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Will Christians be secretly raptured?

October 21, 2014 2 comments

This past weekend the eschatological thriller Left Behind opened in theaters. It joins a flood of Christian movies this year including Exodus, Son of God, God’s Not Dead, Heaven Is for Real, and Noah. Okay, let’s not count Noah.

Yet Left Behind stands out among this surge of Christian films, not just because it stars Nicholas Cage, and not just because it’s based on the wildly successful Left Behind novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Perhaps more than the other films, Left Behind captures believers’ imagination because it portrays a future, world-changing event: the secret rapture, that moment Jesus suddenly snatches up all Christians to himself years prior to his visible second coming.

As producer and writer Paul LaLonde put it, “It’s a Bible-based movie, it’s a biblical story, it’s a true story—it just hasn’t happened yet.” As a result, it can cause us to wonder, What will it be like when all the Christians suddenly disappear? How close are we to the rapture? Will I be taken or left behind?

But there’s another question we should ask, one that may surprise you: “Is the rapture taught in the Bible?” It may come as a shock to learn that many Bible-believing Christians today doubt the rapture, and that most Christians throughout history had never even heard of it.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Man claims to know the exact day that Christ will return

April 15, 2013 6 comments

wolf-angry4When will these nut cases quit making false claims? I know, I know, they will not quit making false claims until Christ actually returns; for Peter declared: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies……2 Peter 2:1”

Here is another man who claims to have worked out a secret formula that will give him the revelation knowledge of when Christ will return. This man, not only claims to know the exact year, but the very day in which Christ will return. This is contrary to what Christ told his apostles; for Christ told them “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”

Nevertheless, in this age of technological breakthrough it seems that hosts of people have come out claiming all kinds of false beliefs about the scriptures. We have had Y2K, the Bible Codes, Harold Camping, and we could go on and on. Yet none of these nut cases have been right on their predictions.

So if anyone is interested in ordering a Dvd that will cause amusement and laughter, then here it is. Remember, a merry heart doeth good like a medicine………………and a false prophet always speaketh lies.

 

 “Would you like to know the specific day of the Lord’s return?

Product Description

Pastor Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries believes he knows – the exact day, if not the specific year.

It is laid out in a series of two DVD teachings produced by WND Videos called “The Feasts of the Lord.”

The spring feasts – or appointed times – were fulfilled by the first coming of Yeshua, the Hebrew name of Jesus, which means “Salvation.” The fall feasts will be fulfilled by His Second Coming – in the very near future, explains Biltz in an engaging, informative and entertaining series of teachings you will want to watch again and again and share with your friends, relatives and fellow believers.

Biltz emphasizes that these feasts, described in Leviticus, were not intended for the Jewish people alone. They are repeatedly referred to in the Bible as “the Lord’s feasts” – meaning they are for all people. They are meant to be observed as well as to serve as signs of the times in which we live – reminders of the greatest events of the past and foreshadowings of the future.

A feast is defined as “an appointment, i.e., a fixed time or season; also a signal (as appointed beforehand).” Filled with specific scriptural references, word studies and a historical explanation of the real significance of the feasts of the Old Testament.

Biltz says much of the church is asleep – unaware of the significance of the feasts on God’s holy time clock. The feasts were not intended to be abandoned by believers after the coming of Jesus. His followers observed them in the first century. It’s time to discover them again as the hour of His return approaches.”

 

 

See the claims here on this order page for a Dvd on the teaching of the Jewish feast.

Interpreting the Book of Revelation

February 25, 2013 Leave a comment

Book_of_Revelation016How many debates have you been in concerning the last book of the Bible? I imagine if you are compassionate about what you believe, then you may not be able to remember how many it has been. This is not necessarily bad. Christians ought to be passionate about God, his word, and things that accompany salvation. Nevertheless, Christians are also called to be good stewards of the word of God and to rightly divide the word of God 2 Timothy 2:15. Therefore we are going to take a look at the different schools of interpretation concerning the Book of Revelation.

There are generally four main approaches to the book of Revelation that most Bible students use when studying this book. In other words, most consider themselves as falling into one of these four main camps of interpretation as a student of this book. These four main interpretational approaches are as follows:

Preterism

Historicism

Futurism

Idealism

We shall discuss each theological view of the Book of Revelation in the order that I listed them.

