| Re: |
I don't intend on taking away from the topic of this thread but I have often heard many pretrib individuals use the phrase "I have read the in of the book I know who wins" but it seems as if they don't focus on the extreme presecution the church will undertake even if it is raptured out before the great tribulation. This leaves many unprepared and comfortable in their little cacoons of safety but when the Lord shakes what can be shaken they will be included in this and will be more ept to forsake the truth because they will accuse God of forsaking them.
Post trib has its points and disadvantages as well, the disadvantage is that people that think certian events must happen spend a life of comfort because certain events haven't happened yet so tribulation is nothing to worry about leaving them unprepared.
I have a tendency to lean more towards the post trib of things because I am preparing for what could possibly happen as oppose to banking on being taken up in the rapture and avoiding all discomfort. I expect discomfort in my walk because I desire to walk against the grain of this world.
But EITHER way the real danger isn't in which trib you believe but in being unprepared for the Lord's return whether we go through the great tribulation or not. Laziness and comfort are enemies of the children of God.
| 2010/8/18 8:20||Profile|
| Reasons for the Rapture|
The rapture is a very important promise in the chronology of end-time events. It must be properly understood if we wish to be ready and worthy to escape the coming tribulation period.
During the rapture, true Christians will disappear from the earth in the twinkling of an eye:
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thes. 4:16-18).
By way of the rapture the Lord will snatch away His disciples for whom He has gone to prepare a place in heaven. The harvest of souls for the kingdom of God will then gathered in heaven. There are various biblical reasons why there must be, and consequently will be, a rapture of believers at the end of the church dispensation:
1. It marks the end of the church age
The rapture formally ends the dispensation of the church on earth as the members of the true church will then be removed from earth and taken to heaven. Only the backsliders, the nominal believers, the members of deluded and dead Christian churches, as well as all the followers of false [non-Christian] religions will remain behind on earth. The people who do not turn to Christ then to be saved, will join the deceived masses who will enter into a covenant with the false messiah [Antichrist] to worship and follow him. The signs of the times indicate that we are at present very close to the end of the church dispensation. The Bible describes this time as a period of great falling away from the truth, and also of intensified demonic activities. Satan is lulling certain churches into a deep spiritual sleep, while occupying the attention of others with deceptive signs and wonders performed by false prophets.
At the same time, the coming antichristian dispensations all-inclusive ideology of universal or cosmic unity (holism or monism) is actively propagated. Structures are also created for the world government, world religion, and world economy of the Antichrist. It is not without reason that the Lord Jesus urges us to stand firm against the deception of the last days, and to watch and pray always that we may be found worthy to escape the coming tribulation period (Lk. 21:36).
It is important to consider the rapture in its dispensational context i.e. at the end of the church age and just before the beginning of the tribulation period. Within this perspective we should resist the moral collapse and spiritual falling away that are typical of the last days of the church dispensation, while also opposing the reforms aimed at promoting the global governance and ecumenical alliance of world religions that will allow the Antichrist and false prophet the opportunity to gain control over the world and to institute the new world order. We are dispensationally in a terminal situation in which most people sadly grow cold in their love towards Christ while the unrighteousness is increasing due to an emerging international culture of sin. We should actively denounce this trend, as well as the globalising reforms aimed at instituting the next dispensation.
In times like these, preaching about the expected rapture is critically important. We are like long distance runners who hear the bell ringing to announce the last round of the race. This message motivates us not to relax but to persevere to the end. Peter says: Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God? (2 Pet. 3:11-12). We should not lose perspective and start compromising under the pressure of a rapidly changing world, but keep on fighting the good fight of faith while resisting all forms of evil.
2. It affords the Antichrist the opportunity to be revealed
The rapture is directly related to the revelation of the Antichrist:
And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved (2 Thess. 2:6-10).
