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What About The Rapture?
The Witness ^ | 1980 | Curtis Dickinson

Posted on 06/18/2010 9:45:21 AM PDT by Ken4TA

“In Case of Rapture This Car Will No Longer Have a Driver.” So reads the bumper sticker. The owner of the car obviously believed in a “secret rapture”, the doctrine so popular with dispensationalists today. This doctrine holds that Christ will return and secretly take the Christians away with Him for seven years while the sinners left on earth suffer “great tribulation.” Then Christ will return, they believe, and live on earth for 1,000 years before the unbelieving dead are raised to judgment.

Christ’s coming is one of the clearest and most emphatic doctrines in the New Testament. It is the “blessed hope” of the redeemed, and that which gives incentive to faithfulness, patience and labor. But the “secret rapture” doctrine which puzzles many is largely based on human speculation rather than Scripture.

NO SECRET. While the term “rapture” is not found in Scripture, it refers to the coming of Christ when all the saved, both living and the resurrected, will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. “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 that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thess. 4:16–17). Certainly there is nothing secret indicated here. There will be the Divine shout, the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God. Whatever these are supposed to indicate, whether natural or spiritual, they certainly indicate a noisy event, supernaturally announced.

Men will actually see Him come. “Behold He comes with clouds and every eye shall see Him” (Rev. 1:7, Acts 1:11). Eyes of love, eyes of hate, eyes of anticipation and eyes of fear, eyes of sorrow and eyes of joy — every eye will see him come. “For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even unto the west; so shall be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matt. 24:27).

Many churches are showing movies and film strips which depict people awaking one day to find that members of the family and other citizens have mysteriously disappeared. But no such picture is depicted in Scripture.

A THIRD COMING? Those who hold to the secret rapture refer to either a third coming or a second stage of His coming. Can there be 2 stages to His coming?

Jesus taught that Christians and un-believers, described as the “wheat and tares” would not be separated until the end of the age. It is His design that “both grow together until the harvest” (Matt 13:30). He explained: “The harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are angels”, carefully pointing out that the unsaved will be burned with fire, and “then” the saved “shine forth in the kingdom of their Father” (Matt 13:43). According to the two-stage theory both would NOT grow together until the end of the world, and the wicked would not be burned until one thousand and seven years after the harvest!

Peter taught in Acts 3:19–23 that the heavens must receive Christ “until the time of restoration of all things.” This restoration, according to Peter’s letter (II Peter 3:7–13) includes a “new heavens and new earth wherein dwells righteousness”, the first earth having been destroyed by a fire which melts even the elements (II Peter 3:10). This speaks of only one coming, at which time history is consummated.

The “rapture” of I Thess. 4 and the resurrection mentioned in other places is one and the same thing. Jesus said, “For the hour comes, in which all that are in the tombs shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28–29). In the next chapter Jesus taught that those who believe on him will have everlasting life “and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40, 44 etc.). Evidently the “rapture” is at the end of the world, with no time periods to follow.

ALL come forth at his voice, ALL come forth at the second coming (I Thess. 4:16–17, I Cor. 15:52, 11:15–18).

LIKE A THIEF. Several passages of Scripture mention Christ coming “as a thief in the night”, but the context shows that this refers to his coming unannounced when the world is not expecting him. “If the master of the house had known in what watch the thief was coming, he would have watched…therefore be you also ready; for in an hour that you think not the Son of Man comes” (Matt. 24:43–44). Plainly Jesus refers to the time of his coming as being unknown, but certainly it will be known at the time it happens.

Peter says “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, and the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (II Pet. 3:10). All this, great noise and destruction of the earth, comes “as a thief”; but certainly not secretly.

ONE TAKEN, ONE LEFT. “Then shall two men be in the field; one is taken, and one is left:” (Matt. 24:40–41, Luke 17:34–35). This says nothing of secrecy, but simply says that of the people living and working together one may be received by Christ for immortality and glory and the other left for destruction (II Pet. 3:7).

