Category: Holy Bible

How long do we have until the end of the age?

So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age.” — Matthew 13:40

Reading today’s news, I came upon a report with the title, Researchers Refute Study That Claims CRISPR Causes Unexpected Mutations. Interesting information indeed, and it brought up a few thoughts once again. Sure, I’ve written on most of it before this, but I promise it’s at least a little bit different this time. One thing I’d like to maybe challenge today is some people’s notions about how long we have until the end of the age.


As in the days of Noah

Virus.

People talk about nephilim, giants, and all that came from the Genesis 6 interaction between the sons of God and the daughters of men, but today it is the super-small that will bring about the corruption of man — a virus or bacteria — manipulating DNA for extended (eternal) life. Ref. New Technology Lets Scientists Easily Rewrite Living Organisms’ Genetic Code (2015).

And what better place to start than with the babies? For a first glimpse, ref. Chinese scientists genetically modify human embryos, (2015).

A short while back, research was published showing potential problems for the CRISPR methodology used by the Chinese but today — this very day — in reports like the one linked above and this one, many are celebrating that, Designer babies WILL NOT suffer serious complications: Scientists debunk claims that CRISPR gene-editing carries unwanted side effects.

So now it can happen. Designer babies on the way! But not anytime soon. From the latter article:

“Still largely being tested on mice, it is unclear when CRISPR may be available for humans in the US or UK.”

The Book of Life

Is a being born after having their DNA modified still fully human? By that I mean, still fully in the image of God, as originally created and intended by God?

Or will they — as some suppose of those with Nephilim DNA today — be so changed that these beings are born without their names written in the Book of Life, therefore ineligible for salvation?

And, seeing in the Revelation how the whole world is amazed and follows after the beast (13:3), and “those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast (17:8b),” will those days be in a time when the majority of people have been born with this DNA manipulation (medically enhanced plus something far more sinister)?

If so, it’ll be a while.

Libellus, circa 256 A.D.Technology of the end times

Another thing to consider is that there is no part of prophecy dependent on today’s technology. That’s right — we don’t need computer chips to do it. We don’t even need a printing press. All could have been perfectly fulfilled with the ‘technology’ of Paul’s day, including the ‘mark’ to buy or sell. We’ve just been prejudiced to think otherwise by our familiarity with the technology in our day to think nothing like this could be done without it.

What this means is that while we have been taught to think that our technology makes it possible to fulfill the prophecies in one way or another, it only makes it easier.

Just think how much easier it will be to do those very things 50 or 100 years from now. Christians then will probably wonder how we could seriously think the end times might have come in our day.

How long until the end?

If the above is true, even in part, that means the answer to the question, “how long until the end?” may very well be, “at least 20-30 years away, probably more like 50, maybe even 100.”

I won’t be around then. Like most adults today, by the time the first designer baby turns 18 years old I am likely to have long before heeded God’s instruction to Daniel:

“But as for you, go your way to the end; then you will enter into rest and rise again
for your allotted portion at the end of the age.” — Daniel 12:13

And, if that is the case, such timing has some important implications for how some folks interpret at least one sign Jesus gave in the Olivet discourse, as well as a popular interpretation of the 70 weeks.

Just sharin’ some thoughts. If you feel like sharin’ something in return, go for it. That’s why we have a comments section.

Blessings ~~

Wormwood: Prophecy is absolutely amazing! (2009)

Originally posted to the web site circa 2009-2011

On November 10, 2008, Coast-to-Coast AM host George Noory interviewed Brent Miller of the independent research group, The Horizon Project. When asked specifically about ‘Wormwood,’ Miller explained how the details given in the Wormwood prophecy of Revelation is exactly what his scientific team discovered in their modeling the events that would hit the earth during a pole shift.

Marveling at the accuracy in the prophetic language of Revelation — written centuries before science understood the atmospheric interactions that would bring “hail and fire, mixed with blood” down upon the earth — Miller begins to close the topic with, “Prophecy is absolutely amazing . . .”

With each day that passes, the information presented in this video is more relevant. Share with your friends who doubt that the events chronicled in Revelation 6-8 could ever happen as described. Science says it can and will . . . and maybe soon.

The original video (2009) was so popular, we thought people would like to hear more of the interview. That expanded version (2011) is posted here. If you would like to see the shorter version, about 6 minutes long vs. about 10, click here.

(E)veryone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved. — Joel 2:32a (NIV)

Icebergs, rising sea levels, and the end of the age

Featured image: NASA.

In today’s news, we celebrate a birth of sorts. Some say maps will have to be redrawn because of it.

Reported as a “massive iceberg” weighing 1 trillion tons and approximately the size of Delaware (or a quarter the size of Wales, depending on where the report is written), the brand-spanking newly-calved iceberg is likely to be named  “A68.”

Is global warming to blame for this? Scientists admit they can’t directly point the finger at global warming/climate change for iceberg A68 because this kind of calving, the term for an iceberg breaking away from a glacier or land mass, is a common occurrence. Still, most in the media are trained to ask that question at every opportunity, so every report does.

The Self-Managing Planet . . .

And that brought to mind something I heard a wildly popular conservative radio talk show host say several years ago. I’ve also read it variously across the internet on conservative chat boards and other social media. It goes something like this: There is no way the kind of global warming that could cause problems with the earth is man made because God made this world to withstand anything man can do.

That’s similar to what U. S. Rep. Tim Walberg, a Republican from Michigan, said recently:

“I believe there’s climate change. I believe there’s been climate change since the beginning of time. I believe there are cycles. Do I think man has some impact? Yeah, of course. Can man change the entire universe? No.”

He continued, “Why do I believe that? Well, as a Christian, I believe that there is a creator in God who is much bigger than us. And I’m confident that, if there’s a real problem, he (sic) can take care of it.”

. . . That Is No More

It is true that God “is much bigger than us.” It is also true that “He can take care of it” because God can do anything. If He wants to put things in motion to preserve the earth by clearing out any pollution man might cause, or by changing the nature of things so that whatever natural processes warming up the earth no longer do, He certainly can do it.

But let’s look to the Holy Bible for insight about the notion that God created this earth to withstand whatever man might do to it.

Most Christian apologists for the anti-global warming stance rightly point out that man is made in the image of God and was given dominion over the world by God. That is absolutely true.

Is it also true that God made the earth so that it cleans up whatever mess we make in it? Well, no. And here’s what I mean by that.

When God created the world, He saw that it was good. It was all good, even the man and woman were good as He created them.

And then, the woman met the serpent, and it all fell apart. Sin entered the world with its decaying effects. The man and woman began to decay — their flesh, minds, and spirits. A garden that produced all they would need without toil on their part spat them out into a world that would severely test them. This harsh world had rocks in the soil with weeds and thorns popping up all around. Food that once waited on the vine until Adam picked it would now rot and die if he didn’t get there in time.

