "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. (YOU as children of light who know God and the scripture will not be caught unaware. You will see it coming) v.5 "Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. (Jesus through His spirit is in you, and you are full of light, children of the day) v.6 "Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. ( Let us stay alert and WATCH [see Mark 13:37] v.7 "For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. (self explanatory) v.8 "But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. (Let us be sober-minded, trusting God and having faith in Him) v.9 "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, (we are not appointed to God's WRATH, or anger, but to salvation. We know we shall have tribulation ("in the world ye shall have tribulation" (John 16:33), that we will suffer for his name, but tribulation and wrath are different things.)
What have we just learned? That Jesus comes at the last trumpet sound and with a shout, that unbelievers will be caught unaware but believers will not, for they will be watching. We learned that the "rapture" is really a resurrection, with those who have died in faith before us are raised first, then we join them in the air to be forever with the Lord.* We read in Revelation 20:4 that those who "were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; . ." lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years". Who is this group? We have been taught that we shall escape all these things, yet this group does not - and are reigning with Christ! This is "the first resurrection" (v. 5) of only two, the second being after the 1000 years are ended
(verse 5). THE RAPTURE IS A RESURRECTION (1 Thess. 4:16)! A secret rapture adds a third resurrection to prophecy. This will not do. There are two: one at his coming, and one at the end of the Millennium. What of those whom pre-tribbers say will die under the antichrist during the tribulation? Are they given yet another resurrection?
THE VERSES . . . WHAT DO THEY REALLY SAY??
2 Thessalonians 1:3 "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: (These Christians were suffering for the Kingdom of God's sake) "Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; (God is righteous to repay evil to those who persecute believers) v.7 "And to you who are troubled rest (what is this rest but an end of persecution by our being caught up with him?) with us, (all get it at the same time, and when??) "when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels" .
No secret coming here dear brothers and sisters. We get rest when He is REVEALED with MIGHTY ANGELS, and in case there is lingering doubt as to whether the world knows about this event, Jesus will be "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;" v.10 "When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day". (unless this is a second glorification or admiration, it becomes obvious what this event is. It is the second coming, a post-trib rapture.
I knew a dear old Saint years ago at a small church we were ministering in, and made a joke something to the effect of "here's a song for those who are left behind". Old Dorothy Creech shook her head and looked at the floor. "There ain't nobody left behind!" I heard her mutter. And she was right! The entire point of Paul's discourse in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 is to reassure the Saints in Thessalonica that they would see their loved ones again, that no believer gets left behind! Even the dead are raised so that everyone gets his reward at the same time, so that NO ONE is left behind! The entire Left-Behind series should be exactly that - left behind.
What believer gets left? Those who are unholy, who are not living right? Those with sin in their life? Then salvation becomes dependent on performance, not the finished work of Christ. Are they left because of unconfessed sin? Who does not have unconfessed sin which he has long forgotten?? No Christian is left behind.
But someone IS left behind. They are the unsaved who are gathered in bundles to be burned (see Matthew 13:30). "Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.(Matthew 24:40, 41). This is trotted out as a rapture verse, but it's meaning is not quite so cheery. These who are taken go to the same place that the tares that have been gathered into bundles are taken (Matthew 13:30), or the bad fish that were thrown away in Matthew (13:38). Their carcasses are taken where the eagles (vultures) are gathered together in Luke 17:37, just as Paul repeats in 2 Thessalonians 1:7.The Saints, the "good fish", the "wheat" are gathered into the Lord's barn, a valuable commodity which gives Him great delight!
I must confess that I'v neglected posting this because I'm a coward. I held the pre-trib position for years, not because the Bible taught it but because men taught it. My initial reading at salvation was correct. But given the signs of the times and ongoing events in the world and America I thought it best to warn my brothers and sisters that contrary to popular teaching, we will not escape persecution in America. We can already sense its coming.
What do we have then? " Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles (vultures be gathered together". Where are they taken? Wherever the mass of dead bodies are. In the flood of Noah the unrighteous are taken to destruction. Who is left? The righteous. The meek shall inherit the physical earth, not ghostly harps on ghostly clouds. Christ "hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth" (Revelation 5:10). Someone says, "you are sounding like the Jehova's Witnesses! Witnesses shmitnesses! The Bible says what it says, Period. Salvation is more 3-dimensional, more real and literal than any of us ever imagined. Actually, God said we couldn't imagine it!
We are in the middle of the apostasia, the global great falling away that Paul reminded us would come first. Jesus warned us that it would come, that the world would hate us because He has chosen us out of the world (John 15:9). But don't worry little ones, not one "hair of your head shall perish" (Luke 21:18). I encourage you to read more on the subject, especially the video here. And remember, you get your ticket "when you get on the train". God bless!
This is the
of Trent by writing canon law which is still in effect today. We only love him because "he first loved us" (1 John 4:19), "while we were dead in sin" (Colossians 2:13). Yes, as unbelievable as it sounds, it is "by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. " (Ephesians 2:8, 9). The righteousness of the sacrifice offered is imputed to the offerer under the Old Testament law. In Leviticus 7:18 the offerer of a peace offering is not allowed to eat of it the third day or its power to make him clean is not "imputed unto him". Imputed righteousness given on behalf of a God-ordained subsititute is one of the oldest truths in human history. If we forsake this foundation of the true gospel for which the 12 Apostles went to their deaths, for which the Reformers and their hearers were burned at the stake, all is lost. "What more can He say than to you He has said, who unto the savior for refuge have fled?" (How Firm a Foundation -John Rippon, 1787).