THE DEAD RISING FIRST. Writing of Christ coming in I Thess. 4:16–17, Paul says that “the dead in Christ shall rise first, then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds…” Here Paul explains that the saints living when Christ comes will not precede those who have died in being caught up (“raptured”), because the dead shall first be resurrected, then all the saints, both those who had died, and those alive, shall be caught up with the Lord. After all the saints of all ages are caught up, then will come the destruction of all the ungodly (See II Pet. 3:4–13).

Revelation 20 speaks of “the first resurrection.” Every Christians is raised twice. In his baptism he is buried with Christ and raised with Him, too, to walk in a new life (Rom. 6:4), so that he is “raised with Him (Christ)” and “made alive together with Him” (Col. 2:12–13, cf., Eph. 2:5–6).

According to I Thess 4 Paul taught what will happen to saints when Christ comes, that they all, both dead and living, will be caught up to meet the Lord. Then on the next page, in II Thessalonians, Paul wrote, “When (at the time) he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints” the wicked will suffer His vengeance of flaming fire (II Thess. 1:4–10). Certainly Paul left no place nor time for the seven years tribulation nor one thousand years of Utopia.

CHRIST REIGNS. Christ is already reigning, having sat down on His Father’s throne, of which David’s throne was an earthly type (rev. 3:21, Heb. 12:22). He has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18) and reigns “far above all rule, and authority, and power” (Eph. 1:20–23). The apostles preached that Christians are already translated into Christ’s Kingdom (Col. 1:13, Rom. 14:17) and look forward to a new body and a new creation (Rom. 8:23, II Peter 3:13). Christ Himself said that His kingdom was not of this world, and because He would not support the rulers of the Jews and their ambition for an earthly kingdom they became incensed and had him killed.

The ambition for a world kingdom, which began when they demanded of Samuel that he give them a king like the other nations, caused them to misinterpret the prophets concerning the Messiah. “The Jewish Encyclopedia” gives almost two columns to the “Millennium” and states that the idea “is older than the Christian Church; for the belief in a period of one thousand years at the end of time as a preliminary to the resurrection of the dead was held in Parsiism. This concept is expressed in Jewish literature…”(outside the Bible. Ed). It states that the idea went out of vogue in the 2nd century but was revived by the Montanists. It has been revived again in our day to support political Zionism.

Since all Christians recognize the fact that Christ is coming again, some will say, “What difference do the details make?” The answer is that one error leads to another, and the secret rapture idea is part of a host of errors.

For example, the two-stage theory of Christ’s return also leads to the “two-gospel” theory, that we are now to preach the “gospel of grace” but after the rapture Jewish evangelist will preach the “gospel of the Kingdom”. But the Bible teaches that there is ONE Gospel (Gal. 1:6–9) and that the gospel of grace IS the gospel of the kingdom (Acts 20:24–25).

The two-coming teaching also supports the idea that there are two kingdoms, the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God. Scripture teaches that they are one and the same kingdom (Matt. 19:23–24, etc.).

Worst of all, the teaching of two second comings of Christ divides the people of God into two classes or groups, with two gospels, two kingdoms and two plans of salvation. The Bible plainly teaches that Christ has broken down “the middle wall of partition” between Jew and Gentile, so that when either of them are in Christ, they are ONE in Christ regardless of race (Eph. 2:11–19).

To summarize, when Christ comes at the end of the world the righteous and the unrighteous shall be raised at the same time (John 5:28–29, Acts 24:15). Judgment shall ensue (II Thess. 1:4–10). This earth shall be burned up and dissolved (II Pet. 3). Christ will deliver the kingdom up to God (I Cor.15:23–3:10).

Now, TODAY, is the gospel age, the time for sinners to be saved (Matt. 28:20, John 8:21, Heb. 3:15, Rev. 22:12). When Christ comes there will be no further preparation. Therefore, watch and be ready!