Each subsequent generation would decay further and further, both the people and the land they inhabit. It was no longer good. To the contrary, it was bad and getting worse. It got so bad that at one point, God wanted to tear it all apart and start all over again, and that would have included blasting all mankind off the planet. And He probably would have, but for Noah.

Until the End

While God remade the world to rid it of the horrific evil that had sprung up by Genesis 6, the curse of sin still has its hold on the earth and at least initially upon its people, and it is due to the continuing effects of sin on the world that we cannot rely upon the once-perfect creation to save us from ourselves. Paul tells us that the whole creation groans for the release that only comes with the restoration at the end of the age. That groaning will only increase — as birth pangs upon the earth — until that day.

And man can do nothing about it. Whatever men hope to accomplish with climate agreements and the acts or taxes agreed to therein will prove fruitless. If we are in a global warming cycle as some scientists believe, a world of floods, droughts, resulting famines, wild weather, disease, and the redrawing of maps several times over due to rising oceans is ahead of us in the next 50 or so years. Describing the impact of the oncoming earth changes, Al Gore likes to say, “It’s like a nature hike through the Book of Revelations (sic).”

Gore may be wrong about the cause of earth changes and that man can do anything to stop it, but he is right on that one count — it is what the world will go through as every single word of the Book of Revelation is fulfilled.

After the End

And then, we win. The present earth is done away with entirely. There is a new heaven and a new earth and you know what? There is no sea! God used water to remake the world in Noah’s day and then promised to never use water to judge the earth again (that’s what the sign of the rainbow really represents). It is water levels rising that will cause many of the earth changes leading to the end of days, but there will be no oceans to rise in the new heavens and the new earth so nothing like that will ever happen again. On top of all that, there will be no more sickness, sadness, pain or death.

Even knowing all this, we really have no idea how wonderful it will be. We cannot conceive of it, as Paul writes (1 Cor. 2:9 NLT):

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
    and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
    for those who love Him.”

The 70th week covenant maker: Christ or antichrist?

The 70th week covenant maker: Christ or antichrist?

The 70 Weeks prophecy of Daniel 9 divides those weeks of years into 62, 7, and 1. During the last week of years, a covenant is made. Since about the mid-point of the last century, most Christians have been taught that the 70th week covenant maker is the one known as antichrist. There is another view that is gaining acceptance today that says Christ is the covenant maker of the 70th week. That sounds impossible to some of us but the view deserves a fair hearing. We might just find ourselves surprised.

The Sign of His Coming

As we look for our blessed hope – the appearing of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13) – we also look expectantly for ‘signs of the times’ heralding His return. We often turn to the Olivet Discourse, where Jesus’ disciples ask Him, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3b)

In response, Jesus first told them of worldwide deception, saying, “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.”

He then tells of wars and rumors of wars, famines and earthquakes, tribulation and martyrdom, falling away and betrayal, more warnings of false prophets, and the love of many growing cold (Matthew 24:7-12).

Jesus then says that the one who endures to the end will be saved, that the gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world as a testimony to the nations, “and then, the end will come” (v. 13-14).

Remember Daniel the Prophet

Our Savior continues His warnings for the days before His return with the following statement (v. 15):

Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand) . . .

Our Lord tells us to watch for ‘the abomination of desolation,’ which is first found in the Book of Daniel at 11:31 and 12:11. It is here that He directly links the prophecies of Daniel to not only days past or His present day but also the last days.

Daniel 9:27

There is another reference to “abominations” that make “desolate” in the Book of Daniel:

and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate (Daniel 9:27b).

This passage is part of the well-known Seventy Weeks prophecy. Note again that it is seventy (7 x 10) weeks (measures of seven days):

Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place (Daniel 9:24).

The first part of Daniel 9:27 holds another potential sign of the times:

And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; (Daniel 9:27a)

Who makes this covenant, the nature of it, and why or how the covenant maker causes sacrifice and offering to cease is the topic of much speculation among Bible scholars, and no small bit of debate from time to time among all who love His appearing.

The biggest divide among the interpretations depends on whether one’s view of the Revelation and all future things is futurist, historicist, preterist, or idealist. This post is only going to look at those within the futurist outlook.

Before exploring the differing views among futurists, let’s look at the entire Seventy Weeks Prophecy.  Here is Daniel 9:24-27:

24 “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.

25 So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.

26 Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.

27 And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”

Agreement

When it comes to family, agreement is a beautiful thing. In the family of God, there is no real debate among futurists on the first two verses, so let’s begin there.

We are, for the most part, in harmony when it comes to these two verses clearly identifying the mission and ministry of Messiah – “to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place” (v. 24).

The period of time is agreed to be seventy weeks of years divided into three groups of 62 weeks, 7 weeks, and 1 week, with the first 69 weeks of years ending with the advent of ‘Messiah the Prince’ (v. 25).

There is also consensus that the countdown of the 70 years begins with, “the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem . . .  it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress” (v. 24).

The vast majority of futurists are also in one accord that Messiah comes into His ministry at the end of the first 69 weeks. There may be differing opinions on which decree of those issued for reconstruction began the count, but it is still agreed that Messiah comes at the end of the count of those 483 years (69 x 7).

We’re ready to go into areas of contention, but let’s linger another moment where we all agree.

  1. The Seventy Weeks Prophecy is God’s definitely foretelling:
  2. The role and ministry of Messiah.
  3. When Messiah will appear to Israel.
  4. Jerusalem will be rebuilt in Daniel’s day.

Now let’s turn our attention to the two major interpretations of Daniel 9:26-27 in Christian prophecy.

View No. 1 — The 70th week covenant maker is antichrist

One popular conception sees two major characters in the 70 weeks prophecy: Christ and antichrist.

This view sees the 70th week covenant maker of Daniel 9:27 as the one called ‘the antichrist’ (in most prophecy circles) and the seven years of the covenant as the duration of his reign.

In the middle of that time, the 70th week covenant maker breaks the covenant puts an end to sacrifice and offering which, according to this view, means that the covenant is with Israel. This also requires there be a third earthly temple in Jerusalem with a fully reinstated priesthood and sacrificial system under Mosaic law (the Torah).

When the covenant is broken, this antichrist turns on Israel. The Jewish temple sacrifices and offerings are put to a stop and the antichrist begins his program of the mark of the beast with a full-scale persecution of the Jewish people.

The common interpretation of this text at this point says that the severe persecution of Israel lasts the entire three-and-a-half years remaining in the 70th week. This period also corresponds to the ‘time, times, and half a time’ spoken of in Daniel 7:25 and 12:7, and Revelation 12:14, as well as the forty-two months given in Rev. 11:2 and 13:5.

