Saturday, November 4, 2017

Scriptural Evidence for the Pretribulational Rapture

The Unknown Hour
When we search the Scriptures and read the passages describing the Lord Jesus' return, we find verses that tell us we won't know the day and hour of that event. Matthew 25:13 says Jesus will return at an unknown time, while Revelation 12:6 indicates that the Jews will have to wait on the Lord 1,260 days, starting when the Antichrist stands in the Temple of God and declares himself to be God (2 Thes 2:4). This event will take place at the mid-point of the seven-year tribulation (Dan 9:27). Note that some people only see a three-and-a-half-year tribulation. In a way, they are correct because the first half of the tribulation will be relatively peaceful compared to the second half. Nonetheless, peaceful or not, there still remains a seven-year period called the tribulation. When the Jews flee into the wilderness, they know that all they have to do is wait out those 1,260 days (Mat 24:16). There is no way to apply the phrase "neither the day nor the hour" to this situation. The only way for these two viewpoints to be true is to separate the two distinct events transpiring here: 1) the rapture of the Church, which comes before the tribulation; and 2) the return of Jesus to the earth, which takes place roughly seven years later.
The Marriage Supper of the Lamb
In Luke 12:36, the Word states that when Christ returns, He will be returning from a wedding. In Revelation 19:7-8, we read about the marriage itself. The marriage supper takes place before the marriage. According to Jewish custom, the marriage contract, which often includes a dowry, is drawn up first. The contract parallels the act of faith we use when we trust Jesus to be our Savior. The dowry is His life, which was used to purchase us. When it’s time for the wedding, the groom goes to the bride's house unannounced. She comes out to meet him, and then he takes her to his father's house. This precisely correlates with the events according to the pre-trib scenario. Jesus, the Groom, comes down from heaven and calls up the Church, His Bride. After meeting in the air, He and His Bride return to His Father's house, heaven. The marriage supper itself will take place there, while down here on earth the final events of the tribulation will be playing out. After the marriage supper of Jewish tradition, the bride and groom are presented to the world as man and wife. This corresponds to the time when Jesus returns to earth accompanied by an army "clothed in fine linen, white and clean" (Rev 19:14).
What They Didn't Teach You in History Class (It didn't happen in 70 A. D.)
Many groups try to discredit the pre-trib rapture by saying most of the end-time events in the Bible have already taken place. A group of people called Preterists claims that the Book of Revelation was mostly fulfilled by 70 AD. If the events described in the Book of Revelation took place in the past, I’m at a loss to explain some of the current situations I see around us: the rebirth of Israel, the reunification of Europe, the number of global wars that have occurred, and the development of nuclear weapons. During history class, I must have slept through the part where the teacher talked about the time when a third of the trees were burned up, 100-pound hailstones fell from the sky, and the sea turned into blood (Rev 8:7-8, 16:21). I think several people would have to question their opposition to the pre-trib rapture doctrine if they knew that the evidence provided to them was based on the understanding that most tribulation prophecies have already occurred.
The People of the Millennium (Who goes in to the Millennium?)
If Christ were to come back after the tribulation, rapture all the saints, and slay all the ungodly, who would be left to populate the earth during the millennium? Only the pre-trib viewpoint can account for this post-trib problem. The Church is raptured before the tribulation, a vast number of souls are saved during this seven-year time frame, and those who make it through the tribulation go into the millennium while the unsaved are cast into hell.
The Saints U-turn (Can't be Post-trib)
In the pre-trib scenario, after we rise to meet the Lord in the air, we will go to heaven and abide there seven years. At the end of that period, Christ will come down to earth, defeat the Antichrist, and cleanse the temple. In a post-trib rapture, we would rise in the air to meet the Lord, then do a 180- degree U-turn and come back down to earth. Revelation 1:7 states that Christ will appear out of the clouds and come down to earth. Zechariah 14:4 says that His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives. If He's already headed our way, why would we need to be caught up to meet Him?
"Come Up Hither"
Many pre-trib writers cite Revelation 4:1, which says, "come up hither," as a prophetic reference to the rapture of the Church, leaving Revelation chapters 1 through 3 as a description of the Church Age. After the shout to "come up hither," the Church is not mentioned in Scripture at all. The attention of Scripture switches from the Church to the Jews living in Israel.