The true church of Christ, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, is withholding the Antichrist, who can clearly only be revealed after the church has been taken out of the way. The Holy Spirit in the church is stronger than the spirit of error that is operating in the evil world to deceive people. When the true church is suddenly taken away the light of the world will vanish and the hour of complete spiritual darkness will take effect. Under these circumstances, the man of sin will be able to reveal himself without any opposition. The rapture has to occur before he can be revealed!
To prepare people to be ready for the rapture calls for a spiritual disposition of absolute loyalty to the true Christ and also the unqualified rejection of the false cosmic Christ of all faiths.
3. It is a strong motivation for steadfastness in a time of backsliding
The coming of the heavenly Bridegroom will occur during a time of religious compromise and worldliness. There will be a great falling away from the truth of Gods Word. A relatively small group of evangelical Christians will shine like lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation (Phil. 2:15). As in the times of Noah and Lot, the earth will be filled with violence, materialism and sexual perversion. Unfortunately, the spirit of unrighteousness and immorality will also take its toll among Christians. They will relax their vigilance and make downward adjustments in their spiritual standards: And because lawlessness [sin] will abound, the love of many will grow cold (Mt. 24:12). Many Christians will keep such a low profile that they ultimately lapse into complete passivity (spiritual sleep). Jesus warned His followers against this phenomenon and emphasised the expectation of His sudden coming as a strong motivation for steadfastness:
Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning lest coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch! (Mk. 13:35-37).
Inactive Christians are obviously not strongly dedicated to the Lord and they have a tendency to grow cold in their love towards Him. The process of growing cold manifests in two ways: firstly, they develop a love for the world and worldly parties where they eat and drink to excess; secondly, anxiety and depression take root in their minds and also pull them down spiritually. Against this kind of waywardness the Lord Jesus warned His disciples and again offered the rapture as a positive motivating force to remain steadfast to the end:
But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come upon you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man (Lk. 21:34-36).
4. It is an escape from the disaster area of divine judgements
The rapture also constitutes a dramatic rescue operation in which the true believers are removed from the scene of divine judgements. Although the rapture is a unique occurrence, there are examples in the Bible of times when God poured out His wrath but provided an escape route to the true believers as they were not the objects of His wrath. In the time of Noah, God announced His judgements upon a wicked and perverted generation: "And God said to Noah, The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark..." (Gen. 6:13-14). Shortly before the commencement of the judgements the eight believers escaped the disaster area by entering the ark. God Himself closed the door behind them before He judged the sinners (Gen. 6:16-23).
In the time of Lot the believers were also rescued. The night before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah they were ordered to evacuate the city and flee to the mountains. The angels emphasised the fact that they could do nothing as long as Lot and his family were still among the wicked. Fire and brimstone rained down from the heavens shortly after their departure. The cities with all their inhabitants were destroyed (Gen. 19:13-25). The Bible says that there is a clear correlation between these historic events and God's end-time dealing with believers and unbelievers (Lk. 17:26-30; also read Gen. 6 and 19).
People who are cynical about the promise of the rapture and do not heed the admonition to be prepared to escape the coming tribulation period reveal a very reckless attitude. What do you think would have happened to the believers (and the entire human race) if Noah argued as follows: God is a God of love and I dont really believe that He will send a flood to judge all people; therefore, I am not going to build an ark to escape this so-called judgement. Or what would have happened to Lot and his family if he took the following stand: I think the prophesied judgement over Sodom and Gomorrah should be interpreted symbolically. I dont have to escape for my life. Even if the disaster does occur I believe that God will protect us from His wrath here in this place.
The coming judgements during the tribulation period are irrefutable biblical facts. Jesus said there will be great tribulation such as has not been since the beginning of the world (Mt. 24:21), and that we should be ready to escape it (Lk. 21:36).
5. It is a direct intervention by God
The supernatural nature of the rapture, in which millions of Christians will be caught up in the air, will be so clearly an intervention by God that no scientific explanation can ever account for this astounding phenomenon. There might be a few absurd explanations which, as in the case of the evolution theory, will only be accepted by those whose minds have been blinded by the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4). It is only an almighty God who can resurrect and change millions of Christians in a single moment and catch them away from planet earth. He will take away His own while the others will be left behind.