Associated beliefs

The Church

Those holding this view believe that the church age is a period of time set aside in parentheses, so to speak, between God’s former and future dealings with Israel, which also means it requires a stark separation between God’s ways of dealing with and intent for the church and Israel.

Rapture Timing

So that God can resume dealing primarily with Israel in the 70th week, the church must be taken out of the way, or raptured, before that week begins. That is why most who see an antichrist in Daniel 9:27 hold to the pre-tribulation timing of the rapture.

The Temple

According to this view, if sacrifices are going to be cut off, there has to be a temple on the holy mount in Jerusalem. Many of them support this cause with their prayers and finances.

View No. 2 — The 70th week covenant maker is Christ

The other interpretation of the 70 weeks sees only one main character: Christ. We will give a bit more space to this one since it is less familiar to a lot of people than View No. 1 is.

This view sees a chiastic structure or parallelism in Daniel 9:24-27, a form of poetic expression commonly used in the Holy Bible.

A chiasmus is a form of writing where lines within the text parallel one another. There are many forms and those who study the form use letters to identify the correlating lines or passages. Following are some familiar examples from the Scriptures. Note how the lines with the same letters reflect upon one another.

Genesis 2:4 (ABBA)

A             This is the account of the heavens and the earth

B             when they were created,

B             in the day that the Lord God made

            earth and heaven.

Matthew 20:16 also follows the ABBA structure

A             So the last

B             shall be first,

B             and the first

A             last.

Matthew 6:24, following the ABCCBA structure

            No one can serve two masters;

B             for either he will hate the one

C             and love the other,

C             or he will be devoted to one

B             and despise the other.

A             You cannot serve God and wealth.

Isaiah 6:10 is also set in ABCCBA pattern, separating the last line which is distinct, perhaps to bring attention to it

A             Render the hearts of this people insensitive,

B             Their ears dull,

C             And their eyes dim,

C             Otherwise they might see with their eyes,

B             Hear with their ears,

            Understand with their hearts,

X:            And return and be healed.

There are many, many other examples throughout the Word of God. Some are quite long – entire Psalms or chapters given by the Holy Spirit in this form. It’s even been suggested that the entire Book of Job may be a chiasmus.

The 70 weeks prophecy follows a ABCDCBA pattern. Note that the rejection of Messiah is in the center alone, perhaps because it is the moment when God’s covenant people ripped His heart from His chest (figuratively, of course).

A So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until DECREE: Jerusalem rebuilt
B Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; Messiah is foretold
C  it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. Jerusalem rebuilt
D Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, Messiah rejected
C and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. Jerusalem destroyed
B And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; Messiah victorious
A and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate. DECREE: Jerusalem destroyed

It’s All about Messiah

When you can see v. 27a speaking of Messiah as the 70th week covenant maker, you understand that it is His death that puts a stop to sacrifice and grain offering. Yes, the temple at Jerusalem stood another 40 years  — a Biblical period of testing (ref. Christ, Moses, the wilderness wanderings, et. al.) but at Christ’s death, the veil was torn, showing anyone who would see it that God’s presence had left temples of stone forever.

Not one more sacrifice would be received by God through an earthly temple. The full atonement for man’s sins had been made by Christ Jesus. Disobedient Jews continued to offer the sacrifice but that covenant had ended, stopped, ceased (depending on the translation of the Word you are reading) as far as God is concerned. There is now a new covenant – in the blood of Christ Jesus – and no other remains.

Associated Beliefs

The Church

For those reading the 70 weeks prophecy without a view to the 70th week being set aside for the nation-state of Israel, the Church and Israel together are all God’s people. As the Holy Spirit tells us through Paul in Romans 3:29-30 and again in Romans 10:12-13, there is one God and one faith in Him, with no difference between Jew or gentile. It is not “Israel and the Church” as two separate entities. Nor is it, as some accuse, “the Church replaces Israel.” No, neither of those is true. It is instead, “Israel and the Church are one.” All who placed faith in Messiah on either side of that sole centerpiece of human history — the Cross — are in Christ alone, and He is Israel.

Rapture Timing

Since the Church is recognized as all of God’s people, she is more than a parenthetical period and does not need to be taken out of the way before the antichrist can be revealed and the events of the Revelation begin. She will be spared God’s wrath (the bowl judgements) but endure the Great Tribulation for His glory.

The Temple

To most holding to this view, the thought of a third earthly temple being established and sacrifices offered there is ridiculous. It is something God would not allow for it would be an offense to Him and a mockery of Christ’s atonement.

Dangers in Contrast

So, what’s the danger believing one over the other? When it comes to our salvation, nothing at all, and it is extremely important to know that. When it comes to taking sides, no reason at all to do that — this should never be a matter of division or derision within the church or among believers.

Holders of View No. 1 might risk spending prayers and financial resources on a temple that will never be build and which would be a tremendous offense to God should it be, while holders of View No. 2 might be terribly surprised to be carried off to the third heaven if it is true that the church has to be taken out of the way before the Great Tribulation can begin.

Pre-trib believers in the No. 1 camp might say those in camp No. 2 are missing out on a fantastic evangelistic tool — the imminency of the rapture meaning everyone should get right and stay right ASAP — but that can be countered with the very true fact is that death is imminent for any and all of us in each and every moment, so our evangelistic fervor is real no matter what we believe about rapture timing.

In contrast, those in camp No. 2 that see no evidence of a pre-tribulation rapture timing may suggest that the teaching of it can cause some to postpone decisions for Christ until they see it happen and, if there is no rapture, reject everything said about needing a Savior once it’s clear the latest and most severe of the end times are upon us.

What I will say is that I hope to have presented both views as clearly and concisely as possible in the space given to it here. May God lead many to take the risk of studying what might be the view opposing theirs, to spend time reading His Word and in prayer over it.

I borrow today’s benediction from my big brother Paul:

Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!2 Thess. 3:16

Noah’s ark more a matter of faith than technology

God told Noah to build the ark out of wood and pitch. Is that because these were the best materials available in Noah’s day? Probably not. 

Imagine what life would be like if Leonardo da Vinci were still alive today as a strong and healthy middle-aged man of 564 years with an expected life span of about 300 more. What progress would he have made over the last 500 years in applying the ideas we see drawn in his note pad?

Consider also that, in this scenario, everyone on the face of the earth lives an average 850 years. That would mean Leonardo has worked century after century alongside Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Franklin, Tesla, Edison, Einstein, and all of history’s other scientific geniuses born centuries before Leonardo’s birth to the present today. Think of the discovery and invention all that centuries’ long collaboration implies and its likely impact on our world.

Well, that’s a rough description of the minds at work up to the time of the flood. Yet, most of us think that these men and women plodded along with technology barely above that of a cave man. We imagine them living in tents and cooking over an open fire because there was no better way.