Armies in Fine Linen
When Jesus returns (Rev. 19:18), an army follows Him. The army’s members are riding on white horses, and they are clothed in fine linen that is white and clean. In Revelation 19:8, we are told that the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints. If the saints of God are returning with Christ to wage war on the Antichrist, then it is not possible to have a post-trib rapture without us running into ourselves as we are coming and going.
The Time of Jacob's Trouble
In several passages, the Bible refers to the tribulation as a time of trouble for the Jews. The phrase "Jacob's trouble" pertains to the descendants of Jacob. Jeremiah 30:7 says that this time of trouble will come just before the Lord returns to save His people. The final week of Daniel's 70th week is yet to take place. An angel told Daniel that, "70 weeks are determined unto thy people" (Dan 9:24). Scripture never mentions that the tribulation is meant to be a time of testing for Christians. However, some post-tribbers try to claim that they are the ones being tested during the tribulation. To make this so, they need to spiritualize the 144,000 Jewish believers in Revelation 7:2-8 who receive God's protective seal. Placing the Church dispensation into the same time frame as the seven-year Jewish dispensation, as the post-tribbers do, raises one good question: Can two dispensations transpire at the same time? In the past, God has only dealt with one at a time. Having both present during the tribulation would have to be an exception.
”He” That is Taken Out of the Way
Before the Antichrist can be revealed, Paul said a certain "He" must be taken out of the way. According to 2 Thessalonians 2:7, the "He" that must be removed is widely thought to be the Holy Spirit. It has been promised that the Holy Spirit would never leave the Church, and without the working of the Holy Spirit remaining on earth, no one could be saved during the tribulation. The removal of the Church, which is indwelt by the Holy Ghost, would seem the best explanation for this dilemma. The working of the Holy Spirit could go on during the tribulation, but His influence would be diminished because of the missing Church.
War or Rapture?
(Rev 19:19-21) When Jesus returns at the end of the tribulation, He will be coming for battle. For those who believe in a post-trib rapture, it would be strange to meet your Lord and Savior just as He's rushing into battle. The idea that war and rapture could occur together is difficult to imagine, especially since they transpire at the same moment.
God Hath Not Appointed Us to Wrath
In 1 Thessalonians 5:9, Paul assures us that God has not appointed His people to wrath. This wrath is plainly God's anger that will be poured out during the tribulation. Pre-trib believers interpret this as meaning that Christians will be removed from the earth. Post-trib believers tell a different story. They describe this as meaning that God will protect Christians during the tribulation and pour this wrath out on the unbelievers only. This idea runs against the statement made in Revelation 13:7, in which the Antichrist is given power to make war with the saints and to overcome them. A post-trib view would make God's promise of protection from wrath into a lie. In years past, it was possible to think of being protected from the guns and swords of that day. Today, when any major war would involve nuclear and chemical weapons, it's impossible to expect that same kind of protection. When Nagasaki, Japan was bombed during World War II, the bomb exploded over a Catholic church. Everyone who was in  from this world.
The Salt of the Earth
Jesus said, "Ye are the salt of the earth" (Matthew 5:13). When the believers are removed, the earth will be plunged into spiritual darkness. When this happens, the Antichrist will then be free to control the world.
God Takes an Inventory
In Revelation 7:3, an angel descends to earth and seals the servants of God. Two bits of information about this sealing highly disclaim a post-trib viewpoint. The first item is the number of people sealed: 144,000. The second one is that all those who are sealed are from the 12 tribes of Israel. For the events in Revelation 7:3-8 to be true in a post-trib interpretation, either the Church has turned against God or God has turned against the Church. A post-tribber could write a thousand-word commentary about why the Church doesn't need to be sealed. Instead of trying to argue about why the Church is not mentioned or sealed, a pre-trib proponent could just say, "We're already in heaven."
Noah and Lot as Examples
The tribulation period is compared to the times of Noah and Lot by Jesus in Luke 17:28. Most people argue over whether the time frame Jesus was talking about in that passage was pre-trib or post-trib. In doing so, they miss an important point. The two circumstances that the Noah and Lot situations have in common are the removal of the righteous and the judgment of the unbelievers. From these two accounts, we see that God prefers to remove His own when danger is involved.

