Friday, March 31, 2006

Future Hopes Eagerly Awaited And Applied

Romans 8:23-25
And not only this, but also we ourselves, have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoptions as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

1 Corinthians 1:7
…so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ…

2 Timothy 4:7-8
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

…who have loved and yearned for and welcomed His appearing.

…who have longed for his appearing.

Titus 2:11-13
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.

Heb 13:12-14
Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.

1 Peter 1:13
Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 3:11-12
Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat?

1 John 3:2-3
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when he appears, we will be like Him, because we will See Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

Summed Up

With perseverance we wait eagerly for our adoptions as sons, and the redemption of our body. We love, welcome, and long for His appearing. We are seeking the city which is to come. Our hope is fixed completely on the grace to be given us at the revelation of Jesus Christ. We are looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God. We know that when he appears, we will be like Him, because we will See Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Reader Response

A while back a reader suggested to me that in Matthew 24:1-35 Jesus spoke of His coming at Armageddon, but that in verse 36 He changed His focus and began speaking of a pre-trib rapture due to the fact that Jesus said times would be like the times of Noah and that all would be living in peace. Most pre-trib teachers reject this view, but a few hold to it, so I thought I would post a portion of my response here. You may view the entire conversation in the comment section of this post, if you like.

I understand that you think that Jesus all of a sudden stops speaking of His coming that takes place after the abomination, and then starts talking about a pre-trib rapture in Matt. 24:36. But there is absolutely no indication for this in the text. In fact, it makes no sense at all.

Matthew 24 in orderly fashion
1. Abomination of desolation and great tribulation - v. 15, 21
2. Christ’s coming, AFTER abomination and GT – v. 29-31
3. When you see ALL these things (signs previously mentioned), He’s near - v. 32-33
4. But of THAT day and hour, no one knows – v. 36

What is “That day?” It can only be the day He’s been speaking about in the entire discourse. How could He say, “But of THAT day,” if all of a sudden He’s speaking about a day (a pre-trib rapture) that He has not previously mentioned until that point in the text? “That day MUST be the day He comes, as shown in verses 29-31.

I suggest that people will be living life as usual and getting married, eating and drinking, etc, because the reign of the beast will not be effecting them. It will be effecting us. They will have peace and safety and will be able to live life as usual because they are under the "protection" of the man of lawlessness and they are not suffering persecution like the saints will be undergoing.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The “Overcomers” Overcome by Being Overcome

We know Who wins the final battle in the end, but how do we take part in winning that battle? What if followers of Christ (the “overcomers”) are an army that actually wins by being defeated? I believe the struggle between the Church and its enemy in the end times is an oxymoronic battle that is only similar to the battle between God and Satan at the cross.

…so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord… (Ephesians 3:10-11)

When Satan physically overcame Christ on the cross, Christ spiritually overcame Satan.

When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. (Colossians 2:15)

Likewise, in the final 3.5 years, when Satan physically overcomes the Church, the Church will also spiritually overcome Satan.

And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. (Revelation 12:11)

Christ and the Church have already overcome Satan, but it will come to its finality and complete fruition in the end.

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel. (Genesis 3:15)

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. (Romans 16:20)

Therefore, the wisdom of God displayed to Satan at the cross is being displayed at present also, but will once again be displayed in it’s entirety through the Church in the end times when we overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb.

The last will be first. Lose to win.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Foolish Nation, Jealousy, And Redemption

They (Israel) have made Me jealous with what is not God; They have provoked Me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation. (Deut. 32:21)

You and I are this “foolish nation.” When the Jews rejected God’s Son, their loss became our gain (Rom. 11:12), and as the passage in Deuteronomy 32 informed us, God is going to use us to make the Jewish nation, Israel, jealous.

This brings me to my main point. Many within Christendom are saying Israel has been replaced by the Church, and that God is done with the literal nation of Israel. While I part company with the majority of today’s dispensationalists on many issues, I agree that they have correctly presented the fact that God does have a future plan for Nation Israel, and that a large portion of literal Jews will someday join us, the Church, in our love for His Son.

What’s the point of God using us to make them jealous if it’s not to “win” them back? Why does a teenage boy take another girl to the football game and parade her in front of his ex-girlfriend? Is it only to shove it in her face? Sometimes, maybe, but quite often it’s to show the girl what she is missing, in hopes that she will desire him once again. It is no different with God, other than the fact He doesn’t have to hope that it will come to past—He can, and will do it.

For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery--so that you will not be wise in your own estimation--that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB. THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS (Rom 11:25-27).

Don’t be deceived by the naysayers. The day the skeptics can measure the heavens above is the day that He will be done with Israel.