More than longevity

For a society of people to live on average 850 years and not advance much beyond the invention of the wheel in more than 17 centuries, they would have to be the dumbest group of humans ever to walk the earth.

Truth is, these folks were not dumb at all, maybe not a single one of them. To the contrary, the men named in the Genesis 5 genealogy and their contemporaries were  the brightest and most capable people who have ever lived. The average person in that time would possess the creative and intellectual capacities of Leonardo, Newton, and Tesla combined.

This is because those living before Noah’s flood were far closer descendants to the first man, who was created perfect in his body and mind, than we are today. Although the curse of sin had befallen all of them, it had not taken the toll on the human gene pool that it would over the next thousand years. That’s also why it was O.K. for Cain to marry his sister, by the way.

Along with near-perfect genes, these impressive folk lived on an earth that, while again under the same curse of sin as our world is today, had suffered far less under the curse at that time as well as having retained the protective elements put in place at creation (which would be lost during the flood).

Common sense says all of this is true, yet many of us still doubt they could refrigerate their food.

Not a trace of it

Do we still believe that just because we cannot put our hands on something, it doesn’t or never did exist?

There is a reason why the benefactor of the Georgia Guidestones erected them in stone and not steel. That is, stone stands forever. The Guidestones are intended as a message to a future civilization, meant to be found hundreds if not thousands of years after our present civilization destroys itself. Their maker wanted them to last until then, so chose stone as his medium.

Upon the discovery of a modern society in ruins buried layers and layers under silt and such, not much of the glass, metal, wood, and other building components would remain. Chemical traces might betray its technological level, as would nuclear radiation, but those readings would not necessarily point clearly to the right conclusion.

Now, add the total destruction of the earth by water with much of what is on the surface of the land swept out to the deepest parts of the world’s seas, and it’s probably not going to be found at all.

Why would we think it all went there?

Because God is really big on faith.


Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1

In Genesis 6:14, God tells Noah, “Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch.

No one knows what ‘gopher wood’ is. Later translations of the Holy Bible, such as the New International Version, render it ‘cypress wood,’ but no one knows for certain. It could be a type of wood that no longer exists today and which has not existed for millennia.

What is certain from the text is that it is a type of wood. Most are not surprised at this when we first read it. We cannot imagine that Noah had any option besides wood, being the near-caveman he must have been. Only the type is in question.

But what if our present hypothesis is correct and far more advanced technology was available in Noah’s day? We know that vessels built to sail the world’s seas are made of iron and steel, not wood and pitch. So why was the ark built with the seemingly inferior materials?

Would you want to set sail today on a year-long cruise via a vessel the size of an ocean liner made out of wood and pitch? Probably not.

Would God prescribe wood and pitch for the ark if better methods and materials were available? We might think so, but . . .

God may have chosen wood and pitch in spite of higher technology being available because it would require of Noah exactly what it would take for us to get on such a boat today: Faith and humble obedience.

Noah first needed to believe God’s Word that a flood was coming, but he also needed to believe that God could engineer a vessel fitting both the cargo and the voyage.

Then, Noah had to build it exactly to God’s specifications – using wood and pitch.

God is big on faith. Read Hebrews 11. Recall Jesus’ words to Thomas in John 20:28-29, and how He scolded those seeking a sign in Matthew 16:1-5. Our loving Father in Heaven often chooses to relate with and reveal Himself to us in a manner that requires us to exercise – stretch and strengthen – our faith in Him. This is so that we may increasingly walk by faith, not sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

Therefore, it is not outrageous to think that Noah building his ark of wood is not necessarily evidence of the technology of his day. More likely it is evidence of God’s hand in it, requiring faith and obedience from Noah, his family, and all who would read or hear of it in the thousands of years to follow.

Making idols

Would we really make an idol of the ark if we found it? You bet. From Answers in Genesis:

Ancient reports speak of the Ark as being readily accessible to certain groups of people, even describing an annual festival that supposedly took place on a mountain slope to commemorate the Ark’s landing. Pieces of the Ark were allegedly taken and used as amulets.

Robbing Faith

Another problem God knew would come up with discovery of the ark in later times is that by the time people would go looking for it, the entire Word of God would be readily available thanks to the printing press. It would be so affordable and accessible that people would own several translations in various sizes and bindings.

Today, this is the evidence for our faith — the living Word of God, “living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword,” (Hebrews 4:12).  It is here that God reveals Himself in His Word, written in the text and modeled in the perfect life of His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

In conversations about the search for the remains of the ark, there is almost always someone who says, “I wish they would find it and then we could prove the Bible is true,” or something like that. The Holy Bible is not meant to be ‘proven’ true. The text can be proven authentic, and we can witness to its power in our lives, but it is not meant nor will God permit it to be proved true by means of physical evidence like shards from the ark.

That’s because we must come to God on faith — “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). If the ark were found tomorrow and millions of people bowed down in awe, would they be saved? I don’t think so. They may even have been robbed of the opportunity to come to God by grace through faith because they have proof and no longer think they need faith.

Closing thoughts

Believers should come to appreciate the high value God places on faith and stop looking for relics to substantiate the truthfulness of the Holy Bible to those who have yet to come to faith. God has likely committed most of what is looked for to the dust, and what we think we’ve found probably isn’t what it appears to be. He has given us His Word, and that is enough.

As to the part of this article proposing the pre-flood society reached high technological milestones, does it really matter? As it concerns one’s salvation and the carrying of the Gospel into the world so that others may be saved, no. As it goes towards helping our understanding of what is soon to come upon us in the last days? Perhaps.

If you’d like to read more on that topic, see:

Nikola Tesla and the Last Days

How can a loving God send people to hell? — Understanding

It’s an easy question to find online. It comes up in conversations. It is a reason some turn away. That question is: How can a loving God send people to hell?

A loving God

The first assumption is correct — God is loving. In fact, God is love. He is the source of all genuine love; it is His nature. The apostle John tells us in his first epistle:

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. — 1 John 4:7
The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. — I John 4:8
We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. — I John 4:16

What God wants

What about the second part of the question? Does God send people to hell? Did He make it as a place of punishment for us?

No. Not at all. That is clear in this little secret about hell Jesus revealed (Matthew 25:41):

“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;’ “

Hell was not made for us. It was made for the satan and those angels who left heaven to follow after him.

Someone might suggest that hell was made before God created man so that, while it was not made for us, it was intended for any of God’s created beings which might rebel against Him. Humanity joined that group when Adam sinned.

