Reactions to President Trump’s Speech Reveals a Divided Country and World

 

In my opinion, President Trump made one of the best speeches of his life at the UN. It was incredibly bold, powerful, and brutally true. He held nothing back.  He tore into North Korea as a brutal dictatorship; he at length revealed the evils of Iran; and he denounced the recent overthrow of Venezuela and the present socialist dictatorship.

Many praised Trump’s speech. Benjamin Netanyahu said that he spoke the truth about the great dangers facing our world. Mitt Romney said that he gave a strong and needed challenge to UN members.  But others said that he was shockingly reckless and had dangerous rhetoric. One article I saw called the speech “terrifying” and “delusional.”

So it seems obvious that not all people agree with what President Trump said. In fact, his speech reveals that our country (and the world) is quite divided.  We are divided in many ways, but I think primarily we are divided in terms of our belief system—that is, in what we believe is right and wrong, good and bad. We are divided in terms of what we believe about God, or how we believe in God and His word. I won’t take the time now to further define the two groups, except to say that one is more conservative and the other is more liberal.

I invite you to watch Trump’s 42 minute speech and judge it for yourself.

I also suggest listening to the praise of John Bolton, as he said that it was “the best speech of the Trump Presidency.”

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Posted in Globalism, Indicators of His Coming, ISIS, lawlessness, Prophecy Topics, Wars and Terror | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hurricane Harvey and Irma: A Cause of Great Triumph for the True Believer

 

I’m sure that Christians everywhere have been concerned and praying regarding Hurricane Harvey and Irma. We have been praying that people will be smart and travel north before the wind and water comes. And we are praying that they will look to the Lord for comfort—as many will face devastation and have to rebuild. And we pray that many will begin to trust Him for the first time, that they will become true believers.

But I think many of us in our prayers are too concerned and worried, to the extent that we have let all the bad news get us down—so that we become depressed. Oh, we ought to be concerned and prayerful; but at the same time we ought to be expectant and joyful, knowing that these hurricanes are a sign of His coming. Listen to Jesus words in Luke 21:25-28.

And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 “And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.

In this passage, particularly in verse 25, where it mentions “the roaring of the sea and the waves,” this sounds like hurricanes. In verse 28, Jesus tells us what our response should be—what our general attitude should be. He says, “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

I definitely believe that believers will not go through the Tribulation. But I think we are seeing signs now (an increase in hurricanes, tornados, and earthquakes) that suggest to us that we are in the very beginning stages of what is to come.  That is, the earth will see much more of these things—which will last for 7 years. But before the 7-year Tribulation begins He will come in the clouds and will take us up to Him. 1 Thessalonians 4: 15-17 says,

For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord.

Therefore, we really ought to regard these hurricanes as a prelude to His coming. And so, as Jesus has said to us, when we see these things, instead of just praying and being concerned, we ought also to stand straight up and look to heaven for His coming, for they are a sign that His coming is near.

 

Posted in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, Bible Passages on Prophecy, Indicators of His Coming, Luke 21:25-28, Natural Disasters, Prophecy Topics, Rapture, Second Coming | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

My New Book: Biblical Evidence of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture

 

I am happy to announce my new book, Biblical Evidence of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture. It is a self-published book and will be ready for sale probably by January, or maybe sooner. The writing is completely finished, but now I am struggling to make a suitable cover. I like doing everything myself, and I am not a pro at it, so it will be a struggle. If you have followed my blogs for the last couple years, the content will be same, however, seeing it all put together in a book makes it quite different. Here is a portion of the introduction telling a little about why I wrote the book, which you may find interesting.

 

Why I wrote this book. Since I was a very young Christian the subject of prophecy and the Lord’s return has been a great interest of mine. And it seems that the more I study the subject the more excited I get about it. Writing a book on prophecy wasn’t a hard choice.

The hardest choice I had to make was deciding what particular aspect of prophecy to write on. There was so much to choose from.  I finally decided on this topic of the rapture because it is close to my heart. The pre-Tribulation rapture is something I firmly believe in, and I thought that writing about it would not only allow me to study the subject thoroughly, so as to confirm and organize my own beliefs, but would also provide me with a platform to teach others.

The rapture is something I think most people are interested in—or at least curious about—but unfortunately are very confused about. This of course is due to all the different rapture theories out there, and also because most churches—even evangelical churches—choose not to talk about it. In fact, the entire subject of prophecy is avoided like the plague. I intend, with this book, to do my part in changing that scenario.