 

The preterist: that it describes in veiled language events of John’s own time, and until the end of the Roman Empire or at least the conversion of Constantine. This has the disadvantage in that it is only meaningful then but to us it is not as relevant. The beast is seen as only the Roman empire and Babylon is Rome, however there are clear references to the Rome of John’s time and it is helpful to know the circumstances of John’s time in interpreting the book. In Rev 1: 11 John is told “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.” hence in some ways it is similar to Paul’s letters to the Romans, Corinthians, Colossians, Ephesians and Thessalonians. In both John’s and Paul’s letters God has chosen these to be preserved for His church throughout the centuries. Just as the letter to the Corinthians addresses specific problems they had then it also deals with these problems for future centuries. In the same way Revelation deals with the problems faced by the seven churches in Asia, but it also has a great deal to say to future generations. Because John uses symbolic imagery Revelation is not tied down to only the Roman Empire but may also be used to describe successive persecuting tyrannies down through the centuries. Examples of the preterist view are Morris, Hailey and Barclay. Chilton identifies the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 as the main focus of Revelation.(1)

Historicism: that it is a chart of the whole of history from Christ’s first coming to his second, and beyond. In this method people will try to make sections of Revelation fit in with specific historical events. The beast is seen as the current manifestation of the beast such as the papacy in the time of the reformation. This position is untenable because there will be a wide variation of interpretations through the ages. But because the principles are valid to all generations, as the idealist would suggest, each generation should be able to identify the characters portrayed by Revelation. Therefore the historicist’s view should not be disparaged, it has provided comfort in times of persecution throughout church history. The most important of the historical interpretation from the 12th century to reformation times makes the papacy the beast and Rome or the Roman church is Babylon. However to make Revelation a chart of the whole of human history and therefore to use it to predict when the end will come is wrong and is not how John intended Revelation to be read, but to use it to strengthen God’s people undergoing particular trials is a valid use.(2)

The idealist: that between messages for the first century and prophecies of the far future it deals chiefly with principles that are always valid in Christian experience. The beast is the Roman Empire of John’s day but also a succession of ungodly empires leading to the last empire from which the antichrist will come. Because Christians have been persecuted throughout the generations, each generation should be able to identify who their beast is. The main example is Hendriksen, see also Beale and Wilcock.(3)

The futurist: that it is largely a prophecy of events still to come, especially just prior to the return of Christ. This is the normal interpretation of someone reading the book for the first time because its imagery looks so fantastic. It means that the book will be especially relevant for those in the last generation. The beast is seen as the antichrist who emerges from a revived Roman empire. It is clear that the Second Coming features prominently throughout the book and therefore there is truth in the futurist view, but this view tends to overlook spiritual truth that is of value today. However note that John is told not to seal up the book (Rev 22:10) because the time is near, although Daniel was told to seal up the vision until the end times (Dan 12:4), this means that the book is about to start its fulfilment. The book of Revelation was written initially to the seven churches in Asia, and hence the preterist view. However the book will reach it final fulfilment when the last antichrist appears and Christ returns this is the futurist view.

Ladd divides the futurist views into two kinds, the moderate and the extreme view known as dispensationalism. The latter makes a sharp distinction between Israel and the church. The letters to the seven churches deal with seven ages of church history. Chapter 7 onwards concerns Israel because the church has been raptured by this point so that it does not suffer in the great tribulation, which occurs during the last 3 and a half years of history. This view is widely held in America, the best exponent of this view is Walvoord.”(4)

 

The only view that does justice to this book is the view held by the Idealists. This is because those holding this view allow the book to speak to the entire Church throughout the whole church age. All the other views tend to restrict this book to only a certain group or generation of peoples.

There is another method that not many employ when studying this book. Though it leans towards the Idealist camp, nevertheless it seeks to exegete the book in the historical context of which it was written and then makes it applicable to the entire Church age. In other words, this view approaches the study of the book by exegeting it in the historical context in which it was written, while recognizing that the entire Church age will always be dealing with the Beast and Christians will aways suffer persecution and martyrdom. This is called the Inductive method.

This view also sees the book as seven visions that use a ‘progressive parallelism’ grid as the visions build upon one another. This method is quite common throughout the Bible. God gives a general account of the creation in Genesis 1 and then recounts the creation in chapter 2, while adding greater detail.

Here is a brief outline of the progressive “parallelism method:”

 

“The system of interpretation of the book of Revelation which seems most satisfactory to me (though it is not without its difficulties) is that known as progressive parallelism, ably defended by William Hendriksen in More Than Conquerors, his commentary on Revelation.(5) According to this view, the book of Revelation consists of seven sections which run parallel to each other, each of which depicts the church and the world from the time of Christ’s first coming to the time of his second. The first of these seven sections is found in chapters 1-3.

John sees the risen and glorified Christ walking in the midst of seven golden lampstands. In obedience to Christ’s command John now proceeds to write letters to each of the seven churches of Asia Minor. The vision of the glorified Christ together with the letters to the seven churches obviously form a unit. As we read these letters we are impressed with two things.