While this is possible, it is not true. Here is what Jesus tells us about why God sent Him:

For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. — John 3:17

Paul tells Timothy:

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the [a]knowledge of the truth. — 1 Timothy 2:3-4

And Peter reminds us

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. — 2 Peter 3:9

What God does

How can God accomplish His will for “all men to be saved” when we are all heading toward the second death (hell) due to the innate sin that separates us from Him? He makes a way for us to be saved. To see this, we begin with the more familiar verse from John 3:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His [a]only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” — John 3:16

John tells us in preamble of his gospel that grace comes to us in Christ Jesus:

For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. — John 1:16-17

Paul explains that this grace and nothing else provides our salvation:

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) — Ephesians 2:45
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. — Ephesians 2:8-9

God provides the way for us to be saved and makes it so easy — only believe. Paul gives step-by-step instructions that a child can follow:

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in yourheart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” — Romans 8:10-11 

This gift of grace and opportunity for salvation is for humanity alone. The satan and those fallen angels that left heaven with him have no access to it. Their destiny is the lake of fire, but ours is not.

How can a loving God allow people to go to hell?

Now the question changes just a lot with just one word, from send to allow. God doesn’t send people to hell but He still lets them end up there. We still need answers, and I’ve heard different ones to this question. One is that God is a gentleman and as such does not force Himself on anyone.

Another is that since our forefather, Adam, chose to disobey God and believe (follow) the satan instead, all born of Adam and his descendants belong first to the satan, whom Christ Jesus himself says is ruler of this world and Paul explains has been allowed to blind the people in the world to the realities of the eternal.

The price of redemption was one pure life for another. Christ Jesus is begotten of God, born of a woman and yet fully God while fully man. He was, being fully God, pure and without sin. He lived a sinless life, meeting the satan head-to-head and emerging victorious over temptation to sin. That is why Christ Jesus is the sole eligible atonement to pay a man’s sin debt in this age and in all eternity.

However, just as Adam believed the satan over God, each individual has to believe God over the satan to receive that free salvation, believing (as Paul says) that salvation can be had in Christ Jesus. The problem is getting those blinders off so we can see the truth of God’s Word.

Drawing us to Himself

Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44a). That is why, following Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension, God went even further (as if we can conceive that is possible) by sending the Holy Spirit into the world.

Jesus promised His disciples that the Holy Spirit (the Helper) would come and that His ministry would be to help the believer and to convict the world of sin.

If not for God sending the Holy Spirit, no one could find the grace to be saved for we are blinded by the enemy of men’s souls. It is the presence of the Holy Spirit in the world that ministers to all hearing the gospel with the spark of grace all people need in order to be receptive to the Word of God — to have the blinders lifted — and then to be able to sense the drawing of the Father. Thanks to the coming of the Holy Spirit, all men can be saved.

You can be saved today

Our loving God sends no one to hell. If you do not yet know Christ Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you can be saved from your natural fate right now. If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.”

For more information:

 

 

 

Signs in the heavens -- blood moon and darkened sun

2017-2024 Total solar eclipses: What we know — 2017 Update

Originally posted to web site August 4, 2015.

Six Eclipses: Signs in the Heavens Today

Contemporary signs in the heavens invite an examination of the facts heightened by the natural casting of reasonable speculation in the face of the huge unknown. What do we know and what might we infer? What might we out right guess? Conservatively (as always), we venture there.

This sign in the heavens now upon us is the series of eclipses beginning in April 2014 and ending in April 2024. The first four were lunar eclipses labeled “blood moons.” These have passed. The remaining two are solar eclipses, meaning the sun will be darkened.

We will use a tried and proven method of examination and analysis. You may be familiar with the fact-finding “5 W’s” of journalism. They are:

  • What happened?
  • Who is involved?
  • Where did it take place?
  • When did it take place?
  • Why did it happen?

Some lists also include an “H” in the list:

  • How did it happen?

Just the Facts

Let’s look at the facts we know concerning the lunar and solar eclipses of 2014-2024 in that manner.

  • What happens is four total lunar and two total solar eclipses.
  • The “who” is not yet known. We are not certain in the first place if this is a sign from God, and we cannot be entirely certain for whom the sign is intended.
  • Where it happened is in the heavens, visible primarily over the America, more so North America, and particularly the USA.
  • When is within a ten year period beginning April 15, 2014, and ending April 8, 2024.
  • Why it happened is unknown in much the same way as “why.”
  • How in relation to the eclipses appearing in the sky is an easy and certain answer — by the hand of God — for He set all the luminaries in the sky into motion at the Genesis 1:14 moment of creation.

Those are the facts we have about the eclipses. From here on, we move to speculation on the meaning and more. Some of the speculation will be fact-based, but it is speculation all the same. Interesting, for sure, and some of it could end up matching with future facts, but we do not and cannot know for certain at this point in time.

What

The thing we have before us for speculative consideration is a celestial event that has a pattern that is at least minimally similar to signs in the heavens foretold in the Holy Bible: The moon is eclipsed so that it darkens and turns to blood (by appearance) and the sun turns dark.

In the Holy Bible, these signs are foretold to nations under judgement and to a world under God’s wrath at the end of the age. It would seem, then, that if this series of eclipses is truly a sign placed in the heavens by the Lord God, it would be a sign of coming judgment.

Who

When movements of the lights in the heavens occurred in days before knowledge was as easily spread as it has been in the last century or two, one part of the world could see an eclipse directly overhead while no one living elsewhere in the world would know an eclipse had happened.

This is how it was when God explained that He had put the sun, moon, and stars in the expanse, “for signs and for seasons and for days and years.” God can send a sign by lunar and solar eclipses for a particular people group in a certain geographic region with no one living in another part of the world seeing it. He says He will do that for Babylon (Isaiah 13:10) and Egypt (Ezekiel 32:7).

This map of total and annular solar eclipses in the years 2001-2020 shows how this is the case. The paths of totality (in blue) for total solar eclipses (total darkening of the sun) are narrow and precise.

Click to view on NASA site (opens in new tab).

There is no mistaking it. If God chooses to send a sign set in the heavens to a particular group of people, the eclipse is how He could do it. That is why the area where the sign is visible still matters even though the rest of the world can be made aware of it today.

Now, let’s look back to who could see the set of eclipses running 2014-2024. Here, again, are the four visibility maps for the 2014-2015 lunar tetrad:

Only the Americas have at least a partial view of all four lunar eclipses. Out of all the nations of the world, the USA has the most consistently available view of them. It seems that the people for whom this sign in the heavens is meant live somewhere in these regions.

What about the total lunar eclipses of 2017 and 2024? There is no doubt at all that the solar eclipses are meant to be seen by those living in the USA. The dot in the center of the shadow designates the path of totality (total darkness) during the eclipse and it crosses right over the continental USA from sea to shining sea:

   

There is a group that will insist that any sign in the heavens has to be meant for another part of the world. One argument might be that God knew that by the time He sent this sign, everyone in the world knows when an eclipse occurs anywhere in the world. That is possible but I don’t think it is likely. We’ll flesh that out in a later section.

Where

The signs appear in the sky above us. Another approach to “where” would be to ask where the judgement or whatever the signs are meant to warn of or convey will happen, and we pretty well covered that under the “who” part of this section.