I am so excited to present this book to you. I have learned so much from writing it, and I am confident that you will not only learn from reading it, but will be blessed and encouraged.

 

 

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7 Benefits for Those Who Study Biblical Prophecy

 

Many well-meaning Christians have rejected biblical prophecy, regarding it as a distraction from the real work of evangelism. Indeed, preaching on biblical prophecy these days is very rare. Some pastors even scoff at those who dare to speak of prophecy, regarding them as extremists and conspirators who are off their rocker!

In my opinion those who are diligent students of prophecy have nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, those who don’t study, who skip over the prophecy passages, are the ones who ought to be ashamed; for all scripture is inspired by God and is profitable (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Since we know that approximately one-third of the bible is prophecy, I contend that in our bible reading time we ought to be reading those passages at least one-third of the time. And I also think that preachers ought to be preaching on prophecy for at least one- third of their preaching time. It makes sense.

Since so much of the bible is prophecy and is inspired by God, don’t you think we will be missing something if we neglect to read and study those passages? Of course we will. There is so much in all the bible, including prophecy that God wants to bless us with.

Consider that the bible is like a great novel. And in this novel every part of it is important to understand the story—the story that God is telling us. I think the prophecy parts are especially important because they give us clues to how the story will end.  And the last book of the bible tells us plainly how it will end; it is the climax of the novel. Without those vital parts we have an incomplete book—a very good book, but a book without an ending, and really, a book without a purpose. If we neglect to read the prophecy parts of the bible it is like reading a novel and then stopping just when you get to the last chapter.  Who does that? Most of us do the opposite.  We are so eager to get to the end to find out how the story ends.

Now let me tell you the great tragedy of Christians who reject prophecy—who refuse to read it or hear it preached. They will be left in a state of frustration, without hope, without real joy, and without a complete understanding of the will of God. Why? Because prophecy is that part of scripture that tells us how it all will end; it is that part that fills in the gaps, and brings us understanding and blessing. A person who never reads prophecy, though he may read the rest of scripture, will get frustrated and burnt-out, because he can’t see the purpose of his life—he doesn’t have a sense of the whole will of God. But those who read and study prophecy have the promise for a bright future, and they are encouraged.

Here are…

 

Seven Benefits for Those Who Study Bibilical Prophecy

  1. They will be exposed to the greatness and wisdom of God.
  2. It will be spiritual food to them and bring great blessing to them (Rev. 1:3; 22:7).
  3. It will help to protect them from deception.
  4. It will bring them close to Jesus, as He is the spirit of prophecy (Rev. 19:10).
  5. As they see prophecy fulfilled they will understand that the Word of God is true.
  6. It will show them the season of His return, and thus will serve to prepare them for His coming.
  7. It will serve to comfort and encourage them (1 Thess. 4:18).

 

Our goal in the study of prophecy should be to discover the truth about what God is telling us regarding the future. Of course many are saying that since prophecy is so hard to understand, this task is impossible. Some are even saying that it doesn’t matter what we believe; that regardless of what we believe, about if the rapture is pre-Trib or post-Trib for instance, that it will not change anything because God will do what He has planned to do anyway—so why does it matter what I believe?

The answer to those people is that your study time on prophecy will not affect God’s plans, but it will affect you and how you fit into His plans.  When you study the Word as you should (2 Tim. 2:15), it will be to you a light (Ps. 119:105) and will show you the truth. The words of prophecy studied will help you to understand God and His will, will help you to be prepared for it, and it will give you hope for the future.  Ultimately, your diligent study of prophecy and how you believe and obey those scriptures, will affect your part in the kingdom of God for eternity.

 

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The Post-Tribulation Rapture Theory: A Rebuttal – Part 4

 

As previously mentioned, the main distinctive of this theory is that the rapture of the church will occur immediately after the seven-year Tribulation at the Advent of Christ. Hence, this view rejects the pre-Tribulation view that there are two phases of His coming; they teach that the rapture and the second coming will all occur all at once.

In this fourth part we will deal with the following two subject, plus another big problem.

 

 7. The wheat and tares parable (Matt.13:24-30; 36-43)

In this parable, according to this theory, the wheat is the believing church (Jews and Gentiles) and the tares are the unbelievers. So the church, they say, will go through the Tribulation with the unbelievers, and then at harvest time, which is at the Advent of Christ, the tares will be burned up and the wheat (the church) will be gathered (raptured) into the barn (heaven).