Source: raptureready.com



Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Guarding the gospel with the discernment




By Mike Gendron

What is the greatest attack on the church today? That was the weighty question asked of the speakers at a recent conference. I promptly responded, "The greatest attack we are seeing today is on the exclusivity and purity of the Gospel." The exclusivity of the Gospel declares all other faiths are false because no one can come to God except through the atoning death of Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). The exclusivity of the Gospel also humbles the pride of self-righteous people and calls them to repentance. 

This is why many pastors are compromising the Gospel. They want to make it more inclusive in order to draw a larger following, gain more influence and be loved by more people. This man-pleasing gospel makes people comfortable in their sin but it has no power to save them. It has become popular because it exalts man and his importance and diminishes God and His significance. It also emphasizes God's love while ignoring His holiness, justice and hatred of sin. 

Tragically those who embrace this diluted gospel are woefully deceived and remain dead in their sins. Equally tragic is the willingness of born-again Christians to put up with another gospel. Paul exhorts them to repent of such apathy with a sharp rebuke: "If someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough" (2 Cor. 11:4). The only thing worse than a Christian without discernment is one who has discernment but refuses to use it to challenge professing Christians in their unfruitful lives. Those who have been deceived will not know it unless they are lovingly confronted with the truth. They must be reproved in order to become sound in the faith (Titus 1:13).

Many Christians are unaware of their responsibility to judge and test all things. Paul commended the Bereans for rightfully judging his teaching. "They received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so" (Acts 17:10-11). The apostle John exhorted Christians to make judgments concerning doctrinal and spiritual issues: "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (I John 4:1). Clearly, all Christians are called to judge righteously by using the Word of God as the plumb line for discerning truth from error. And judge we must because the Father of Lies deals in half-truths, and his fatal lies are often coated with a thin veneer of truth to deceive the unsuspecting.

Spiritual discernment is a discipline and a privilege that only born-again Christians can exercise. Paul wrote: "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things." (1 Cor. 2:14-16). The ability to make judgments is a mark of Christian maturity. "Solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil" (Hebrews. 5:14). By practicing discernment we are able to guard and protect the Gospel for the next generation.
As we practice discernment we must make sure our motives are Christ-honoring. Our objective must be to obey God's word for the purpose of helping, healing, correcting, warning and sharing in the spirit of love. When our motives are pure, people will be encouraged to love the truth and hate what is false (Psalm 119:104). Pure motives will result in contending for the purity of the Gospel and the sanctity of our Lord's Church!

There is no more critical issue in the Church today than guarding the purity of the Gospel. It is the rudder that must guide the Church through stormy waters that have been stirred up by every wind of doctrine (Eph. 4:14). Churches that do not provide a steady diet of God's Word, will become entertainment centers for goats instead of sanctuaries for the Shepherd's sheep (Mat. 25:32). When 

doctrinal truth is being withheld, ignored, denied, or rejected, it will produce fertile ground for deception. The only way people will know if they have true faith or a false hope is to discern the true Gospel from a false gospel. It is the responsibility of every born again Christian to make disciples and challenge false converts to examine their faith. If anyone would like to know more about practicing discernment we have a message on DVD that will encourage you

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Celebrating the 500 anniversary of the Reformation

The Reformation Recovered The Doctrine of Justification By Faith                       by Mike Gendron


When Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenburg 500 years ago this month, he ignited a theological firestorm that would burn throughout Europe. As a Roman Catholic monk, Luther's greatest desire was to become right with God, yet his religion offered no peace or assurance. This led him to begin a diligent study of God's Word and it was there that he discovered the only way a condemned sinner could be justified by a holy and righteous God. Luther's study of Scripture revealed the glorious doctrine of justification that had been concealed and corrupted by religious traditions for over 1000 years. The Bible declares the justification of sinners can only be accomplished by a divine exchange - the imputing of man's sins to Christ, and the imputing of Christ's righteousness to sinners (2 Cor. 5:21). The only way condemned sinners can be justified is through the sin-bearing, substitutionary death of Christ who satisfied divine justice.
The doctrine of Justification is said to be the hinge upon which the gates of heaven open and close. Those who get justification wrong also get the Gospel wrong, and those who die embracing a false gospel will pay for that mistake forever. The doctrine of Justification declares the inflexible righteousness of God as a Judge who must punish every sin, that has ever been committed, by everyone who has ever lived. It also declares His love, mercy, and grace in providing His only Son to be crucified as a substitute for sinners.
Many Christians are unaware of how the Catholic Church has twisted and distorted the biblical doctrine of Justification and condemned those who believe it. Yes, they have pronounced 33 anathemas from the Council of Trent on anyone who believes that they are justified by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Since this has eternal consequences, we have provided 10 contrasts between the biblical Doctrine of Justification and the corrupted doctrine that continues to be taught by Rome. To print a copy of these 10 contrasts click here. The numbers in parenthesis are paragraph numbers from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
1) Justification is by faith in what God accomplished in Christ (Rom. 5:1). Rome says initial justification is by water baptism (1992).
2) Justification changes one's legal status before God whereby a condemned sinner has been acquitted and declared righteous (Rom. 5:12-21). Rome says justification changes the inner man, not his legal status (2019).
3) Justification is an instantaneous act of God which immediately declares a sinner righteous (Rom. 4:3). Rome says justification is an ongoing process, the ongoing renewal of interior man (2019).
4) Justification is permanent and is never lost by sin. The legal status of a justified man is as unchangeable as the righteousness of Christ (Heb. 10:14). Rome says justification is temporal. It is lost by sin and regained through the sacrament of penance and good works (1446, 1861).
5) Justification is by grace apart from works (Titus 3:7; Rom. 11:6). God justifies those who do not work (Rom. 4:5; Gal. 2:16). Those justified receive the gracious gift of Christ's righteousness (Rom. 5:17). Rome says justification must include good works (2010). "If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone, let him be anathema" (Trent, Canon 9). Rome says re-justification must be merited by making satisfaction for sins through works of mercy, prayer, service to neighbors, etc. (1459, 1460, 2027).