When

No one knows. First of all, no one knows for sure that this is a sign from God of impending judgement. Yes, I know, that’s been said a couple times already, but it’s important to keep in mind.

Second, even if we were sure that these eclipses are one of the prophesied signs in the heavens, there is no way to know when the judgement will fall.

It did not happen during the lunar tetrad. Many (including yours truly) thought that another Rosh Hashanah stock market crash might come along to close out the second seven (2001 to 2008, and then 2008 to 2015) and the lunar tetrad, but it didn’t happen.

The 2017 solar eclipse happens on August 21, 2017. The April 8, 2024, solar eclipse occurs 6.66 years after the first. The mid-point between the two falls in mid-December, 2020.

Continue Reading:

Blood moon and sackcloth sun: Ancient writings

Blood moons were just the beginning

Sun turns dark over America

 

Sun turns dark over America — 2017 Update

Originally posted to web site August 4, 2015.

On the heels of the 2014-2015 lunar tetrad come two total solar eclipses that will hold many in awe as the sun turns dark over America from coast to coast.

On August 21, 2017, a solar eclipse begins in the Pacific Ocean at sunrise. Visible throughout North America, the path of totality makes landfall mid-morning in Oregon, transits over Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee, then exits mid-afternoon over South Carolina and onto the Atlantic Ocean.

August 21, 2017 -- the sun turns dark over America for the first time in nearly 100 years.

On April 8, 2024, the sun is eclipsed over the Pacific Ocean at sunrise. Making landfall near Mazatlan, Mexico, its darkness sweeps into the USA at a point in southwest Texas. For the next hour or so, the path of totality engulfs parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New York, Vermont, and Maine before making its exit into New Brunswick, Canada.

August 21, 2017 -- the sun's path turns dark over America.

The animations here show the shadows of the upcoming total solar eclipses as they envelop the USA mainland.

August 21, 2017, total solar eclipse animation.

April 8, 2024, total solar eclipse animation.

The dot in the center of the shadow is path of totality, where the sun turns dark over America as if it were night. Images: NASA

How common is a total solar eclipse over North America?

Most of earth’s surface lacks people. About 71% is covered with water, and only about 40% of the land is populated. It follows, then, that most eclipses fall over water and unpopulated land. Few have a path of totality over major population centers, and relatively few of those transit over North America.

The last two over any point in the United States were visible only in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii.

In February 1979, a total solar eclipse crossed the far northwest corner of the continental USA:

February 6, 1979, total solar eclipse. Image: NASA.

In July 1991, a total solar eclipse was visible over Hawaii:

July 11, 1991, total solar eclipse map. To visit NASA's page for an eclipse, click the link in the caption for each image.July 11, 1991, total solar eclipse. Image: NASA.

We have to go back to June 8, 1918– the summer that the bulk of America’s troops arrived in Europe to fight WWI — for the last solar eclipse with a path of totality crossing the USA from Pacific to Atlantic:

June 8, 1918, total solar eclipse map. To visit NASA's page for an eclipse, click the link in the caption for each image.
June 8, 1918, total solar eclipse. Image: NASA.

Only a handful of people alive today were around to see the total solar eclipse of 1918. Many Americans have lived and died without an opportunity to see one within driving distance. People living into their seventies, eighties, and most now in their nineties have not seen it.

Sun turns dark over America — the conclusion of a sign?

That lack of opportunity is about to end. The animation below shows that over the next seven years or so just about everyone in the USA will be within driving distance of a spot where they can be a witness along with their family and friends as the sun turns dark over America.

It seems to make an “X” over the country, doesn’t it? What could that mark mean?

Add this to what we saw in the lunar eclipse visibility maps in Blood moons were just the beginning and we might wonder what we are experiencing as blackness covers us when the sun turns dark over America during the total solar eclipses of 2017 and 2024. Is this part 2 of the sign? What does it mean? Who is it for? We’ll start to explore that in the next section of the series, Signs in the heavens: Facts and speculation.

 

Continue Reading:

2017-2024 Total solar eclipses: What we know

Blood moon and sackcloth sun: Ancient writings

Blood moons were just the beginning

 

 

Blood moons were just the beginning -- dothnet.net

Blood moons were just the beginning — 2017 Update

Originally posted to web site August 4, 2015.

A couple of years ago you could hardly throw a virtual stone on the web without hitting someone that knew all about the so-called “blood moons.” Most articles on the topic related those blood moon eclipses to the prophecy in Joel 2:31.  It was not that blood moon we were seeing in the skies, but it may be fair to say that the sign isn’t over, that blood moons were just the beginning.

There is good reason to look to the moon for prophetic signs relating to the next and final act in God’s amazing redemptive plan for humanity. From the very beginning, God told us to watch for signs in the heavens:

Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; (Genesis 1:14).

In several places throughout the Scriptures, God spells out specifically that signs in the heavens will come as a warning of judgement. Here are just a few of these passages:

In Isaiah 13:10, God speaks against Babylon, saying,

For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not flash forth their light; the sun will be dark when it rises and the moon will not shed its light.

He declares against Egypt in Ezekiel 32:7,

And when I extinguish you, I will cover the heavens and darken their stars; I will cover the sun with a cloud And the moon will not give its light.

In Joel 2:10, we read,

The sun and the moon grow dark and the stars lose their brightness,

and in verse 31,

The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.

In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus prophesies,

But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Matthew 24:29; also ref. Mark 13:24-25, Luke 21:25).

In Revelation 6:12-13,

I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind.

And Revelation 8:12,

The fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.

Did you notice anything about those passages? A pattern of the signs in the heavens they describe? Sure you did. It is always the sun and the moon. So how is it that in all the discussion of blood moons during the 2014-2015 tetrad, no one seems to have thought to look for a movement in the sun? Is it possible that these blood moons were just the beginning of a larger overall set of signs in the heavens?

Absolutely, and we’re going to look at all of it in this series of articles.

Signs in the Moon

We will begin where we have been. That means looking at the signs that have already passed.

This series of maps (from NASA) shows where the 2014-2015 total lunar eclipses were visible. White and lighter shades of grey indicate areas where the eclipse could be seen (white being 100% visible) while the darkest shade of grey shows where it was not visible at all. To get a better view, click on the image to go to the NASA page for that eclipse (opens in a new tab).

The April 15, 2014, total lunar eclipse was fully visible in most of North America, parts of South America, and the east coast of Australia and nearby islands. It was less visible over the Atlantic Ocean and parts of Europe and Asia, and not visible at all in the majority of Europe, Asia, and most of Africa, including the Middle East.

Blood moons were just the beginning -- the April 15, 2014, total solar eclipse.

