Saturday, December 27, 2014

Why prophecy is important (The world is unraveling)

I love prophecy. To me, it is the clearest identifier of God as sovereign over the universe, the earth, humans, and time. He writes history in advance, because He is king of all, and what He says will come to pass.

I also love studying the bible. I believe it is the highest and best use of time, to get to know the attributes of the LORD, to seek His face through what He has told us. If you want 'direct revelation', the bible cannot be beat for informing us of our Lord and King, Jesus.

The bible is knowable and understandable to the Christian. We have the Holy Spirit in us to illuminate His word to us. (Ephesians 1:17-18). The Holy Spirit teaches us spiritual things. (1 Corinthians 2:10-13). Of course there are some things in the bible we cannot understand, such as the Trinity, One God in three Persons. We cannot understand the Spirit's overcoming Mary and producing a child. We do not understand all the ways in which God thinks. However, for the most part, the doctrines upon which He has given to us, are understandable.

One such doctrine is the doctrine of eschatology. This is the doctrine of 'last things', or end times. Just because there are many people who won't or can't understand the various threads of prophecy does not mean there exists confusion about what He plans to do. The pre-tribulation rapture is one of these understandable doctrines, clearly outlined in the bible to those who care to learn. Some people say Revelation is difficult, I find it easy to understand. I do find Daniel difficult, but that does not stop me from studying it, nor from turning to other scripture to help me interpret Daniel's book. It can be done, and it has been done. Oliver B. Greene's commentary on Daniel is wonderful. John MacArthur's book "Because the Time is Near" is a clear explanation of Revelation.

Even this is a doctrine! It is called the Perspicuity of Scripture. According to the Theopedia, the perspicuity of scripture means,
The doctrine of the clarity of Scripture (often called the "perspicuity of Scripture") teaches that "the meanings of the text can be clear to the ordinary reader, that God uses the text of the Bible to communicate His person and will."  
"The witness of the Church throughout the ages is that ordinary people, who approach it in faith and humility, will be able to understand what the Bible is getting at, even if they meet with particular points of difficulty here and there."

Yet there are some people who refuse to believe the doctrines of last things, because so many other people are mixed up over them. 'They can't be understood, so why try?' I was told by one man in church. "I'm a pan-tribber, it'll all work out in the end," he said.

Illustrator, Chris Koelle, The Book of Revelation
That is a highly offensive statement, and I said so to his face. It is a blight on Jesus, the Spirit, and God who inspired it, and all the Apostles who wrote the inspired word, and all the martyrs who protected it, to be so blatantly dismissive of 30% of God's holy doctrines. Jesus did not reveal last things to John, nor the angel to Daniel, so God's people could mock them.

Did you know that every NT book except Philemon mentions last things?

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (2 Timothy 3:16)

So I was so pleased when John MacArthur was asked about eschatology in his latest Q & A session at Grace Community Church. In Q&A session #62 it was stated by the interviewer that they had received more than a dozen questions regarding eschatology.

First, MacArthur noted that a church without a solid understanding of eschatology has got a huge loose end. Here are MacArthur's words on the importance of the church understanding and teaching last things:
a church without a solid biblical eschatology, meaning understanding of the end of history has got a huge loose end. It’s huge. I said something about that this morning when I was kind of wrapping up. I said, the Jews wanted to force all the prophesies regarding the Messiah into His first coming. We have Christians who want to take all the prophesies concerning Christ and push them back into His first coming. They’re called pretrerists, amillenialists. So they have this theology with this totally open end. It just has no closure. They don’t seem to care particularly. It’s almost like a badge of Reformed loyalty to be unsure about how everything ends.
I am running into this attitude more frequently, the badge of loyalty to uncertainty. "I'm super-spiritually humble because I refuse to state how things will end." Or, "I'm super tolerant of all the different interpretations, because who am I to say dogmatically? It's all just beyond little ole me." Uncertainty is the new loyalty. But is that right? Is that honoring to Jesus? Here's more from MacArthur.
I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t work well with me. First of all, I don’t think God gave a clear beginning and just kind of lost Himself at the end. I don’t think if Genesis 1 says that God created in six days and there’s no question about it, and He lays out exactly how He did it; and you get to the book of Revelation and you hear about periods of certain weeks and certain months and certain years and a thousand year millennium, and then an eternal state. I don’t think God lost His way at the end. I don’t think He was confused at the end. I think the end is as precise as the beginning. To be honest with you, I am far more concerned about the end than I am the beginning. The beginning is over. I’m glad it was what it was, and it explains why things are the way they are.
This is an important point. God did not state it clearly in the beginning and then back away from clarity for the end. He is just as clear in Revelation as He was in Genesis.