6) Justification is by imputation or crediting of Christ's completed righteousness to the one justified (2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 4:5). Rome says justification is by infusion of God's righteousness which renews the interior man (1989).
7) God justifies the ungodly (Rom. 4:5). Rome teaches final justification is only for those who have become righteousness(2016, 2020).
8) After justification all sins are no longer taken into account or punished (Rom. 4:5; 2 Cor. 5:19-21). Rome says that sins committed after justification will be punished either in purgatory or in hell (1030, 1861).
9) God promises to glorify everyone He justifies because those justified can never be condemned (Rom. 8:1, 8:30). Rome says that God will condemn to hell anyone who was justified (by water baptism) but who dies in mortal sin (1861).

10) Justification precedes sanctification (Rom. 6-8). Rome says justification is an integral part of sanctification (1995).
The righteousness that justifies the ungodly sinner is an alien righteousness that was accomplished outside of and apart from man. It is the completed righteousness of Jesus Christ and is given as a gift from God apart from any merit or work of man. His perfect righteousness is imputed at the moment the redeemed is united with Christ by faith. The righteousness of Christ is our passport into heaven! No one will enter into glory without it (2 Peter 3:13).

Letters from Around the World

Mike, I was so glad to see that you took a stand about Johnnie Moore's pandering to Pope Francis, and his complete ignorance of Catholic doctrine. What a sad commentary about those who are in leadership within the so-called 'Christian' church of today. As a writer for GotQuestions.org, I get quite a few questions about Catholicism, and like you, I try to explain the sheer apostasy of that massive religious system, with the hope of shining the light of truth into people's hearts. It's sad that more believers won't take a public stand against sin and apostasy. I believe that God says we are to 'expose' those who are spewing falsehood, or apostate teaching, charged in Ephesians 5:11-13. I've dealt with Dr. Russell Moore and the leaders of the SBC due to their support of a lawsuit to help Muslims build a mosque in New Jersey. Even though it's a sign of the times in which we live, we have to keep fighting the good fight until He comes. Keep speaking out, and keep doing what you're doing. Come Lord Jesus, S. P., Mt Juliet, TN

Hello Mike, I need some advice. I was called out of the Catholic Church back in 2002. Now I am an Elder at a reformed church that unashamedly defends God's word. However, much to my surprise, I found out that my church is amillennial. This greatly troubles me. I do not understand how they can take such a strong stance on God's word but totally spiritualize and allegorize the second coming of Christ. My church is part of the I'll Be Honest group of churches. When you spiritualize so much of the Bible it is a serious issue. God's plan to redeem His creation through Jesus Christ and how he is going to fulfill all of His covenants, including His covenants with Israel, is playing out before our very eyes. I feel sure I need to step down as an Elder and find another church. J. K., Hastings, MN

Hi J.K., Unfortunately, there are many in reformed churches who embrace the amillennial position of the Reformers. As you may know, the Reformers never developed a biblical view of eschatology. Instead, they held the same amillennial position of the Roman Catholic Church. Today, there are many Reformed leaders who choose to follow the Reformers instead of the Apostles. They allegorize literal prophecies concerning the 2nd Coming of Christ. Such a position leaves all prophetic Scriptures open to misinterpretation. Also, an inconsistent hermeneutic will lead to faulty interpretations in other areas of theology. We need to encourage everyone to build their eschatology on Christ and the apostles rather than the Reformers. It would be my privilege to counsel with you on the phone and offer biblical advice for you to consider. 