 On October 8, 2014, the second of four total lunar eclipses was most visible over the Pacific Ocean’s vast ‘Ring of Fire‘ region (including Australia). It could also be witnessed from most of North and South America and much of Asia, though to a lesser extent than the previous two. It was not visible in the vast majority of Europe and Africa, and it again was not visible in the Middle East.

Blood moons were just the beginning -- October 8, 2014 total lunar eclipse.

 

The April 4, 2015, total lunar eclipse was visible to much the same areas as its immediate predecessor.

The April 4, 2015, total lunar eclipse -- click to view @ NASA site.

 

The last of the tetrad, the September 28, 2015, total lunar eclipse was visible in South America, most of North America, over the Atlantic Ocean and from most of Europe and Africa (including the Middle East).

The september 28, 2015, total solar eclipse. Click to view @ NASA site.

If where an eclipse is visible means anything, these four “blood moons” were primarily intended to speak to the people of North and South America. No other area had at least a fair viewing of all four of them.

And that’s not all, folks. As the title of this article implies, there is much more to come because the so-called “blood moons” were just the beginning. There are accompanying signs in the heavens coming up in the next few years that align with the pattern of the prophetic signs, for just as the moon turned red as blood in the lunar eclipses, in 2017 and 2024 we see the sun doing exactly what the prophets say the sun will do: Go dark or turn black.

Continue Reading:

Sun turns dark over America

2017-2024 Total solar eclipses: What we know

Blood moon and sackcloth sun: Ancient writings

 

In defense of the pre-trib rapture: Imminency -- dothnet.net

A look at the pre-trib rapture: Imminency required

One defense for the rapture happening before the Great Tribulation begins is the need for a rapture imminency. According to pre-trib proponents, that means it can happen at any time, without warning or any notable event coming first, and with no way of determining exactly when it will occur.

That aligns fairly well with Merriam-Webster’s definition of, “ready to take place;” as in “hanging threateningly over one’s head,” giving the example, “was in imminent danger of being run over.” Let’s look at what the Holy Bible tell us about imminency and the return of Christ for His church.

Scriptural proofs

No one knows the day or the hour the rapture will occur. We know this because Jesus said so. He told His disciples in the Olivet Discourse that when it comes to His return,

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” — Matthew 24:36

And yet, He did not say that we would be left without a clue as to when the time was near. In later portions of the Discourse, our Lord said

“(S)o, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.” — v. 33

And:

“Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.” — v. 42

Just as those promoting the pre-tribulation timing of the rapture use verse 36 to dictate the need for imminency, they use the later verses to insist that while we cannot know the day or the hour, we can (and some say, must) know the times and the seasons. Many align current events with Christ’s warnings of wars, earthquakes, love growing cold, etc., and then point to it as evidence of our being in those times and seasons right now.

This is said to be knowing the season but not the day or the hour, thereby preserving rapture imminency.

The countdown

The difference between knowing the times and the seasons verses the day and the hour supposedly proves a pre- vs. post-tribulation rapture because the Great Tribulation brings with it a countdown to the very day or hour.

Here is how this theory goes: If you are on the earth during the Great Tribulation, you will be able to count down to the day and maybe even the hour that the Lord Jesus will return. That is because the expected Anti-Christ will make a covenant with the nation Israel for seven years, break it in the middle of the seven years (bringing us into the Great Tribulation vs. a lighter tribulation in the first half of the seven), and at the end of that Great Tribulation (and the entire seven years) Christ will return. Therefore, all one has to do is make note of the date that covenant or treaty is signed, count ahead seven years to the day and perhaps even the hour, and you will know the day and the hour that the rapture is going to happen.

There is one huge problem with that. There will be no covenant between Anti-Christ and the nation Israel for seven years. This is a sadly popular misunderstanding of who makes the covenant with Israel and when (Daniel 9:27). Since there is no such covenant in the last days, there is no marker for a final countdown, and this argument for rapture imminency is dead on arrival.

The man of lawlessness

In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul assured the Christians there that those who have died in Christ would rise again at His return:

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 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, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 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 will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

The bolded portion relates to a latter section, so please keep in mind it’s there.

Paul continues in chapter 5:

Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.

In his second letter to the church, Paul addresses an issue of concern that has sprung up among God’s people there:

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

And he tells them what must happen before that day comes:

Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things?

If the man of lawlessness, the one most pre-trib adherents call ‘the’ anti-Christ, must be revealed and take his seat in the temple of God, claiming to be God, before the people of God are gathered to meet Christ in the air, how is the return of the Lord imminent? If imminent means, as many say it does, “nothing more needs to happen in God’s timeline” before Christ appears for His church, how do we deal with Paul’s saying the man of lawlessness must be revealed before that day comes?

Jesus’ own words on rapture timing

Did Jesus say anything about the timing of the rapture in relation to the Great Tribulation?

Yes; He said it would be “immediately after the tribulation.”

“But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.” — Mathew 24:29-31 (ref. Mark 13:24-27).

The angels with a great trumpet? They will sound that trumpet out over the land. Paul talks about it in I Corinthians 15:51-52:

Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

True rapture imminency

There is a true imminency about the last day and our appearance before Christ Jesus which is, if you think about it, a sort of personal rapture imminency. It is the frailty of human life. No one has the next second guaranteed to them. This is why we should be a living witness to the world around us, so that in our lives they may see something that brings them to ask us to give the reason for the hope that is in us (I Peter 3:15). That hope is in Christ alone, and it comes at His appearing whether we are among those who are alive and remain or those who have fallen asleep (I Thessalonians 4:15-18).

Once all sections in this series are complete a list with links will be posted below. Thanks for your patience.

Introduction to Series

 

 


 

End Time Delusions: The Rapture, the Antichrist, Israel, and the End of the World

It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine): How to stop worrying and learn to love these End Times

Intoxicated with Babylon: The Seduction of God’s People in the Last Days

In defense of the pre-trib rapture: longing -- dothnet.net

A look at the pre-trib rapture: Loving His appearing

I do not like to write about things like this, but what you are about to read is ugly. The way pre-tribbers use this particular defense of the pre-trib rapture – longing – is just plain ugly. Prepare yourself before reading further.

The Holy Bible makes clear that one indication of being a child of God is loving or longing for Christ’s return, His appearing, at the last day.

“In the future there is reserved for me the [victor’s] crown of righteousness [for being right with God and doing right], which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that [great] day—and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved and longed for and welcomed His appearing.” — 2 Timothy 4:8 (AMP)
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” — Titus 2:11-14
“And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.” — Hebrews 9:28-29

The rapture: Longing for Christ

In their efforts to shame anyone who does not adhere to the dispensationalist pre-tribulation rapture theory, some people are bold and cold enough to suggest that those who do not support it are lacking in their love for God. First, they cite the above verses describing what any true child of God feels about the rapture: longing. Those in Christ long for the appearing of our Lord and Savior. We hunger to be with Him forever and ever, and to know the closeness with Him we lack until that day.

