How Some Christian Leaders Deceive
The Church About The Rapture
Rock of Offence Special Commentary
Exposing Another False Teaching That Attacks
A Major Fulfillment of Christ's Salvation
This is Part 2 of a three-part Bible study.
Click on the appropriatle link to access
the other parts.
THE WORDS OF JESUS DISPROVES A POPULAR,
YET WRONG BIBLE PROPHECY TEACHING
Jesus referred to AN ESCAPE THAT GOD PROVIDES BEFORE THESE THINGS COME TO PASS (OR BEFORE "THE TRIBULATION OF THOSE DAYS"). It means Jesus was teaching a "pre-tribulation" escape, OR AN ESCAPE THAT HAPPENS PRIOR TO THE TRIBULATION. Keep in mind that these are Christ's words. To provide an escape after a calamity has overtaken you is nonsensical and of no benefit. Also notice that Jesus said that this tribulation falls "ON ALL THOSE WHO DWELL ON THE EARTH". He used these exact words to say something important. AS AMAZING AS IT SOUNDS, JESUS IS SAYING THAT TO ESCAPE THIS COMING TRIBULATION, YOU WOULD HAVE TO SOMEHOW, LEAVE THE EARTH. He reinforces this idea by saying that we, "STAND BEFORE THE SON OF MAN", AFTER THE ESCAPE. It means our destination (place of safety) is wherever Jesus is - and He's not on earth during this time. What Jesus is actually saying is inescapable (no pun intended). The word "escape" as used by Jesus Christ in these Scriptures; IS NOT SOME KIND OF A PROTECTION PROVIDED FOR CHRISTIANS GOING THROUGH THE TRIBULATION ON EARTH, AS MANY WRONGLY TEACH. Instead, it is "the moving of a person or group from one place to another, to get them out of danger". If you find yourself in a burning building, the firemen usually won't tell you to "stay where you are and we will protect you". They usually yell at the top of their voice, to get out of (or escape) the building. Many Bible prophecy teachers insist that the Church (all believers who possess eternal life) must go through the tribulation first and the rapture (our escape) OCCURS AFTERWARDS at the physical Second Coming of Christ. This teaching is commonly known as "post-tribulationalism". It contradicts the teachings of both Jesus and the Apostle Paul. The Bible reveals that the physical Second Coming of Christ (where every eye will see Him when He appears in the clouds) OCCURS AFTER THE TRIBULATION THAT JESUS WARNED ABOUT IN LUKE 21:25-36 and Mark 13:19).
(Jesus is speaking) “But in those days, AFTER THAT TRIBULATION, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. THEN THEY WILL SEE THE SON OF MAN COMING IN THE CLOUDS WITH GREAT POWER AND GLORY. (Mark 13:24-26 NKJV -- Emphasis Added)
Since Jesus taught that THE ESCAPE OCCURS BEFORE THE TRIBULATION ENSNARES THE EARTH; it proves the post-tribulational belief is incorrect and misleading. Be forewarned: Many churches that teach Bible prophecy build their doctrine around a "post-trib" theology.
Christ's words also reveal another important truth. THE ESCAPE OF "HIS WORTHY PEOPLE" OCCURS SOME TIME BEFORE HIS SECOND COMING BECAUSE THE ESCAPE HAPPENS BEFORE "THE TRIBULATION OF THOSE DAYS". IT MEANS THAT THE ESCAPE IS AN ENTIRELY SEPARATE, YET "CONNECTED" EVENT. This demonstrates that Christ's Second Coming involves TWO DIVINE OPERATIONS THAT ARE SEPARATED BY A SPECIFIC PERIOD OF TIME. First, the escape of "His worthy people" happens shortly before earth's final judgment (or tribulation) begins. At this time, Jesus does not physically return to earth, but meets "the escapees" IN THE AIR ABOVE THE EARTH AND TAKES THEM BACK TO HEAVEN FOR A PERIOD OF TIME (Scripture indicates this is an earthly period of 7 years). Secondly, Jesus returns to end the tribulation on earth accompanied by "His worthy people" (the redeemed believers known as the Church and "the body of Christ" on earth) that previously escaped the earth's tribulation and judgment 7 years prior. Pay particular attention to "the gathering" THAT JESUS SAID TAKES PLACE IN HEAVEN just before He returns at His Second Coming....
