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« Reply #60 on: November 19, 2007, 10:34:29 AM »

The Day of the Lord - Page 4 of 4

What is it?

By Cornelius R. Stam



Any who have not acknowledged their sin and have not yet trusted Christ as Savior should remember that while God is gracious and patient, He will not allow man to go on forever rejecting and insulting His Son. And when His anger is finally aroused it will be "the cup of His indignation, poured out without mixture."



God is not the soft "do-gooder" of man's conception. True, He is the very personification of love, but He is also the personification of righteousness and justice and truth and, in anger against love spurned, He will finally judge this world by giving men up to the kind of Christ they have always desired - Antichrist. They will perish "because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved" . . .



Since the Rapture of the Church could take place at any moment and bring to a close this dispensation of Grace, how important it is to trust Christ without delay, before it is eternally too late.



"The Father loveth the Son and hath given all things into His hands,



"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:35,36).



"...behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (II Cor. 6:2).



"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved..." (Acts 16:31).



"For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures;



"And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (I Cor. 15:3,4).
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« Reply #61 on: December 01, 2007, 11:44:13 PM »

Are We Living in the Last Days? - Part 1 of 3
by Thomas Ice



An important question that many Christians often ask is " Are we living in the last days or end times?" When people ask me this question, I usually respond with a clear " Yes and No!" Such an answer requires an explanation. My explanation is that the Bible uses such terminology in multiple ways, so that some references do refer to our own day, while others do not.



Last Days Vocabulary



Sometimes Christians read in the Bible about the " last days," " end times," etc., and tend to think that all of these phrases all of the time refer to the same thing. This is not the case, just as in our own lives there are many endings: there is the end of the work day, the end of the day according to the clock, the end of the week, the end of the month, and the end of the year. Just because the word " end" is used does not mean that it always refers to the same time. The word " end" is restricted and precisely defined when it is modified by " day," " week," " year," etc. So it is in the Bible that " end times" may refer to the end of the current church age or it may refer to other times.



There are a number of different biblical expressions which appear to speak of the end times. The Bible teaches that this present age will end with the rapture, followed by the tribulation, which will end with the second coming of Messiah to the earth. Thus, we must distinguish between the " last days" of the church age and the " last days" of Israel' s tribulation.



Note the following chart, which classifies and distinguishes between passages referring to the end of the church age and the " last days" for Israel:



BIBLICAL USE OF LAST DAYS



Israel



" latter days" - Deuteronomy 4:30; 31:29; Jeremiah 30:24; 48:47; Daniel 2:28; 10:14



" last days" - Isaiah 2:2; Jeremiah 23:20; 49:39; Ezekiel 38:16; Hosea 3:4- 5; Micah 4:1; Acts 2:17



" last day" - John 6:39, 40, 44, 54; 11:24; 12:48



" latter years" - Ezekiel 38:8



" end of time" - Daniel 8:17; 12:4, 9



" end of the age" - Daniel 12:13



Church



" latter days" - 1 Timothy 4:1



" last days" - 2 Timothy 3:1; Hebrews 1:2; James 5:3; 2 Peter 3:3



" last times" - 1 Peter 1:20; Jude 18



" last time" - 1 Peter 1:5; 1 John 2:18



The Bible clearly speaks of a last days or end time, but it does not always refer to the same period of time. The contextual referent enables the reader to know whether the Bible is speaking of the last days relating to Israel or the end times in reference to the church.



Many believe that there are specific signs that relate to the end of the church age. However, I believe that it would be too strong to say that there are signs of the end of the church age. Instead, the Bible indicates what the condition of the church will be like - the general course of the age - and then warns about some general trends toward the later part of the church age. Passages like 1 Timothy 4:1- 5, 2 Timothy 3:1- 5, and 2 Peter 3:3 most likely refer to the second half or latter part of the church age. These passages warn believers about beliefs and lifestyles that are common in the world will enter the church and become common there as well. These passages do not speak about the general moral decline of society, which I do not doubt, instead, it is a decline that was predicted to occur within the church as part of the apostasy.
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« Reply #62 on: December 01, 2007, 11:46:49 PM »

Are We Living in the Last Days? - Part 2 of 3
by Thomas Ice



It can also be noted, that it is hard to quantify such decline. No matter how bad things get, they can always get a little worse. So it is impossible to know specifically how bad things must be in order for something to be a prophetic sign. It is the general condition within the realm of the church in which " evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived" (2 Tim. 3:13).



The Church Age



There are a number of New Testament passages where " last days," " last times," and " last time" clearly refer to the present church age in which we now live. The writer of Hebrews says, " God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son" (Heb. 1:1- 2). The contextual nuance of this passage demands that " last days" is a reference to the current church age in which we presently live. In the same way Peter says, " For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you" (1 Pet. 1:20). These " last times," to which he speaks, in that context, must refer to the last two thousand years in which we still live. John adds support to the two previous writers when he says, " Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour" (1 John 2:18 ). Jude, speaking of things going on in his day says, " that they were saying to you, " In the last time there shall be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts" (Jude 18 ).



The Jewish view of Bible prophecy viewed history as consisting of two ages. The first was this present age, the age in which Israel was waiting for the coming of the Messiah. The second was the age to come, the age in which all promises and covenants would be fulfilled and Israel would enter into her promised blessings as a result of Messiah' s coming. The present age would be terminated by the appearance of Messiah, and the coming age would be introduced by His advent. The present age, then, was to end in judgment, and the coming age must be preceded by this devastation. The New Testament references the present age as the last days. The last days of what? The last days before the coming of the Messianic age.



We see that there are at least four clear references in the New Testament that use end times vocabulary to refer to their own day and the entire church age as the last days. Thus, in that sense, we are clearly living in the last days, since the entire church age is considered the last days. However, that is not what the average person means when they ask, " Are we living in the last days?" They want to know if we are living in a time when the final prophecies of Scripture are being fulfilled. Before I can answer that, we need to look into the use of Old Testament terminology and the last days.



Old Testament Use of Last Days



When we look at Old Testament usage of these terms, we see that they are used differently than those which speak of the church age. I believe that the Old Testament use of this language refers to the time leading up to the coming of Messiah to set up His kingdom on earth, which I would call the tribulation period.