By Mike Gendron 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Christ and antichrist

First published in July 1990
Anti is a Greek prefix that not only means “opposed to” but “in the place of.” Antichrist [1] will indeed oppose Christ but in the most diabolically clever way possible: by pretending to be Christ. For the world to follow and worship him, a false Christianity must become the world religion—a “Christianity” that all religions can accept and that embraces all religions into “one faith.” Hence the necessity for today’s growing apostasy [2]: to create an apostate church to be the Antichrist [1]’s earthly bride, just as the true church is Christ’s heavenly bride. Such is the important role of the New Age movement and the many accelerating delusions and seductions in these “last days.”
Through a false gospel, false prophets, occultic religious practices and lying “signs and wonders,” today’s churches are being filled with millions who call themselves Christians, but who are not. Left behind at the Rapture, and happy that the “negative” influence of the vanished troublemakers has been removed, they will worship and follow the Antichrist [1], thinking he is the true Christ and that they have “never had it so good.” An ecumenized “Christianity,” in partnership with all religions, will carry on and prosper even more after the Rapture than before. The unifying factor will be concern for Mother Earth. Working for peace and ecological wholeness will have replaced truth as the basis of Christianity, as the World Council of Churches has already decreed.
Far from being a cop-out invented by those who desire to escape persecution (which could become very severe in America before the Rapture), a pretribulation Rapture is essential for a number of reasons: first of all, to remove the true Christians from earth. If they were present when Antichrist [1] was revealed, they would oppose and expose him. Such opposition must be removed in order to give Satan and man, under Antichrist [1]’s leadership, full freedom to prove that this earth can be turned back into a garden paradise without God. The Holy Spirit, who is omnipresent, will still convict and draw many to Christ during the Great Tribulation. The restraining influence, however, that He has wielded in this world through the millions of true Christians, will have suddenly been removed, leaving a moral and spiritual vacuum in homes, neighborhoods, businesses, and schools such as we cannot even imagine.
A pretrib Rapture is also necessary because the Antichrist [1] will be given authority by God “to make war with the saints, and to overcome them” (Rv 13:7). Such a fate could not befall the church, for Christ said that the “gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18). Moreover, true Christians have authority and power to “resist the devil” and “he will flee” (Jas 4:7), for “greater is he that is in [us], than he that is in the world” (1 Jn:4:4). So the fact that Antichrist [1] is given power by God “to make war with the saints and to overcome [i.e., kill] them” is proof that the true church is no longer present.
The “saints” mentioned are those who have not heard and rejected the gospel prior to the Rapture and who believe in Christ during the Great Tribulation. They will pay for their faith with their lives. Those who take the mark of the beast suffer the wrath of the Lamb, while those who don’t are slain by Antichrist [1]. Thus a post-trib rapture would be a classic nonevent, for there would be very few if any surviving believers to be raptured at that time. And surely those Christians who were left alive, seeing the judgment of God poured out upon mankind and earth’s armies gathered for the battle of Armageddon in an attempt to destroy Israel [4], would know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Second Coming was about to occur—and would be watching for their Lord to appear. Yet Christ declared that He would return at a time of such ease that even the “five wise virgins” would “slumber and sleep.” He warned, “[F]or in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Mt 24:44). Hardly likely in the midst of the greatest tribulation and destruction the world has ever seen or ever will see!
To understand how the stage is being set for the final conflict between Christ and Antichrist [1], it is helpful to consider some comparisons and contrasts between these two antagonists. First of all, the procession of events is in God’s hands. Although we cannot know the day or hour of our Lord’s return, the Bible does give us many clues as to the general timing of this great occurrence.
There is a precise time for Christ’s second coming just as there was for the first: “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son...” (Gal:4:4). The same is true of the Antichrist [1]. Quite possibly already present in the world and waiting in the wings, this “man of sin” known as “that Wicked [one]” (2 Thes:2:3,8) can only take power when it is God’s time: “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time” (2:6).
Interestingly, the Roman Empire plays an integral part in the timing for the revelation both of God’s Messiah and Satan’s. Ancient Rome set the stage for Christ’s birth: “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world
should be taxed” (Lk 2:1). It was this decree that caused Joseph and Mary to be in Bethlehem so that Christ would be born there in fulfillment of Micah:5:2. And of course He also had to be executed during the time of the Roman Empire, which introduced crucifixion, in order to fulfill Psalm 22.
For Christ to return, the Roman Empire must be revived. This is clear from Daniel’s interpretation that the distinct parts of the image seen by Nebuchadnezzar “...head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron” (Dn 2:32-33) represented four world kingdoms: the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian and Roman. That the “feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron” (2:41) represent the fourth world kingdom revived in the last days is clear from the statement, “And in the days of these kings [i.e., represented by the ten toes] shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed...[and] it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (2:44).
Christ did not establish His kingdom the first time He came, so He must come again to do so. When? “In the days of those kings”—i.e., when the Roman Empire has been revived, out of which the Antichrist [1] will arise. No longer “as a lamb to the slaughter” (Isa:53:7), but now returning in power and glory to execute judgment upon those who crucified Him, Christ will destroy this evil empire in its revived form at His second coming. So although the date is not given, the timing of Christ’s return is clearly indicated.