"And He shall send His angels with a great
sound of a trumpet, AND THEY SHALL
GATHER TOGETHER HIS ELECT from
the fourwinds, FROM ONE END OF HEAVEN
TO THE OTHER." (Matthew 24:31 Emphasis Added)
Looking thousands of years ahead to Christ's
PHYSICAL RETURN TO EARTH,
“Behold, the Lord comes WITH TEN THOUSANDS
OF HIS SAINTS..." (Jude 1:14 NKJV)
Paul made the same observation about
Christ's coming to earth when he said:
"To the end he may stablish your hearts
unblameable in holiness before
God, even our Father, AT THE COMING
OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
WITH ALL HIS SAINTS."
(1 Thessalonians 3:13 KJV -- Emphasis Added)
"Now, brethren, CONCERNING THE COMING
OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST AND
OUR GATHERING TOGETHER TO HIM,
we ask you, not to be soon shaken
in mind or troubled, either by
spirit or by word OR BY LETTER,
AS IF FROM US, as though the day
of Christ had come."
(2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 NKJV -- Emphasis Added)
Matthew 24:31 claims that the angels "gathered together" a group of people FROM ONE END OF HEAVEN TO THE OTHER. Obviously, these people WERE SCATTERED IN VARIOUS PARTS OF HEAVEN AND HAD TO BE RETRIEVED (OR REGATHERED) FOR A SPECIAL EVENT. Who are these people and where did they come from?
Jude 1:14 and 1 Thessaonians 3:13 tells us that, when the Second Coming occurs, Jesus Christ returns "with all His saints" (Jude 1:14 says "ten thousands of His saints"). Where did these saintly people come from? In order to return with Christ, they must have already been with Him in heaven.
What was this "gathering together unto Jesus" that Paul spoke of in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2? Previously, in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, Paul described the exact same event in the following way :
. . . and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be
caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: AND SO SHALL WE EVER BE WITH THE LORD.
Who are these "gathered and caught up"
individuals, which, from that moment
on, remain with the Lord forever?
Answer: These are "the worthy ones" (the redeemed believers, purchased at the cross), who previously participated in the escape Jesus warned about in Luke 21:25-36. They escaped the earth (or were gathered from the earth to be with Christ) and stayed safely WITH THE LORD IN HEAVEN - AND RETURNED WITH HIM TO EARTH AT THE SECOND COMING FOLLOWING THE TRIBULATION JUDGMENTS. (See the "additional resources" area below)
(Jesus Christ speaking)"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I WILL COME AGAIN AND RECEIVE YOU TO MYSELF; THAT WHERE I AM, THERE YOU MAY BE ALSO." (John 14:1-3 NKJV -- Emphasis Mine)
Additional Resources That Clear Up Some
As a supplement to our commentary, Jack Kelly of GraceThruFaith.com provides an excellent teaching on the 70th week of Daniel. This Old Testament prophecy given by the angel Gabriel to Daniel the prophet provides an important time-line that helps unlock our understanding of end-time events now coming to pass.
Misconceptions About End-Time Events
The 70 Weeks of Daniel--By Jack Kelly
Dr. Andy Woods is the senior pastor of Sugar Land Bible Church and a full professor at the College of Biblical Studies in Houston and teaches Bible and theology. In this interview with Dr Todd Baker of Zola Levitt Ministries, Dr. Andy Woods explores the topic of Israel and the Kingdom of God. Understanding this truth is one of the keys that allow us to properly interpret end-time Bible prophecy.
Israel And The Kingdom--By Dr. Andy Woods
Presented By Zola Levitt Ministries
For those who want a more exhaustive study on why the rapture occurs before Daniel's 70th week (or what is called the 7 year tribulation period), Dr. Richard Mayhue's in-depth teaching may answer some of your questions. In an attempt to keep our commentaries simple and easy to understand, we try to avoid going into such detail. It is important for visitors to know that including Dr. Mayhue's teaching on our website does not necessarily mean that we agree with all of his (or the sponsors and hosts of the presentation) doctrinal beliefs. It also does not mean that he (or the sponsors and hosts of the presentation) agrees with all of our teachings and beliefs. We make this information available because it provides a general Scriptural teaching that compliments the subject of this commentary. There are countless bogus and misleading views about the rapture and how Christ's great salvation is obtained and kept on the Internet, especially on YouTube. To an inexperienced believer - all these teachings appear to be firmly established on Scripture. But, various individuals, who claim to correctly teach the Bible, will use the Scriptures in a way, which violates the context that God originally intended. For this reason, you should exercise great discernment when listening to Bible Prophecy topics on the YouTube website.