First, there are references to events, people and places of the time when the book of Revelation was written. Second, the principles, commendations and warnings contained in these letters have value for the church of all time. These two observations, in fact, provide a clue for the interpretation of the entire book. Since the book of Revelation was addressed to the church of the first century A.D., its message had reference to events occurring at that time and was therefore meaningful for the Christians of that day. But since the book was also intended for the church through the ages, its message is still relevant for us today.

The second of these seven sections is the vision of the seven seals found in chapters 4-7. John is caught up to heaven and sees God sitting on his radiant throne. He then sees the Lamb that had been slain taking the scroll sealed with seven seals from the hand of the one who was sitting on the throne. The various seals are broken, and various divine judgments on the world are described. In this vision we see the church suffering trial and persecution against the background of the victory of Christ.

The third section, found in chapters 8-11, describes the seven trumpets of judgment. In this vision we see the church avenged, protected and victorious.

The fourth section, chapters 12-14, begins with the vision of the woman giving birth to a son while the dragon waits to devour him as soon as he is born—an obvious reference to the birth of Christ. The rest of the section describes the continued opposition of the dragon (who stands for Satan) to the church. This section also introduces us to the two beasts who are the dragon’s helpers: the beast out of the sea and the beast out of the earth.

The fifth section is found in chapters 15-16. It describes the seven bowls of wrath, thus depicting in a very graphic way the final visitation of God’s wrath on those who remain impenitent.

The sixth section, chapters 17-19, describes the fall of Babylon and of the beasts. Babylon stands for the worldly city — the forces of secularism and godlessness which are in opposition to the kingdom of God. The end of chapter 19 depicts the fall and final punishment of the dragon’s two helpers: the beast out of the sea, and the false prophet, who appears to be identified with the beast out of the earth (see 16:13).

The seventh section, chapters 20-22, narrates the doom of the dragon, thus completing the description of the overthrow of the enemies of Christ. In addition, it describes the final judgment, the final triumph of Christ and his church, and the renewed universe, here called the new heaven and the new earth.(6)

It is here that I point you to an entire sermon series that uses this method and it consists of 81 lectures or sermons on this book. This sermon series is taught by Arturo G. Azurdia and can be found right here.

1. Taylor, R. A., (Copyright 2000) pg. 14 (online-at: http://www.thefishersofmenministries.com/revelatn.pdf)

2. ibid., pg. 15

3. ibid., pg. 15

4. ibid., pg. 15

5. William Hendriksen, More Than Conquerors (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1939). An exposition and defense of this method of interpretation, summarized in nine propositions, can be found on pp. 11-64.

6. Amillennialism: Part I – Introduction by Anthony Hoekema (online-at: http://www.graceonlinelibrary.org/eschatology/amillennialism-part-i-introduction-by-anthony-hoekema/ )

Prophecies were not given for our idle curiosity to be overindulged

 

I think I may add, there is reason to hope that the time when these things shall be accomplished cannot be far off. I have no desire to deal in uncertain conjectures. The prophecies were not designed to make us prophets, nor to gratify an idle curiosity. They contain enough, however, to strengthen our faith, and invigorate our zeal. If we carefully examine the scriptures, though we may not be able to fix times with any certainty, yet we may obtain satisfaction that the day is not very distant when the kingdom of Christ shall be universal. The New-testament writers, in their times, made use of language which strongly indicates that time itself was far advances. The coming of the Lord draweth nigh. –Behold the judge standeth at the door. — The end of all things is at hand. — He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly! These, and such like passages, I should think, cannot mean less than that in those days they had passed the meridian of time, and entered, as it were, into the afternoon of the world. And now, after a lapse of eighteen hundred years, what else can be expected, but that things are fast approaching to their final issue? But it is not merely on general grounds that the conclusion rests. The prophet Daniel, in his seventh chapter, describes the successive establishment and overthrow of four great governments, which should each, in its day, rule the greater part of the world. He also speaks of the last of these governments as issuing in ten branches, and describes another, which he calls a little horn, as rising from among them. The dominion of this last government was to continue until a time, times, and the dividing of time. After this the judgement should set, and they should take away its dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And then it immediately follows, And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High. There are many things in the prophecies which are hard to be understood: but this seems to be very clear. There can be no doubt of the four great governments being the Babylonian, the Persian, the Grecian, and the Roman. Now these have each appeared upon the stage, and are gone into perdition. The division of the Roman empire into a number of lesser governments, such as continue in Europe to this day, and, among them, exercise a dominion over the rest of the world equal to what was formerly exercised by the Romans, is doubtless signified by the ten horns of the fourth beast. Nor can we be at a loss to know what that government is which is signified by a little horn, which rose up from among the ten horns, which speaketh great words against the Most High, and weareth out the saints of the Most High.