The hand of the Lord will also unmistakably be seen in the judgements that will be poured out over a degenerate humanity after the rapture. The dramatic effect of the rapture as well as the severity of the apocalyptic judgements that will follow in its wake will be a clear message to a multireligious and apostate humanity that their only hope is in returning to the Triune God and His inerrant Word. The rapture will also utterly refute the spiritualisation theology in which many of the plain biblical statements are spiritualised and thereby deprived of their literal meaning. In this way liberal theologians have disposed of many of the precious promises and dire warnings in the Bible by alleging that they are merely to be regarded as symbolic or allegorical expressions.
After the rapture, millions of people will continue to harden their hearts. As a result of this attitude they will receive a spirit of delusion which will induce them to believe the lies of the Antichrist (2 Thess. 2:11-12). However, there will also be many people who will have a new appreciation for the Word of God. They will seek the Lord and call upon His Name, regardless of the consequences of Christian worship in a Christ-rejecting new world order.
6. It is associated with the first resurrection
The rapture is directly related to the first resurrection when all the believers will get glorified resurrection bodies. Millions of those who are going to be caught away are already dead; consequently they must first be raised from the dead in incorruptible, glorified bodies, like unto Christs glorious body. At the same moment the mortal bodies of the living believers will be miraculously changed into glorified bodies while they pass from mortality to immortality without dying. Paul explains this promise to a Christian congregation as follows:
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality (1 Cor. 15:51-53).
To the Philippians he said:
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body (Phil. 3:20-21).
The first resurrection is also referred to as the resurrection of the just (Lk. 14:14), as well as the resurrection of life (Jn. 5:29). These people are indeed blessed to be partakers of the first resurrection:
Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years (Rev. 20:6).
The godless will have no part in the first resurrection, the rapture, and the millennial reign of Christ. That is why John says: But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished (Rev. 20:5). They will be raised during the second resurrection which is also called the resurrection of condemnation (Jn. 5:29).
7. It separates true and nominal Christians
Apart from the division that the rapture will effect between the saved and unsaved people in the world, it will also separate the true believers from the nominal Christians within the church. Those who only have a form of godliness will be left behind. This fate will befall them despite the fact that they may have regarded themselves as members of the church of Christ, like the foolish virgins also did. Only after the rapture will many of them discover the absence of the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Although they can still put matters straight then, the Bridegroom will not open the door to them by way of a second rapture, much as they may desire it and urgently knock on heavens door. They will have to remain outside in the cold, face the dark days of the tribulation, and be prepared to die as martyrs for their faith.
How many millions of Christians indeed find themselves in this category of self-deceived and unsaved church members who trust in a dead form of godliness! They argue that since they are baptised and confirmed in the church, they have entered into an eternal and irrevocable covenant with God. In the light of this perception they feel quite comfortable even though they dont have a clear testimony of being saved and born again through true repentance to the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself said: Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (Jn. 3:3). It is only the regenerating work of the Lord that can save your soul!
Be sure that you are not weighed in Gods balance at the time of the rapture and found wanting. Then you will be left behind when the Lord Jesus takes away His bride (Mt. 25:10-13).
8. It is a meeting with Jesus Christ
When the Lord Jesus comes back to earth He will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. Those who died in Christ will be raised from the dead while the living saints will be changed in the twinkling of an eye. Together they will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air.
The greatest expectation with regard to the rapture is not just to get away from earth, but to arrive in heaven with the Lord! The longing bride wishes to be united with her heavenly Bridegroom. People who dont believe in the rapture must ask themselves how else, other than by the rapture, can they be caught up from earth and divinely moved to the glorious presence of the Lord Jesus in heaven. The Christians will be caught up ( 1 Thess. 4:17). After His earthly ministry, Jesus was bodily caught up to heaven (Rev. 12:5). Paul was caught up to the third heaven (2 Cor. 12:2). In all these cases the same verb, i.e. catch up (Gr. harpazo) is used, which means rapture. On this occasion the heavenly Bridegroom will not appear in public as He will at His appearing at the end of the tribulation, when every eye shall see Him (Rev. 1:7). He will come secretly, like a thief in the night, to snatch away his bride. From the viewpoint of the world she will suddenly disappear without a trace! She will then be in heavenly places, in the divine presence of the King of kings!