The Pre-Tribulation Rapture Of The Church
(Part 1) By Dr. Richard Mayhue
The Pre-Tribulation Rapture Of The Church
(Part 2) By Dr. Richard Mayhue
The Pre-Tribulation Rapture Of The Church
(Part 3) By Dr. Richard Mayhue
Note: Providing this information on our
website should not necessarily be interpreted
as total agreement with the theology,
eschatology or political views of the
various authors and teachers.
Important Note: In this special seminar teaching, Dr. Mayhue points out the problems in a theology held by a particular denominational group that viciously oppose the pre-tribulational position. He refers to them as "his covenantal brethren" or those that embrace something called "covenant theology". He may also use other expressions using the word "covenant" to identify this group. All visitors should understand that various Bible teachers use these terms interchangeably to identify the doctrine of "Reformed Theology" (A name often used in the place of Reformed Theology is Covenant Theology). This dual terminology confuses many Christian people. On the Rock of Offence website we introduce our visitors to the Biblical institution of a "blood covenant". Jesus said that his sacrifice at the cross began "a New Covenant in His blood". All readers should understand that when we use the term blood covenant or "Christ's New Covenant in His blood", WE ARE NOT TEACHING THE DOCTRINE OF “COVENANT THEOLOGY (OR REFORMED THEOLOGY)".
The New Covenant is also called "the new and living way of Christ" established on His blood (Read: Matt. 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, 1 Cor. 11:25, 2 Cor. 3:6, Heb. 8:6-13, Heb. 9:15, Heb. 10:19-23, Heb. 12:24).
More information is provided below.
Our Position on Covenant/Reformed Theology
Important Clarifications Concerning Our
Foundational Beliefs and Theology
In addition to Dr. Mayhue's teaching, we also provide two links to valuable studies that explains why the rapture of the Church...
(1) Is not "mid-trib" (occurring in the middle of the tribulation)
(2) Is not "pre-wrath" (or prior to pouring out of God's wrath during the second half of the tribulation)
(3) Is not "post-trib" (occurring just before Second Coming of Christ at the end of the tribulation)
(4) Does not occur at the 7th trumpet of Revelation (a commonly held belief)
The Mystery of the Rapture
By Dr. David Reagan
The Last Trump
By Dr. Thomas Ice
Ignoring the Bible's Context Can
Jesus tells us about His future return to the earth and an “escape”, which would be provided for His people from the destruction and judgment. This “escape” is the rapture (or "catching away"), since the apostle Paul taught the same thing in his epistles. He referred to it as “a deliverance (rescue/escape) involving a departure for the Church” - BEFORE THE TRIBULATION JUDGMENTS BEGIN (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10). Most Christians correctly place the words of our Lord above most everything else in Scripture. Some of our Bible translations highlight the words of Jesus Christ in red to emphasize their importance. Jesus is God’s Son and His words carry the full authority of Heaven. However, there is a problem the Bible warns us about, which can seriously impact our seemingly correct and flawless understanding in these matters. Ignoring or failing to respect the context of God’s Word radically changes its intended message. In many situations, quoting a Scripture, while ignoring its context can make it appear that God says things, which He does not actually say.
Cause Us to Miss an Important Insight
Provided by Our Lord
Today, we often hear media personalities and politicians complain that a reporter or journalist "quoted them out of context". When used for dishonest purposes, it makes someone appear to say something, which is contradictory or harmful to their reputation or agenda. This unethical strategy is used in politics and news reporting all the time. Unfortunately, it is also used in religion.
Most Christians and their leaders (but thankfully not all) wrongly view the Bible as "one book with only one spiritual program". This is why they commonly mix everything together, which allows them to arbitrarily quote verses, regardless of its context, to defend their doctrines and traditions. However, this common and popular way of handling the Bible also makes it appear that God says things, which He does not actually say. Mixing everything in the Bible together into "one spiritual program" essentially causes us to "quote God out-of-context".
To stay clear of this problem, Scripture tells us how to properly interpret its truths.
FIRST OF ALL, THE BIBLE IS
NOT "ONE BOOK WITH ONE
The Bible is divided into two primary spiritual programs called covenants: The Old Covenant (recorded in the Old Testament) and Christ’s New Covenant (recorded in the New Testament). The New Testament Book of Hebrews calls them; THE FIRST COVENANT AND THE SECOND COVENANT (Read Hebrews 8:7 and especially Hebrews 8:13 - also Galatians 4:21-31).