 

Rev. Andrew Fuller-God’s Approbation of our Labours Necessary to the Hope of Success-Preached

 

Dispensationalism Obscures the Gospel

March 22, 2012 3 comments

Does dispensational theology obscure the gospel. Does it cloud our minds from seeing the true intent of God’s salvation plan towards one people of God united in Christ? If you think otherwise, I challenge you to read this book.

Dispensationalism and the Everlasting Gospel by Bernie L. Gillespie

Before I understood the true nature of the Gospel and the significance of justification by faith, Bible prophecy was not at the heart of my interests. The subject always seemed fraught with tenuous speculation and conflicting opinions. It was not until God opened my heart to understand His Gospel that I began to see the teaching of my heritage from a new perspective. I was raised a dispensationalist and really didn’t know its significance. I don’t mean that I didn’t understand the basic teaching that made up dispensationalism. I mean that I didn’t realize how much all my understanding of the Bible was under the control of a dispensational grid or worldview. Until the last year, I was not aware how my view of the biblical truth of God’s plan in history and eschatology were throttled by the dispensational view. As I began to study it, vis-a-vis the Gospel, I came to realize that dispensational thought is a significant problem for many of my friends and colleagues in my former faith. I realize now that my former view of the plan of salvation was largely determined by specific assumptions passed on to me by dispensationalist teaching. I write this paper in hopes that it will provoke some to examine and discover just how much their view of God’s redemptive plan is directed, clouded or obscured by dispensationalism.

Download Pdf book here.

I to was once held under the sway of dispensational theology. It seemed so coherent and had an answer for everything that would happen in the end times. It captivated me and forced my mind to draw wrong interpretations of scriptures because I interpreted in light of the system laid out by this errant theology. Thank God I am free and can interpret according to context.

 

Harold Camping’s False Prophecy

Well one more false prediction has fell from the lips of Harold Camping. He has surely made himself a name in this world and will be remembered for his false distortions of the word of God. Harold Camping can now be truly numbered among the other false prophets of which are: Kenneth Copeland, Gloria Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Jr., Paul Crouch, T. D. Jakes, Benny Hinn, Robert Tilton, Joyce Meyers, Joel Osteen, Jimmy Swaggert, Pat Robertson, and a host of others.

Many think that I am unloving for calling them out by name, but this is not the case. God gives specific criterion when it comes to identifying a true prophet. We find this in Deuteronomy 18. Let’s read what God says:

 

Deu 18:20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.

Deu18:21And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?

Deu 18:22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

 

God’s test concerning a prophet was that if they speak and what they say come to pass then they have spoken from or by the Lord. But if what they say does not come to pass, then they have not spoken by the Lord or in other words God did not send them. Therefore I am not to be afraid of them.

We know that there were false prophets in the Old Testament, but also that there will be false prophets in the church. Peter tells us in 2 Peter 2:1 “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”

But Peter does not end there. He goes on to say that many will follow these false prophets. 2 Peter 2:2-3 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

Peter said that there would be heresies among these false prophets in the last days and that many will follow them. This is what truly saddens me. I know people who get up on Sunday morning and instead of reading scripture, they turn on the television and watch Joyce Meyers or Joel Osteen. Matter fact I know ministers who do the same. This is because they have no discernment of what is or is not the truth. They have neglected the word of God to their own destruction.

There is a lack of study in these last days and therefore many have just a surface level knowledge of scripture. They have not dug down and gotten to the meat of the word. Even if they are saved, they do not grow to maturity because they lack the knowledge of God. Peter said in his second epistle that we are to grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ 2 Peter 3:18.

Notice also that Peter said in 2 Peter 2:2 that the truth would be evil spoken of because of false prophets. Many today are partying and mocking Christianity because of Harold Camping’s false predictions. Many atheists are partying and mocking by saying where is the promise of his coming? Since the Fathers fell asleep, all things continue on as they always have. This is what Peter predicted that people would say in the last days (read 2 Peter 3).

Before I close I want to state that Christ is coming one day, but it will be in an hour when the world is not looking for him. He will come on this world as a thief in the night and all the false prophets will be destroyed.  The mocking atheist will also be destroyed.

I want to reach out to them who were duped by Harold Camping. We love you all and are not going to put you down or ridicule you, but call upon you to make your way to a local church and repent. After you repent join the church and sit under the word of God and be taught the truth of God’s Holy Word.

If any of Camping’s followers are in despair and need prayer or have a question, then email me at reformedontheweb@yahoo.com

Hershel Lee Harvell Jr.