Rebuttal. In this parable, says Pentecost,

The purpose of Matthew 13 is not to divulge the history of the church, but the history of the kingdom in its mystery form. The time is not that of the church—from Pentecost to the rapture—but the entire age from the rejection of Christ to His coming reception.[i]

Therefore, the wheat cannot represent the church, since the church will be raptured before the end of the age. The wheat are all the believing saints during the Tribulation who go into the kingdom, and the tares are all the unbelievers who will be judged and later cast into hell (Matt. 13:42). Hence, this passage does not prove the post-Tribulation theory.

 

8. They deny two phases of His coming (Acts 1:11)

Teachers of this theory have trouble with the pre-Tribulation rapture theory of the “two phases” of His coming (in the rapture before the Tribulation, and then again after the Tribulation). They insist that this two phase idea is never mentioned in the bible; also that it “runs into difficulty with Acts 1:11.”[ii]

In this verse two angels told the disciples that Jesus would come again in the same way as He went into heaven. So they teach that since He only ascended into heaven once, He will come back only once.

Rebuttal. There is ample evidence in Scripture that there are two phases of His coming. In my personal study, I found 29 references that indicate the first phase (His coming to rapture the church), and 34 reference that indicate the second phase (His coning to judge sin and to set up His kingdom).  From this clear evidence we cannot deny that there are two phases that have clearly different characteristics.

Concerning Acts 1:11, I think we should consider that the angel was thinking of Jesus’ second coming in which He will come all the way down to the earth. Remember that when He comes in the rapture, He doesn’t really touch down to the earth, He comes down only as far as the clouds. Therefore, I don’t think the first phase of His coming was even in consideration.

 

The problem of repopulating the earth

Woops! There is one embarrassing problem with the post-Tribulation theory. At the end of the Tribulation all unbelievers will be judged and killed; and if all believers are raptured, no mortal person will be left to repopulate the earth, since all glorified ones who come into the kingdom will not be able to reproduce. And we know that in the millennium there will be mortals, because at the end there will be a great many sinners—“like the sand of the seashore”—who will rebel against the Lord and will come against Him (Rev. 20:8-9). This indicates that mortals will indeed repopulate the earth, and some will chose not to believe.

[i] Ibid., p. 177.

[ii] Wikipedia, Post-tribulation rapture: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-tribulation_rapture.

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The Post-Tribulation Rapture Theory: A Rebuttal – Part 3

 

As I mentioned in the previous article, the main distinctive of this theory is that the rapture of the church will occur immediately after the seven-year Tribulation at the Advent of Christ. Hence, this view rejects the pre-Tribulation view that there are two phases of His coming; they teach that the rapture and the second coming will all occur all at once: 1) Christ will come in the clouds, 2) He will rapture and transform the church—first the dead and then the living, and 3) He will then immediately (or very quickly) bring them back to earth in their glorified bodies to reign with Christ in the millennial kingdom.

 

In this third part we will deal with the subjects of imminence and the resurrection.

 

5. They Deny Imminence

This post-Tribulation rapture theory teaches that the believing church should and will know when the Lord is coming by the signs given in scripture (Matthew 24); thus they will not be caught off guard and be surprised. Imminence, they say, “Applies only to the wicked and the spiritually unprepared people that are still alive before the Return of Christ.”[i] To them He will come like a thief in the night and they will not be ready.

Another argument they use for this point has to do with Jesus’ announcements that certain events will occur, such as what he prophesied for Peter: that he would grow old, and supposedly how he would die (Jn. 21:18-19). They teach that since the Lord could not come until such events had taken place, this makes Christ’s imminent return impossible.[ii]

Rebuttal. The doctrine that Christ can return at any moment to rapture the church, without the necessity of any signs of His coming, is the pre-Tribulation rapture position. We believe this is what the bible teaches about the rapture. The following verses will show us this meaning of imminence: 1 Corinthians 1:7; 16:22; Philippians 3:20; 4:5; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:28; James 5:7-9; 1 Peter 1:13; Jude 21: Revelation 3:11; 22:7, 12, 17, 20.

Regarding the announcements Jesus made that certain events would occur that post-Tribulationists say would make the pre-Tribulation theory invalid; well, this has caused many (including myself) some frustration. But I have found much truth in Dr. Thomas Ice’s study on this subject.