Source
As for the people who say, 'There are so many interpretations, it's just best to let go and let God. It'll all work out in the end, anyhow,' I say that's just a bunch of lazy hooey. There are not many views of last things. There is only one view, God's view, and He has shared it with us.
But I don’t think you can over estimate the value of a church with a clear ecclesiology and a clear eschatology. Clear understanding of the church, and a clear understanding of what the Bible says about how things are going to end. It does say something. It doesn’t say everything, and it doesn’t say whatever you want it to say. It doesn’t have ten views or five views or four views. There’s just one view.
MacArthur went on to describe a wonderful moment in Kazakhstan some years ago. Kazakhstan is east of Mongolia and north of Turkey. It is around the world. He was asked to teach 1600 men at a pastor's conference. MacArthur taught 8 hours a day for 6 days a week. The men were hungry for the word, to be taught. They had been behind the Iron Curtain and now were released into more freedoms, including the freedom to practice religion, and to gather. They'd been denied a congregation, education, commentaries, access to internet or anything resembling study aids. They had each other, and the bible...and the Holy Spirit. So they wanted to know about all the doctrines, including eschatology.

MacArthur said,
I laid out; I went through the book of Revelation systematically and showed them the end. They said to me after that – I took a day to do that. The end of that day they said, “You believe what we believe.” I said, “I believe what you believe?” Same Bible. Guess what? It’s so clear that people with no training, no seminary, and no commentaries could understand what the book of Revelation said.
The reason I gave you the illustration about Kazakhstan is because that is as alien a place as you could ever be. Thirty-five hours to get there. You step off the plane. I’ve never been there. I don’t know what’s going on. I teach them a whole day on the end times, and they tell me that’s exactly what they believe. How did they come to that? They don’t have seminaries. They don’t have books. They don’t have anything. That’s what the Bible says. You have to go to school and listen to somebody who deceives you to undo that because that’s what’s there.
MacArthur has said before that any believer who landed on a desert island with nothing else except his bible can and would understand eschatology. The 1,600 Kazakhstan men were as close to desert island as you can get in this modern world, and eschatology was made understandable to them- because they studied it.

Source
As a note, what a glory it is that we believers have this unifying thread! What a moment of recognition between a Scottish-descended pastor from Sun Valley CA and Kazakhstani men isolated behind the iron curtain, to know each other as brothers! This unifying thread is the holy word, the Bible.

For men to say, 'Ack, it's all too much for me, it'll all work out in the end, anyway,' is a direct rejection of the wonder of being able to recognize and commune with brothers via a common and eternal understanding of God's word, wherever you are on earth.

Rejecting eschatology is also a rejection of the work that the Spirit has done in men that He has raised up. Many resources are out there, as I mentioned, commentaries, sermons, books, timelines...it is all there for us.

To continue what MacArthur said about eschatology,
I think it matters how it all ends. I think God is glorified when we acknowledge Him as the Creator, the beginning; and I think He is glorified when we acknowledge Him as the consummator, the end. I think that’s a huge benefit for Christians looking at the world and wondering where is this going? Where is this going?

In talking to Al Mohler when I was back there a few weeks ago, he said he’s more eschatological than he’s ever been. He’s almost apocalyptic because he sees a world that just there is no way to reverse this. This thing is in a massive free fall, and there is no way to stop this. He’s pretty well-attuned to the way things are, and he says, “I’ve never felt so eschatological, so apocalyptic about the way the world is going.” Well, if you want to understand where the world is going, you can as a believer. That gives us such a powerful confidence that all that is coming is laid out for us on the pages of Scripture. I think that’s a treasure that a church can’t underestimate.
Do not reject the treasure of eschatology. It is just as much a treasure as the Psalms and the Gospels. Do not reject the work we are to do through eschatology. We have the answer to how it will all end. Lost people are confused and frightened about where this world is headed. We know it. Do not be afraid to study, and then to share.