TOPICS: Apologetics; Ecumenism; Evangelical Christian; Theology
KEYWORDS: advent; endtimes; rapture; secondcoming
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To: Jedidah
The greatest danger in the teaching of a multi-stage coming is the theory of second chances.
That simply is not taught in scripture.
What IS taught is that when it’s over, it’s over, and we all need to be ready.

Again, right on! Amen. Come Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lor Jesus be with all.

21 posted on 06/18/2010 11:09:54 AM PDT by Ken4TA (Truth hurts, especially when it goes against what one believes.)
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To: Star Traveler
Here's a good study series of sermons about Dispensations and the Rapture, from Mark Hitchcock at Edmond Faith Bible Church in Oklahoma. Pastor Hitchcock just put up his own blog, too, recently.

I don't know if it's good or not. But I imagine that all those "rapture" up to into that theology would think it is good. It takes all kinds of theological speculation and sensationalism to make life interesting in this world of ours, doesn't it! I wonder how much money he has made from his many books selling his idea of God's revelation?

22 posted on 06/18/2010 11:17:16 AM PDT by Ken4TA (Truth hurts, especially when it goes against what one believes.)
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To: Ken4TA; Jim 0216
If one understands what is coming in the seven-year tribulation, there is great comfort knowing the Jesus has not appointed us to this Wrath of the Lamb (I Thess. 5:9, Rev 6:16, Rev 14:10) and will keep us from “the hour of temptation, which shall come upon the whole world, to try everyone that dwell on the earth” (Rev 3:10).

There is nothing in any of these (or other) verses that says anything about a pre-trib rapture. I defy anyone to demonstrate this in a reading of the primary source texts. The only way is by a peculiar sort of logic that states , "If A equals B equals C equals D, then D equals A" while, throughout the process, shifting definitions here or there so things will appear to fit and assuming that "if" means the same thing as "since" or "because" without demonstrating it or, even worse, appealing to (misbegotten) authority ("Well, Grant Jeffries or 'a majority of Bible scholars' say so") ignoring the fact that "Bible scholars" is defined in such a way as to guarantee that a majority will already take for granted the issue still in question for which their "authority" is offered as proof.


23 posted on 06/18/2010 11:19:26 AM PDT by aruanan
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To: Matchett-PI
HOAX MORE

Excellent! More people should read what you linked to!

However, just the title of those writings will stop anyone "caught up" into the replacement theology camp.

24 posted on 06/18/2010 11:21:56 AM PDT by Ken4TA (Truth hurts, especially when it goes against what one believes.)
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To: Ken4TA
What about RAPture?


25 posted on 06/18/2010 11:25:53 AM PDT by Cronos (Origen(200AD)"The Church received from theApostles the tradition of giving Baptism even to infants")
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To: Ken4TA
I would question where one gets this "seven-year tribulation" idea from. It's not to be found in the Bible.

Study Daniel carefully and prayerfully, especially Chapter 9. The tribulation is Israel's seventieth week. Not a five-minute job. (You have to back and forth in time and God's Word - I've been at it 40+ years and nobody’s paid me anything – I just asked the Lord (not man) to show me the truth.) Also, a careful and prayerful combing through the Book of Revelation reveals seven years in exact recounting of "days, months, years, and 'times'."

As far as the Day of the Lord, the purpose is revealed in Daniel:

to finish the transgression, and
to make an end of sins, and
to make reconciliation for iniquity, and
to bring in everlasting righteousness, and
to seal up the vision and prophecy, and
to anoint the most Holy. Daniel 9:24

The Book of Revelation unveils the spiritual warfare that begins the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord is when God Himself takes charge. Before He comes to rule as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, He’s going to clear the decks, so to speak. He will utterly destroy the false Babylonian World System and all that adhere to it in defiance of His Kingdom come.