Thus says the LORD, "If the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth searched out below, then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done," declares the LORD (Jer. 31:37).

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Crucifixion—The Complete Picture

I've taken every detail found in all four crucifixion accounts and combined them into one complete crucifixion account. Each section of Scripture used has a footnote that you may view at the bottom of the page, or you can click it to see the entire passage at Bible Gateway. Christ's death always comes alive to me when I read about it, but I believe that reading it in its entirety with Matthew’s, Mark’s, Luke’s, and John’s input, brings even more clarity, excitement, and reverence to my heart when I experience it.

Matthew 27:32-56
Mark 15:21-41
Luke 23:26-49
John 19:17-37

A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross 1 behind Jesus. 2 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then “ ‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” ’For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?" 3

They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall (myrrh 4); but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. 5
Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals--one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” 6

Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.” Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.” 7

The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.”

The soldiers also came up and mocked him and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” 8

Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”

In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can't save himself! 9 Let this Christ, this King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe. 10 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” 11

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don't you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” 12

When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

“Let's not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let's decide by lot who will get it.”
This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, “They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” So this is what the soldiers did.

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. 13

It was the third hour when they crucified him. 14 From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”--which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He's calling Elijah.” 15

…Knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 16

Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to save him.” 17

When he had received the drink, 18 Jesus cried out in a loud voice 19 and said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit 20 and breathed his last. 21

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God 22 (The Centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.”23)!” When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee 24 to care for his needs, 25 stood at a distance, watching these things. 26 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons. 27

Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.” 28

1 Mark 15:21-22
2 Luke 23:26
3 Luke 23:27-31
4 Mark 15:23
5 Matthew 27:34
6 Luke 23:32-33
7 John 19:19-22
8 Luke 23:35-37
9 Matthew 27:39-42
10 Mark 15:32
11 Matthew 27:43
12 Luke 23:39-43
13 John 19:23-27
14 Mark 15:25
15 Matthew 27:46-47
16 John 19:28
17 Matthew 27:48-49
18 John 19:30
19 Matthew 27:50
20 John 19:30
21 Luke 23:46
22 Matthew 27:51-54
23 Luke 23:47
24 Luke 23:48-49
25 Matthew 27:55
26 Luke 23:49
27 Matthew 27:56
28 John 19:31-37

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Tribulation Or the Day of the Lord? — Revisited

Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. (2 Thess. 2:1-2)

We all agree that somebody, somewhere, was messing with the Church of Thessalonica, and that it appears that some of the Thessalonians may have been duped into wondering if the Day of the Lord had already come. But Paul reassured them that this was not only a false claim, but that it was, in fact, impossible.

So we’ve made it this far in agreement with our pre-trib brothers, but this, unfortunately, is where the agreements end. As we look at what John Walvoord wrote in the late 1970’s, keep in mind that he is working on the assumption that the Tribulation begins at the opening of the first seal. Also, pay close attention and notice how he flip flops with his terminology.

"The situation described in 2 Thessalonians 2 indicates that the teaching that the church would go through the Tribulation was already being advanced by certain teachers whom Paul opposed in this passage…It becomes evident that there were already those who taught that the Church would go through the Tribulation, or as it is here described, the Day of the Lord. It is most important to observe that Paul labeled this a false doctrine and urged the Thessalonians not to be deceived by this teaching. The passage clearly implies that Paul had taught them that they would not enter the Day of the Lord and that the rapture would come before the final persecutions of the saints.” (The Rapture Question, John Walvoord, 1979, p. 238)

Walvoord inserts the term "the Tribulation," when the passage in question says no such thing. In 2 Thessalonians Paul spoke of "the Day of the Lord." In altering the phrase from "Day of the Lord" to "the Tribulation," Walvoord misleads many readers into believing that the apostle Paul is teaching the Thessalonians that they should "not be quickly shaken from [their] composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the [Tribulation] has come (2 Thess. 2:2)."

It’s nothing less than deception, though unintentional, when Walvoord inserts the term “the Tribulation” where the Scripture says, “Day of the Lord.” The term “the Tribulation” cannot be applied to the text instead of “the Day of the Lord” if one wants to remain biblical. “The Tribulation” is caused by the abomination of desolatioin that takes place in the midpoint of the 70th Week (Dan. 9:27), while the Day of the Lord cannot begin until after the triple sign in the sun moon and stars according to Joel 2:31, which we know doesn’t take place until after the Tribulation according to Matthew 24:29.