What message does it send when a mature man of the faith in church makes a public statement dismissing eschatology? It tells the next generation that it is not worth studying, and bible illiteracy increases, just at the time when the next generation may be the very generation to see these things come to pass and could have been more fervent and diligent about sharing the truth with lost and confused people.

John MacArthur is a unique individual and is in a unique position. It was common in the old days for a pastor to stay for decades. Not so any more, where the average pastoral stay is 5 years or less. MacArthur has been at Grace Church for 46 years. He is 75 years old. He has seen history unfold, prophecy fulfilled and apostasy rise. He said,
I’m seeing this world unravel. There doesn’t seem to be any way back. I mean this is totally out of control. This is a free fall down a black hole. So, you can’t just say, “Well, eschatology doesn’t matter.” That is not helpful. People want answers. Where is this thing going? It’s not fair to God, it’s a dishonor to God to say, “Well, the Bible is not clear.” It is clear. It is absolutely clear.
Yes, it is sad and offensive that there are so many people who refuse to study last things. Those who dismiss the Spirit's work in inspiring that portion of the bible are simply missing out on so much glory. It is also sad that so many brethren have unfortunately come to different understandings of what God clearly laid out. But does that mean we reject it all? Does that mean that is is useless for us individually to study it? No.
I just wish that the church was unified on what the Bible says. I don’t like it that there are Christians who don’t believe in Creation, but believe in some form of evolution. I think that dishonors God and confuses people. I don’t like it that there are Christians who don’t accept what the Bible says about the end either. But I think it’s wonderful that we do, and the answers are there.
God's word has all the answers, including last things. Please do not be afraid to jump in and read, learn, pray, and receive illumination from the Spirit. Do not be afraid to seek credible, quality study aids. Always remember the perspicuity of scripture. The bible is clear.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Further Reading

Academic Paper - The Master's Seminary: The Perspicuity of Scripture

Essay - Oliver B. Greene on the Pre-Tribulation rapture

Essay - Thirty-Six Pre-Trib Rapture texts

Sermon - Christmas Future: Last Things of Jesus Christ in Revelation

Sermon - The Clarity of Scripture, Part 1


17 comments :

  1. Bookmarked this. Probably going to print it out for safekeeping offline. This gives me the sense of world-war-era newspaper clippings. I'm imagining what it might be to look back at the warnings from good teachers we received in this generation, a generation or two hence.

    I believe the end is soon, but it may delay a century or so. Who truly knows? I think it's a mark of obedience to God both to 'plan as if the earth goes on forever, live as if it will end today' (modified version of a popular quote). So a thought I keep in the back of my mind to reassure me against temptations of fatalism, that what I do might have no impact, is the possibility that several generations of offspring might be blessed by my personal archive of world history, Biblical theology and current events commentary by prominent people living today.

    /ramble :)

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  2. I too, listened to that Q&A a few weeks ago when it first came out. When JMac was telling the story of the men from Kazakhstan, internally I resounded with a YES! It is not a surprise to me that they came to the proper conclusion, because there is ONE Holy Spirit who indwells all true believers. That is why I question when professed believers have such wildly wrong interpretations of end things, or don't want to study at all. It is my belief that those who have the Holy Spirit will be drawn to study all aspects of the word and WILL come the correct and only view of end things.
    I also was audibly "amen-ing" JMac when he talked about churches having a solid understanding and how not is a disservice to Christ and confusing to others!
    ~Jennifer

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  3. Elizabeth, what do you make of Revelation 20:4,5 which says:

    "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the FIRST resurrection - Revelation 20:4-5

    Why is it called FIRST, if the Rapture's resurrection occurred before this event?

    Also, this passage from 1 Corinthians 15: 51,52 which says:

    “Behold I show you a mystery we shall not all sleep but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the LAST TRUMP, for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed. (1 Cor 15:51,52)

    Is this LAST TRUMP is the same of the 7th Trumpet of Revelation 15, which says:

    Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”

    Finally, (for now) Jesus' promise to the church at Philadelphia truly sounds like they will not go through the Great Tribulation. How do we know that the end time church is Philadelphia and not Smyrna, some of which were to have "tribulation ten days"? To me, this last day Church might be better described as Laodicea. Does the present Church really correspond best with Philadelphia, the only assembly out of seven to receive that promise? Wouldn't ALL churches partake in the Rapture?

    Admittedly, I've not studied this issue in depth as you probably have, but I find major obstacles (some of which I just mentioned) to a "case closed" certainty about a PreTrib Rapture.

    Thank you.

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    Replies
    1. I'm sorry you find obstacles.

      here are some essays that address your concerns.

      s the last trumpet of 1 Thessalonians 4 the same as the seventh trumpet of Revelation?
      Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/last-trumpet.html#ixzz3NEjxZWdN

      What is the first resurrection? What is the second resurrection?"
      http://www.gotquestions.org/resurrection-first-second.html

      When is the Rapture going to occur in relation to the Tribulation?"
      http://www.gotquestions.org/rapture-tribulation.html

      Oliver B. Greene on the pre-trib rapture
      http://the-end-time.blogspot.com/2014/07/oliver-b-greene-on-pre-trib-rapture.html

      More on why the rapture till be pre-tribulation
      http://the-end-time.blogspot.com/2011/01/more-on-rapture-will-be-pre-tribulation.html

      Anonymous, His church is not appointed to wrath,

      Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. Rev 3:10

      For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Thess 5:9

      Come, my people, enter into your rooms And close your doors behind you; Hide for a little while Until indignation runs its course. 21For behold, the LORD is about to come out from His place To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; Isaiah 26:20-21

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    2. Thanks for the quick reply. Could you also address why you think that the end-time church is Philadelphia? Doesn't look that way from here. Maybe elsewhere, but isn't Laodicea a better representation of the western Church?

      Also, why only one of the seven churches was giving this promise?

      Thank you.

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    3. One more thing, if I may. If the Tribulation is the wrath (which God has not appointed us to, but rather to salvation), what of the multitudes saved during the Tribulation? Are they under God's wrath? If God is not pouring wrath on them, why or how would He be pouring wrath on the Church, if it were also present? Both are/would still be " but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ".

      Thank you.

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    4. I don't think the end time church is Philadelphia. I simply shared one of the proof-text verse with you in answer to your questions.

      There are elements of all 7 of the churches in Revelation present on earth today that Jesus wrote to. They were both actual, local churches, and they are symbolic of all the types of churches on earth at this point in time.

      However, we see from the verse in Rev that I shared with you that the church at Philadelphia is a church that had no condemnation, only virtues, and because of their perseverance they were given the promise. More here
      http://www.gotquestions.org/church-in-Philadelphia.html

      I gave a quick reply so that you in turn can go slowly through the material in order to resolve the existing questions and concerns you'd had, rather than piling more questions on top of what you've already asked. Good luck and hopefully the material I shared plus other material you find on your own will help you to remove the obstacles you have toward faith in the promise of a pre-tribulation rapture..

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    5. In reference to your next set of theological questions, the last I hope because there is value in actually learning the answers to the first set at some point, yes, wrath is poured out onto the believers in the Tribulation.

      The church age concludes at the rapture. The people who come to faith during the Tribulation were enemies of Christ at the moment of the rapture, and so were not part of the church, nor will ever be. There is a number of members Jesus has in mind for the church, (Rom 11:25) and when that number is reached, the church age of grace ends and we are taken to heaven.

      The believers left behind will come to faith during the time of wrath are not part of the church and therefore are not church saints, they are known as Tribulation Saints. If they were part of the church, or if the entire church was to go thru the Tribulation, then Jesus' promise to Peter that the gates of hell will not over come His church (Mt 16:18) would be a lie, because in Revelation 13:7 power is given to the Beast to wage war against the saints and to overcome them- yet another reason the church will not go thru the rapture

      More here on Tribulation saints-
      http://www.gotquestions.org/tribulation-saints.html

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    6. I can't add anything to this, Biblically or theologically, because Elizabeth already responded perfectly. But just a few logical pointers:

      1. Anon, you seemed to unnecessarily allegorize the 'ten days' of tribulation for one of the churches John wrote letters to. Why can't ten days be ten days? And seven years be seven years? Nowhere in Revelation is there an indication that the symbolism in the description of the Tribulation is in any way connected to the statements told to those churches, save perhaps the "hour of trial" language as the sole exception. As Elizabeth pointed out, the Rev churches are both literal and representative--not allegorical. What that means is that 1) that church literally had 10 days of persecution soon after the letter arrived, and 2) churches with similar characteristics to this one, throughout history, have on occasion suffered short periods of persecution as testing/refining of the faithful. What I mean by saying that it is not allegorical, is that the purpose of the letter is not to mysteriously impart some vague prophecy, such as that every promise and warning to each and every one of them somehow predicts an eschatologically significant epoch of time for the global Church. Not so. I caution you against moving so quickly from a literal reading, and from even a symbolic or qualitatively representative reading, straight into an allegorical reading. You might want to google "the historical-grammatical method" with regard to Scriptural interpretation. It may help.

      2. The rapture is not a resurrection. Resurrection is making something dead alive. Everyone who is a believer and alive at the point of the Rapture is taken up without seeing death. They are "translated," you could say. But "the first resurrection" is just another term for "the resurrection unto life," and that name mainly helps distinguish it from the resurrection unto death. Those dead in Christ and alive in Christ at the rapture, as well as those who died in Christ during the Tribulation, and those who died in Christ and were alive in Christ at the end of the Millenium, ALL those people are partakers in "the first resurrection," which is the blanket term for God's plan of glorification and perfection of those who believe. Everyone who dies in unbelief, from the beginning to the end of history, remains dead, and all are "raised" only for the purpose of being publicly judged and sent to hell, all at once, after all of these other things have occurred.

      So the answer to why the resurrection after the Trib is the 'first' resurrection is twofold:
      the Rapture isn't a "resurrection," per se; though some are raised from death, many are not.
      more to the point: the first resurrection is first with respect to the second one, that of the unbelievers. Even if the resurrection of believers is spread out over a thousand-year period, with some translated and others dying first, it's still before the resurrection of the unrepentant to everlasting condemnation. The term "first" doesn't have to mean "instantaneous" -- does it?
      a final tidbit: the emphasis of the passage is on the people ruling Earth with Christ. Even though the Rapture and end-of-Tribulation-resurrection are separated in time, both culminate in glorified believers being Jesus' agents in the Millenium. So they are, after all, co-temporal. If that would satisfy you.

      Any one of these would do. Hope it helps.

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    7. "I find major obstacles (some of which I just mentioned) to a "case closed" certainty about a PreTrib Rapture. "

      I can't remember who said this, but look again at the promise to the philadelphian church: that they would be kept from the HOUR of trial.

      I don't think post, pre-wrath or a-tribbers would assert that the Tribulation is God's judgment *against the Church*. Certainly they would agree that it is God's judgment against unbelievers, but they believe the Church is present on earth. But that would be true if the promise was "I will keep you from the trial that is to come on the earth"

      But the passage says "I will keep you from the HOUR of trial," in other words, the Church will not only not be present in the wrath of God, but they will not be present AT THAT TIME, on earth.

      That's one of many 'prooftexts,' and it is one of the closest you can get to a single-verse proof of the pre-trib rapture.

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    8. Adam, those are good comments and well said. As for the Anonymous who posed all those questions...he sent a barrage of queries, and several times promised that "this is the last one". Despite that, the questions kept coming. That is not a problem, except that answers were ignored, there was no informational exchange given, and he gave no acknowledgement of having actually read any of the material offered to help him solve his "concerns". or even of having received it. I didn't even publish the last barrage of questions. They kept coming with no attempt on his part to honestly delve, so I cut it off.

      By this we know the questions were not honest. It is a TACTIC, one with which I am well familiar, wherein a person wanting to chew up our time in responding and our emotions in preparing for conversation doesn't honestly engage, but simply sucks us dry. It's a troll tactic. So I would not worry about Mr or Mrs Anonymous too much.

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    9. Here is the tactic explained at Rational Wiki: "Just Asking Questions"

      "The purpose of this argument method is to keep asking leading questions to attempt to influence spectator' views, regardless of the whatever answers are given. the term is derived from the frequent claim by the questioner that they are "just asking questions," albeit in a manner much the same as political push polls. Additionally, this tactic is a way for a crank to escape the burden of proof behind extraordinary claims."

      "A caveat"

      "The Socratic method can be a legitimate means of stimulating critical thinking. Obviously not all questioning is done from a position of cowardice; in some cases, a person may simply not feel confident enough in their position to make an assertion, so they instead ask a question in order to gather more information or elicit others' thoughts before making up their mind about a particular stance."

      "Just asking questions" takes over when the answers are already well known, where the question embodies a point refuted a thousand times, or where the questioner exhibits willful ignorance."

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    10. Hakam, You said quote ....2. The rapture is not a resurrection. Resurrection is making something dead alive. ...

      The Bible says quite the opposite. The making alive of thousands of years' worth of Christians most certainly is a resurrection, and not just per se. In John 11:24 it says, Martha saith unto him, "I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day." Jesus repeatedly tells us that He will raise up His sheep at the last day. Another is 1 Corinthians 15:42: "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption"

      In fact, this very resurrection is the hope of believers. I think what you have said is extremely dangerous. God is not the author of confusion.

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    11. Hence why it was not the only thing I said, and I even emphasized the second and third explanatory alternatives as preferred. In a sense, the catching up itself is not part of the resurrection, much as salvation and faith in Christ are different concepts but outwardly indistinguishable or at least inseparable. The resurrection in context is referring more to the glorification of believers' physical bodies--being made like the post-resurrection Christ -- than to their removal from earth (which is something that only happens to a subset of those partaking in the First Resurrection).

      Nevertheless, as I mentioned, it's not necessary to understand or agree on this in order to accept the fact that all resurrections (GotQuestions indicates the Jerusalem saints at Christ's crucifixion may also be included as a separate event) , such as the rapture and post-tribulation one, as well as any possible resurrection post-Milennium, all are part of the "First Resurrection," which is first with respect to the second, the resurrection unto death and eternal hell. The first resurrection is the resurrection unto life, and that is what primarily defines it, and hence, the specific time points of any particular resurrection of a group of people is not primarily the concern, and that is what I was hoping to elucidate in that comment.

      Sorry for any confusion. As always, take what made sense and fits with the Scriptures and leave the rest. If something I said doesn't make sense to you how it could be Biblically consistent, obviously go with your knowledge of God's Word, because anything else would be sin. Blessings,

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  4. The world SURE IS unraveling!! I am SO READY to "go home"!! Where righteousness DWELLS & NO ABOMINATION is allowed to enter in!! Hey, you know how, after so long, every civilization always "goes south" with human depravity!! Well, that will NOT happen in heaven!! EVER!!!!!

    Ready when He is!!
    (Luke 21:36)

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  5. I agree the bible teaches one truth regarding the end times. My understanding of that truth is that Christ comes back visibly and raises the dead, and changes those that are alive in an instant. Either way we will all meet him the air. This is from Paul. Peter describes the day we are to be watching for as a day where the whole Universe will be destroyed with fire. Dispensational theology distorts and utterly complicates the simplicity of the final day and the very visible return of Christ on that day, when he raises the dead and melts the universe...

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    1. Hi ANonymous,

      I agree, the truth is made plain as we lean on the Spirit's understanding.

      There have been different ages, or different ways God interacted with man. There was His unique relationship with Adam and Eve, personal and intimate. Then came sin, and the age of conscience began, this was prior to the Law. That didn't work out so well and then came the Flood. Then Abraham. Then came Israel and His Law. Then came the Age of Grace where the Spirit was given to believers. Then will be the Millennial Kingdom, where Jesus returns, slays all enemies at Armageddon, and those believers left alive will enter the kingdom - which is the fulfillment of His promise to the nation Israel that He will rule and reign personally and that they are given lands. This is when they finally get all their land promised to them thru Abraham.

      As to the final day, well it IS more complicated than that. The bible teaches that the Tribulation will be 7 years, with a rolling set of four series of judgments (Seals, Trumpets, Thunders, Bowls) and each judgment series has contained within it a LOT that is going on. This period is known as "The Day of the LORD" and it is not one day but a period of years.

      Then comes the Millennial Kingdom of 1000 years, and then when that time is done he will melt the earth and Institute a new heaven and a new earth with no death in it.

      Dispensations merely means different ages and we interpret the bible literally as we seek to understand the whole of God's plan for human beings on earth. Here is a really good essay explaining it

      http://www.gotquestions.org/dispensationalism.html
      "A dispensation is an administration, a system, or a management. In theology, a dispensation is the divine administration of a period of time, a divinely appointed age. Dispensationalism is a theological system that recognizes these ages ordained by God to order the affairs of the world. Dispensationalism has two primary distinctives: 1) a consistently literal interpretation of Scripture, especially Bible prophecy and 2) a distinction between Israel and the church in God's program."

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