9. It is a summons to appear before the judgement seat of Christ
To be well prepared for the rapture with a view to the destination of the bride at the end of the journey involves preparations for certain commitments. One of them is to appear before the judgement seat of Christ. The prospect of the rapture clearly confronts us with the responsibility to give account to Christ of our lives after conversion. Paul says:
For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad (2 Cor. 5:10).
So then each of us shall give account of himself to God (Rom. 14:10).
The Lord Jesus said: And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work (Rev. 22:12).
We must never think about the rapture in isolation as only a journey to heaven. It is a means to a wonderful end. We know why we will be removed from the impending disaster area of divine judgement on earth. But we also need to be thoroughly prepared for what is awaiting us at the end of the journey in heaven. The very first appointment that we have after meeting the Lord Jesus in the air is to appear before His judgement seat.
Since only Christians will be caught away during the rapture, only Christians will appear before the judgement seat where their works will be tested:
For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each ones work will become manifest; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each ones work, of what sort it is. If anyones work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyones work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire (1 Cor. 3:11-15).
We are not saved by works but by faith. However, faith without works is dead. In the lives of Christians, a true faith will produce works that befit repentance. For these works of dedication which are done by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, rewards of grace will be given at the judgement seat of Christ. On that day it will be evident that some Christians were much more productive in the work of the Lord, having used their talents to their full potential. Others will be found to have been less productive, and yet others will stand there empty-handed saved as through fire. The following five crowns will be awarded to Christians in the service of the Lord:
· The imperishable crown for a holy, dedicated life (1 Cor. 9:24-25).
· The crown of rejoicing for people who lead others to Christ (1 Thess. 2:19).
· The crown of glory for faithful pastors (1 Pet. 5:2-4).
· The crown of life for Christian martyrs (Rev. 2:10).
· The crown of righteousness for those who love His coming (2 Tim. 4:8).
10. It is a journey to the marriage of the Lamb
After her appearance before the judgement seat of Christ the bride will be united to her heavenly Bridegroom, never to be separated from Him again. The burning desire for the rapture is, therefore, also the expression of a desire to be at the marriage feast of the Lamb in His ivory palace, and to be led to the King in a spotless garment woven with gold (Ps. 45), prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (Rev. 21:2).
Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish (Eph. 5:25-27).
11. It is a journey to our eternal home
The Lord Jesus promised that He would return to take His bride away to her heavenly abode. Before He ascended to heaven He said:
In My Fathers house are many mansions
I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also (Jn. 14:2-3).
This mansion in heaven is so beautiful that it cannot even be imagined by mortal man. The Bible says: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Cor. 2:9). John says that the mansions and streets of the new Jerusalem are built with pure gold, like transparent glass. Each of its gates is a large, magnificent pearl. The foundations of the wall of the city are adorned with all sorts of precious stones, and its light is like a crystal clear stone (Rev. 21:9-21).
This description conveys the idea of heaven being a quite superlative environment of dazzling beauty, magnificence, radiance and glory beyond anything we can imagine at present. To be raptured to such a place is indeed a most desirable thought and something to earnestly look forward to! As the Scripture says, In Thy presence is fullness of joy; and at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16:11).
12. It leads to the acceptance of our judicial and royal position
After the rapture, the glorified Christians will judge the world with Christ in righteousness (1 Cor. 6:2), after which they will reign with Him as kings on earth. In Revelation 4 and 5, the glorified church is represented by the 24 elders:
And they sang a new song, saying: You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth (Rev. 5:9-10).