It is also essential for the Roman Empire to be revived in order for the Antichrist [1] to appear. Daniel prophesied that “the people of the prince that shall come [i.e., Antichrist [1]] shall destroy the city and the sanctuary...” (Dn 9:26). The Roman armies under the command of Titus destroyed Jerusalem and the temple in AD 70. It is therefore from these people that the Antichrist [1] must arise. That doesn’t necessarily mean that he has to be Roman, since her legions came from many parts of the Empire. It does mean, however, that he must come from that world kingdom—and for that to happen, the Roman Empire must be revived. We are seeing the fulfillment of this most remarkable prophecy in our day.
Calling Antichrist [1] “the prince that shall come” indicates that he, like the ancient Caesars, will rule the Empire when it is revived. Moreover, the ancient Roman Empire was not only a political, economic, and military entity but also a religious one with the god-emperor the head of the pagan priesthood. So in conjunction with a world government, a world religion headed by the new Caesar, the Antichrist [1], must be established in the last days, exactly as Revelation 13 indicates.
During the periodic waves of Roman persecution that the early Christians endured, all citizens of the Empire were required to bow down to an image of the current Caesar and worship him as god. Those who did not were killed. Such will also be the case under Antichrist [1] in the revived Roman Empire: “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life...[and] as many as would not worship the image of the beast [Antichrist [1] ] should be killed” (Rv 13:8,15).
The contrasts between Christ and Antichrist [1] are also instructive. Our Lord was despised and rejected by Israel [4] and by the world: the Antichrist [1] will be hailed and embraced. Christ was mocked and jeered: the Antichrist [1] will be praised. The cry of those who rejected Christ was, “We’ll not have this man to reign over us!” It is incredible to realize that in contrast the Antichrist [1] will be accepted not only by the world but by Israel [4] as well. Jesus told the Jewish leaders in His day, “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive” (Jn:5:43).
Christ’s kingdom of light and truth is heavenly (“My kingdom is not of this world” - Jn:18:36); Antichrist [1]’s kingdom of darkness is built upon a lie and is totally of this world. It is sad to see so many evangelical Christians becoming increasingly entangled in this world, joining with Catholics, Mormons and other cultists and occultists to pursue its political and social agendas—and in the process losing their hope of heaven. It was characteristic of the early church that they knew they were the ekklesia, the called-out ones, who were no longer of this world (Jn:17:6,14,16) but were eagerly waiting (1 Thes:1:10) and watching for Christ to return to take them to heaven (Heb:9:28Jn:14:2-3). That hope must be awakened!
Mystery surrounds both Christ and Antichrist [1]. Of Christ, Paul wrote, “great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh...” (1 Tm 3:16). And of Antichrist [1] he wrote, “[T]he mystery of iniquity doth already work” (2 Thes:2:7). Each has a mysterious bride, one a virgin, the other a harlot. The mystery of godliness, which will be revealed in Christ’s bride, the church, has been “kept secret since the world began” (Rom:16:25) and is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col:1:27). It can only be fully revealed at the last time (1 Pt 1:5).
The mystery of iniquity, which could conversely be called “Satan in you, the hope of damnation,” will also be revealed through a bride, the Antichrist [1]’s. She is called “mystery, babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth” (Rv 17:5). As Christ loves and preserves His bride, so Satan will “hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire” (Rv 17:16).
The fact that the second coming of Christ in power and glory to rescue Israel [4], destroy the armies that are about to destroy her, and to set up His kingdom upon the throne of His father David is a separate event from the rapture of His bride, the church, is very clear. Some try to make them one event by suggesting that we will be “caught up to meet the Lord in the air” on His way to earth and will immediately turn around and accompany Him to the Mount of Olives and His intervention at Armageddon. However, Revelation:19:7-14 tells of Christ’s marriage to His bride in heaven before He comes to earth to execute judgment and set up His kingdom.
A major purpose of the Second Coming is to destroy Antichrist [1]: “whom the Lord shall...destroy with the brightness of his coming” (2 Thes:2:8). Thus it is clear that the Second Coming cannot take place until the Antichrist [1] has been revealed and has established his kingdom upon earth. If the Rapture were not a separate event from the Second Coming before the Antichrist [1] is revealed, then Christians would not be watching, waiting, and looking for Christ, but for the Antichrist [1], which is unthinkable!
One of the growing delusions today is the belief that the church is not to be raptured at all but that when we have taken over the world (and not until then), Christ will return to reign over the kingdom we have established for Him. Yet Christ promised, “And if I go and prepare a place for you [in heaven], I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (Jn:14:3). Paul wrote that “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 [obviously to be taken home to His Father’s house of many mansions]: and so shall we ever be with the Lord [in heaven, where He has gone to prepare a place for us]” (1 Thes:4:16-17).
Instead, many who claim to be Christians are looking forward to meeting a “Christ” with their feet planted firmly on planet earth—a “Christ” who has not arrived to take them to heaven but to reign over the kingdom they have established for him. What a delusion! Such have not been working for the true Christ, but for the counterfeit, the Antichrist [1]. They have not been “lay[ing] up...treasures in heaven” (Mt 6:20), but have been building an earthly kingdom. May our Bridegroom reawaken our love for Him, and may our hearts, as it should be with a bride, long to see and be with Him!
TBC
Source: https://www.thebereancall.org/content/christ-and-antichrist

Saturday, April 1, 2017

One Priest and One Finished Sacrifice for Sin


By Mike Gendron

As a devout Roman Catholic for over 34 years, I was utterly dependent upon Catholic priests for salvation. The reliance on priests to avoid the fires of hell is common among all Catholics. All Catholics are enslaved and in bondage to these men in the following ways: to baptize them with water for regeneration and justification, to hear their confession and absolve their sin, to impart the Holy Spirit in the sacrament of Confirmation, and to transubstantiate a wafer into the physical body and blood of Jesus in the Eucharist so that He can be offered on an altar and consumed. Not only are Catholics utterly dependent on their priests in this life, but also in the next life. The priest ministers Last Rites to prepare them for eternity and then offers Eucharistic sacrifices that are purchased by loved ones to get them out of purgatory. No priest will say how many sacrifices must be offered before they can be released from purgatory. This keeps the money pouring into Catholic coffers.
By God's grace, I began reading His Word and discovered there is a perfect High Priest who is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him (Heb. 7:25). When Jesus cried out "It is finished," the curtain of the temple was torn open, giving believers direct access to God (Mat. 27:51). I soon realized there is no need for Catholic priests offering the same sacrifices repeatedly, which can never take away sins (Heb. 10:11). Jesus appeared once to do away with sin; then He entered the holy place, once for all, having obtained eternal redemption (Heb. 9:12, 26). He offered Himself once as one unrepeatable sacrifice for sins for all time (Heb. 10:10, 12). His offering made perfect forever those who are sanctified, and there are no more offerings for sin (Heb. 10:14, 18). No longer would I rely on priests continuing on an altar what Jesus finished on the cross. There is only one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5).
These glorious truths from Scripture are what God used to set me free from the bondage of religious deception (John 8:31-32). I soon realized the Catholic priesthood is completely unnecessary, superfluous, and unbiblical. According to the Bible, the only priesthood that is now present on earth is the priesthood of all believers, the royal priesthood that offers sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving to God (1 Pet. 2:9; Heb. 13:15).
Catholics will continue to be utterly dependent upon their priests until they come to know the Great High Priest who is so gloriously revealed in His Word. May God give us all a greater compassion and more courage to make these truths known to those who are perishing in their misplaced trust.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Where are You Going?


Where Are You Going By I. C. Herendeen
TIME FLIES. The days, the weeks, the months and the years slip by with incredible speed, and are gone before we realize it. It seems as though they no more begin, than they are gone, passed into eternity. So, too, the happenings of the day soon recede into the distant past. Everything in this world is fleeting and transitory—nothing is stable and lasting. “We spend our years as a tale that is told” (Psa 90:9). Being busily engrossed with the occupations, labors and pursuits of life we are more or less insensible to the swiftness of passing time, of the solemn fact that life itself is fast getting away from us, and that the end of our earthly journey is speedily and surely approaching. Or, if we are conscious that our time is getting short, either we dismiss the thought or reckon that somehow or other all will be well in the end.
How important it is that we keep in mind that our death is ever on the horizon, that we are but a heartbeat from it, and that when we die, we will be ushered into eternity from which there is no return or escape. Since death is so common we do not give this sufficient thought. We seem to have developed a sense of immunity to such an experience. Because death seems so vague, unreal and unlikely, we fail to take it into serious consideration. Instead, we live as though we were certain of many more years of life, whereas God's Word faithfully warns us: “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth” (Pro 27:1).
We hear and read of large numbers being killed in war or by accident, of thousands starving to death in Africa and India. But we give this little or no thought; it doesn't mean much to us since we are not personally involved. A neighbor down the street dies, or one of our own dear ones is taken from us. This may cause us to stop and think for a moment, but soon it is largely gone from our memory and we go on our way day after day, probably with the thought in the back of our mind that we are safe and have no reason to be apprehensive. We have plenty of time yet.
Likely the thought of our death would take on a new and serious meaning if we knew that the moment we pass from this scene (and this could be and may be before this day is over) we would awake in hell, in the “everlasting burnings” (Isa 33:14) forever past all hope. But this is just what God's Word makes known to every unsaved sinner. Scripture is clear and plain that “the wicked shall be turned into hell!” (Psalm 9:17); “the rich man also died, and was buried, and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments” (Luke 16:22).
Many take thought for their bodies, but totally neglect the interests of their immortal souls. But “what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37). Most drift aimlessly through life without any care or concern as to what is before them after this fleeting life is over, seemingly taking it for granted that somehow or other everything will turn out all right with them in the end. This is what they hope; and they give themselves the benefit of any doubt.
Many have no consciousness of their lost condition. While they do not consider themselves perfect, yet they are not aware that there is anything seriously wrong with them. They are respectable, law-abiding citizens, and consider themselves no worse than their neighbors; and though they scarcely ever read the Bible or enter a church, they fully expect to go to heaven when they die. Some will admit that they are sinners, but imagine that their good works will far outnumber their bad ones. Some fancy that all will be well with them because they have joined “the church of their choice,” been baptized and partake of the Lord's supper. On the contrary, God's Word informs us that it is “not by works of righteousness which we have done” (Titus3:5) that we are saved. Again, we are told that “there is none good but one, that is, God” (Matt 19:17); that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23), and that “the wrath of God abideth” (John 3:36) on such. This is the condition of every unsaved sinner in the sight of God—be he king or begger, high or low, rich or poor, moral or immoral, kind or unkind, religious or irreligious.
How prone is human nature to neglect or slight God's solemn warnings and threats of coming judgment! We are told after death is the judgment (Heb9:27). The reason is the apprehension of these things is disquieting and disturbing, hence men put such thoughts from them and go on their way. Few indeed are disturbed enough about their eternal future to cry out—“What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). O the consummate folly of such indifference and procrastination when your eternal destiny is at stake!
Soon, very soon, taking the longest possible view, you will go down to the dust and your spirit will return to God who gave it (Eccl 12:7). O my friend, do not lightly dismiss this matter from your thoughts, or your folly will only accentuate your misery in that Day. Far better to be made humble now for a time than that you should weep and gnash your teeth (Matt 8:12) forever. His gracious word to you is that God hath no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that he turn from his wicked way and live (Ezek 33:11); that you repent and turn from all your transgressions: so iniquity shall not be your ruin (Ezek 18:30). Unless you savingly believe the gospel repenting of your sin (Mark 1:15), Christ Himself asks, “How can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Matt 23:33).
O sinner, will you continue another day with God's wrath hanging over your head? Remember, your day of grace may be all but over. God warns you—“My Spirit shall not always strive with man” (Gen 6:3). Take heed to His divine admonition—“Seek ye the LORD while He may be found; call ye upon Him while He is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isa 55:6-7). Hallelujah, what a Saviour! Flee to Him now by faith while time and opportunity are yours. Cast yourself humbly and penitently at His feet and cry unto Him for mercy, for “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom 10:13).
Christ receives sinners . Will you come? “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2). “Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him” (Psalm 2:12).
Eternity.
Time will soon end,
Its fleeting moments pass away;
O sinner say, where wilt thou spend Eternity's unchanging day?
Shalt thou the hopeless horror see Of hell for all eternity?

Tonight may be thy latest breath, Thy little moment here be done; Eternal woe — the second death Awaits the Christ-rejecting one Thine awful destiny foresee, Time ends, and then — ETERNITY! 

Friday, March 24, 2017

God is Not Dependent on Our Human Success

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time."
1 Peter 5:6

The following is a quote from A.W. Tozer's devotional...

 "Why is it that professed Christian church seems to have learned so little from our Lord's plain teachings and example concerning human failure and success?
  We are still seeing as men see and judging after the manner of man's judgement. How much eager beaver religious work is done out of a carnal desire to make good? How many hours of prayer are wasted beseeching God to bless projects that are geared to the glorification of little men? How much sacred money is poured out upon men who, in spite of their tear-in-the-voice- appeals, nevertheless seek only to make a fair show in the flesh?
  The true Christian should turn away from all this. No man is worthy to succeed until he is willing to fail. No man is morally worthy of success in religious activities until he is willing that the honor of succeeding should go to another if God so wills.
  God may allow His servant to succeed when He has disciplined him to a point where he does not need to succeed to be happy. The man who is elated by success and cast down by failure is still a carnal man.
  God will allow His servant to succeed when he has learned that success does not make him dearer to God or more valuable in the total scheme of things. 
  Our great honor lies in being just what Jesus was and is. To be accepted by those who accept Him, rejected by all who reject Him, loved by those who love Him. What greater glory could come to any man?