Notice the simple order of events:

The Abomination of Desolation

when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. (Matt. 24:15-16)

Then the Tribulation

For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. (Matt. 24:21)

The Sign in the Skies is After the Tribulation

immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (Matt. 24:29)

The Day of the Lord is After the Sign in the Skies

The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. Joel 2:31

When this term, “the Tribulation” is applied by Walvoord, the automatic conclusion is made that Paul was informing the Thessalonians that “the Tribulation” couldn’t have started because the pre-trib rapture had not taken place yet! And if you care to read his book, this is exactly what Walvoord asserts, and continues by claiming that Paul is teaching the Thessalonians that post-trib is a false teaching. What a sneaky, slight-of-hand maneuver.

What’s funny though, is the fact that Walvoord (along with all pre-trib teachers) ignores that the passage would still be teaching that the “Tribulation” will not come unless the man of lawlessness is revealed. This completely contradicts his claim that the Tribulation and the Day of the Lord begins at the beginning of the 70th Week. Even when the words of the Scripture are altered, the end result is still far from a pre-trib rapture. Don’t be misled.

Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed… (2 Thess. 2:1-3)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

2 Thessalonians 2

As we continue to evaluate the pre-trib claim that the Tribulation and the Day of the Lord are same event, and that they both begin at the opening of the first seal in Revelation, 2 Thessalonians 2 must be very familiar to the reader. If you don’t know the passage backwards and forwards, I would suggest you take a few days to read and think about its content so that you will have a better understanding when I post my next message on this topic in a few days.

Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. 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. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. (2 Thess. 2:1-12)

Click here for the next post where we will evaluate an instance where John Walvoord, a prominent prophecy teacher (now deceased), used the term “the Tribulation” interchangeably with “the Day of the Lord, and we will see just how tricky this little flip flop of the phrases can be.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Tribulation Or the Day of the Lord?

“The Tribulation” is not the only term the pre-tribulation rapture camp has misused. They quite often apply the term “the Day of the Lord” to the entire 70th Week, too, because of their preconceived idea that the entire seven year period is God’s wrath. Most claim the Day of the Lord begins with the opening of the first seal, and completely ignore the fact that Joel 2:31 informs us that the Day of the Lord will not take place until after the sign in the sun, moon and stars, which takes place sometime after the sixth seal is removed from scroll.

To confuse the issue even more, they use their term “the Tribulation” interchangeably with the biblical term “the Day of the Lord,” even though there is no biblical foundation for this. This swapping of terms causes much unnecessary confusion, and leads to many wrong conclusions.

It must be understood that the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:21) that begins after the abomination of desolation (Matt. 24:15) is a period of time containing a trial that’s aimed at followers of Christ, while The Day of the Lord is a period of time that contains a trial that is aimed at God’s enemies. The Great Tribulation and The Day of the Lord are completely different trials aimed at completely different people, and take place at completely different times. First, the Great Tribulation upon the elect, and then at, or slightly after the gathering of the elect, The Day of the Lord and God’s wrath will begin.

In the next post, I'll show an example from one of John Walvoord’s books where he erroneously swaps the term “The Day of the Lord” for the term “The Tribulation” in an attempt to prove the pre-tribulation rapture theory. While it may not have been Walvoord’s intent to be sneaky, the fact remains, and will be shown, that his swapping of terms tortures the biblical text in a way that usually slips under the noses of many innocent and unaware individuals, leading them to simply believe the pre-trib argument as presented by Walvoord and many of his counterparts. I know, sounds kind of like a conspiracy theory, doesn’t it?

To continue in this four part article click here.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Seven Year Tribulation—No Such Thing

Most people are completely unaware that there is no biblical support for using the term, “The Tribulation,” when speaking of the final seven years of Daniel’s 70th Week. In actuality, there is no biblical mention of Christians experiencing end times tribulation until after the abomination of desolation, which takes place at the midpoint of Daniel’s 70th Week.

Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place…then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. (Matt. 24:15,21)

Though there will be difficulties in the first half of the 70th Week, the term, “The Tribulation,” is never associated with the first 3.5 years anywhere in Scripture, but is only linked to the final 3.5 years and the period of suffering that followers of Christ will experience from the man of lawlessness.

This is very important to understand, and the next two messages will make it clear why the misapplication of this important term creates a sneaky maneuver that is used by many pre-trib teachers to, once again, manipulate the text to say something that it doesn’t.

Click here to go to the next post, "The Tribulation or the Day of the Lord?" where I will begin showing how terms are misused to come to faulty, pre-trib conclusions.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The “Tribulation” Challenge

Dear pre-trib believer,

Can you find anything within the Bible that teaches that there is a seven year “Tribulation?”



PS There will be at least two follow-ups to this topic.