EPILOGUE: Do you appreciate how tremendously important the rapture is to every Christian, how highly dramatic the events are that are associated with it, and how exceedingly worthwhile it is to be ready for it? Christianity and the church stand to be spiritually deprived and impoverished if this promise, and all the obligations that it involves, is not earnestly proclaimed. Without the Bibles prophetic perspective on the end-time we will grope in darkness and never correctly determine our priorities.
While we are discerning the approaching footsteps of the Lord Jesus in the signs of the times we must be very sure that we really do belong to Him; otherwise He will pass us by when He comes for His bride. The unsaved, nominal Christians who have never had a personal encounter with the Lord will, one day, plead for mercy in vain before the great white throne of the final judgement. The Lord will declare to them: I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practise lawlessness! (Mt. 7:23).
There is no need whatsoever to be heading for a tragic end of disillusionment and rejection. If we have genuinely experienced repentance toward God for our sins and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21), and our hearts have been changed and are burning within us with love for the Lord, we will be worthy to meet the heavenly Bridegroom when He comes in the midnight hour. He said to His disciples: Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master
Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants
Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect (Lk. 12:35-40).
Johan Malan, University of the North, South Africa
| 2010/8/18 8:54|
| Re: Reasons for the Rapture|
hi, why stand ye here gazing up?what can you do to bring it to pass or to change anything about how it happens or when or with whom...you have no input as Jesus said only My Father... lean not on your wordy theology or your staunch behavior but on the Blood of the Lamb and His mercies that endure forever and you are ready.jimp
| 2010/8/18 9:18||Profile|
| Re: |
I'm sorry, but the entire "pan-tribulational" theology, while having an air of wisdom to it simply is not a Biblical perspective. Yes, the exhortation that no matter what your theology is, that we should be wise virgins is true. But to merely stop there is spiritually immature, as one is failing to embrace the cross and wrestle with the Scriptures. Such a theology is blatantly ignoring the word of the Lord. For if a pan-tribulational theology were true, and that is all we practically needed to know about the last days, we would not have the massive amount of Scripture that we do that tells of the things we can expect in the last days.
What one believes and likewise does not believe about the future shapes how one lives in the present. That is why the early church and the Biblical writers were so eschatologically minded. No, we'll never know the day or the hour. But what we believe about the last days will shape our understanding of God's ultimate purposes, and cause us to live our lives in light of those purposes. The end times also teach us something about God's character, which gives us great faith for how we ought to live now. That's why Paul did "not want us ignorant," and for us to be "caught unaware." This is especially true if we happen to be the final generation that sees the coming of the Lord.
But even should we not be that generation, we cannot ignore the greater purposes of God in redemptive history. And redemptive history spans both past, present, and future. What God has done, is doing, and will do, are very important things. We cannot be the people He would have us to become if we have no idea what He is doing.
Dare I say pan-tribulational theology is a very sublte heresy? I think such would be a Biblical perspective.
| 2010/8/18 12:48||Profile|
| Re: The truth about the Day of the Lord|
Let the Word of God speak:
Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.
(2 Thessalonians 2:1-4)
Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
(1 Thessalonians 4:13-17)
Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
(1 Corinthians 15:51-53)
So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean! Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?
| 2010/8/18 13:22||Profile|
Whittier CA USA
| Re: |
I'm sorry, but the entire "pan-tribulational" theology, while having an air of wisdom to it simply is not a Biblical perspective. Yes, the exhortation that no matter what your theology is, that we should be wise virgins is true. But to merely stop there is spiritually immature, as one is failing to embrace the cross and wrestle with the Scriptures.
Amen. I had been convicted of paying little to no attention to this topic for many years, realizing that Scripture has much to say on this issue. Rev.1:3 declares, "Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near."
That conviction is what has recently, over the past few months, caused me to dig deeper into this issue and consider the different views and Scriptural arguments among Christians.
That said, I do believe there has to be a healthy balance when studying this topic as when studying any other topic. I believe some Christians focus too much on prophecy and get overtly obsessed with it to the neglect of other important issues.
| 2010/8/18 13:41||Profile|
| Re: |
I do believe there has to be a healthy balance when studying this as when studying any other topic. I believe some Christians focus too much on prophecy and get overtly obsessed with it to the neglect of other important issues.