In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul warns his disciple Timothy about this Old Covenant-New Covenant division. Due to its importance (and the fact that most Christians ignore Paul’s words) we repeat this command throughout many of our commentaries.
"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly (or correctly) dividing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15)
TIMOTHY IS WARNED THAT IN ORDER
TO PROPERLY TEACH THE TRUTH OF
GOD'S WORD, YOU MUST RESPECT
Different rules and principles govern each of these radically different covenants. For example; the New Covenant, which officially began at the cross CHANGED ALL THE PREVIOUS REQUIREMENTS FOR HOW SALVATION IS OBTAINED AND KEPT. You can’t arbitrarily pull a Scripture from the Old Covenant division of the Bible and make it apply under Christ’s New Covenant (a violation of context) in order to validate your teaching (Note: unless it’s clear that the Scripture represents a universal truth that applies under both). Yet, a vast majority of Christian leaders and their followers do this very thing.
The apostle Paul called Christ’s New Covenant “The Mystery of Christ”. God made Paul the exclusive administrator of its truths through what Bible scholars call, “The Pauline Revelation” (Ephesians 3:1-12, 2 Corinthians 12:1-4 and Galatians 1:11-12). Contrary to popular beliefs, Paul was the only apostle to receive this revelation about the mystery of the New Covenant, which was also the source of the Gospel of Christ that he preached. This mystery was not fully revealed for several years (some theologians think 7-10 years, but nobody knows exactly how long) after Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Here’s what Jesus Christ had to say about the revealing of this truth:
"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I HAVE YET MANY THINGS TO SAY UNTO YOU, BUT YE CANNOT BEAR THEM NOW. HOWBEIT WHEN HE, THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH, IS COME, HE WILL GUIDE YOU INTO ALL TRUTH: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. HE SHALL GLORIFY ME: FOR HE SHALL RECEIVE OF MINE, AND SHALL SHEW IT UNTO YOU." (John 16:7-14)
Notice the timeframe included in the words of Jesus Christ. The truth He wanted his disciples to know wasn’t going to be fully revealed, except for some vague “types and shadows”, until after His death, resurrection, ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit. Why? Christ’s crucifixion (the spilling of His blood), resurrection, ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit HAD TO HAPPEN FIRST BEFORE THE NEW COVENANT COULD BEGIN. UNTIL THEN, THE OLD COVENANT OF THE LAW REMAINED IN AUTHORITY.
The New Covenant that Jesus Christ came to initiate was “the many things” that He couldn’t tell His disciples while He was still alive during His ministry on earth. The phrase “many things” that Jesus used also means “a lot of things”. Any way you look at it, Jesus alerts His audience to A FULL REVELATION, WHICH WAS HIDDEN IN A MYSTERY THAT HE SAID COULD NOT BE REVEALED BEFORE THE CROSS.
Jesus Christ had a good reason to withhold the revelation about His New Covenant. Years later, the apostle Paul gives us the reasons for our Lord's action.
"However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. BUT WE SPEAK THE WISDOM OF GOD IN A MYSTERY, THE HIDDEN WISDOM WHICH GOD ORDAINED BEFORE THE AGES for our glory, WHICH NONE OF THE RULERS OF THIS AGE KNEW; FOR HAD THEY KNOWN, THEY WOULD NOT HAVE CRUCIFIED THE LORD OF GLORY." (1 Corinthians 2:6-8 NKJV)
The "rulers of this age" that Paul speaks of here are "high order" demonic spirits, which were responsible for planning and orchestrating Christ's crucifixion "behind the scene". If Jesus and His disciples (during His earthly ministry) went around preaching the details of the yet future New Covenant, Paul said that these demonic spirits would have never crucified Christ. Why? The New Covenant in Christ's blood (Luke 22:20 and 1 Corinthians 11:25) was God's secret plan (Paul calls it "hidden wisdom") to utterly destroy Satan's dominion over the human race. Christ's crucifixion was the centerpiece of God's plan. The New Covenant couldn't become reality without the crucifixion of our Lord. As a result of Christ's "information blackout" Satan and his demonic world didn't learn about their mistake until it was too late.
A vast majority of Christians believe that Jesus revealed everything about our salvation in the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, which records His earthly ministry. Yet, both Jesus and the apostle Paul warn that this was not the case.