Concerning what Jesus’ prophesied about Peter, that he would not die until he was an old man (Jn. 21:18-19), Thomas Ice writes,

John’s Gospel was not written until decades after Peter’s death when it would no longer be an issue one way or the other.[iii]

Citing Marshall Hawkins: It was not until the book of James (written just about A.D. 50), and then later in Paul’s writings that the imminence of the rapture is revealed. Twenty years would have elapsed between the prophecy [regarding Peter] and the writing of James-enough time for Peter to have aged sufficiently. . . . By this time imminence was a viable doctrine for most of the church since they would have no idea whether Peter was alive at any one moment or not. . . . For those accompanying Peter at this time, the rapture was also imminent because Peter may have been seized and martyred at any time, making the rapture possible immediately afterward.[iv]

 

Thomas Ice concludes by saying, “We will find as we diffuse the many landmines set against pretribulationism that nothing in the New Testament stands in the way of Christ’s any-moment return.”[v]

 

6. The Resurrection of Believers

The post-Tribulation rapture theory holds that there is only one resurrection of all believers, both Jews and Gentiles. It is at the time of the inauguration of the kingdom (Rev. 20:4-6), which is just after the Great Tribulation, on the “day of the Lord” (Jn. 5:28-29; 11:24). And since it is clear in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 that the resurrection of the “holy dead” is at the time of the rapture of the church, this they say is proof that the rapture must come after the Tribulation, when (or just after) all believers are resurrected.[vi]

Rebuttal. No, there is not only one resurrection of believers. Even though all believers are part of what is called “the first resurrection” (Rev. 20:5-6), this does not mean that there is only one resurrection. 1 Corinthians 15:23 teaches that the resurrection will be “each in his own order.” Those resurrected will be as such: the church saints will be resurrected sometime before the Tribulation period; the Old Testament saint and the Tribulation saints, at the Second Advent of Christ; and the millennial saints will probably be resurrected at the end of the millennial kingdom.

The saying by Martha to Jesus, “I know that he [Lazarus] will rise again in the resurrection on the last day” (Jn. 11:24), does not teach us that there is only one resurrection on “the last day.” This “last day,” or the “Day of the Lord,” should not be considered as a twenty-four hour period. Dwight Pentecost writes,

The term Day of the Lord, or that day, is not a term which applies to a twenty-four hour period, but rather the whole program of events, including the tribulation period, the Second Advent program, and the entire millennial age.[vii]

 

I must also point out that the term for those resurrected in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 is “the dead in Christ,” and not the “holy dead,” as some suggest. Therefore, since the dead in Christ can only mean those in Christ, or the church, we cannot use this passage to teach that these are all the saints; thus we cannot use this passage in any way to prove a post-Tribulation theology.

 

[i] Wikipedia, Post-tribulation rapture: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-tribulation_rapture.

[ii] J. Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come, p. 168.

[iii] Dr. Thomas Ice, Pre-Trib Research Center, “Imminence and The Rapture (Part 1),” http://www.pre-trib.org/articles/view/imminence-and-rapture-part-1.

[iv] Dr. Thomas Ice, Pre-Trib Research Center, “Imminence and The Rapture (Part 1),” citing Marshall Hawkins, “Rebuttal of the Posttribulational Denial of Imminence” (Unpublished ThM thesis, Capital Bible Seminary, 1979), p. 45. Cited in McAvoy, “Critique,” p. 83.

[v] Dr. Thomas Ice, Pre-Trib Research Center, “Imminence and The Rapture (Part 1)

[vi] J. Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come, p. 173, citing Norman S. McPherson, Triumph Through Tribulation (Otego, New York: Author, 1944), p. 41.

[vii] J. Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come, p. 174.

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The Post-Tribulation Rapture Theory: A Rebuttal – Part 2

 

As pointed out in the first part 1 of this article, The main distinctive of this view is that the rapture of the church will occur immediately after the 7-year Tribulation at the Advent of Christ. Hence, this view rejects the pre-Tribulation view that there are two phases of His coming; they teach that the rapture and the second coming will all occur all at once: 1) Christ will come in the clouds, 2) He will rapture and transform the church—first the dead and then the living, and 3) He will then immediately (or very quickly) bring them back to earth in their glorified bodies to reign with Christ in the millennial kingdom.

 

In this second part we will deal with two controversial passages, and the debated theory of whether the church will go through the Tribulation or not.