I'm in hearty agreement. I don't think it is necessary that we understand all the minute details of the last days, at least, not presently. Some of the "practical" aspects of the things yet to come will be mostly relevant only to those who live through those events. And no doubt, no matter how closely we study, we may still be in the dark regarding some of these things. But, we should have a stronger knowledge of these things than we often do. For years I neglected texts regarding the last days in the Scriptures, thinking of them as just speculative and wild. But what I really saw that I was doing was shying away from the hard work of studying to show myself approved unto God.
We must wrestle with these things.
| 2010/8/18 13:46||Profile|
| Re: |
hi, its fun to be called a heretic again... i am 71 years old and in my lifetime millions have died and none have been raptured ... since acts billions have died and none raptured... as a young man i studied end time events with a passion and realized that if i am ready to die and meet Him today i dont need to bother myself with this study for it is TOTALLY in the hands of God and i cant do anything about it except get it wrong...and cause further division by opining on it as i am now... the pharisees and scribes thought they knew how the redeemer would come by all their study and none got it right.think about billions dying and none sofar raptured.... where should our emphases be.jimp
| 2010/8/18 13:57||Profile|
| Re: |
I strongly disagree. A "subtle heresy?" What is wrong with a person admitting that he doesn't know with ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY how the end with come about, that we should remain prepared for any scenario by seeking God and that we shouldn't worry about the specifics will play out?
This is NOT "blatantly ignoring the Word of the Lord." Rather, it is considering all of the possibilities, studying them diligently, and admitting that there is an air of uncertainty regarding the specifics of the matter.
How does what one believes (or not believe) about future events shape how one lives? Jesus instructed us to not worry about our future needs (Matthew 6:25-34).
When asked about future events (such as the restoration of Israel), Jesus told the disciples, "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power" (Acts 1:7). I think that trying to "figure things out" can sometimes be a pursuit that ends up as a distraction.
Immediately after saying this to the disciples, He pointed out what was more important focally, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
For centuries following the death and resurrection of Christ, physical copies of the Word of God were in short supply. Most people didn't have a copy of a single scroll -- let alone the 66 books that we have bound together as canon. In addition, people didn't have extra-Biblical resources either. There were no Vine's, Strong's, or other resource books. There just weren't any companion books (or scrolls) about Bible eschatology. There were no pamphlets, periodicals and websites that mapped out presentations regarding one (or more) views on the coming of the Lord. I guess that it just wasn't that complicated. It seems that people during the early centuries of the Church simply came to believe in (and live for) the Lord.
I know that this sounds like an over-simplification. However, I read a quote once that was oddly accurate: "A drowning man doesn't worry about the size or color of a life jacket. He isn't too worried about it when he holds on to it either." It sounds like the old IQ question about "what is most important" to a sailor.
Believers today have resources (and freedoms) that were unimagined by early believers! While I believe that we should always pursue doctrinal truth, are we supposed to spend our lives in the hunt for inerrant eschatology? I don't even know it that would be possible as we are still confined to this side of the "glass darkly!"
When we moved to California about two years ago, I met a man who had spent his life in the pursuit of "perfect eschatology." We discussed prophecy in detail during a few visits. While I listened and considered the things that he said, I realized that I only agreed with a few of his particular points. Yet he considered himself a "watchmen" and explained that he spent the greater part of his life (he was probably near 60 years old) studying Bible prophecy.
This man was so sure of the Lord's imminent return as a teenager, that he made little preparation for life (in terms of a job, education, a family, etc...). He was now a ~60 yr old man working odd jobs just to survive, and explained that he was "rejected by most Christians" because most people "just don't want to hear the truth." He was "post-trib" and even believed that we were currently somewhere in the middle of the great tribulation two years ago (I guess that it wasn't that "great"). He told me a few things that he said were undoubtedly going to happen within the next year. I told him where I disagreed or had considered other views, but it seemed as if it went in one ear and out the other.