The Cross of Christ Changed the
Way Worthiness is Obtained
Many Christian leaders either ignore or are in denial about this important warning given by both our Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul. When you apply this failure to Bible prophecy subjects, such as the rapture, dangerous distortions emerge that lead believers astray in their faith. Once again, Jesus said that an escape would be provided for “those who are worthy”. This statement causes many church leaders and their followers to assume that the “escape” is only reserved for those who are “worthy” the Old Testament way; through good works, religious service and sinless living. In other words, they insist that the believer’s qualifications for the escape depend on their own obedience and righteous behavior. If this is true, then it's impossible to know whether or not your level of performance satisfies God’s qualifications to participate in the escape. Obviously, this popular way of believing the Bible creates a need to constantly strive (or attempt to live righteously out of fear) to avoid being left behind. It represents a theology (and its popular modern-day counterpart) that the first century church leadership condemned as spiritual bondage.
Why is all of this important?
The way an individual is made "worthy" radically changed after Christ’s New Covenant officially started at the cross - and “the mystery of Christ” was fully revealed. Before the cross, worthiness was obtained through obedience to the commandments of Old Testament Law. But after the cross, God now considers (reckons) a believer's worthiness to be equal to (or the same as) Christ's worthiness (2 Corinthians 5:21, Philippians 3:9). After Jesus paid the ransom for our release, God can now impute His own righteousness (it is assigned as a free gift to the believer) apart from our imperfect works and behavior (Romans 3:24-26, Romans 4:4-8 and Romans 5:17-19). This freely “imputed righteousness”, obtained through faith only (apart from works or behavior), is what makes the believer worthy. Many fail to realize that God’s requirement for being included in the escape (or rapture) is having “perfect righteousness”; also understood as being perfectly sinless.
BUT, THE BIBLE WARNS THAT NO ONE CAN
ACQUIRE THIS STATUS THROUGH THEIR
THEIR OWN EFFORTS, WORK AND OBEDIENCE,
WHICH GOD CONSIDERS TO BE IMPERFECT.
Yet, when we possess Christ’s imputed righteousness and worthiness, God considers (reckons) us to be “perfectly sinless” and fully qualified to participate in the escape (or rapture); regardless of our own imperfect obedience and behavior. Christ’s imputed perfection overrides all of our human imperfections. This gives the believer unshakable assurance that they will participate in the rapture of the Church. If you don’t have this “unshakable assurance”, it could be a warning that you’re trying to live your Christian life, according to what Paul called “a different gospel”.
Paul was God’s chosen vessel to reveal this mystery of Christ and His imputed righteousness, which was kept secret until it was released into the earth through his calling and ministry. (Ephesians 3:1-7, 1 Corinthians 2:6-8)
Additional information is available
at the following link:
Imputation: The New Covenant Method God Uses
To Transfer His Spiritual Benefits To Us
THE EPISTLES OF SAINT PAUL GIVES
US THE FULL REVELATION
The escape Jesus speaks about (or the rapture) occurs in two phases. Paul provides a complete outline of the entire event in his New Testament epistles. The first phase is a resurrection of the redeemed believers (those who received God's salvation while alive on earth), who died and are now in the grave. According to Scripture, when they died their spirit went immediately to be with the Lord in heaven, but their physical body remained in the grave on earth. During "the great escape", the spirits of these believers will return to be reunited with their body. As a result, they will be resurrected (raised from the grave) in much the same way Jesus was resurrected - with a new incorruptible and immortal body. According to the New Testament, these "resurrected believers" are the first to leave earth after receiving their new immortal body. The last to leave are the authentic believers in Christ - who are "alive and remain". After the resurrection of the "dead saints", the living ones are changed (given an immortal body) and both groups go to meet Jesus IN THE AIR and will "forever be with the Lord". This is why the rapture is often referred to as "The resurrection of the saints". It's both a resurrection of the dead and a "catching away and translation" of the living, which are two parts (or phases) of the same event. In His popular "great escape sermon", Jesus didn't reveal the whole story because his salvation plan was still considered "a mystery" or secret before the cross (Read Romans 16:25-27, 1 Corinthians 2:7-8 and 1 Corintians 15:50-55). This is why it’s important to read the Epistles of Saint Paul, who reveals the entire salvation plan that went into operation after the cross. It was only at this time that the mystery of Christ, which includes how our salvation is completed at the rapture, could be revealed to the world. God made Saint Paul the custodian of this "revelation of Christ's Mystery". (A brief tutorial of Saint Paul's teaching is included further down in this commentary)
Readers will discover that some of the most popular "fear-based" teachings, such as post-tribulational doctrine (which claims the rapture only occurs after the tribulation), makes no sense when you examine Scripture from a literal "rightly divided" perspective. Normally, the words of Jesus concerning our escape give us enough proof that the teaching is false. But, sometimes more information is required.