 

 3. Matthew 24:29-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

 

This theory sees these two passages as the same event. While the pre-Tribulation view sees the 1 Thessalonians passage as the first phase of Christ’s coming to rapture the church and the Matthew passage as the second phase of His coming, this post-Tribulation view sees these two passages as explaining the same event—which combines the rapture with His second coming.

They observe that in both passages three things are mentioned: Jesus’ coming, the trumpet of God, and the gathering of the elect—which they see as the rapture of the church.[i]

But notice that there are some things that are different in each passage; so it seems that they combine the elements in both passages to form their teaching. For instance, they take the details of the rapture, such as the dead in Christ rising first and then the living, from 1 Thessalonians; but the timing of the rapture they take from Matthew 24, that it will happen “immediately after the Tribulation of those days.”

 

Rebuttal. There are several things wrong with combining these two passages. The worst error is using Matthew 24 as if it were written to the church. This passage was written to Israel, and the context is “the end of the age” (v. 3). In this entire chapter Jesus is explaining what will happen at the end of the age—or at the end of our civilization on earth as we know it; and the main topic is the Tribulation.

But 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 is written to the church (to all believers in this present time). There is nothing said in this passage about the Tribulation, only about “the coming of the Lord,” and how He will rapture the church—the dead first and then the living—to meet Him in the air (v. 27).

It is true that both passages mention Jesus’ coming and the trumpet of God; but the gathering of the elect mentioned in Matthew 24:31 is not mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. It is true that the rapture in 1 Thessalonians is a gathering together of the church; however, the gathering of the elect mentioned in Matthew 24 is quite different; this gathering is, by the angels, of all believers of all times to come and enter the kingdom of God. And I do not believe that it includes the church, because they have already been gathered a few years earlier; they are already with the Lord.

Thirdly, the phrase in 1 Thessalonians 4:15, “by the word of the Lord,” which they use as proof that Paul is basing what he was teaching here on the rapture as being from what Jesus had said in Matthew 24, is not valid. This could not be possible because Matthew 24 was not written as instructions for the church, but was for Israel. I take it rather that the Holy Spirit had personally given him this knowledge about the rapture to pass on to this Thessalonian church. It was something new (a mystery) that no one had heard before, and so it was regarded as a new “word of the Lord.”

 

4. The church will go through the 7-year Tribulation

 

More than any other theory, this post-Tribulation theory maintains in their teaching that the church will go through the entire 7 years of tribulation. They site Matthew 24:9-11 as one of their proof passages, which says (in verse 9) “they will deliver you up to tribulation.” The pre-Trib theory restricts this passage to Israel, but they insist that both Israel and the church are in view.

This theory also uses the following verses to make their argument: John 16:1-2, 33; Acts 8:1-3; Romans 12:12; 2 Corinthians 1:4: 1 Thessalonians 3:4; 1 Peter 4:1; and Revelation 2:9. These verses—which no doubt relate to the church—speak of tribulation, persecution, suffering and affliction, which they teach are the destiny of the church.

Additionally, like the pre-wrath theory, they teach that God will preserve the church through the Tribulation, using Revelation 3:10 as their proof, which they teach should be translated as, “I will keep you safe in the midst of testing.” They also use John 17:15 to prove this point, where Jesus prayed to His Father, “I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.”

 

Rebuttal. Each argument that the post-Tribulation rapture theory gives as proof for this fourth point is not valid. First of all, as I have already shown, the Matthew 24 passage which describes the Tribulation is not for the church; it is for Israel.

Secondly, there are two ways the word “tribulation” is used in scripture: in a general sense, and in a technical sense. Whereas “The Tribulation” is a specific God-ordered event lasting for seven years, “tribulation,” in the more general sense comes on us all at various times as a result of the curse we are all under. Thus the bible is clear that believers will go through tribulation, but not “the Tribulation.” The 7-year Tribulation is not the destiny of the church but is designed to punish unbelievers and also to bring many Jews to repentance and salvation.

Thirdly, Revelation 3:10 should not be translated as preserving the church through the Tribulation. It is more likely that the meaning is to keep the church out of the Tribulation.

As for what Jesus prayed for the church in John 17:15, I don’t think we can relate this to the Tribulation. He is praying that God will protect us from the evil one now and always.

 

[i] Wikipedia, Post-tribulation rapture: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-tribulation_rapture.

Posted in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, Bible Passages on Prophecy, Making Ourselves Ready, Matthew 24:31, Prophecy Topics, Rapture, Revelation 3:10, Second Coming, The Tribulation | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments