Even famous folks sometimes get it wrong

Even famous folks sometimes get it wrong when it comes to understanding the plain words of Scripture. I encountered an interesting example yesterday.

Walid and Theodore Shoebat wrote an article titled “ISIS declares they will invade Jerusalem, the Vatican, and Spain, and destroy the Cross.”

Walid Shoebat is a former Muslim who has converted to Christianity. Mr. Shoebat has made a careful and thorough study of the Bible and Bible prophecy. I believe he is correct, to a degree, in his understanding that the Antichrist arises not from Europe or Rome, but from the Middle East. Mr. Shoebat, as I understand him, believes that the Antichrist will be a Muslim. I cannot confirm that, but I can affirm that the Bible gives, as one of the names of Antichrist, “the Assyrian” (Micah 5:5).

Some things in the co-authored article are suspect, I believe. Consider how they handle Romans 1:7,

To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:7)

When reading these words, we must keep in mind that St. Paul is writing to the Church of Rome, that is, the Roman Catholic Church. For those who affirm that I am wrong, I ask you kindly, if Romans is not being written to the Roman Catholic Church, then which church is it being written to? And where today can I find this church?

You cannot find it, and you never will, no matter how hard you try. But if you would like to take up the challenge, then I would gladly see your findings. In antiquity, the primacy of the Roman Church was established as the head of the churches. This was not an invention of Constantine. Tertullian, one of the oldest and most ancient authorities of Christianity, declared the primacy of the Roman Church. I will let his words speak for themselves:

Notice the first sentence I quoted above: “When reading these words, we must keep in mind that St. Paul is writing to the Church of Rome, that is, the Roman Catholic Church.”

Mr. Shoebat has committed a common error. He (or they) equate the “church at Rome” with the Roman Catholic Church. This is surely a mistaken connection. The Roman Catholic Church had no existence until almost 600 years after Paul wrote the Book of Romans. Of course, the Roman Catholic Church and its apologists delight in propagating this error, but that does not verify the claim.

Mr. Shoebat then asks the pointed question, “For those who affirm that I am wrong, I ask you kindly, if Romans is not being written to the Roman Catholic Church, then which church is it being written to?”

May I kindly answer that Romans was written to a group of Gentile believers and Jews who had become Christians who lived at Rome. The germ or start of that congregation (or more likely congregations–the Jewish converts had problems associating with the Gentile converts, as reflected in what Paul writes in Romans 14:1-5) was a group of converts who believed the Gospel and became Christians as a result of Peter’s first sermon on the Day of Pentecost (read carefully Acts 2:10).

The original church at Rome that Paul wrote to was a missionary outpost of the original Jerusalem church, and historically held that status for several centuries. During that time the church at Rome could hardly be called the “Roman Catholic Church” in the modern sense of that contradictory term. Contradictory, because as soon as you prefix to “Catholic” the term “Roman,” it is no longer Catholic, or universal! Historically, the Greek Catholic Church is older than the “Roman Catholic Church” by many centuries.

So yes, I affirm that in this matter Mr. Shoebat is most definitely wrong, dreadfully so.

Mr. Shoebat continues,

And where today can I find this church?

You cannot find it, and you never will, no matter how hard you try. But if you would like to take up the challenge, then I would gladly see your findings. In antiquity, the primacy of the Roman Church was established as the head of the churches. This was not an invention of Constantine. Tertullian, one of the oldest and most ancient authorities of Christianity, declared the primacy of the Roman Church. I will let his words speak for themselves:

Mr. Shoebat asks a good question: If Paul was not writing to the Roman Catholic Church, what church was he writing to, and where today can that church be found?

The Bible, as always, gives the pertinent clue:

Romans 1:6 Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:

Romans 1:7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Notice that Paul was not writing to the Pope at Rome, for there was no Pope at Rome then. Notice Paul was not writing to Peter as the head of the Church at Rome, for Peter was not then at Rome. Notice further that the church at Rome was not founded by Peter or any of the other apostles. The church at Rome was made up of all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, those Paul addresses by the expression “called to be saints.” Paul here uses the term “saints” in its New Testament Biblical meaning, ordinary Christian believers. All believers are “saints,” or more literally from the Greek, “holy ones.” Bible saints have nothing to do with so-called “saints” canonized by the Roman Catholic Church without Biblical authority.

Therefore, Paul was not addressing his letter to a church of the sort represented today by the name “the Roman Catholic Church,” but to a group of believers that met in “house churches” on the first day of every week for fellowship and instruction in their new-found faith.

Where can you find such a church today? Not in the Roman Catholic Church you may be sure! You can find it wherever Bible-believing, Bible-practicing Christian believers meet for fellowship around God’s Word in the Bible, and who work both individually and together to reach others with the true message of the Gospel found exclusively in the Bible.

Read your Bible with your eyes wide open! If your church by its practices and by its teachings teaches things you don’t clearly find in the New Testament, you most likely are in the wrong church!

That should sufficiently answer Mr. Shoebat’s challenge, “You cannot find it, and you never will, no matter how hard you try. But if you would like to take up the challenge, then I would gladly see your findings.”

If Mr. Walid Shoebat truly believes in our Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, and is truly saved by faith in what God has done through Christ for us rather than depending upon what we may do for God, and if Mr. Walid Shoebat truly believes the Bible, then the simple answer I have just shared will be sufficient to answer his question, an answer I furnished directly from the Bible itself.

The next claim made by the article by Mr. Walid Shoebat and his son is as follows:

Also, one cannot ignore the fact that no where in the epistles of St. Paul do we find the faith of a particular church praised as being “spoken of throughout the whole world”. It is only to the Roman Church that St. Paul gives this very significant description.

I do not wish to be rude, but to this claim I would answer, Nonsense!

I have already dispensed with the claim that the church of or at Rome addressed by Paul is the Roman Catholic Church. This is an error that involves reading later history, 600 years later at that, into New Testament history. That is a fatal error in logic. Maybe the word for that is anachronism. It occurs in literature when an author in our time writes an historical novel that mistakenly has the characters doing or knowing something that was not yet in existence at the chronological time frame of the story’s setting.

Mr. Walid Shoebat would do well, as would everyone, to carefully study a Bible text, such as Romans 1:8, by first consulting the cross references available in The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, or The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, or Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible for this passage before making the claim that only the church of or at Rome’s faith is praised as being “spoken of throughout the whole world.” Mr. Shoebat says “It is only to the Roman Church that St. Paul gives this very significant description.”

Let us test this claim as to its truth by consulting the cross references given at Romans 1:8,

Romans 1:8. I thank. See on Ro 6:17. Ac 27:35. 1 Cor 1:4. 14:18. 15:57. Ep 1:15, 16. *Ep 5:20. Phil 1:3-5. *Phil 4:6. Col 1:3, 4. +*Col 3:17. 1 Th 1:2, 3. **1 Th 2:13. 3:9. 2 Th 1:3. *2 Th 2:13. 1 Tim 2:1. 2 Tim 1:3-5. Phm 1:4, 5. *He 13:15. 2 J 1:4. 3 J 1:3, 4. my God. Ac 7:32. +Phil 1:3. 4:19. through. Ro 2:16. 5:1. **Jn 14:6. 2 Cor 1:5. Ep 3:21. *Ep 5:20. *Phil 1:11. *He 13:15. 1 P 2:5. 4:11. that your faith. Ro 16:19. +Mt 24:14. *2 Cor 2:14. **Col 1:6, 23. **1 Th 1:8-10. is spoken of. 2 Cor 3:2. Col 1:9. 3 J 1:3. the whole. *Mt 24:14. Mk 13:10. *Lk 2:1. *Ac 11:28. Re 3:10. 16:14. world. Gr. kosmos, +Mt 4:8. Ro 10:18.

Notice the key words that your faith. Notice I have provided emphasis marks throughout the references given in my book, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. The double asterisk, or in the printed edition, the check mark, means a very important, critical reference that should not be overlooked. I have assigned this level of emphasis to Colossians 1:6, 23 and 1 Thessalonians 1:8-10.

Col 1:5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;
Col 1:6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:

Col 1:23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

Consider also 2 Corinthians 3:2,

2Co 3:2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:

The clearest parallel is 1 Thessalonians 1:8,

1Th 1:8 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.
1Th 1:9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
1Th 1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

The church at Rome, therefore, is not the only church Paul commended for having a faith and practice that was known “in every place.” The argument Mr. Shoebat has built upon his misconception falls flat and is invalid for the purpose he uses it.

I had suspected from another video presentation I watched that Mr. Walid Shoebat is Roman Catholic. This article by himself and his son surely confirms my initial impression. Now this does not invalidate all he says about the Bible and the Middle East and Bible prophecy, but it should alert all of us of our need to carefully confirm from the Bible itself the validity of any claims others build upon their interpretation of it.

One of the best methods for guarding against falsehood and mistaken doctrine is to do Real Bible Study by means of studying all the cross references you can get your hands on. The most complete cross references available are given right here at www.realbiblestudy.com for any verse I have discussed. The next most complete source will be found in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge which unfortunately and unwisely is out of print but still available in software format. The currently in-print resource, Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible, is the remaining best source of complete cross references for Bible study.

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Heiser’s Laws for Bible Study

Dr. Mike Heiser has a very interesting Bible study website. The one I visited a few times is titled “The Naked Bible,” if I recall correctly. Dr. Heiser is a scholar who is far above my level of expertise, yet in the past I have dared to differ with him on, for example, the significance and interpretation and application of Revelation 1:19 as a key to understanding the intended structure of the content of the Book of Revelation. In response to my comments about that verse Dr. Heiser kindly directed me to a newer commentary by Beale on the Book of Revelation. After reading the relevant portion of Beale’s commentary, I concluded that Beale was appealing to an alleged feature of the text that would not have been noticed at the time by the original recipients, so I consider Beale’s argument invalid.

In a discussion on a new Christian discussion site, www.Christiandiscourse.com, Dr. Heiser shared his “personal laws for Bible study.” Here is the substance of the six laws he presented with my additional and concurring commentary:

Bible reading is not Bible study. I have learned, kicking and screaming mind you, that this is where most people are at. Everyone can do serious Bible study and they should.

I agree fully with his introductory remark. If I understand him correctly, he rightly says most people are fine with Bible reading, but need to advance to the level of Bible study.

1. There is no substitute for close attention to the biblical text

You should be observing the biblical text in the original languages. If you cannot, never trust one translation in a passage. Use several and then learn skills for understanding why they disagree. These skills would be things like learning grammatical terms and concepts, along with translation philosophy and the basics of textual criticism.

If you read very far on my website here, you will see that I do make some reference to the original language of the Bible, I cite more than one translation when that helps clarify the meaning, and I have surely discussed grammatical terms and concepts.

I have not dealt extensively with translation philosophy. This involves the issue of whether you should seek to follow a very literal translation such as Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible, which strives to translate word-for-word from Hebrew or Greek into English, striving to translate the same original language word consistently by the same English word everywhere it occurs, or should you make use of a “dynamic” translation, which strives to convey the ideas behind the words and larger units like phrases, clauses, and sentences into equivalent ideas in modern English, as to some extent the NIV or the New Living Translation attempt to do. Both kinds of translation are helpful. A literal translation permits more careful study of the figures of speech in the Bible. A dynamic translation makes it easier to follow the ideas (as understood by the translator or translators) in the text. It is best to make use of a number of different translations at the same time when digging deeper into a specific text of Scripture. With modern software, it is easy to do this.

I have not dealt much with textual criticism, but I have been studying the subject since the mid 1950s, probably for longer than Dr. Heiser has studied the subject, though by no means do I claim to know more than he does. A scholar friend of mine from Chicago, Mr. G. E. Hoyer, procured many scholarly volumes on this subject for me.

2. Patterns in the text are more important than word studies

You need to learn to trace threads and ideas through the Bible and observe how the New Testament re-purposes and interprets the Old Testament. If you aren’t paying attention to these things, you’re missing more than you think you’re seeing.

I certainly agree fully with Dr. Heiser on this rule! For the ordinary Bible reader, the most direct way to follow Dr. Heiser’s advice in this “rule” is to use cross reference Bible study. I wrote an article here on this site asking the question, “Is it really possible to study the Bible without using cross references?” The answer is yes, you can, but you will miss much if not most of what there is to gain from careful Bible study.

With more specific regard to patterns in the text, the Companion Bible is a very helpful resource understandable by ordinary readers of the English Bible.

Word studies are important, but doing word studies can lead the Bible student to not take careful account of the word in context. Context shapes meaning. Supposing that the “meaning” of a word as given in a lexicon always holds for every context where the word occurs is a very mistaken idea engaged in by many rather well-known Christian Bible scholars. I have noted this issue here and there in my first book, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (see my note at John 5:39 and my note at Revelation 3:10, for example). There is also the very significant issue of falling into the trap of succumbing to the logical error sometimes called the “word study fallacy.” I make reference to that fallacy at the end of my note on 1 Timothy 4:1.

3. The Bible must be interpreted in context, and that context isn’t your own, or that of your theological tradition

The context of the Bible is the context that produced it—ancient Near East/Mediterranean.

In other words, if you’re letting your theological tradition filter the Bible to you, you aren’t doing Bible study or exegesis, and you aren’t interpreting the Bible in context.

Dr. Heiser is most correct. This third “rule” is the principle behind my emphasis on this site that you start out your reading and study of the Bible by using a plain text Bible. You want to learn as much as you can directly from the Bible itself, not the ideas of any commentator on the Scripture. Study Bibles are of great help, but the notes they contain are not divinely inspired. Only the text of the Bible itself is divinely inspired. Beware indeed of falling into the trap of reading the Bible in terms of your theological tradition. Some of the most popular and highly respected Bible teachers of our day at times fall into this trap. If what you believe can have the suffix “ism” added to it, beware! Calvinism, for example, is most certainly mistaken in some of its assertions, compared to what the text of Scripture itself declares.

4. The Bible is a divine human book; treat it as such

Put another way, God chose people to write the biblical text, and people write using grammar, in styles understood by their peers, and with deliberate intent—and so the Bible did not just drop from heaven. Study it as though some person actually wrote it, not like it is the result of a paranormal event.

The Bible must be understood grammatically before it can be interpreted doctrinally. Those who ignore the grammar most certainly will be in error on many points of their interpretations and understandings of what the Bible teaches. It is impossible to over-emphasize the importance of this matter.

Certainly the Bible is divinely inspired. It is verbally inspired. It is inspired of God down to the last “jot and tittle.” Men who wrote the Bible were directed by the Holy Spirit as to exactly what to write (2 Peter 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16). Yet the Holy Spirit fully employed the ability and style of each individual writer. The writing of John is very different from the style of Paul in the original language text.

5. If it’s weird, it’s important (i.e. it’s there for a reason; it is not random)

Put another way: Systematic theology isn’t helpful (and can be misleading) if its conclusions are not derived from exegesis of the original text. Biblical theology is done from the ground up, not the top down.

Systematic theology can be very instructive, but the study of Biblical theology is far better. I have called the “top down” method of expounding Bible truth the deductive system of interpretation, a method that should be avoided. To get at the truth of the Bible it must be studied inductively. This is done by gathering all the material that is given in the Bible on the subject, theme, or issue you wish to study or are concerned about, and considering the whole, and all its parts carefully in the contexts where the parts are found, before coming to a sound conclusion about what the Bible teaches.

The Bible does not present all its teaching on a given subject in one place, like one chapter, or several chapters, or even a whole book. The material must be carefully searched for, and discovered by finding all the places that relate to the subject being studied.

You cannot merely use a Bible concordance to find all the material that pertains to the issue of concern. That is because the same subject elsewhere in the Bible may be mentioned using entirely different terms.

This is why you must make use of cross reference Bible study, using as complete a resource providing cross references as you can find. It is helpful to use more than one resource which contains good cross references. In reference Bibles, one of the best and most complete source of cross references is the American Standard Bible published years ago by Nelson, identified on its cover as Teachers’ Edition. The NIV Study Bible has a good collection of center column references also. The original Treasury of Scripture Knowledge and my expansions and corrections of it, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge and Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible are probably the most complete resources available for cross reference Bible study. Both The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge and The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge are available in Bible software. The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge is also available on line on the Internet. A site I like is the edition featured at a site with a name something like the blue-letter Bible. My new much expanded edition of my first book, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, is available right here on this Real Bible Study site in many samples I have posted for the daily Bible Nuggets and other Bible topics I have addressed.

6. If, after you’ve done the grunt work of context-driven exegesis, what the biblical text says disturbs you, let it

Dr. Heiser is surely correct about this. I have expressed the idea as learning something new in your careful study of the Bible. Sometimes when you learn something new, that new knowledge requires that you make some changes in what you understood or believed before. If this is not happening as a result of your Bible study, you probably are not really studying the Bible, or you’ve got your mind made up already and think you will never change. In either case, you are wrong, and need to develop a taste for what I call Real Bible Study.

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Daily Bible Nugget #319, Joel 3:2

The Nugget:

Joel 3:2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.

My Comment:

In this text God declares what he will do, to whom, and why.

God will gather all nations. God will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, a famous battle ground in Scripture.

God will plead with the nations there on behalf of his people and his heritage Israel.

Why will He do all this?

Because (1) the nations have scattered the Jews among the nations; and most significant for this present time, (2) God charges the nations for “parting my land.”

If you are familiar with the content of Bible prophecy, you will immediately understand what a precarious position any country takes who would dare to take part in “parting” God’s land, Israel.

If you are not familiar with Bible prophecy, it is imperative that you change course in your life and get to know the Bible. If enough people become knowledgeable about the Bible, they will wisely have positioned themselves to take the proper stance toward the nation of Israel. God promises to bless those who bless Abraham (Genesis 12:3), and curse those who curse Abraham. In Bible language this means those who work against Israel of today are guilty of cursing Abraham. The proper attitude for all Christians to take to the Jews and Israel the nation is clearly stated in Psalm 122:6, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.”

Any so-called “Two-State Solution” is clearly directly contrary to the will of God plainly declared in the Bible. It is about time that more Christians spend less time on the frivolities of this life such as sports and entertainment and self-indulgence and use the time gained to reach out to win others to a saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. That alone would be a giant step forward in remedying many of the moral and spiritual ills of this society. We should use the time gained to develop a deeper knowledge of what the Bible itself actually teaches. That is what Real Bible Study is all about! The cross references I share below will lead any thoughtful reader to much material in the Bible that pertains to Bible prophecy as it may pertain to events unfolding in our day.

For those who desire to DIG DEEPER into this subject:

(1) Consult the cross references given in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible on page 950 for Joel 3:2.

(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 979 or in Logos 5 Bible software for Joel 3:2.

(3) Lacking access to those two resources, consult the cross references for this passage as I have developed them as given below:

Joel 3:2. also gather. ver. Joel 3:11, 14. 2 K 10:21. Is 66:18. Ezk 38:15. Mi 4:11. *Zp 3:8, 19. +*Zc 12:2. **Zc 14:2-4. Re 16:14, 16. 19:19-21. 20:8. all nations. FS171o3, Ge 41:57. All put by the Figure Synecdoche (of the Whole) for representatives or people from all nations. **Ps 83:1-8, 14-18. Je 25:31. 28:8. Zc 2:8. 14:3. **Mt 25:32. the valley of Jehoshaphat. i.e. Jehovah hath judged. Between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives. Mentioned only here and ver. Joel 3:12; the event recorded in 2 Ch 20:21-26 being typical of this scene of future judgment of the nations (CB). ver. Joel 3:12. =2 Ch 20:21-26. *Ezk 39:11. *Zc 14:4. will plead with them. or, will judge them. The judgment of Mt 25 turns on how the nations had treated “My brethren,” and not upon the grounds of justification by faith (CB). Is 51:22. *Is 66:16. Je 25:31. *Ezk 38:22. Am 1:11. Ob 1:10-16. Mic 4:3. Zc 12:3, 4. Mt 22:7. **Mt 25:31-46. Re 11:18. 16:6. 18:20, 21. my people. +*Dt 32:43. Ho 2:23. Mt 25:31-46. my heritage. Dt 32:9. Je 12:7. Israel. Note this; not merely Judah, but the twelve-tribed nation. **Ezk 37:22. whom they have scattered. Je 50:17. and parted my land. +*Ge 12:2, 3, 7. +*Ge 13:15. +*Ge 17:7, 8. **Le 25:23. +**Dt 32:43. Je 12:14. 49:1. Ezk 25:8. 35:10. **Ezk 48:14. Da 11:39. Zp 2:8-10.

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Daily Bible Nugget #318, Ezekiel 48:14

The Nugget:

Ezekiel 48:14 And they shall not sell of it, neither exchange, nor alienate the firstfruits of the land: for it is holy unto the LORD.

My Comment:

This is another rather clear passage in the Bible which shows that God does not intend for Israel, or the Israelites, to either sell or exchange their land. It is the broad principle that I would have you notice here. The Israelites, our modern Jews of the State of Israel, are not encouraged by the Bible to give away or sell or otherwise exchange their land, as “for peace.”

A further study of the extent of the land promised to Abraham in the Abrahamic Covenant would show that Israel does not now occupy the full extent of the land granted by that promise. This means we have most interesting times ahead. Bible prophecy is never wrong, though students of Bible prophecy often are.

Now taking the text, Ezekiel 48:14, in its immediate context, the historical application of Leviticus 25:23 and the prophetical application of Ezekiel 48:14 relate more directly to the specific property constituting the inheritance of a family, or the land reserved for the Levites.

This does not invalidate the broader application to the land of Israel being bound by the same restriction of not relinquishing any land God has granted them.

How do I know this?

By consulting the cross references to Leviticus 25:23 that I shared in the previous Daily Bible Nugget #317, and the references given below for Ezekiel 48:14, I and anyone else who will check out the references will see that there is a passage which applies to Israel and its current struggle that affirms and so confirms this principle for the nation.

It is my plan to share that passage in the next Daily Bible Nugget which will be #319.

For those who desire to DIG DEEPER into this subject:

(1) Consult the cross references given in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible on page 913 for Ezekiel 48:14.

(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 942 or in Logos 5 Bible software for Ezekiel 48:14.

(3) Lacking access to those two resources, consult the cross references for this passage as I have developed them as given below:

Ezekiel 48:14. not sell. Ex 22:29. **Le 25:23, 32-34. 27:10, 28, 33. Nu 18:12-14. neither exchange. **Le 25:23. **Joel 3:2. firstfruits. +Le 23:10. Dt 26:2. for. ver. Ezk 48:12. Le 23:20. 27:9, 32. Ml 3:8-10.

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Daily Bible Nugget #317, Leviticus 25:23

The Nugget:

Leviticus 25:23 The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me.

My Comment:

It may be that many Bible readers who start out a new year all fired up in their excitement and commitment to read through the Bible in a year find, by the time they reach Leviticus, that they are, proverbially speaking, “limping through Leviticus.” For beginners in Bible study and reading, much of the book of Leviticus will at first seem very obscure. Yet this book is most essential to a full understanding of God’s Word. For example, Leviticus chapter 25 spells out in some detail an economic plan that, if it had been followed faithfully, would have brought the nation of Israel economic justice beyond what is found in any secular nation today. There would have been no permanently poor people in Israel. Leviticus 26 is a major primer on Bible prophecy, where the whole predicted future of the nation of Israel is very plainly laid out in detail. Only Divine Inspiration could produce such information long before it began to happen. Throughout Leviticus and the books of Moses as a whole there is wonderful medical wisdom embodied in the commands and practices God taught the Israelites so that they would indeed experience “none of these diseases” (Exodus 15:26), practices which involved dietary restrictions and even proper sanitation. This is again evidence that the Bible was produced by Divine Inspiration, for Israel was far ahead of all other nations in its wisdom about medical matters, from the start of a newborn male child’s life in the practice of circumcision specifically on the eighth day, to matters of avoiding promiscuity and Sodomy, both dangerous practices which would have spread devastating disease, even as it does still today, with large portions of modern nations afflicted by sexually transmitted diseases. So, Leviticus is a very modern book, filled with the wise dictates of the Creator that will benefit all who will follow them.

The book of Leviticus includes what might be considered wise political advice as well. Leviticus 25:23 specifies that “the land shall not be sold forever.”

This advice directly addresses the present political turmoil in the Middle East and the land of Israel.

There can be no “two-state” solution according to God’s Word.

When the United States advocates for a “two-state” solution for Israel it defies what God declares in His Word. When the current Secretary of State John Kerry, and our sitting (more likely golfing) President Barack Hussein Obama work against the modern State of Israel, they personally are in opposition to the Bible and what God has declared in His written Word.

That stance spells impending disaster for us, not necessarily Israel. Bible prophecy plainly shows that to be on the wrong side with respect to Israel and the Bible is to be in dreadful danger personally and nationally.

Our current leadership, and our current populace, have forgotten or disregarded what the Bible plainly says. That will lead to our downfall if we fail to change course. The Bible is most clear about that, starting with Genesis 12:3.

Avoid like the plague belief or participation in any “anti-Semitic” nonsense purveyed in the media and in comments left on many Internet websites. Anti-Semitism betrays woeful ignorance of the Bible. Surely no genuinely saved person can engage in being anti-Jewish or anti-Israel.

The corrective? Get out the message of the Bible, properly interpreted, to the majority of our people so they can start exercising greater wisdom in their choice of political leaders and policy. The message of the Bible is declared right here at Real Bible Study. Personal salvation is the first priority: I have written about that in the immediately prior Bible Nugget #316 about Romans 10:13. Personal and national obedience to God’s Word are critical (Psalm 9:17). Reach out to others you know with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Spread the word. Contribute to the discussion here. Wake up to the truth before it is too late!

For those who desire to DIG DEEPER into this subject:

(1) Consult the cross references given in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible on page 138 for Leviticus 25:23.

(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 154 or in Logos 5 Bible software for Leviticus 25:23.

(3) Lacking access to those two resources, consult the cross references for this passage as I have developed them as given below:

Leviticus 25:23. The land. See on ver. Leviticus 25:10. Nu 36:4. 1 K 21:3. Is 62:4. Je 32:7. Ezk 45:1. *Ezk 48:14. Joel 2:18. shall not be sold. ver. Le 25:34. 1 K 21:3. **Ezk 48:14. **Joel 3:2. for ever. or, to be quite cut off. Heb. for cutting off. ver. Le 25:30. Le 16:34. Ex 21:6. Dt 15:17. 1 S 1:22. 27:12n. 28:2. 1 K 12:7. *1 Ch 28:4. Jb 41:4. +*Ps 24:9n. for the land is mine. The land was held as belonging to Jehovah, and if sold, or redeemed, the price must be reckoned according to the number of years to the next Jubilee, when all possessions returned to their former owners (Concise Bible Dictionary, London, Geo. Morrish, n.d., p. 455). Le 27:24. +**Dt 32:43. 2 Ch 7:20. Ps 24:1. 85:1. Is 8:8. 62:4. +*Ezk 38:16. Ho 9:3. *Joel 2:18. **Joel 3:2. for ye are strangers. Ge 23:4. 49:7. *1 Ch 29:15. *Ps 39:12. 119:19. *He 11:9-13. *1 P 2:11.

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After the Tribulation: Matthew 24:29

Last week I received another email letter from Mr. John Little, Part 6 of his series, “The Pre-Tribulation Lie.”

In the letter John Little gave a link to Pastor Steven Anderson’s movie, “After the Tribulation: The Pre-Tribulation Rapture Fraud Exposed” Official Movie

http://omegashock.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=2c6689dbe2b121ac69b50e2fe&id=eac690da22&e=745659e40a

http://omegashock.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=2c6689dbe2b121ac69b50e2fe&id=eac690da22&e=745659e40a

with the comment:

I’ve never seen anyone debunk this movie. It really does an excellent job of destroying the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Lie. People always say that they’ll get back to me with a reason why this movie is wrong, but they never do.

No one has ever come forward with EVIDENCE that this movie is wrong.

No one.

The movie is 1 hour and 58 minutes long. I watched it in full last night.

I am very familiar with Pastor Steven Anderson. I first learned of him when he posted video footage on the Internet about his maltreatment by border patrol agents manhandling him for refusing to entirely comply with their requests for identification as he traveled in Arizona from California on a public highway many miles from the border of Mexico. He had not been to Mexico. He was returning on a business trip from California. The Border Patrol in this case was most certainly wrong, and I trust utterly embarrassed by the alternative media coverage they received.

At that time I went to Pastor Anderson’s website, as well as his wife’s website, and exchanged email messages with her assuring her of my prayer support for her husband. Pastor Anderson and his family are fine Christians who believe the Bible. I cannot support in full his every doctrinal position, but I hold him in high regard.

Pastor Anderson believes in the Post-Tribulation Rapture position. He states in the movie at the end that at the age of twelve he read Matthew 24:29 and from that time did not believe in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture position. More accurately, it appears that Pastor Anderson believes in the Pre-Wrath Rapture position.

Pastor Anderson, though both committed and sincere in his position, is mistaken.

Is his movie wrong?

Yes.

At the start of the movie reference is made to Ezekiel 33:6,

Eze 33:6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.

Pastor Anderson asserts the mark of the beast will be required for everyone.

Careful study of Scripture will demonstrate to anyone that the Antichrist does not exert his influence or power or control over the whole earth. The Bible tells most explicitly that some nations will not be affected:

Dan 11:41 He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.

Notice that Edom, Moab, and Ammon shall “escape out of his hand.” Therefore, the rule of Antichrist is not universal, even in the Middle East.

Reading further, just in Daniel 11:44, 45, nations north and east of the 10 kingdoms under Antichrist will make war on him. Clearly, they cannot be under his control.

In the film Pastor Anderson later appeals to Revelation 13:7, 8, 16, 17 to prove that all will have to take the mark of the beast.

In answer to this sweeping assertion, I would answer that in Scripture “all” does not necessarily mean “all” in an unlimited or universal sense. This makes for a most interesting Bible study. I have done this Bible study thoroughly and exhaustively, and have placed the results of my study in notes in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge at Genesis 7:19; 24:10; 41:56, 57. See also +2 K 24:13 and 1 Chronicles 14:17. See the material I retained on this subject in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible at Genesis 41:56, a very important note.

The clearest example I know of in the Bible demonstrating that “all” and other universal expressions do not always mean “all” in a universal sense is 1 Kings 18:10,

1Ki 18:10 As the LORD thy God liveth, there is no nation or kingdom, whither my lord hath not sent to seek thee: and when they said, He is not there; he took an oath of the kingdom and nation, that they found thee not.

I guess Ahab’s search for Elijah was so thorough it extended to the Indian nations of North America, Central America, and South America, not to mention Europe. Of course to suppose this were so is nonsense. The Bible uses figures of speech, including hyperbole, when more is said than is literally meant, where what is asserted is limited to the purview or immediate concern to the author in his historical context.

This may be seen in statements in the Bible which pertain to Bible prophecy. See this universal statement applied to Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2:38,

Dan 2:38 And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.

Consider this statement regarding Greece in Daniel 2:39,

Dan 2:39 And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.

Consider this statement regarding the extent of the rule of Rome made in Daniel 7:23, 24,

Dan 7:23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.

Dan 7:24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.

Not one of these kingdoms or nations ever ruled the whole earth.

So what do these examples have to do with claims made based upon Revelation 13:7 and other verses cited above regarding the Antichrist and the extent of his rule? If you understand anything about Bible prophecy at all the very next verse in Daniel will make this quite clear:

Dan 7:25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

Very clearly, the person spoken of by Daniel in this immediate context, particularly, “and shall wear out the saints of the most High,” is the person spoken of in Revelation chapter 13. Daniel tells “the rest of the story” which is much brighter in outlook in the immediately following verses in Daniel chapter 7.

So what is my point?

Pastor Anderson and John Little and Alex Jones and many others are most mistaken in their understanding of Bible prophecy. They have failed to take all the Bible evidence into account at every turn. Therefore their conclusions are not correct.

What seems to motivate the mistaken position of Bible prophecy they have adopted?

Pastor Anderson stated that the mark of the beast will be required for everyone. This beginning assertion made early in the movie I have proven wrong by submitting my irrefutable EVIDENCE immediately above.

In the movie Pastor Anderson gives the contemporary evidence we see now regarding the New World Order, the subverting of our Constitution, and the evidence of Satan working behind the scenes to bring one world doctrine.

Then Pastor Anderson brings forward his major claim and concern that most Christians are completely unprepared because of the Pre-Tribulation fraud not found in Scripture. Where did this evil doctrine come from? Pre-Tribulation Rapture belief is based on ignorance of the Bible. The Bible states plainly it takes place after the Tribulation.

Hence, the title of the film, “After the Tribulation: The Pre-Tribulation Rapture Fraud Exposed.”

The title is taken from the words of Matthew 24:29,

Mat 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

The movie was most helpful in making clear their mistaken position. Pastor Anderson and others who espouse the “Pre-Wrath Rapture” view believe the Rapture will take place after the Great Tribulation but before the Time of Wrath which God will pour out upon the whole world after that event.

Pastor Anderson and John Little criticize the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view because, say they, it is new, having never been heard of before 1830, when it was subsequently developed by John Nelson Darby and adopted and popularized by the notes in the original Scofield Reference Bible.

I hardly suppose that their view, the Pre-Wrath Rapture view, can be shown to be any older!

When a view was first propounded and by whom has no bearing upon its truthfulness. The question that must be answered is, Can the view proposed be proven from Scripture? Those who would criticize the view proposed must address the Bible basis claimed for the view. Otherwise, such criticisms of its age and source have nothing to do with its truthfulness. Those are just ad hominem attacks and are logical fallacies. Does anyone mean to claim that it is not possible to learn anything new from the Bible today that was not discovered and propounded before? Anyone who would make such a claim surely does not believe in Real Bible Study as advocated here, and should not be listened to.

As for my own understanding of this subject, it was not derived from John Nelson Darby, though I own a set of his complete works and have enjoyed his excellent translation of the Bible for many years. I did not derive my view from the Scofield Reference Bible, though I’ve owned a copy or two of that study Bible since 1953. I derived my view from careful, personal, Bible study, and I have presented the results of my Bible study on this subject extensively on this website.

When I have discussed Bible doctrine with Roman Catholics on the Internet, they have charged me with getting my view from Martin Luther, the great heretic in their view. I responded that I have one book by Luther in my very large personal library, a commentary on Galatians, and have never read it. I have another book he wrote about the bondage of the will which I have never read. I have a biography written about him, and have never read that either. I surely have not used Martin Luther as the basis of what I understand about Bible doctrine! The argument used by the Roman Catholics on the Internet against me is an ad hominem argument, and is a logical fallacy, and I called them on it. I derive my understanding of Bible doctrine by studying the Bible by making extensive use of cross references (which as you must know by now is my specialty!). And yes, I most surely have studied other resources extensively, but I check them out carefully by verifying the accuracy of their interpretation of Scripture.

As always, I am most willing and ready to change my view if I am proven wrong in my understanding of the Bible. So far, no one commenting here has given even half a try to better inform me. I have taken the time to read other viewpoints. Apparently most others have not, and are unwilling to voice their objections here.

I believe John Little can no longer with any truthfulness or credibility make the claim, “No one has ever come forward with EVIDENCE that this movie is wrong. No one” any more, for even in this post, I just did.

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2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 Explained

The Text:

2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

2 Thessalonians 2:2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

My Exposition:

2 Thessalonians 2:1,

(1) “Now we beseech you”

Paul is urging his readers, the Thessalonians, to receive the Apostolic correction to an error in their understanding.

(2) “brethren”

Paul considers those to whom he writes as truly believing in our Lord Jesus Christ.

(3) “by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”

Paul is appealing to them on the basis of what he had already taught them about the coming or presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This raises the crucial issue: to which coming, or what aspect of the coming of Christ, does Paul refer? Paul answers this question definitively by his next words:

(4) “and by our gathering together unto him”

This statement is a reference to what Paul had taught them before in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, when Paul taught that at the Pre-Tribulation Rapture the dead in Christ would be raised first (1 Thessalonians 4:16), then those alive at His coming would be caught up together with the dead in Christ in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, when we would all be together with the Lord ever after.

Paul, therefore, in this letter of correction to a mistaken view about the Lord’s return being taught by false or mistaken teachers, appeals to what he had already taught the Thessalonians when he was present with them, as well as what he taught them in his first letter to them, our 1 Thessalonians.

Paul corrects the mistaken teaching by direct appeal to what he had already taught them about the Rapture. This teaching is found in our Bible at 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 and chapter 5.

“Our gathering together unto him” is a direct mention and reference to the doctrine of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture.

2 Thessalonians 2:2

That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

(1) “That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled”

Paul says they ought not be so disturbed and upset by what the false teachers were telling them.

(2) “neither by spirit”

The false teachers were claiming to teach by the authority of their spiritual gift, or claiming new revelation from the Holy Spirit.

(3) “nor by word”

The false teachers claimed to have a newer word that was more up-to-date than what they had been taught by Paul when he was with them and when he had last written to them.

(4) “nor by letter as from us”

The false teachers had gone so far as to produce a counterfeit letter which they claimed was from the Apostle Paul to convincingly document the supposed truth of their teaching. Their teaching was false because it represented a revised or updated message that changed what Paul had first taught them, not to mention that the source was an imposture.

(5) “as that the day of Christ is at hand”

Paul now specifies what the false teaching was. The Received Text which the King James Version faithfully follows is not correct at this point. Neither is the Majority Text. The correct Greek text here would be translated “as that the day of the Lord is now present.”

The Thessalonians rightly understood that if the Day of the Lord (in their day) was now present, then they were actually in the Day of the Lord.

If that were the case, then they had missed the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. No wonder they were shaken in their minds!

The evidence that surrounded them on every hand would seem to support the idea that they were in the Day of the Lord because they were suffering great or much tribulation. Of course informed believers then and now were surely taught that we must through much tribulation enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). But tribulation, though the promised lot of all Christians in the form of persecution (2 Timothy 3:12), is not the same as being in the Day of the Lord at the time of the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21; Revelation 6:17; 7:14).

Notice carefully that since some of the Thessalonians were almost convinced that they had missed the Pre-Tribulation Rapture and so had been left behind, this means the event took place in a manner that it was unobserved by them or anyone else. This shows that they had been taught that the Rapture would take place unobserved by the world at large.

This necessary inference is the basis for what is sometimes called “the secret Rapture.” It is a well-founded inference. There are some who would argue that the Rapture is a noisy event involving the “trump of God,” “the voice of the archangel,” and the “shout” of the Lord himself (1 Thessalonians 4:16). This would be to forget what Jesus taught at John 5:28 which surely in part refers to this very event. “All that are in the graves shall hear his voice.” But here is an instance when “all” does not mean “all.” At least not “all” at the same time. The just and the unjust are NOT raised at the same time. The doctrine of the general resurrection of all the dead at one time is a false doctrine. We learn in Revelation 20:5 that the unjust are raised 1000 years after the resurrection of the just. That means, therefore, that the call to resurrection was selective and not heard indiscriminately by everyone in the graves. The unjust did not hear or respond to the call to the just. In a similar manner, the call at the resurrection of the righteous dead in Christ is heard by those to whom the call is directed, not everyone indiscriminately. So much, then, for the mistaken notion of a “noisy Rapture.”

2 Thessalonians 2:3

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

(1) “Let no man deceive you by any means”

Paul takes this as a most serious issue. To him, this was not a mere “in house” disagreement about the timing of the Rapture. He warns, “let no man deceive you by any means.” Therefore, if you are mistaken here, you are deceived.

The critical Greek texts, based upon better manuscript evidence, use the stronger term for “deceived” here. It is as if Paul is stating by using the stronger term, that to be mistaken on this point is to be very or even greatly deceived. The regular term for “deceive” occurs in a passage of Scripture with this stronger word for “deceive” at 1 Timothy 2:14, where Paul speaks of Adam being “deceived,” using the weaker term, but uses the stronger term in the expression, “but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” Thus Eve was greatly deceived, whereas Adam, though deceived, was less deceived than she was.

I believe that Paul, by using the stronger term for “deceived” at 1 Thessalonians 2:3, indicates this deception is not a mere mistake or misunderstanding: it is heresy. Otherwise, why choose the stronger term to label it? The words of the original language of Scripture are not strewn about carelessly; when a particular word is chosen over another more common word, or a stronger term is used instead of a weaker term, we must take notice and observe the distinction intended.

(2) “for that day shall not come”

To what Day does Paul refer? It is clear from the immediate context that Paul is talking about the Day of the Lord. In this phrase Paul is NOT talking about the Day of the Rapture!

But this being the case, it is absolutely clear that the Pre-Tribulation Rapture MUST take place BEFORE the Day of the Lord, before the Great Tribulation, before the appearance of the Anti-Christ. This is the foundation or premise of Paul’s argument in correcting their misunderstanding.

(3) “except there come a falling away first”

The “falling away” is the Apostasy. The Apostasy takes place before the Day of the Lord. Some who believe in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture have tried to redefine the term “apostasy” here to mean the Rapture itself. That is an unfortunate and misinformed error on their part. The Rapture has already been mentioned in this passage at 2 Thessalonians 2:1 by the expression “our gathering unto him.” It is a major word study fallacy to make “apostasy” refer to the Rapture here. Those who hold to a Post-Tribulation Rapture view often call attention to this error, and rightly so. But this error of some earlier Pre-Tribulation Rapture advocates hardly invalidates the Pre-Tribulation Rapture position, as my exposition of this passage above abundantly proves. There are many who deny the possibility of apostasy, instead declaring “Once Saved, Always Saved.” When such interpreters use one doctrine to get rid of another doctrine, you can be sure they are mistaken. Jesus taught it is possible to stop believing (Luke 8:13) when He taught that some would “believe for a while,” who in time of temptation or testing or tribulation will “fall away,” or apostatize, the very same Greek word used here.

(4) “and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition”

The “man of sin” and “the son of perdition” are both names for the Antichrist. The Antichrist appears in person before the onset of the Day of the Lord, and clearly, therefore, before the Great Tribulation, and necessarily AFTER the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. Since these things had not yet happened when Paul wrote the Book of 2 Thessalonians, the Day of the Lord had not yet begun at that time. At this date of my writing, it has not happened yet. The Rapture could not have happened either, for it takes place before these events of the Apostasy and the revelation of the Antichrist, which both precede the Day of the Lord, the point and basis of Paul’s whole argument in answer to the false teachers, whose teaching then uncannily parallels the teaching of those who teach the mistaken doctrine of the Post-Tribulation Rapture today.

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William Craig says no Christians should believe Rapture theology

Steve Quayle just posted the following link to an article by Morgan Lee, Christian Post Reporter:

http://www.christianpost.com/news/no-christians-should-not-believe-in-left-behinds-rapture-theology-says-prominent-apologist-124070/

I have read the article. I also looked at 11 pages of Google search results on William Craig, the prominent Christian philosopher.

I learned he also has a Doctor’s degree in theology, but he is best known for his philosophy.

On the subject of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, William Craig is mistaken in his theology and needs to go back and do his homework using the methods of Bible study which I here call Real Bible Study, following the Rules of Interpretation I’ve posted in the October, 2010 Archives to the right.

The article in part states:

Several months before “Left Behind” opens in theaters, a prominent Christian philosopher is reminding the American church that the movie’s claims about the rapture are false.

“This doctrine is not really found in the book of Revelation. If you read the book of Revelation, you won’t find any mention of the rapture there,” said William Craig, a Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology and Professor of Philosophy at Houston Baptist University.

This is an example of the logical fallacy known as “the straw man argument.” It is a fallacy, because those who may believe in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church have not made the claim that the Book of Revelation mentions the Rapture in support of their case.

Dr. William Craig ought to know better. He has been an experienced debater since his high school years. I have also been an experienced debater since my high school years, and like him, won major recognition while in high school.

When you know your subject of debate, you certainly do not engage in using the straw man argument.

The article next states:

Instead, Craig says, the idea of the rapture comes from a “misinterpretation of 1 and 2 Thessalonians where Paul is describing the coming of the Lord and resurrection of the dead, which will occur at His coming.”

On this Real Bible Study website I have set forth what the correct interpretation of the relevant passages in 1 and 2 Thessalonians is in more detail than you are likely to find anywhere else, on line or in print. I have thoroughly done my homework. Dr. William Craig has not, to judge by the falsity of his claims.

What is next said is the heart of the issue:

“If you compare what Paul says there to what Jesus says about the End Times, Paul uses the same vocabulary, the same phraseology. I think it’s very plausible that Paul is talking about the same event that Jesus predicted, namely the visible coming of the Son of Man at the end of human history to usher in his kingdom,” said Craig. “But proponents of the rapture view, say that Paul is not at all talking about the second coming of the Christ there. What he’s really talking about is this invisible preliminary secret return of Christ to snatch believers out of the world before the great tribulation occurs. I think there’s no textual warrant for that at all.”

I believe I have answered that argument Dr. Craig uses in my notes for 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 (please read and study carefully!):

2 Thessalonians 2:1. we beseech. See on +*Ro 12:1. 1 Cor 1:10. *He 10:25. by the coming. Gr. parousia, +Mt 24:3. This is the coming at the Pretribulation Rapture. There are no Resurrection/Rapture passages which speak of the Great Tribulation (in terms of the Rapture occurring during the Great Tribulation period), and no Great Tribulation passages which speak of a COMBINED resurrection of the dead in Christ AND rapture and translation of living believers. ver. 2 Th 2:8 Jn 14:3. See on +1 Th 2:19. +**1 Th 4:14-16n. 1 Tim 6:14. +*2 Tim 4:1n. He 9:28n. and by. +*Ge 49:10. Mt 24:31. 25:32. Mk 13:27. +*Ep 1:10. +*1 Th 3:13. +**1 Th 4:17n. +*2 Tim 4:1n. our gathering. +*Ps 50:5. **Ps 102:21, 22. Is 58:8mg. +*Ezk 17:23. Ac 20:7n. +**1 Th 4:17n. together. Paul makes reference to the “gathering” taught in 1 Th 4:17 (“caught up together with them”) which takes place at the Pre-tribulation Rapture. This gathering does not follow the apostasy and the coming of the Antichrist. Rather, those two events must follow the Pretribulation Rapture, the “gathering” Paul speaks of here. 1 Th 4:17. He 10:25g. unto him. +*Ge 49:10. Ps 50:5. **Ps 102:22. Is 11:10. Mt 18:20. Jn 12:32. 14:3. 2 Cor 5:15. Ep 3:21. He 13:13.

2 Thessalonians 2:2. soon. or, quickly. Gr. tacheōs (S#5030g, Lk 14:21). **Ga 1:6. shaken. Gr. saleuō (S#4531g, Mt 11:7). Is 7:2. 8:12, 13. 26:3. Mt 24:6. Mk 13:7. Lk 21:9, 19. Jn 14:1, 27. Ac 2:25g. 17:13g. 20:23, 24. Ep 5:6. 1 Th 3:3. troubled. Gr. throeomai (S#2360g). Mt 24:6g. Mk 13:7g. +*Ep 4:14. *He 13:9. neither. FS129, +Ezk 34:4. by spirit. or, spirit-communication. Gr. pneuma, +Mt 8:16. FS121A4, +Ezk 37:1. By Metonymy for those who claimed to be depositories of spiritual gifts. All such claims were to be closely scrutinized (Hogg & Vine, p. 244). Supposed messages and revelations that were untrue. Dt 13:1-5. +**Je 23:25-28n. Mic 2:11. *Mt 24:4, 5, 24. Ac 11:12. +*1 Cor 14:29. 1 Th 5:19, 21. *2 P 2:1-3. **1 J 4:1, 2. Re 19:20. by word. A pretended verbal message from the missionaries (see Hogg & Vine, p. 244). ver. 2 Th 2:15. 1 Cor 12:8. 14:26, 29. 1 Th 5:2. nor by letter. This counterfeit letter was not from Paul, but claimed to be. +2 S 11:15. +*Ga 1:7, 8n. 1 Th 4:15. 2 P 3:4-8. as from us. Thus counterfeit, containing false and deceptive teaching that they were already in the Day of the Lord. Perhaps after this Paul authenticated his letters with his own signature (2 Th 3:17. 1 Cor 16:21. Col 4:18). Jn 5:31. 8:17. Ro 16:26. **Ga 1:6-9. Ep 3:8. day of Christ. or, day of the Lord. “Of Christ” has very little support from MSS., and none from ancient versions (F. W. Grant). Virtually all modern editors of the Greek text read “day of the Lord” here (Is 13:6. +*Am 5:18. Zp 1:14. +**1 Th 5:2. +*2 P 3:10). Paul firmly denies that the Thessalonians were in “the Day of the Lord.” +*Is 2:12. +Ezk 30:3. Lk 17:24. Ac 3:20. +*Ac 17:31. Ro 2:5. *+1 Cor 1:8. +*1 Cor 3:13. 5:5. 2 Cor 1:14. +*Ep 4:30. Phil 1:6, 10. 2:16. +*1 Th 5:2. is at hand. or, is now present. Gr. enistēmi (S#1764g, Ro 8:38). Ro 8:38. %+*Ro 13:12. 1 Cor 3:22g. 7:26g. Ga 1:4g. Phil 4:5. 2 Tim 2:18. 3:1g. He 9:9g. %+*1 P 4:7. Such a belief on the part of the Thessalonians necessarily implies that they correctly understood the Rapture and its associated resurrection of the righteous dead in Christ to be an event which will be secret and unobserved by the world (Peters, Theocratic Kingdom, vol. 2, pp. 316, 317), otherwise they could not have thought these events already took place, the error Paul is correcting. Mt 24:3-6, 14. +**Mt 25:19, 31-34, 41. +*Lk 19:11. Ac 17:31. 1 Cor 11:26. 15:24. He 2:8. 2 P 3:13. *Re 11:15-18. 22:10.

Morgan Lee writes further,

According to Craig, the rapture became a popular theory about the End Times due to the influence of the Scofield Reference Bible, which was published in the early 20th century and promulgated John Darby’s mid-18th century’s views on the rapture. Later, Christian institutions, among them Dallas Theological Seminary, and churches began teaching the validity of the rapture.

In logic, this kind of argument is an ad hominem argument, an argument that attempts to subtly attack a doctrine by appealing to its supposed or alleged source, rather than actually answering the Biblical evidence behind the argument. Do that, and you have lost the debate, should the opposing team or the debate judge catch or call you on it.

Lastly, Dr. William Craig is represented as saying:

“A good many Bible-believing Christians absorbed this view as their mother’s milk as it were and have never thought to question its Biblical credentials,” said Craig.

It looks to me that Dr. William Craig himself has not thought to carefully examine its Biblical credentials, such as I have briefly presented here.

In particular, please note that the Thessalonians who had been taught by the Apostle Paul himself were misled into believing that they had missed the Pre-Tribulation Rapture and the Resurrection of the dead in Christ.

Now, how could they have supposed they missed such an event, believing it had taken place already in their own day, and they had not noticed, unless in some measure they believed, and therefore Paul himself taught, that the Rapture would not be observed by the world at large? Thus there is a Biblical basis for the often scorned doctrine of the “secret Rapture.”

Think otherwise? Agree or disagree? Feel free to leave a comment. I promise, I won’t chop off your head! But I will make a sincere effort to answer any Bible questions you may have.

If proven wrong, I always change my mind. Do you?

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The Rapture Question Answered, Part 8

Mr. John Little sent me a most interesting email letter written against the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view. That was last April 28, 2012. I have already written seven previous installments in answer to that letter.

It almost always takes more words to answer a mistaken position than it takes to express a mistaken position. That is true this time too.

John Little said in that letter:

True Biblical Proof

So, let me bring you back to where we started, the Bible. I showed you that there are three things that MUST happen before the Rapture, and there is no way that you can get around these proofs. Here are those three things that must come BEFORE THE RAPTURE:

The Antichrist

The Resurrection

The Tribulation

There will be no Rapture until after those three things. Period.

Again, here is what Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 2:

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. – 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4

This means that the Antichrist MUST come before the Rapture.

Of course, 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4 means no such thing at all! That is the error or heresy Paul wrote to correct! The Rapture is mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:1 by the expression “by our gathering unto Him.” We who truly believe in Christ if we are alive in the flesh on this earth when Christ comes for us at the Rapture will then “be gathered unto Him” at that time, BEFORE the great apostasy, and BEFORE the appearance of the Antichrist, and so before the Day of the Lord, thus most certainly before the Great Tribulation, when Christ comes for us. That is the point of Paul’s argument in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, an argument Mr. John Little has failed to properly follow.

Mr. John Little next states (on what is page 8 of my saved copy of his letter):

Then, Paul says this here in chapter 4:

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. – 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

(See also: 1st Corinthians 15:51-53)

There are only two resurrections (John 5:29, Revelation 20, etc.), and the Resurrection of the Just MUST come BEFORE the Rapture.

Mr. Little is correct that there are only two resurrections. They might well be called “the first resurrection” (Revelation 20:5) and for convenience, “the second resurrection,” or the resurrection of the unsaved or the lost. Jesus tells us about these two resurrections at John 5:29. But Jesus does not explain at John 5:29 that there will be an intervening 1000 years between these two resurrections. But that is explained by John in the Book of Revelation, Revelation 20:5. The truth of a long time span between these two resurrections was revealed back as far as the prophet Isaiah, who writes of this in the “Little Apocalypse,” a title given by some prophetic scholars to Isaiah chapter 24. Isaiah tells of this time delay while the wicked are in confinement in Isaiah 24:21, 22, where Isaiah writes in part that “they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.” John in Revelation 20:5 supplies the newly revealed detail that this “many days” is 1000 years.

What Mr. John Little has failed to understand is that the “first resurrection” has a number of separate components, such that it consists of at least four parts which take place at different times, but always involve the righteous: (1) Christ the firstfruits, 1 Corinthians 15:23; (2) The resurrection of saints or believers of this church age at the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, 1 Thessalonians 4:16; (3) The resurrection of the saints saved during the Great Tribulation period after the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, Revelation 20:3-5; together with (4) The resurrection of the Old Testament saints (Daniel 12:2; Isaiah 26:19). Isaiah 26:20 places the resurrection of Isaiah 26:19 at the time after the indignation is past. The “indignation” is the day of wrath, the Great Tribulation. These four components constitute the First Resurrection. So while “there is only one resurrection for those who are God’s people,” that one resurrection, the “first resurrection” (Revelation 20:5) has the indicated four separate components which take place at different times.

The idea that the Resurrection of the Just MUST come BEFORE the Rapture represents a misunderstanding of what the Bible teaches. The resurrection of the Just comes BEFORE the resurrection of the Wicked. The resurrection of the Just, that portion counted as being “in Christ,” spoken of as “the dead in Christ,” takes place at the Pretribulation Rapture, according to Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17.

Mr. John Little claims in his letter that

Jesus spoke about the Rapture in Matthew 24:27-28 and then hammers the point home:

Now THAT is surely and clearly a misapplication of Scripture. In the first place, there is no mention of the Rapture of the Church in Matthew chapter 24. The truth of the Rapture is a “mystery doctrine” (so labeled by Paul himself) that was first revealed to Paul by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, so it surely was not revealed in Matthew 24!

But look at the text of Matthew 24:27-28 yourself:

Mat 24:27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Mat 24:28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

I wonder just who Mr. John Little supposes “the carcase is”? It surely does not pertain to Christians or the Church, but to the enemies who have been literally destroyed upon whose bodies the eagles or vultures feast.

This “coming of the Son of man” is the culminating moment of the Second Advent during and at which “every eye shall see Him” (Revelation 1:7), and takes place NOT when Christ comes FOR His saints at the Rapture, but when He comes in victory over His enemies WITH His saints (Zechariah 14:5) in His very visible and public return to this earth where He will reign on the Throne of David not for 1000 years but forever (Luke 1:32, 33) from Jerusalem (Isaiah 24:23) over the whole world (Zechariah 14:9).

So, careful attention to Scripture demonstrates Jesus did not speak of the Rapture at all in Matthew 24:27-28.

Note carefully the cross references for Matthew 24:28,

Mat 24:28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

28. For. FS74, +Jg 5:31. wheresoever. FS184C, +Mt 4:9. +*Dt 28:49. Jb 39:27-30. Je 16:16. Ho 8:1. Am 9:1-4. Hab 1:8. *Lk 17:37. the carcase. **1 S 17:46. +*Is 66:24. **Ezk 39:4, 11-16. Mk 6:29. +**#Lk 17:37n. the eagles. or, vultures. Le 11:13. +*Dt 28:49. **1 S 17:44, 46. Lam 4:19. Ezk 17:3. Dan 7:4. Ho 8:1. Hab 1:8. Zc 5:9. +**Lk 17:37n. Jn 11:48. be gathered. Jb 39:30. Pr 30:17. **Ezk 39:17, 18. Ho 8:1. *Re 19:17, 18.

Here are the cross references and an accompanying note for the parallel passage from Luke 17:37,

Luke 17:36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

Luke 17:37 And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.

37. Wheresoever. FS138C, +Ge 22:14. Lk 21:35. Jb 39:29, 30. +**Is 66:24. Ezk 39:4, 5, 11, 12-18. +*Da 9:26, 27. Joel 3:2, 9-16. Am 9:1-4. +*Zp 3:8. Zec 13:8, 9. 14:2. Mt 24:28. x Jn 11:48. Ro 2:8, 9, 16. 1 Th 2:16. *Re 16:14-16. 19:17-21. the body. Note: The word σωμα here must signify the same as πτωμα, a dead carcase, in Mt 24:28, by which is intended the Jewish nation, which was morally and judicially dead, doomed to be devoured by the Roman armies, called eagles, partly from their strength and fierceness, and partly from their military ensigns, which were gold or silver eagles. The Roman fury pursued these wretched men wherever they were found: see the horrible account in Josephus, Bel. l. vii. c. 2, 6, 9-11. **Ezk 39:11-15. **Da 7:11. +*#Mt 24:28. Re 19:18. Whatever interpretation and application is made here of the term “body,” must consistently apply equally to the term “carcass” used in +*#Mt 24:28. To suggest the body is that of Christ, or believers, or the nation Israel, does not harmonize with Scripture. Rather, suggesting that “body” and “carcass” refer to the defeated armies gathered against Jerusalem at the end of the tribulation described in Ezk 39:17-21, seems to fit precisely, and is no doubt the event Christ is alluding to, reinforced by the mention of “eagles” directly in this connection, for the “feathered fowl” are invited to feast upon the carnage after that great battle (Ezk 39:17). To suggest that eagles here represent the Romans is not supported by the context, for the Romans are not otherwise alluded to in this passage, and the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 is not the subject of this prophecy, for here these events take place at the second advent, when “the Son of man shall be revealed” (ver. 30). Neither is it necessary to regard the eagles as being angels, nor is it necessary to suggest that they are the saints (the position taken by Peters, Theocratic Kingdom, vol. 2, p. 320). They are literal eagles, birds of prey, gathered to feast literally upon the dead bodies left after the great battle of Ezk 39:4-6. Peters sees here the translation or rapture of the saints, which my notes (on ver. 34 and Mt 24:41) conclusively show to be a mistaken view. Peters further errs here when he takes the question “Where, Lord” to mean “i.e. when shall this be witnessed or made known” (vol. 2, p. 320, 321). But the question is not when, but where, and Peters’ next statement that “the evidence of such a removal will be openly shown when these very ones shall be gathered together at the overthrow of Antichrist” (p. 321), citing Zc 14, Re 19, Joel 3, in “his efforts to crush the Jews at Jerusalem,” in a “mighty confederation against the truth” (Peters, Theocratic Kingdom, vol. 2, p. 105), is correct in placing these events at Jerusalem, but incorrect in taking this to be the translation of the saints. “In comparing prophecy it is distinctly announced that he shall unite nations and armies into an expedition into Palestine and a siege against Jerusalem, Dan 11, last part and 12:1; Is 14:24-27; Joel 3; Zc 14; Re 14:20; Re 16:16; Ezk 38:8-19, and that he is to be destroyed by a revelation of Christ in Palestine, Ezk 38:21-23; 2 Th 2:8; Re 19:11-20, etc.” (Peters, vol. 2, p. 105). This passage therefore answers the question where, not when, for Christ already informed them as to when these events would take place (ver. 30, at his advent). The eagles are not the saints, and there is not a reference here to the rapture or translation of the saints, for the rapture or translation of the saints logically must be prior to Christ’s revelation in power and glory with his saints (+*Ps 149:5-9. +*Zc 14:5). Ezk 39:11-15. Da 7:11. +Mt 24:28. Re 19:18. the eagles. or, vultures. Ge 40:17-19. %Dt 28:49. *Jb 39:27-30. Pr 30:17. Is 18:6. %+*Is 40:31. Je 16:4. **Ezk 39:17-21. %Ho 8:1. Hab 1:8. +*#Mt 24:28. %Re 4:7. *Re 19:17-21. be gathered together. **1 S 17:44, 46. **Ezk 39:4, 17.

Mr. John Little concludes his letter as follows:

Jesus spoke about the Rapture in Matthew 24:27-28 and then hammers the point home:

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. – Matthew 24:29-31

(See also Mark 13:24-27)

This is Jesus, our Lord and Savior telling us that the Rapture MUST HAPPEN AFTER THE TRIBULATION!

Please, did you get that?

The Rapture happens AFTER THE TRIBULATION. There is NO OTHER WAY TO INTERPRET THOSE VERSES!

Period. End of Statement.

So, we have three passages that offer complete evidence that the Antichrist MUST come first, that the Resurrection of the Just MUST come first, that the Tribulation MUST come first.

Is there any part of this that you did not understand?

These Three Happen Before The Rapture

You CANNOT argue with those three verses, if you love the truth. And, you cannot be worthy to escape the Tribulation (Luke 21:36), if you do not love the truth.

Again, these three things must come BEFORE THE RAPTURE:

The Antichrist

The Resurrection

The Tribulation

There will be no Rapture until after those three things. Period.

Are you ready for this?

I do believe I have answered Mr. John Little’s every point. I have shown that he is mistaken on almost every point. The Scriptures Mr. Little appeals to in support of a Post-Tribulation Rapture have been shown to teach no such thing, but the very opposite.

It IS possible to settle differences in interpretation on controversial points about Bible prophecy or any other subject in the Bible. The procedure is just what I have demonstrated above. We must carefully compare Scripture with Scripture. We must carefully attend to the context of each passage cited. We must do Real Bible Study, following the 23 Rules of Interpretation posted to the right of this page in the October 2010 Archives.

I hope you have learned very much by reading this series on “The Rapture Question Answered.” Even I did!

If you agree with what I have posted in answer to Mr. John Little, or if you disagree with what I have posted, you are invited to leave a comment below or submit your own question or argument.

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The Pre-Tribulation Rapture Lie

I am borrowing Mr. John Little’s title from his July 28, 2014 article I just received in his “The Shock Letter,” http://www.omegashock.com/2014/07/28/the-pre-tribulation-rapture-lie/

I trust the title alone is shocking enough.

In part, Mr. Little states we must start with the truth.

When judging a lie, you must always start with the truth, and you will find it in the Bible. It’s really quite simple, as the truth often is, and it won’t require lots of verbal gymnastics to say what is… the truth.
Let me summarize the points first:
• Truth ALWAYS trumps THEORY – ALWAYS
• The Antichrist must come before the Rapture
• The Tribulation must come before the Rapture
• The Sun and Moon Must be Darkened before the Rapture
• The Lord Must descend from Heaven with a Shout before the Rapture
• Jesus Must Return before the Rapture
• The Resurrection must happen just before the Rapture (or, at the same time)
• There is only one resurrection for those who are God’s people
• God promised that Christians would suffer
• There IS a Place of Safety on this Earth

(1) That truth always trumps theory is certainly true. Notice it is John Little who is calling the Bible doctrine of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture a theory.

Every time the Rapture is mentioned in the New Testament, it is always mentioned BEFORE any reference is made to the Day of the Lord, therefore it takes place before the day of the Lord and before the Great Tribulation.

PROOF:

The Rapture is mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. The Day of the Lord is not mentioned until 1 Thessalonians 5:2. As surely as chapter 4 of 1 Thessalonians comes before chapter 5, so most certainly the Rapture comes before the Day of the Lord. Since the Great Tribulation takes place after the Day of the Lord begins, the Rapture takes place before the Great Tribulation. Therefore, the Rapture is called the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. This is not theory. This is direct Bible fact.

The Rapture is mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:1 under the term “our gathering together unto Him,” which is mentioned before the reference to the Day of the Lord found in 2 Thessalonians 2:2. As surely as verse 1 comes before verse 2, so most certainly the Rapture comes before the Day of the Lord and its accompanying appearance of the Apostasy and the Antichrist. This order of events is the point of Paul’s argument: the Thessalonians could not have then been in the Day of the Lord because the Rapture had not taken place yet, and the Day of the Lord could not have started because the great apostasy had not taken place, nor had the Antichrist yet appeared, both of which events Paul states come first before the Day of the Lord begins. This is directly stated Biblical fact.

(2) The tribulation must come before the Rapture.

Wrong. The Great Tribulation (Revelation 7:14; Revelation 6:17) takes place during the Day of the Lord, and the Day of the Lord takes place some time after the Rapture, as proven in my point (1) above.

(3) The Sun and the Moon must be darkened before the Rapture.

Not so. Those events come before the Second Coming of Christ in power and great glory in the Day of the Lord. Signs in the heaven are a mark of the Day of the Lord, and therefore take place after the Rapture which comes before the onset of the Day of the Lord.

(4) The Lord must descend from Heaven with a shout before the Rapture.

Actually, the Lord descends from heaven with the shout of the archangel at the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17).

(5) Jesus must return before the Rapture.

Indeed He does, because He comes to take us to be with Himself (John 14:3) at that time, when all those who are dead in Christ and those alive in Christ at His return will meet Him in the air, the saved dead receiving their resurrection bodies at this time (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52), the living receiving their glorified bodies without experiencing physical death (1 Corinthians 15:51; Philippians 3:21; 1 John 3:2, 3).

(6) The resurrection must happen just before the Rapture (or, at the same time)

This is true for all the living and dead who are in Christ at the time of the Rapture, but note this is the resurrection of the righteous (Luke 14:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; 1 Corinthians 15:22, 23, 51, 52; John 11:25, 26) of this age. This is the only resurrection which is accompanied by a Rapture.

(7) There is only one resurrection for those who are God’s people.

This may be labeled “the first resurrection” (Revelation 20:5, 6). Yet this “first resurrection” contains separate components which take place at different times, but always pertains to the resurrection of the righteous at those times. It is the unsaved dead who experience the “second resurrection,” or as Jesus called it, “the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:29). The “first resurrection” includes these four components: (a) The resurrection of Christ Himself, the “firstfruits,” 1 Corinthians 15:23; (b) The resurrection of saints or believers of this church age at the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, 1 Thessalonians 4:16; (c) The resurrection of the saints saved during the Great Tribulation period after the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, Revelation 20:3-5; together with (d) The resurrection of the Old Testament saints (Daniel 12:2; Isaiah 26:19). Isaiah 26:20 places the resurrection of Isaiah 26:19 at the time after the indignation is past. The “indignation” is the day of wrath, the Great Tribulation. These four components constitute the First Resurrection. So while “there is only one resurrection for those who are God’s people,” that one resurrection, the “first resurrection” (Revelation 20:5) has the indicated four separate components which take place at different times.

(8) God promised that Christians would suffer

That is certainly true (Acts 14:22; 2 Timothy 3:12), but that is not equivalent to saying all Christians will suffer the Great Tribulation. There is a clear difference! No Christians alive during this Church Age will be involved in suffering during the Great Tribulation, for they will all have been raptured to be with Christ at the Pre-Tribulation Rapture which takes place before the onset of the Day of the Lord. To suggest otherwise is to fall into the error, even heresy, that Paul wrote the book of 2 Thessalonians to address (2 Thessalonians 2:1, 2, 3).

(9) There IS a place of safety on this earth

Mr. John Little brings up a most interesting point in Bible prophecy. There is a place of safety for those who become believers on this earth after the Pre-Tribulation Rapture has taken place. These believers are never spoken of in the book of Revelation as the Church. The book of Revelation does not mention the Church throughout all the chapters depicting the events of the Day of the Lord and the Great Tribulation–chapters 4 through 18 or so, as I recall. How account for this strange omission? I believe the best explanation is that this proves the Church as we know it today is not present, but believers surely are. There are many interesting passages of Scripture which may apply to this time: Zephaniah 2:3; Habakkuk 3:16; Isaiah 16:3, and numerous other passages which may be readily found by consulting the cross references I have furnished in either The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge or Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible. They make for a most interesting study.

Note that I have addressed in full Mr. John Little’s mistaken stance about the Rapture in what is so far a seven part series under the category “Bible Prophecy” just to the right on this page.

To get more truly Biblical answers about the Pre-Tribulation Rapture that address Mr. John Little’s claims read more there. You will learn more about Bible prophecy than you may ever have thought there was to learn.

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