The links below provides more information
on this controversial topic.
Has The Rapture Become Your Worst Nightmare?
64 Reasons The Rapture Of The Church
Is Not The Second Coming Of Christ
Handling The Scriptures Dishonestly
Recently, I was reading an article on a popular Bible prophecy website. The preacher (or the owner of the site) was ridiculing a reader who believed that God would provide "an escape" for Christians before the calamities of the coming Tribulation took place. The teacher arrogantly replied, "IF YOU'RE REALLY THAT DECEIVED, THEN THERE IS LITTLE HOPE FOR YOU." Keep in mind that this was a Christian website focused on Bible prophecy.
First of all, the reader was referring to the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, who said (we're paraphrasing) 'A WAY OF ESCAPE" FROM THE THINGS THAT WILL COME TO PASS (THE TRIBULATION HE WARNED ABOUT IN MARK 13:19) WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR THOSE WHO ARE WORTHY (Mark 13:19 and Luke 21:25-36 previously quoted). Since Jesus is the one speaking, the reader is on a solid foundation. Yet, THE BIBLE TEACHER, WHO CONFRONTED HIM CONTRADICTED JESUS AND CALLED THE READER "DECEIVED" FOR BELIEVING WHAT THE LORD SAID! Keep in mind that, according to the Bible, this time of tribulation and calamity is the result of God's wrath and judgment that comes against all the nations of the world BECAUSE THEY REJECTED HIS SON. In other words, this is a world-wide "global" judgment. CHRIST'S NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH (ALSO CALLED "THE BODY OF CHRIST") HAS NOT COMMITTED THIS SIN, WHICH MAKES THIS PARTICULAR JUDGMENT, IF ENACTED AGAINST THEM; UNJUST. A few years later, Saint Paul instructs the Church, using different wording, about the same future tribulation judgment that Jesus previously warned about.
"But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. FOR WHEN THEY SAY, "PEACE AND SAFETY!" THEN SUDDEN DESTRUCTION COMES UPON THEM, AS LABOR PAINS UPON A PREGNANT WOMAN. AND THEY SHALL NOT ESCAPE. BUT YOU BRETHREN, ARE NOT IN DARKNESS, SO THAT THIS DAY SHOULD OVERTAKE YOU AS A THIEF. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. FOR GOD DID NOT APPOINT US TO WRATH (JUDGEMENT), BUT TO OBTAIN SALVATION THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him." (1 Thessalonians 5:1-10 NKJV -- Emphasis Added)
"For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and 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, EVEN JESUS WHO DELIVERS (OR RESCUES) US FROM THE WRATH (JUDGMENT) TO COME." (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 -- Emphasis Added)
Following Christ's crucifixion, Paul told the Thessalonian church that "the day of the Lord" will come unexpectedly as SUDDEN DESTRUCTION AND - AS A THIEF IN THE NIGHT. It's important to realize that he is speaking of the same "time of tribulation" that Jesus warned about in Mark 13:19. Jesus said, "For in those days there will be tribulation, SUCH AS HAS NOT BEEN SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE CREATION WHICH GOD CREATED UNTIL THIS TIME, NOR EVER SHALL BE". From Christ's words, we discover that this is a single and unique FUTURE period of time involving God's judgment and wrath. Both the book of Daniel and the book of Revelation indicate that the judgment lasts for 7 years. This horrible time of calamity has never happened before and will never happen again. IT IS A ONE TIME EVENT. Paul calls it the SUDDEN DESTRUCTION OF THE DAY OF THE LORD. All of this information is frightening. However, we are told about a new provision THAT ONLY WENT INTO OPERATION AFTER THE CROSS. Paul tells the Church (and the entire body of Christ): "FOR GOD DID NOT APPOINT US (SPEAKING OF ALL TRUE CHRISTIAN BELIEVERS) TO WRATH (MEANING JUDGMENT), BUT TO OBTAIN SALVATION THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST". If the Church is not "appointed to the wrath (or judgment) of the upcoming tribulation", how do we obtain salvation and be excused from this destructive appointment? In order to miss this time of tribulation THAT JESUS SAID COMES UPON THE WHOLE WORLD, wouldn't we have to, somehow, leave the world?
THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT PAUL TOLD THE
NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH, WHEN HE SAID;
"JESUS DELIVERS US (OR PROVIDES AN
ESCAPE) FROM THE WRATH TO COME".
(1 Thessalonians 1:9-10).
"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: THEN WE WHICH ARE ALIVE AND REMAIN SHALL BE CAUGHT UP TOGETHER WITH THEM IN THE CLOUDS, TO MEET THE LORD IN THE AIR: AND SO SHALL WE EVER BE WITH THE LORD. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 NKJV - Emphasis Added)
Paul taught the following truth:
At the same time we "obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ" - we will also be legally excused from the world's appointment with God's wrath (another name for judgment). Our escape from the destruction of the "tribulation of those days" is part of our "obtaining salvation". Jesus used slightly different words and called it "our Redemption that draws nigh". True believers in Christ are exempt from certain destruction because Jesus paid a ransom price, IN HIS BLOOD AT THE CROSS, for our deliverance (rescue or escape). The escape takes place when we are "caught up" from the earth to meet the Lord Jesus Christ IN THE AIR ABOVE THE EARTH. This is the reason many Bible teachers use the word "rapture" because it literally and correctly means to be "caught up" or "forcibly taken out of harm’s way".
Paul then goes on to give additional details about how the salvation of the Church takes place:
"Now this I say, brethren, THAT FLESH AND BLOOD CANNOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. BEHOLD, I TELL YOU A MYSTERY: We shall not all sleep, BUT WE SHALL ALL BE CHANGED--IN A MOMENT, IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE, AT THE LAST TRUMPET. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, AND WE SHALL BE CHANGED. FOR THIS CORRUPTIBLE MUST PUT ON INCORRUPTION, AND THIS MORTAL MUST PUT ON IMMORTALITY. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?'" (1 Corinthians 15:50-55 NKJV -- Emphasis Added)
Exploiting the Believer's
Ignorance of the Bible
Some ministers, churches and denominations take advantage of our inexperience with the Scriptures. The following is a popular method of exploitation found in certain Bible prophecy circles.
Our Bible, such as the King James Version (and many others) exists as an English translation of the original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic manuscripts. God preserved His Word in these ancient documents. Our modern-day Bible is a translation of these writings. Preachers, who say that because the word "rapture" isn't in the Bible and, for that reason, isn't taught in the Scriptures - either lack important knowledge or are being deliberately dishonest to gain an advantage in a discussion. In the case of dishonesty, God considers these kind of deceptive practices; a serious sin. Why? It cheats His children out of encouragement and knowledge concerning a primary benefit of their salvation. It's true that our English-translated Bible doesn't specifically use the word "rapture". However, it does use wording and terminology that means the same thing as recorded in the ancient Biblical languages.
The phrase "caught up to meet the Lord in the air" from 1 Thessalonians 4: 16-18 - and Christ's warning that describes "an escape" that God provides for believers shortly before the Tribulation as recorded in the words of Christ from Mark 13:19 and Luke 21:25-36 (previously quoted) CARRIES THE SAME MEANING AS THE ENGLISH WORD "RAPTURE". Another expression of the word "rapture" is found in Paul's statement that, "all would be changed from mortal to immortal in the twinkling of an eye" (1 Corinthians 15:50-52), which is a description of the "Translation of the Church".
The word "rapture" is an English derivative of the Greek word "harpazo", which has many similar meanings. It is used in 13 verses in the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. Some of the ways Harpazo is used includes :
- To carry off
- To take by force
- To pluck up
- To snatch up
- To catch away
- To be caught up
- To physically move from one place to another
One popular evangelist was having dinner at a Greek restaurant. He asked the owner to define the word Harpazo. The owner, whose native language was Greek replied, "That's easy - it literally means to grab someone by the hair of the head and jerk them out of harm's way."
This is why anyone who says the Bible doesn't teach about the rapture, and especially a pre-judgment or pre-tribulational rapture/escape, is not giving you the truth for one reason or another.