A clear example of this is found in Deuteronomy 4:30, which says, " When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and listen to His voice." The English word " distress" is the Hebrew word for tribulation - in this context, the tribulation - which means that this text equates the tribulation with the " latter days." Thus, the " latter days" are the tribulation period, which we are not currently living in, but may be on the brink of entering. Of course, the church will be raptured before the world enters the tribulation. Deuteronomy 31:29 uses " latter days" as a reference to the tribulation when it says, " evil will befall you in the latter days."



The term " latter days" is used of the tribulation period twice in Jeremiah (30:24; 48:47). Daniel also uses it this way: " However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days" (Dan. 2:28 ). Daniel commences to reveal God' s plan for the future, which revolves around events that will unfold in the tribulation period. This is also the case concerning another passage in Daniel: " Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future" (Dan. 10:14).



The prophet Daniel uses a whole cluster of other " latter day" terms that all refer to the tribulation period or prepare the way for the kingdom reign of Messiah. Terms like " end of time" (Dan. 8:17; 12:4, 9) and " end of the age" (Dan. 12:13) speak of the end-time, tribulation period, which is yet to come. These terms are used three times in Daniel 12, which is said in verse one of that chapter to " be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time." " Distress" is the Hebrew word for tribulation. Thus, the entire context is once again a reference to the coming tribulation.
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« Reply #63 on: December 01, 2007, 11:48:50 PM »

Are We Living in the Last Days? - Part 3 of 3
by Thomas Ice



Daniel 12:4, says the teachings about the end-times in Daniel will be sealed up for the Jewish people until " the end of time." Many prophecy teachers believe that shortly before Christ' s return the world would experience an increase in the speed of travel coupled with an explosion of information based upon Daniel 12:4, which says " many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase." No one would quarrel with the fact that the last one hundred years has indeed witnessed an exponential increase in both the speed of travel and the accumulation of knowledge and thus would be a sign in our time that the end is near. But is this really what Daniel is saying in the passage? I don' t think so.



The correct interpretation of the passage is given by Dr. Charles Ryrie in his famous Ryrie Study Bible when he says, " As the end approaches, people will travel about seeking to discover what the future holds." [1] Not just people in general, but the Jewish people in particular. This means that many Jews during the tribulation will study the Book of Daniel in an attempt to find out what is going on during this unique period of time. Harry Bultema says, " The movement of to and fro may refer to that of the eyes through leaves. . . . Thus considered it seems to us that the text here speaks of the diligent search of the Scripture at the end of time." [2] Thus, the scope would be limited to the future time of the tribulation and could not justly be applied to our own day.



There does not appear to be any real textual basis for the first interpretation. The meaning of the Hebrew words and grammar do not support such a view.



Conclusion



So are we living in the last days? As you can tell from the above discussion, we are currently living in the last days because we are in the church age, which is called the " last days," " last times," and " last time." However, in no way shape or form are we in the last days, as the Old Testament says of Israel. Those terms, " latter days," " last days," " latter years," " end of time," and " end of the age" all refer a time when Israel is in her time of tribulation. This is a future time, which we could very well be on the verge of entering. I believe that we are seeing the stage being set for last days or end time events of the tribulation. But we are not currently in those times at the present time. Maranatha!

____________________________



Endnotes



[1]The Ryrie Study Bible, NASB (Chicago: Moody Press, 1978 ), p. 1332.



[2] Harry Bultema, Commentary on Daniel (Grand Rapids: Kregel

Publications, 1988 ), p. 349.
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« Reply #64 on: December 02, 2007, 12:05:23 AM »

Myths About Israel and Palestine - Part 1 of 2
by Thomas Ice



Next to the U. S. elections, the top story the last year (2000) in the American media has been the ongoing saga of the so-called " peace process" between Israel and the Arabs, popularly known as " Palestinians." This, of course, is not surprising to those of us who take a literal view of Bible prophecy, since Israel is at the center of imminent future events. However, I am constantly annoyed by the steady stream of myths and propaganda that streams from the global media, often misinforming the world about the modern land of Israel. This month I want to demythologize a number of popular notions about the Land of Israel, so that prophecy-loving believers may not be taken in by what they hear and see in today' s media.



The Ancient Palestinians



Perhaps the most maddening term that I hear today is related to the term " Palestinian." Let me start by providing a history of that word. It was a term invented by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in a.d. 135 after he had destroyed Jerusalem during a campaign to put down a Jewish uprising known as the Bar Kokhba revolt. Hadrian was tired of the constant revolts by the Jews in the land of Israel so he set out to " de-Judaize" Israel. This he did by renaming Jerusalem Aelia Capitolina and he renamed the Land of Israel Palestine from the word Philistine, a reference to the ancient Canaanites. Palestine became the common term that many used to refer to the biblical land of Israel. During the early 1900s and before 1948, a Palestinian was always thought to be a Jew who lived in the land of Israel, of course, popularly known as Palestine. When Israel became a nation in 1948, the Jews took the biblical term Israel to refer to the reborn nation. Some time between 1948 and 1963, the Egyptian, Yasser Arafat took the term Palestine to refer to the Arab claim of the land of Israel. Thus, it was only around 1963 that the term Palestinian began to be used of Arabs. There is no such thing as the ancient land of Palestine. It is the ancient land of Israel.



Because of the contemporary use of the term " Palestine," I think it is best that Christians refrain from using it to refer to the land of Israel. This is how Israel is usually referred to, even in biblical maps from the time of Christ and before, when the term was not invented until 100 years after the time of Christ. This is why in our newly produced Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible we insisted upon using the term " Israel" when referencing the land of Israel. We did not call it Palestine. The only real Palestine I know of is a town in East Texas with that name.



The Palestinian Right of Return



In light of what I noted in the previous section, it follows that the so-called Palestinian " right of return" is a key element in Arafat' s position in the Oslo Peace Process. This is one of the few issues that current Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak has not caved in on, . . . at least not yet. Arafat claims that there are about four million Arabs and their descendants who were displaced by Israel in 1948. This is a most ridiculous claim. First of all, only about 200,000 Arabs left their homes in the land of Israel.[1] Few, if any, of these Arabs " refugees" were forced out by the Israelis. Instead, " The Arab refugees were not driven from Palestine by anyone," notes Samuel Katz. " The vast majority left, whether of their own free will or at the orders or exhortations of their leaders, always wit the same reassurance- that their departure would help in the war against Israel." [2]



After the 1948 war, Arab leaders refused to settle these refugees, even though hundreds of thousands of Jews were expelled from Arab lands with only the shirt on their backs.[3] In fact, based upon conservative estimates, at least two times more Jews were made refugees from the countries in which they lived and have now been settled in the land of Israel without the need for refugee camps that the Arabs are so famous for constructing for their people. Lately, Arafat has been demanding four to five billion dollars as reparations for the so-called " Palestinian refugees," while no one has brought up the fact that the Jews left behind in their country of origin billions of dollars worth of property. Where is the outcry for Jewish compensation?



Instead of settling Arabs who left Israel in 1948 in other Arab countries, Arab leaders have consistently insisted that they remain huddled together in the squalor of refugee camps in various locations throughout the Middle East. Joan Peters noted in 1984:



Over the last thirty-odd year, numerous projects have been proposed, international funds provided, studies undertaken, all indicating the benefits that could be derived by the Arab refugee from their absorption into the brethren cultures of the Arab host countries.[4]
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« Reply #65 on: December 02, 2007, 12:07:52 AM »

Myths About Israel and Palestine - Part 2 of 2
by Thomas Ice



Yet Arab leaders always reject any solution that might serve to solve the problem. Even though the Arab refugees number only in the hundreds of thousands, others have successfully exchanged many times that number. Peters notes that, " The exchange between India and Pakistan in the 1950s was overwhelming in magnitude: 8,500,000 Sikhs and Hindus from Pakistan fled to India, and roughly 6,500,000 Muslims moved from India to Pakistan." [5] The fact that " from 1933 to 1945, a total of 79,200,000 souls were displaced," is staggering. But all but the Arab refugees from Israel have not been able to find a place of settlement. Why? Because the long-term Arab goal is not peaceful co-existence with Israel, but a total annihilation of every Jew and the modern nation of Israel. This reality is why it is foolish for Israel to continue the Oslo Peace Process.



David and Goliath



During the so-called " Temple Mount Intifada" we have seen a blatant example of Arab manipulation of the media in the incident of the death of the twelve-year old Arab boy named Mohammed. The world' s media captured the sad death of Mohammed in a crossfire between Arabs and Israelis. The video footage revealed the boy being shot and dying in his father' s arms. The immediate outcry from the global media was how the evil Israelis (the bully Goliath) were picking on the poor defenseless Arabs (David). The media assumed and then reported that Mohammed was shot by the Israeli army. Few asked what the boy was doing there in the first place. Few noted that Mohammed' s father had come to get him because he had gone to throw rocks at the Israeli army. But, most significantly, it was reported in the alternative media that there were questions about whether the Israelis were even in position to have shot the boy. A later investigation has proved that it was impossible for the Israeli soldiers to have shot him since they could not have hit him since they were not in position to have the right angle to get to him. It is now clear that the Arabs shot one of their own, apparently for propaganda purposes. They cared more about sending out to the global media a certain image than they did about the life of that twelve-year old boy.



This kind of thing is all too common in the battle for truth in the propaganda wars coming out of Israel in our day. In fact, established reports have revealed that the Saudi Arabian government is paying $2,000.00 to the family members of each Arab killed in the current Intifada and $300.00 for each non-fatal wound. This is most revealing when one realizes that Muslims believe that they are guaranteed to go to heaven if they die during the current conflict. Boy are they in for an immediate surprise. This is probably the most blatant propaganda piece of the entire conflict.



The Temple Mount



Another classic instance of Arab lying that has come out in the media recently is their widely held belief that there has never been a Jewish Temple upon the Temple Mount (Arabs call it Al-Qods-Al-Sharif) in Jerusalem. Randall Price and I noted this in our book, Ready To Rebuild, in the early 1990s. This belief, coupled with the equally errant lie, that the place of Mohammed' s supposed ascent into heaven occurred on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This was a later myth added to the lore of Islam as time went on and they became engaged in a rivalry with Christianity and Judaism, both of whom had a rich history of events that transpired in Jerusalem. Islam had none.



The question arises that if there never was a Jewish Temple upon the Temple Mount, then where did Jesus walk in New Testament times? What a crook! There is more historical and archaeological evidence supporting the historicity of the Bible' s report that there were two Jewish Temples upon the Temple Mount in Jerusalem than is needed to accept any fact of antiquity. Yet, this does not seem to phase the Muslim faithful. If there was no Temple upon the Temple Mount then what did Josephus write about when he records the destruction of the Jewish Temple in a.d. 70. This kind of outright lying is revealing about the whole Islamic religion: It does not care about the truth, only propaganda. Thus, we should not be surprised, I am not, at the lengths to which too many Arabs will go in our own day as they spin Middle Eastern events to the global media. But, as lovers of the truth, Christians should not fall for these Arab distortions.



Conclusion



As believers in God and His Word, we should not be surprised that Satan and the world system is anti-Israel. We should also not be surprised that in spite of the justness of Israel' s cause that the international media echoes Satan' s voice, instead of God' s. Israel is God' s elect nation and He works out a major aspect of His plan for history through them. Therefore, the least that believers should do is not be taken in by the myths and propaganda from the world' s media. To help towards this end I want to recommend some excellent books that will provide an interested person with factual information.



There are a number of good works out there that can provide accurate information about the history of this situation. First, I want to recommend a good internet site or two that specializes in setting the record straight. One is called HonestReporting at http://www.honestreporting.com/. Another site is CAMERA at http://world.std.com/~camera/. I would recommend Zola Levitt' s monthly publication, Levitt Letter, as a good way to keep up on Israel. They can be reached at P. O. Box 12268, Dallas, TX 75225-0268; www.levitt.com. Three excellent books on these issues are: Benjamin Netanyahu, A Place Among The Nations: Israel and The World (New York: Bantam Books, 1993); Samuel Katz, Battleground: Fact and Fantasy in Palestine, 4th edition (New York: Steimatzky and Shaplolsky, 1985); Joan Peters, From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine (New York: J. KAP Publishing, 1984). If I could read just one, I would recommend the Joan Peters book.



In spite of all the current bias against Israel we know what the end of the matter will be. Yes, Israel will exist for all eternity, while he enemies will be judged at Armageddon. It helps in the present time to know the God who has told us the end from the beginning. Maranatha!

____________________________________



Endnotes



[1] Samuel Katz, Battleground: Fact and Fantasy in Palestine, 4th edition (New York: Steimatzky and Shaplolsky, 1985), p. 14.



[2] Katz, Battleground, p. 13.



[3] Joan Peters, From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine (New York: J. KAP Publishing, 1984), pp. 11-32,



[4] Peters, From Time Immemorial, p. 19.



[5] Peters, From Time Immemorial, p. 26.
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« Reply #66 on: December 02, 2007, 01:33:35 AM »

Prophecy And Biblical Violence - Page 1 of 2
by Thomas Ice



Two Lawyers from Bavaria recently ask a German government minister to re-classify the Bible as a book considered too dangerous for children because of its violent content. "It preaches genocide, racism, enmity towards Jews, gruesome executions for adulterers and homosexuals, the murder of one's own children and many other perversities," wrote Christian Sailer and Gert-Joachim Hetzel.[1] The duo further charged that God's Word contained "bloodthirsty and human rights-violating passages" [2] and want it placed on a list of books unsuitable for children until the offending passages are removed, So much for liberal tolerance!



One thing is clear about these two Germans lawyers; they don' t have a clue when it comes to understanding the biblical framework and what the Bible teaches. Based upon their way of thinking, every history book and most newspaper articles would also have to be listed if the same standards were applied.[3] Of course, this kind of charge is absurd and is the product of taking politically correct logic to an extreme degree. Nevertheless, I have seen over the years, many Bible believing Christians fall for the belief that violence, in-and-of-itself, is always wrong. Many Christians fall for the liberal line that all violence is always wrong. If such is the case, then God Himself is unethical.



Recently, we have seen the movie " The Patriot" receive an " R" rating because it portrays a young boy attempting to shoot a British soldier during America's War for Independence. There are virtually no cuss words and not one sexual scene in the movie, but because of the liberal view that all violence is categorically evil, it unjustifiably received an " R" rating.



Have you ever stopped to think that if Hollywood ever made an accurate film about the tribulation and the second advent it would be one of the most violent films in the history of film making? So what would be a biblical view of violence and how does it relate to prophecy?



Violence and The Bible



I am not saying that most violence is good. I am saying that from a biblical perspective, in this fallen world, there is such a thing as good and bad violence. I think the Bible teaches that there is just violence that should be exercised against evil and evil violence when carried out against the innocent.



Violence is due to the fall of man into sin through Adam's act of rebellion (Gen. 3:1-18). Because of Adam's disobedient act, God cursed Adam, Eve, and the Serpent (Satan) (Gen. 3:8-18). God's curse was a judgment upon the guilty parties because of their rebellion. Judgment usually involves violence of some kind. Since God is a righteous God, He cannot allow sin and rebellion to go unpunished. Thus, when the righteousness of God encounters sin, violent judgment is the results. Judgment is necessary because God is righteous. This is righteous violence, from God to man.



Unrighteous violence is exhibited by fallen man toward his fellow man and is the outworking of his fallen, sinful nature. For example, evil violence was the result of Cain's jealousy toward Abel when he murdered him (Gen. 4:3-15) with a sacrificial knife (implied by the Greek word in 1 John 3:12). This is the kind of evil violence, which we should all be opposed to, since it is the expression of our sin, our rebellion against God and His commandments.



Things did not get better after Cain's murder of his brother Abel, instead, they degenerated into greater violence. Genesis 6:2 tells us that one of the reasons for the global flood in the days of Noah was because " the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence." Certainly not righteous violence, but " X" rated violence of men because of their sin. God's righteousness was about to be expressed in the global flood because His assessment was that " the earth is filled with violence because of them (mankind)." His response was " to destroy them with the earth" (Gen. 6:13), in righteous judgment, which is expressed by the violent act of the flood.



The flood did not wash away mankind's sin nature nor his personal acts of sin. Because mankind could not govern himself, God instituted the instrument of civil government, accompanied by capital punishment, for the purpose of restraining the evil violence of mankind (Gen. 9:5-7) until Christ returns to earth to personally reign and rule during the millennium. Genesis 6:6 says, " Whoever sheds man's blood, by man (i.e., humanity) his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man." Thus, the violent act of capital punishment is commanded by God to be mediated through civil government as a just act of violence. God implemented capital punishment for murder, even though He knew, in His omniscience, that His only Son, Jesus, would be murdered through the greatest miscarriage of justice in history. Christ's crucifixion was clearly an act of evil violence.
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« Reply #67 on: December 02, 2007, 01:35:56 AM »

Prophecy And Biblical Violence - Page 2 of 2
by Thomas Ice



Prophecy and Violence



Anyone familiar with the end-time, Bible prophecy realizes that Scripture paints a picture of global violence. The seven-year tribulation will be a time when over half of the people one planet will be killed (cf. Rev. 6:8; 9:15). Some will die at the hand of other men (Rev. 6:8), while others will be killed through an angelic agent (Rev. 9:15). Nevertheless, this entire seven-year time is called the wrath of God (cf. Rev. 6:15-17; 14:10,19: 15:1,7; 16:1,19; 19:15). Zechariah 13:8 clearly teaches that two thirds of the Jews will also be killed during the tribulation. The passage does not indicate what ratio will be destroyed through a divine or human agency. The events of the tribulation are merely preparation for the slaughter at Armageddon (Rev. 16:16; Joel 3:2, 9-17), followed by the judgment that will be executed by our Lord upon His ascent to planet earth (Matt. 24:29-31; Rev. 19:11-21). Included in the seventy-five day interval, between Christ's second coming and start of His 1,000 year kingdom (Dan. 12:11-12), every unbeliever left upon planet earth will be judged and destroyed (Matt. 13:40-43; 25:31-46).



It should be clear, as we understand God's future prophetic plan for the universe and planet earth, that prophecy includes judgment from a righteous God. Mixed throughout this and all of God's judgment is grace toward His elect people throughout the ages. God's judgment throughout history is expressed in the form of righteous or good violence. But, why must there be violence from God?



Evil cannot be Removed without God's Violence



Over the years I have encountered many people who have expressed their desire for the removal of evil and violence from this world. This concern is often expressed in the form of a question as to why God allows wars, suffering, and violence. Such a question betrays a misunderstanding of evil and violence. Evil, death, and violence entered the world as a result of man's sin (Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:20-22). Evil entered the universe through Satan and his fallen angels (Isa. 14:1-23; Ezek. 28:1-19; Rev. .12:4). God's creation of man and angels are responsible for introducing evil into the prefect creation. God's judgment of evil through the violent means of death and other sorrows is the only response that a truly holy, righteous, and just Being could put forth.



Thus, to answer the critic's request- " that God not allow evil in His universe" - requires a violent judgment in order to separate evil from good. The request to remove evil from the universe is a petition for the end of history, when God removes evil through His righteous judgment. This is what heaven and hell is all about; the eternal separation of good and evil. There will not be violence in heaven. But hell will surely be a place of ceaseless violence.



Paul told the Thessalonians that they could relax and not think that they had to seek revenge against those who were the source of the " persecutions and afflictions which you endure" (2 Thess. 1:4). Why? Because, God would take care of the problem when He returns in judgment. Notice what Paul says:



For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed- for our testimony to you was believed. (2 Thess. 1:6-10).



Such a statement, as that one above, will require violence in order to accomplish. Such violence will be good and righteous, because if will one that rights some of the wrongs of history. The God of the Bible is a righteous and just God.



Surely all of us have read a story or seen a movie or play where an individual, group, or nation is oppressed by a tyrant or bully. At a crucial point in the story, a hero arrives to save the victim and destroy the oppressor. When this moment arrives in the drama, there is always a sense of relief and euphoria because right triumphed over the bad, good over evil, righteousness over unrighteousness. That is what is scheduled to occur in the real drama of human history. Our Lord is going to return to planet earth when at the height of global tyranny from Satan, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet and cast them into the bottomless pit and the Lake of Fire (Rev. 19:19- 20:3). I hope that you will be standing and cheering with me when this violent moment occurs. Perhaps the unbelieving world will raise the question of violence. Yet it will be a time when God will be implementing in history His righteousness and justice.



I am convinced that one of the reasons that many unbelievers are opposed to all violence is because they sense deep down in their own souls that they are unrighteous and have violated God's righteous standards. They sense that when the time comes for God to separate forever good and evil, that they would be the ones who would be the recipients of God's violent judgment. Thus, like Satan of old, they attempt to construct an artificial standard in thin air by which they will attempt to say to the holy God, " That's not fair!" And if it is not fair then God does not have the right to judge them. Such guilty consciences will not be a legitimate basis upon which to condemn God and excuse themselves. For Scripture says that at the final judgment no one will be able to hide from this event (Rev. 20:11) and every mouth will be shut before Him (Rom. 3:19). Every creature will be made to realize that indeed, the God of the Bible is righteous and just. Thus, all of His acts are likewise righteous and just, including His acts of violence.



What is wonderful to know about our God is that He has provided a way to escape the violent judgment of God. This he accomplished through the most violent death of Christ on the cross so that all who believe in Him will receive the gift of eternal life and will not enter into condemnation. This is truly good news in light of reality. This is why we can believe that not all violence is evil, some is good and this fact is being demonstrated in present history and will be finally put on display for the whole world to see and understand through the implementation of God prophetic plan for the future. Maranatha!

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Endnotes



[1] Patrick Goodenough, " Bible Too Violent for Kids," CNSNews.com, Aug. 3, 2000.



[2] Ibid.



[3] Ibid.
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« Reply #68 on: June 03, 2008, 09:59:59 AM »

Seven Things You Have To Know
To Understand End Times Prophecy - Part 1
Excerpts From a Forthcoming Book by Jack Kelley


    With all the killer storms, earthquakes, wars and disease dominating our news, it's not surprising that recent studies indicate a ballooning interest in End Times Prophecy. Even non-believers are wondering if the end is near. What is surprising is how little most Christians actually know about prophecy, especially since it comprises about 40% of the Bible's content, more than any other topic.

    With few exceptions seminaries don't teach it, so preachers don't preach it. And therefore Christians don't learn it. In all my years as a denominational Christian, I never once heard a message explaining the importance of prophecy to a believer's walk with the Lord. And yet the Bible devotes more space to End Times Prophecy than it does to all the teachings of Jesus.

    When Christians are asked why they don't study prophecy more seriously the most common reasons given are 1) because it scares them, and 2) because it confuses them. Both responses are borne out of a lack of understanding. For the believer, prophecy is neither scary nor confusing but the key to understanding God's plan for man.

    The purpose of this book is to provide a solid foundation for further study. When the foundation of a building is stable and solid, the entire building is stronger, able to withstand powerful forces that would otherwise weaken or even topple it. So it is when the foundation of our study is solid. Powerful arguments from scoffers and unbelievers cannot shake us or weaken our faith. Let's get started.
 
    Seven Things You Have To Know

    There are seven pieces of information that are essential to understanding End Times Prophecy. They're the building blocks for the strong foundation we want. Once you've learned them, these seven things will help you avoid the mistakes that have thrown others off the track. Call it perspective or overview or whatever you want, this combination of facts will give you the ability to put all the prophetic verses in the Bible into their proper context.
   
    1) The Sequence Of Major Events

    First is knowing what happens and when. It gets really confusing if you don't know the sequence in which major End Times events will occur. Actually their order is very logical, and once you learn it, you'll wonder why you didn't see it before. The best way to figure it out is to perform what the business world sometimes calls a back scheduling exercise. It involves going to the very end of a process and identifying the final outcome. Then you list in reverse order all the things that have to happen to produce that outcome, backing into the present. It's simpler than it sounds, and much simpler in prophecy than in business because there are many fewer events to organize. Let's do it.

    What Are We Waiting For?

    We all think of Eternity as the final outcome, and so starting at the end and working backwards means we begin there. But the last major event described in any detail in the Bible is the Kingdom Age or Millennium, the Lord's 1000 year reign on Earth, which is distinguished from and precedes Eternity. The very last chapter of Revelation describes trees on either side of the River of Life bearing a different fruit every month. That means time still exists, and Eternity by definition is the absence of time. We'll talk more about that later. For now let's just say that Eternity can't happen till the Millennium is over.

    The Millennium obviously can't happen till the Second Coming, because that's when the Lord returns to establish it. And the Second Coming can't happen till the end of the Great Tribulation. And that can't happen till the anti-Christ stands in the Temple in Israel declaring himself to be God. (2 Thessalonians 2:4) That's the event Jesus warned Israel to look for as the Great Tribulation's opening salvo. He called it "The Abomination of Desolation" in Matthew 24:15-21.
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« Reply #69 on: June 03, 2008, 10:02:49 AM »

Seven Things You Have To Know
To Understand End Times Prophecy - Part 1
Excerpts From a Forthcoming Book by Jack Kelley

    But that can't happen till there's a Temple. There hasn't been a Temple in Israel since 70AD and there won't be one until the Jews officially decide they need one. They won't need one until God reinstates their Old Covenant relationship, signaling the start of Daniel's 70th week. And that can't happen till the Battle of Ezekiel 38-39 is won. And that can't happen till the Church is gone. And that brings us to the present, because there is no preceding event for the Rapture of the Church. It could happen at any time.

    You Got That?

    So the Sequence of Major Events is this:

    The Rapture of the Church,
    The Battle of Ezekiel 38,
    Daniels 70th week begins,
    The Great Tribulation,
    The 2nd Coming,
    The Millennium,

    Eternity.


    To those who read Scripture as it's written only two of the events in this sequence are subject to debate as to timing. Those are the Rapture and the Battle of Ezekiel 38, the first two on our list. So lets find out why they have to be where I've placed them in the sequence. Maintaining our back schedule mentality, we'll begin with Ezekiel's battle and work back to the Rapture.

    "And I will set my glory among the nations, and all the nations shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid on them. The house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God, from that day forward.
   
    Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore. And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord GOD." (Ezekiel 39:21-22, 28-29)

    The Lord has declared in no uncertain terms that He's going to use Ezekiel's battle to spiritually awaken His people and call them to Israel from all over the world. This will result in the reinstatement of their Old Covenant relationship, reviving Daniel's long dormant 70-Week prophecy for its final seven years and requiring that a Temple be constructed. Without one there's no way for them to keep His covenant.

    This was proven once before in history during the Babylonian captivity. When Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the 1st Temple, Israel ceased to exist. But as soon as Cyrus the Persian defeated Babylon and freed the Jews, they returned to Israel and began building a Temple before they did anything else. Without a Temple there's no sacrifice for sin, and without that sacrifice, Jews cannot approach God.

    Both the Old and New Testaments refer to a Temple in Israel at the End of the Age. The only reason for a Temple is to perform Old Covenant ordinances. But building one today would cause such an uproar that no one in his right mind would consider it. Jews don't want one, since only one out of four is religious and even religious Jews are divided on the issue. And it goes without saying that Moslems would go to war to prevent it.

    Only a unified demand from the people of Israel accompanied by quiet acceptance from their Moslem neighbors would make the construction of a Temple even thinkable. Sound impossible? Ezekiel's battle results in both a Jewish nation re-awakened to the presence of God and an utterly defeated Moslem attack force in no position to resist. The perfect conditions will finally exist to start building. For these reasons, Ezekiel's battle has to take place on the threshold of Daniel's 70th week. Now why does the Rapture of the Church have to precede Ezekiel's battle?

    They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Luke 21:24)

    When Jerusalem became a Jewish city again in 1967, it was a signal that the era of Gentile Dominion, begun with Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon, was finally coming to an end. For 2500 years, gentile nations had been running things on Earth, but now events would begin to draw Israel to the forefront once again.
   
    Lest you be wise in your own conceits, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. (Romans 11:25)
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« Reply #70 on: June 03, 2008, 10:04:54 AM »

Seven Things You Have To Know
To Understand End Times Prophecy - Part 1
Excerpts From a Forthcoming Book by Jack Kelley

    Reborn first in unbelief (Ezekiel 37:8) Israel would remain partially estranged from God until the gentile Church reached its full complement (predetermined number) and arrived at its destination. (The Greek word translated "fullness" was a nautical term often used to describe the full complement of crew and cargo necessary to accomplish a ship's mission. The ship couldn't sail till those requirements were met. The one translated "come in" means to arrive at a designated place.) Then the veil would be pulled back as God revealed Himself to them again. As we saw above, He will use Ezekiel's battle to begin this by renewing the Old Covenant with them, later transitioning Israel from the Old Covenant to the New during the Great Tribulation. (Zechariah 12:10) Remember, if they didn't go back to the Old covenant first, they wouldn't need a Temple. He's picking them up where they left off.

    After they finished speaking, James replied, "Brothers, listen to me. Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written,
 
    'After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things known from of old.' (Acts 15:13-18)

    It was about 20 years after the cross. The controversy of the day was whether Gentiles had to become Jews before they could become Christians. And if not, what would become of Israel? The Lord's brother James explained to the Apostles and others present at the Council of Jerusalem that Israel was being temporarily set aside while God focused on the Church. After He had taken this "people for His name" (Christians) from among the Gentiles he would return and rebuild His Temple. The passage implies that He would take the Church somewhere and then come back to rebuild the Temple, restore Israel, and give what's left of mankind one final chance to seek Him.

    These three Bible prophecies make it clear that once Jerusalem became a Jewish city again, God would begin preparing Israel to be His once more. But He wouldn't be exclusively focused on them until He was finished building the Church and had taken us to our appointed place. And where is that? In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14:2-3) (He didn't promise to come back to be with us here, but to take us there, where He was.) After that He would see to Israel's reawakening and the construction of their Temple.

    Throughout Scripture, the Lord seems to be involved with either Israel or the Church, but never both at the same time. James bears this out in his pronouncement regarding the Church in Acts 15. All the leaders of the early church now knew that once God had accomplished His goals with the church, He would turn again to Israel.

    For this reason, the rebirth of Israel in 1948 and the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967 are seen as the most important signs of all that the End of the Age is upon us. The Sequence of Major Events is only the first of "Seven Things You Have To Know To Understand End Times Prophecy." Next time we'll look at some more of them.
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« Reply #71 on: June 03, 2008, 10:08:26 AM »

Seven Things You Have To Know
To Understand End Times Prophecy - Part 2
Excerpts From a Forthcoming Book by Jack Kelley


Our previous study of the Seven Things You Have To Know To Understand End Times Prophecy covered the Sequence of Major Events. We'll begin this segment with the second item on our list of seven.

2) The Destiny Of The Three Components Of Humanity: The Nations, Israel, And The Church

Even so-called experts misinterpret prophecy when they don't stop to consider who the Lord, or one of His prophets, is addressing. Just because something's in the Gospels doesn't necessarily mean that it's for the Church, or being in Isaiah that it's only for Israel. Knowing a prophecy's intended recipient is critical to understanding it, and there are three possibilities.

His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. (Ephesians 2:15-16) Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks (Gentiles) or the church of God (1 Corinthians 10:32)

Over time the human race came to be divided into three distinct components from God's perspective. Here's how it happened. From the Creation there was one race of Human, the family of man, later called Gentiles. Then in Genesis 12, God called Abraham to build a great nation. From that time on, the world's population was either Jew or Gentile. But at the cross God created the Church, taken from among both Jews and Gentiles but sharing a destiny with neither. Now there were three. In his epistles, Paul always took pains to distinguish the Church from both Jews and Gentiles, in effect calling the Church a new race of Human. I'll describe each group's destiny so you can see how different they are.

According to Isaiah 56:6-8, Gentiles who converted to Judaism during Old Testament times became part of Israel and share its destiny (see below). Gentiles who meet their Lord after the church disappears become tribulation saints. They're either martyred for their faith, in which case they serve God in His Temple (Revelation  7:13-17), or survive to help re-populate Earth in the Kingdom age. Believing Gentile survivors are the sheep in the Sheep and Goat Judgment that we'll look at later.

Jews (and converted Gentiles) who died in faith of a coming redeemer before Jesus went to the cross, were taken into Heaven with Him after His resurrection (Matthew 27:52-53). They'll receive resurrection bodies at the Second Coming. (Daniel 12:1-3) Jews who receive Him as their Messiah after the church disappears are hidden in the Jordanian desert (Petra) during the Great Tribulation. (Revelation 12:14) Both groups will dwell in Israel during the Millennium. (Ezekiel 43:6-7)

Of course Jews and Gentiles who give their hearts to Jesus during the Church age become part of the Church and after the rapture / resurrection will populate the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21), a place many of us were taught to call Heaven, but which is actually a separate entity. (More on this in our discussion of the Millennium, item 6 on our list of 7 Things You Have To Know.)

Those who don't do any of the above during their lifetimes will be tormented in the fires of Hell until they're brought back to life to stand trial at the Great White Throne judgment of Revelation 20:11-15. It takes place at the end of the Millennium. They'll be judged by their works and sentenced to eternal suffering in the Lake of Fire. (Revelation 20:14) If humans could attain Eternal Life on our own merits, then Jesus didn't have to die for us.

In the Old Testament, God promised Israel that He would return one day to dwell among them in their land on Earth (Ezekiel 43:6-7). In the New, Jesus promised the Church that He would come back and take us to be with Him in His Father's House (John 14:1-3). Both promises come true. Israel is not the Church nor is the Church Israel, and both groups are distinct from the Gentile nations. Much of the confusion surrounding End Times prophecy results either from the failure to understand, or the refusal to accept, this truth.
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« Reply #72 on: June 03, 2008, 10:10:36 AM »

Seven Things You Have To Know
To Understand End Times Prophecy - Part 2
Excerpts From a Forthcoming Book by Jack Kelley

3) The Purpose And Length Of The Great Tribulation

How awful that day will be! None will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it. I am with you and will save you,' declares the LORD . 'Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only with justice; I will not let you go entirely unpunished.' (Jeremiah 30:7,11 emphasis added)

Jesus said that the Great Tribulation would be the most intense period of judgment the world has ever seen, greater than the World Wars, and even greater than the Flood of Noah. He said that if it were left to run its course, not a single human being would survive. But for the sake of His people He would stop it at its appointed time. (Matthew 24:22)

The purpose of the Great Tribulation is two-fold. It's explained in the Jeremiah passage above, where it's called by its Old Testament name, the Time of Jacob's Trouble. God will use it to completely destroy the unbelieving nations who've all persecuted His people down through the ages and to discipline Israel, purifying them to dwell with Him in the Promised Land. The Church, having been purified at the cross, requires neither destruction nor discipline and has no business being in the Great Tribulation.

No matter where you place the Rapture in the End Times Scenario, if you believe in the Lord's all-sufficient work on the cross, then you know that the Church has to be protected from the End Times judgments, not purified by them. If you don't believe that the Lord's work was sufficient, but that the coming judgments are needed to finish what He only began, then you have much bigger problems than figuring out when the Rapture will occur.

The length of the Great Tribulation is variously given as 3  years (Daniel 12:7), 42 months (Revelation 11:2), or 1260 days (Revelation 12:6). If you use a 12 month 30 day calendar for a total of 360 days in a year, these three measurements all turn out the same. This is one of the clues leading us to believe that Earth's original calendar consisted of 12 months of 30 days each, and in fact it appears that prior to about 700 BC all the Earth used such a calendar. (The calendar we use today is only about four hundred years old.)

In addition, Daniel 9:27 records that an Abomination That Causes Desolation will occur in the middle of the last seven years, or 3  years from the end. In Matthew 24:21 Jesus identifies this event as the beginning of the Great Tribulation. Paul confirms this and adds detail by describing the anti-Christ standing in the Temple proclaiming himself to be God. (2 Thessalonians 2:4) This is also further evidence of a Temple in Israel at the end of the age.

The Abomination That Causes Desolation is a particular defilement of the Temple that's happened only once before. In 168 BC. Syrian King Antiochus Epiphanes captured the Temple and converted it into a pagan worship center. He erected a statue of Zeus with his own face on it in the Holy Place, thereby proclaiming himself to be God, demanding that the Jews worship it on pain of death. It was called the Abomination That Causes Desolation, the only event in history so named. It made the Temple unfit for use and triggered the 3  year Maccabean Revolt. The Jewish re-capture and cleansing of the Temple is celebrated in the eight day Feast of Hanukkah.

So Daniel spoke of an Abomination That Causes Desolation that would mark the middle of the last 7 years. An event called the Abomination That Causes Desolation in 1st Maccabbees took place in 168 BC, over 300 years later. But 200 years after that, Jesus told His Disciples that the people of Israel should watch for a future Abomination That Causes Desolation that would kick off the Great Tribulation. Paul also described a future event similar to the one in 168BC saying the Day of the Lord could not precede it. The Abomination That Causes Desolation that took place in 168 BC was a partial fulfillment of Daniels prophecy. We know this because other events surrounding it didn't unfold according to the prophecy. It took place so people in the end times would be able to recognize the complete fulfillment when they saw it. They'll know to look for a man standing in the Temple calling himself God and demanding that his image be worshipped. Jesus told those living in Judea (Israel) that when they see it to flee into hiding immediately, for the Great Tribulation will have begun.
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« Reply #73 on: June 03, 2008, 10:18:17 AM »

Seven Things You Have To Know
To Understand End Times Prophecy - Part 2
Excerpts From a Forthcoming Book by Jack Kelley

4) The Purpose Of The Rapture

They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead - Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 (Emphasis added)

The Greek word translated from in the above passage is "apo." Literally it means to keep the subject (us) away from the time, place, or any relation to the event being referenced, in this case the coming wrath. This verse is one of several that explain the purpose of the Rapture of the Church, and that's to be hidden safely out of the way before God visits His wrath upon the Earth. OK, but when does God's wrath come?

Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand? (Revelation 6:15-17)

In Revelation 4 John sees a door standing open in heaven and is told to "Come up here!" Instantly he finds himself in the spirit, standing before the throne of God at the end of the age. He's been transported to the time of the Rapture. He sees 24 elders there, seated on thrones of their own around the throne of God. They're all dressed in white with crowns of gold on their heads. They bow down before the Lord and place their crowns at his feet giving honor and glory to him. In chapter 5 they call themselves Kings and Priests as they sing praises to God. By their titles, clothing, crowns, thrones, and activities it's clear that they represent the newly raptured church.

Through out Revelation the church is not seen on Earth again until we come back with the Lord in Chapter 19:14, as predicted in Revelation 18:14. And Old Testament views of the Throne of God don't include these 24 elders but they're mentioned 12 times in the Book of Revelation.

So the Church is raptured in chapter 4, and is shown in heaven in chapter 5, while on Earth God's wrath is loosed in chapter 6 as the passage above clearly states.

Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians was written in 51AD and contains the very first clear mention of a Rapture ever given. Neither Jesus nor the Disciples ever taught it. Its existence was kept secret until then just as its exact timing is secret to this day. Many of the mistakes made about the timing of the rapture come from futile attempts to find Gospel passages that teach it, as we'll see in our discussion about the Second Coming.

We think the Rapture is perhaps the single most important component of End Times prophecy, and for us it is. So why didn't Jesus ever mention it? 1 Corinthians 2:6-10 gives us the answer. We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written:

   "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived  what God has prepared for those who love him" but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.

The phrase "rulers of this age" refers to Satan & Co. Had they known the astonishing abundance of blessings the Lord would shower down upon those who accept His death as payment for their sins, they would have done everything in their power to prevent the crucifixion. Think of it. We're called Kings and Priests, given incalculable wealth and influence, made heirs with Christ of God's estate, something Satan could never achieve and we could never deserve, and it's all ours just because we believe. This realization came to Satan after it was too late to prevent it and turned what should have been his greatest victory into an agonizing defeat. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:15)
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« Reply #74 on: June 03, 2008, 10:20:51 AM »

Seven Things You Have To Know
To Understand End Times Prophecy - Part 2
Excerpts From a Forthcoming Book by Jack Kelley

But like everything in God's plan, you'll find hints of the Rapture even in the Old Testament. Look at this passage from Isaiah 26:19-21. But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead.   Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by. See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. (Emphasis added.)

Notice how the pronouns change from second person when God speaks of His people to third person when He speaks of the people of the Earth. It means the two groups are different. One is told to hide because the other is going to be punished. (Note: the Hebrew word translated "go" in the phrase "Go my people" is translated "come" in some translations, recalling the command to John in Revelation 4, "Come up here!" But the word has another primary meaning and it's my favorite. It means vanish. "Vanish, my people!" Yes we will.)

Now read two of Paul's most popular Rapture disclosures. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-5) For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:9) (Emphasis added).

Here's another even more dramatic shift of pronouns. Using the third person, Paul describes unbelievers caught by surprise, thinking they had entered a period of peace as destruction suddenly rains down upon them, cutting off all hope of escape. Then Paul switched to the second person, telling believers we shouldn't be taken by surprise as the End approaches, and finally to the first person as he includes us with him, not appointed to wrath.

Now watch carefully as we lay Isaiah's writings over Paul's. But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead. (The dead in Christ will rise first.)
   
Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by.

(After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.)

    See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. (While people are saying, Peace and safety, destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.)

Although the Bible contains 66 books and involved 40 writers, there's one Author and His message is consistent from Genesis through Revelation. This is how Paul could open his passage on the rapture by saying, "According to the Lord's own word". The Lord never mentioned the rapture in the Gospels. Paul had read Isaiah.

Of course there are several more passages where our Lord promises to protect us from the coming judgments. And although the cynics can truthfully say that the word rapture doesn't appear in any of them, don't pay any attention to that. They're just trying to confuse us.

They know that rapture is a word of Latin origin, not Hebrew or Greek, the languages of the Bible. (The earliest translation of the Bible was into Latin, and the term rapture comes from there.) Its Greek equivalent is harpazo, which is found in the Greek text of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. When translated into English, both words mean "to be caught up, or snatched away." There's a similar situation with the word Lucifer, also of Latin origin. It doesn't appear in any of the original texts either, but no one would be naive enough to deny the existence of Satan on such a flimsy basis.

Next time we'll cover the final three of Seven Things You Have To Know To Understand End Times Prophecy. See you then.
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