A few months ago, I ran into this man outside of a church meeting that my wife and I visited in a different town. This man wasn't attending that meeting, it turned out that he just lived nearby and was out for a walk. I walked up to him and greeted him. I immediately could tell that he was troubled and even seemed somewhat embarrassed. He explained that he was so sure that Jesus would have been back already or that some of the things that he mentioned would have happened by now. He said, "I just don't know where I went wrong" in regard to his understanding of "times and seasons."
I felt very sad for this man. His entire life had been spent in the pursuit of perfect eschatology. I just can't help but wonder if his life would have been better spent seeking God in the here and now.
Now, this man knew the Bible quite well. He commented on how well I knew the Bible two years ago during our discussions and even voiced that he was surprised that I didn't hold the same position that he did. He had a confused look on his face when I told him that I was just not sure about all of the specificities regarding the timing and manner of the Lord's return. I had told him that I didn't care if I was "raptured" or needed to "endure" throughout the "great tribulation" -- I was going to seek the Lord regardless. After all, "all things work for the good of those who are in Christ."
This, I think, is the essence of "pan-tribulation" position -- as was once shared by David Wilkerson. It is not a position of claiming ignorance or the pursuit of ignorance. Of course, it isn't really a "position" at all. It is merely the realization that all of our pursuit of perfect eschatology is just that -- a pursuit. It is the idea that we might not be able to obtain absolute perfection in our understanding or roadmap of Bible prophecy WHILE arriving to the conclusion that we must be ready for WHATEVER comes our way. As those events actually begin to fall into place, our position(s) might be turned upside down (or rightside up). This does NOT mean that we should stop attempting to understand such things. Rather, it is acknowledging that we just don't know with absolute certainty -- even if we have prayerfully studied and contemplated the issue.
Jimmy, you said, "We cannot be the people He would have us to become if we have no idea what He is doing." But is this really what God has called us to? Do we really have to know every last dot and tittle of the Lord's plan? OR can we just rest in the knowledge that God is in control and that His plan is set? When I was a child, I didn't fret over my dad driving us to my grandmother's house. I didn't worry about the route he was taking, what exact time we were going to get there or how fast our car was going. Most of the time, I could read, sing or sleep simply because I was confident that my dad was a good driver.
When it comes to the coming of the Lord, I am confident that it will happen. I know of many possible ways in which it can happen. I lean toward one of those in particular, but I am pliable enough to know that I don't know with absolute certainty about it -- even after my own studious efforts. I am just confident that God is in control of the situation, and that none of my worrying will change His plan...and that the best "preparation" is not in trying to know exactly how it will come about -- but in spending intimate time with God.
| 2010/8/18 14:29||Profile|
| Re: Post Tribulation Pre-Wrath Rapture..[ hope I'm there!]|
"AFTER THE TRIBULATION OF THOSE DAYS, THE SUN SHALL BE DARKENED, THE MOON TURNED TO BLOOD, AND ALL THE TRIBES OF THE EARTH MOURNING, SHALL SEE THE SIGN OF THE COMING OF THE SON OF MAN."....Matthew 24.
AFTER. JESUS RETURNS ONCE. THEN WE SHALL INDEED BE RAPTURED. THE PAROUSIA, THE GATHERING TOGETHER.
And in one sense, No, I am surely bound to escape the details that God is going to do regardless of what you are I believe, and yes, the important thing is that we will belong to Jesus forever, and attain New Jerusalem. OVER AND OVER HE SAYS; "HE THAT ENDURES TO THE END, THE SAME SHALL BE SAVED."
It is also abundantly clear that for people to cry out for the rocks to hide them from the face of Jesus, in absolute terror, He will have to have returned. Kind of a post Tribulation-Pre-Wrath rapture, I think.
There will be, and currently is, a Great falling away in our midst. To fall away, you have to first be attached to the substance you fall from. Food for thought..
| 2010/8/18 16:14|