26 posted on 06/18/2010 11:31:11 AM PDT by Jim 0216
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To: Star Traveler

Thank you for posting.


27 posted on 06/18/2010 11:34:09 AM PDT by sauropod (The truth shall make you free but first it will make you miserable.)
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To: WVNan; Jedidah
When we started our study of Revelation last year, we decided to begin with no position on the millennialist question, so as to determine from our study which position contained the greater amount of Scriptural evidence. The position posted here is the conclusion we reached. It is the position held by the early church and is called the amillennialist, I believe.

That's the same thinking I had when I first started my study of the Scriptures - especially end-time revelations in the Bible. Yes, the position the article(s) from Curtis do follow amillennialism closely, but he prefers it to be called a "Resurrectionist" viewpoint.

I have about 300 articles from Curtis on my Website on a variety of issues - not all of them are anywhere near being called controversial issues. Click Here to visit it.

28 posted on 06/18/2010 11:38:31 AM PDT by Ken4TA (Truth hurts, especially when it goes against what one believes.)
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To: aruanan
OK, well as I've said, after a fair amount of fear and confusion from all the different viewpoints, I wiped the blackboard of my heart and mind clean, came to the Lord (not man), and asked Him for the truth. Jesus told us the Holy Spirit would guide us into all truth and show us things to come (John 16:13) and that the truth will set me free (from fear and confusion among other things) (John 8:32). I believe he's done just that with me.

Again, these are not dispositive issues and our hearts need to seek unity among us as brothers and sisters in the bond of peace. These are important things because I think God wants to comfort His people (plus I enjoy the subject if it can be amicably and intelligently discussed – no agreement necessary), but not as sources of division among us.

29 posted on 06/18/2010 11:44:39 AM PDT by Jim 0216
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To: Star Traveler
We teach that the universal Church consists of all true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ from Pentecost to the Rapture.

Well, there's your problem. Lets take a peak at Hebrews 11 and help explain these guys:

It appears that Mark Hitchcock pulled v13 from his loose-leaf Bible. "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off where assured of them..."
"afar off"? Could that possibly be the exact same faith that makes one a member of the True Church, or is it a different faith, one that doesn't require faith in Jesus Christ? If it is the same faith, how possibly can one make the claim that true church only applies to Pentacost onward?

30 posted on 06/18/2010 11:48:10 AM PDT by The Theophilus
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To: aruanan
There is nothing in any of these (or other) verses that says anything about a pre-trib rapture. I defy anyone to demonstrate this in a reading of the primary source texts. The only way is by a peculiar sort of logic that states , "If A equals B equals C equals D, then D equals A" while, throughout the process, shifting definitions here or there so things will appear to fit and assuming that "if" means the same thing as "since" or "because" without demonstrating it or, even worse, appealing to (misbegotten) authority ("Well, Grant Jeffries or 'a majority of Bible scholars' say so") ignoring the fact that "Bible scholars" is defined in such a way as to guarantee that a majority will already take for granted the issue still in question for which their "authority" is offered as proof.

Very good statement! Jesus will not pour out wrath on His people, but only on those who are not His: And I shudder for those people by knowing this.

31 posted on 06/18/2010 11:50:25 AM PDT by Ken4TA (Truth hurts, especially when it goes against what one believes.)
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To: Jim 0216
The Book of Revelation unveils the spiritual warfare that begins the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord is when God Himself takes charge. Before He comes to rule as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, He’s going to clear the decks, so to speak. He will utterly destroy the false Babylonian World System and all that adhere to it in defiance of His Kingdom come.

Hmmm...While I agree that the 70th week happenings are as you listed them, I don't think there is any "7 year tribulation" to be found there. IMHO, the book of Revelation is sort of a "tower of truth"; an ascending picture of what is going to happen - as one ascends higher and higher towards the top of the tower ones view grows wider and wider over the landscape. When one reaches the top one will see the whole view - chapter 21-22, which completes the picture one sees as one ascends. Does that make any sense?