The ugly way they use this is to say that anyone longing for His appearing will want it to be as soon as possible. That must mean, then, that those who do not adhere to the pre-tribulation rapture lack this longing and are not truly His child. Take it one more step and you can then reject anything and everything they say, including insight into Scripture proving the pre-trib rapture to be false.

The “rapture longing” proof for the pre-tribulation rapture is perhaps the most despicable of them all.

More to read in the series:  (full list coming soon)

Imminency

Rescue

Longing

Wrath

Introduction


End Time Delusions: The Rapture, the Antichrist, Israel, and the End of the World

It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine): How to stop worrying and learn to love these End Times

Intoxicated with Babylon: The Seduction of God’s People in the Last Days

Pre-trib Rapture? Yes, the church will be caught up to be with the Lord forever, but the timing is unclear to some.

A look at the pre-trib rapture: Why take it up now?

Over many years while under the ministry of many preachers, teachers, and laymen in the church, I heard every possible defense of the pre-tribulaton or pre-trib rapture view of the church in the last day. Growing up in a small holiness church in central Ohio, the consensus was that the pre-trib timing of the rapture was certain. No dissenting view was ever heard.

As a young person, I did not question my elders’ understanding of the Scriptures. I believed and wanted to always believe that the rapture of the church came before the Great Tribulation. Christians would be spirited away (quite literally) into the heavens, kept safe from all the horrors about to come upon the earth in that day.

I believed that for the first score and four years of my life. Then one day, troubled with the lack of support for that belief in the Holy Bible, I asked our pastor about it. He referred me to the very passages that had troubled me with no explanation of the text, only an assurance that this is what it has to mean.

There was no chance of finding someone in my church to talk about this with an objective view toward the Scriptures. On some of my early and naive attempts, the mere thought of being on the earth during the Great Tribulation brought some of them to tears. It just wasn’t worth putting loved ones through that when I was not sure myself.

Fortunately, the Internet soon came along and I was able to begin searching for what people all around the world were saying. Not only did I discover there is absolutely no biblical support to the pre-trib rapture theory but also the dispensational view of the Holy Bible was lacking proof. Every single tenet, foundation, and proof for any defense I had ever heard for the pre-tribulation rapture went ‘poof!’ right before my eyes as I read the text.

As the Holy Spirit is opening more and more hearts, minds, and eyes to the truth on this matter, the remaining supporters of it are being more forceful than ever in proclaiming their defense of the pre-tribulation rapture. Some are getting down-right mean toward those who pray for them to see the truth on the matter, accusing us of having no interest in prophecy and not longing for the return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

That attitude may be an indication of the Holy Spirit dealing with hearts or it may be a sign of clinging to a comfortable deception that tickles itching ears. I was that way once — who wouldn’t rather believe you’re going to be taken away to be with the Lord before the world falls apart than face the truth that we need to prepared to stand true and minister as it does?

Views on Revelation and the rapture

Let’s quickly review the most prominent views of the Book of Revelation and the rapture.

The pre-trib (as in, tribulation, referring to the Great Tribulation) view of the rapture (aka the return of Christ Jesus for His church) is popular among dispensationalists. They claim that it happens so that the church is not on the earth at the time of the Great Tribulation. One reason given for this having to be so is that we are to be spared from God’s wrath, as promised. Another such reason is that it permits God to deal exclusively with the Jewish people for the last seven years of the age.

The pre-trib timing of the rapture is one perspective held among a vast number of views of what will take place during the end times according to those holding to a futurist interpretation of the events described in the Book of Revelation (that’s singular, by the way).

The futurist view stands in contrast to the preterist, historicist, and idealist views of the Revelation. To quickly review:

  • Preterists generally believes everything in the Book of Revelation was fulfilled by 70 A.D.;
  • Historicists propose that it covers all of church history from the first apostles to the return of Christ;
  • Idealists believe it is an allegory explaining the spiritual struggle between God and the satan from beginning to end; and,
  • Futurists tend to believe that all of the Revelation is describing events yet future.

Folks believing the events are mostly past or allegory may not have the same divisions as we who see the end of days as a future event in real time. I’m sure there are exceptions, but most historicists I know believe the rapture comes after the Great Tribulation and hold to the amillennial viewpoint.

As a futurist, you can hold any of many different perspective on the text as well as any combination of those perspectives, those these generally center on three basic concepts: The rapture, the millennium, and dispensationalism. The last one divides most futurists into two camps.

  • If you hold to the dispensationalist view of the Holy Bible, you are almost certainly an adherent to the pre-trib rapture. That’s because dispensationalism does not make sense without it.
  • If you reject dispensationlism, you can see things clearly.
John Wesley on dispensations after grace.
Those holding to the Wesleyan tradition in one hand and dispensationalism in the other might be unaware of his expressed belief on the matter, such as this quote from one of John Wesley’s sermons.

Why bother?

I have heard people who grew up in the same little church as I did say, as an adult without Christ, that they will know it is time to get ready when the rapture happens. Not only is that bad thinking because we never know when our own personal ‘rapture’ will occur but it sets up those around those people to not be trusted when the last days turn out as they will (with the church still here). Let’s say Bill believed everything his aunt Sally told him about the Bible since he was a little boy in that little country church and one thing she’s always taught him is that the rapture happens before the Great Tribulation.

Bill hasn’t been to church in years, has no relationship with the Lord at all, but has it in his mind to make things right when aunt Sally and other Christians he knows are raptured. If Bill and Sally are fortunate to remain alive until that day, what does Sally tell Bill? That she was wrong and here is what’s happening now. Will Bill believe she is right this time? Without seeing the rapture happen, will he be provoked to find faith at all?

And then, there is the readiness of the church. I won’t accuse that those who hold to these beliefs are all going to fall should they be alive at the end times, but if we think (in the USA) that religious persecution has come to our land today, well, we haven’t seen anything yet. We must be prepared to lose all, plain and simple. Material goods, people we love, freedoms, rights, up to our very lives. The Holy Spirit will give us what to say and what to pray, so we don’t need to rehearse speeches or memorize prayers, but we need to be ready for that day all the same.

Easy to follow

This will not be one of those over-your-head articles that throw so many intricate details at you that the big picture gets missed. It’s easy to follow and understand. I promise.

No particular order

I think that’s enough of an introduction. When you are ready to begin the first installment of this series, click where you’d like to begin. There in no particular order.

More to read in the series:  (full list coming soon)

Imminency

Rescue

Longing

Wrath

Introduction

More . . .


End Time Delusions: The Rapture, the Antichrist, Israel, and the End of the World

It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine): How to stop worrying and learn to love these End Times

Intoxicated with Babylon: The Seduction of God’s People in the Last Days