The Cross of Christ
At Christ’s crucifixion, the entire price for the salvation of all true believers in the Church was paid in full. After the cross, all believers are made worthy (righteous) only by faith in the blood of Christ who is declared by the Apostle John to be, "The Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). It is this "fully paid for redemption" that allows Paul to teach that ALL (OR THE ENTIRE BELIEVING CHURCH) WILL BE CHANGED (OR TRANSLATED/RAPTURED) TO MEET THE LORD IN THE AIR. Before the cross, during the earthly ministry of Christ, a person’s worthiness was determined by their obedience to the commandments of Old Testament Law. At this time, our paid-in-full redemption (obtained only through Christ's blood) was still in the future. This is why Jesus correctly warned his audience to "pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape". Those living under Old Testament Law needed to take care that they were continually "worthy" through their obedience to the Law". YET AFTER THE CROSS, the blood of Christ paid the price to make all true believers "worthy". It was a worthiness that was freely imputed to them as an unmerited and undeserved benefit through Grace. It includes those who have faith in Christ and possess a high-level of Christian obedience - AND ALSO THOSE WHO HAVE FAITH IN CHRIST, BUT ARE DEFICIENT OR LACKING IN THEIR OBEDIENCE. This unconditional forgiveness and imputed worthiness (righteousness) freely given by God to all true believers on the basis of their "faith in Christ only" (or a faith apart from works-Romans 4:4-8) is known as "THE NEW AND LIVING WAY".
THIS "NEW AND LIVING WAY" WASN'T
AVAILABLE BEFORE THE CROSS.
"Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS (THE NEW COVENANT), BY A NEW AND LIVING WAY WHICH HE (JESUS) CONSECRATED FOR US, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, FOR HE WHO PROMISED IS FAITHFUL." (Hebrews 10:19-23 - Emphasis Added)
More information is available at
the following link
The Believer's Position In Christ
(Also Read Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 11:29, Romans 10:8-13, Romans 11:6, Romans 4:4-8, Romans 3:24-26, 1 John 1:7, Titus 3:5-7)
Wolves Disguised As God's
Shepherds and Sheep
Jesus warned about the danger of "wolves in sheep clothing", who ignore the context of Scripture and seek to redefine the liberating Gospel of Christ into a spiritually dangerous form of theology. Paul called this kind of distorted "Christian teaching"; spiritual bondage. People forget that it was the religious leaders (the Scribes and Pharisees) and not necessarily the "laity" that pushed Pontius Pilate to crucify Christ. Contrary to popular opinion, these kinds of apostate spiritual leaders still exist in large numbers and travel under different names and carry impressive seminary credentials. It is not some "fringe movement", but a mainstream influence in the world-wide institutional Christian Church. It continues to be a threat to both experienced and inexperienced believers alike.
"THIS KNOW ALSO, THAT IN THE LAST DAYS PERILOUS TIMES SHALL COME. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, FALSE ACCUSERS, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; HAVING A FORM OF GODLINESS, BUT DENYING THE POWER THEREOF: FROM SUCH TURN AWAY. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, EVER LEARNING, AND NEVER ABLE TO COME TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, SO DOES THESE ALSO RESIST THE TRUTH: men of corrupt minds, REPROBATE CONCERNING THE FAITH." (2 Timothy 3:1-8 NKJV - Emphasis Added)
"But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. For such are FALSE APOSTLES, deceitful workers, TRANSFORMING THEMSELVES INTO APOSTLES OF CHRIST. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. THEREFORE IT IS NO GREAT THING IF HIS MINISTERS ALSO TRANSFORM THEMSELVES INTO MINISTERS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, whose end will be according to their works." (2 Corinthians 11:12-15 - Emphasis Added)
To the church of Ephesus, Jesus said, “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. AND YOU HAVE TESTED THOSE WHO SAY THEY ARE APOSTLES AND ARE NOT, AND FOUND THEM TO BE LIARS . . ." (Revelations 2:2 NKJV - Emphasis Mine)
Both Jesus and John the Baptist
called the false religious leaders
of their day, "A Brood of vipers"
(Matthew 3:7, Matthew 12:34, Matthew 23:33, Luke 3:7)
Other names were used such as
"wolves in sheep's clothing"
and "whitewashed tombs"
(Matthew 7:15, Luke 10:3, Acts 20:29, Matthew 23:27)
This warning from Scripture is constantly repeated because not everyone, who claims to be a "Christian minister”, is a true representative of Christ. These stealth ministers are especially active in Bible prophecy circles.
This is Part 2 of a three-part Bible study.
Click on the appropriatle link to access
the other parts.