The great danger to Rome was not the Reformers per se, it was the power to set men free from duty and superstition, from endless ritual and uncertainty and fear, from ROME, which lay hidden in the pages of the Word of God. The Reformers were sacrificed by God so that you and I might hear the old, old story of Jesus and his love. Never, never discount the Reformation or the sacrifices of those who laid down their lives for His names sake. The Old Testament foretells this New Testament joy of imputed righteousness in Isaiah 61:"To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified" (Isaiah 61:3), and again, "In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS" (Jeremiah 23:6), and again, "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD" (Isaiah 54:17). Our righteousness is OF GOD. Now who can take that away? Another kind of righteousness is that which God himself produces in us as we walk with Him on the journey, growing thru his love and discipline, learning to obey and yield as we become more and more like the one we love. Should we all obey? Of course. Do we all obey? No. None. When we feel we are doing rather well at cleaning up our garden (we've all heard that sermon), we want others to get with the program like we do. We tend to be Arminian in our theology, depending on performance. But when we do something we are ashamed of we tend to lean the other way, toward Calvinism and salvation being God's work in us. We are not, as some would have you believe, justified by Christ's blood but sanctified by our obedience, as Catholicism, Wesleyan Arminianism and 95% of contemporary Christianity believes. Indeed, it is the promise that Jesus is "made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" (1 Corinthians 1:30) that gives us hope for the future. If we could by sheer will power do what was demanded, Christ died for nothing. Do we want obedience? O yes, yes we do! There is a promise given to those who "hunger and thirst for righteousness" (Matthew 5:6). It is that they shall be filled! It is a promise. What kind of people do you suppose hunger and thirst for righteousness? Unrighteous ones. Sinners.
Remember the parable of the publican and the tax collector (Luke 18:10-14), how that the tax collector "went down to his
fulfillment of Daniel 7:27: "And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him", and of Jesus' words in Matthew 8:11: "And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven".
II Thessalonians Chapter 2 and the Antichrist
Verses 1-8 "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, (now regarding the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and his gathering of us all unto himself) That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. (don't let your hearts be rattled by any teaching or letters suggesting that the Day of the Lord is happening now) "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; (don't be tricked - it won't come until two things happen: a great apostacy, and the man of sin is revealed) "Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (who sets himself above all that is worshipped or called God, even claiming to be God himself) "Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. (You now understand what is holding him back) For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. (and will continue to do so until it is removed) "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: (then the antichrist will be revealed and Jesus will destroy him with the spirit of his mouth) The plain teaching of this well-known and oft-quoted passage is apparent. Jesus cannot return until two things happen: the great apostasy, and the man of sin must be revealed. Verse one plainly states the subject of the passage: the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our being gathered unto him. This is a rapture verse in there ever was one. Has the great falling away occurred? I say it is underway right now, but let us set aside that point for a moment. It is precisely the great falling away that allows the global deception bringing the antichrist to power. Has the man of Sin been revealed? Some will say he has, but consider this:
1. Daniel first discussed this event in chapter 7 of the book named after him, sometime between 5 and 600 years before Jesus was born.
2. Jesus refers to this passage in Matthew 24:15, warning of a great tribulation which would ensue with this event, and warning that He would return immediately after the tribulation of those days (v. 30, 31). Jesus has not returned, i.e., the antichrist event has not yet occurred.
3. Paul discusses the issue in first and second Thessalonians, written in approximately 50-51 A.D., and as we noted above, it hadn't occurred yet.
4. The Book of the Revelation was written by the Apostle John around 95 A.D. and in chapter 13 the Man of Sin is still future, the divine portrait drawn with uncanny and chilling accuracy. Some say, and with good cause, that the Papacy and all the lust for global power that attends the system, is the antichrist, that it is not merely a single man, but a succession of many - the Popes. Many great theologians have believed and taught this, though the view becomes harder to find as Protestantism returns to the mother church of Rome. There can be no question that the system that sat on 7 hills in the days of John's revelation (see chapters 13 and 17) was centered in Rome. Rome is the current incarnation of a system beginning in Babylon and parading through history in the various incarnations of Danial's image, hence the name given by divine decree: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH (Revelation 17:5). And the final kingom of Iron continues today still through the Roman Catholic Church and her globalist agenda to turn the world into a 10 kingdom federation of socialist precincts. She certainly fills the bill of "shedding the blood of prophets and saints" (Rev. 16:6). She is the mother of the inquisition and unending subterfuge and intrigues to this very day, as she seeks to undo the Reformation and to destroy her enemies through secret alliances. Perhaps the antichrist will be a Pope. He certainly fits the bill religiously and politically. But if this fulfillment is a series of popes, yet there is one to come whose treachery will precipitate an unbelievable persecution of the elect worldwide, and specifically in Israel, at the end of which Jesus Christ will physically return in power. How do we know this? Because Jesus warned the Jews to pray their flight be "not on the Sabbath", and that the man of sin would "sit in the temple of God". Without discusssion these settings are Jewish in nature. Another thought: to where does Jesus return? To Jerusalem, to the Mount of Olives specifically. He's not returning to Washington D.C., or to L.A., or to Salt Lake City, but to one little country 2 1/2 times the size of Rhode Island, where the most vilified people on the planet live. Classic God. Remember in our attempts to spriritualize scripture to make it fit, that God historically has spoken in literal terms. Born of a virgin means exactly that: born of a virgin. Born in Bethlehem means exactly that: born in Bethlehem. God likes matter. He invented it. The Word of God certainly does speak often in allegorical terms, but I guarantee that "this same Jesus" (Acts ch. 1) is coming back in like manner "as you saw him go into heaven", he left from the Mount of Olives, and is returning TO the Mount of Olives, a real physical hill in Jerusalem, a real, physical city that has become a "burdensome stone" to all the nations of the world. Do they believe in him? The great majority do not, but they will, they will my friend, and God "will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn" (Zechariah 12:10).
"What I say unto you I say unto all . . Watch . ."