32 posted on 06/18/2010 12:01:16 PM PDT by Ken4TA (Truth hurts, especially when it goes against what one believes.)
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To: Jim 0216

Thanks for your post Jim0216. I agree w/ everything you stated in your post. I received the gift of faith at 18 and now have 30 years in my walk.

Too bad so many think that the rapture is not possible scripturally and that it somehow divides the kingdom. Think of the harvest as ‘first fruits’ followed by a later completed harvest. The harvest of the multitudes who don’t take the mark of the beast, and re-examine their beliefs vs scripture can be consequently ‘saved’ during the tribulation. I don’t see this as a 2nd chance since they have not yet died.

However, I do think the rapture of the living is the quickest/painfree physical death possible - instantaneously [in the blink of an eye].

I firmly believe their are many ‘good people?’ [see Romans 3:23] who are currently following christian religions, rather than faith, usually involved in good works, who will miss the rapture, yet be spurred on during the 7 year tribulation and find the simple act of faith. Think of it like this - religion is manmade, but faith is a gift from God [free to all who sincerely seek Him].

Far too many complicate the simple and miss the main point - see Romans 10:9-16. When you hear Him knocking don’t neglect to invite Him into your heart!


33 posted on 06/18/2010 12:21:16 PM PDT by BrandtMichaels
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To: Jim 0216
Our views of prophetic events are not dispositive to our redemption and salvation.

I beg to differ. The evangelical "doctrine" splits the True Church up into several segments kicking Jews out of God's Kingdom. It also fantasizes about a future slaughter of 2/3rds of the Jews.

Evangelicals also pretend that salvation can come about absent the Holy Spirit, since if a person screws up and doesn't use their Free Will to choose salvation before one of our Lord's many speculated returns, then they get a Mulligan, albeit a painful one with physical stress. They can somehow find salvation outside of the manner taught in Scripture (Romans 10:17). How exactly is one going to hear the true Gospel when all of the Saints are in heaven? Is the reprobate and unregenerate able to do so? (Answer: No, see 1 Corinthians 2:14).

The Evangelical teaching also discredits many of the Kingdom Parables, by denying the much abused "Wedding Feast" parable or even the "Ten virgins". In both these cases, according to Scripture, there is only one chance, and ALL others are cast into outer darkness. Under Evangelical revisionism, those passages are no longer true.

Before 1830, there was nothing anywhere similar to the modern Evangelical fiction of "secret raptures" and seven year "wedding feast". That was all made up. A central bit of sabotage was performed on the words "Prophet" and "Prophecy". For thousands of years, a prophet was simply a person called by the LORD. A prophet of the LORD was simply a person who "spoke God's message to the people under the influence of the divine spirit". The Darbyists forever changed that definition to exclusively mean something akin to a fortune teller. IOW, "Prophecy" no longer holds its rich meaning, rather it only means "to speak of future events". Samuel is no longer a Prophet, he is a soothsayer and forerunner of Nostradamus. And we can't have anything really fulfilled in the past because that just isn't exciting enough and we wouldn't be in on the act. Who is going to pay money to be told that they missed the big show by thousands of years? We don't want to read about Woodstock, we want to live it!

This is why Evangelicals pretend 70AD never happened. They completely ignore the passages in Scripture that speak of the whole world being evangelized in Paul's time, or that Israel did experience all the promises made to Abraham. That wouldn't be Prophecy because Prophecy means stuff that will happen later today or tomorrow when I am here to witness it.

What this has turned into is a carnival. You have some "prophecy expert" who somehow can read the tea leaves of the NY Times and WaPo and confidently claim, that unlike the generations of scholars and theologians before him, he has this [divine?] knowledge of who exactly Gog and Magog are. So buy his book, drop some cash at the resource center at the Prophecy Conference near you, and you will be on the inside track to what will happen to the damned Jews (at least 2/3rds of them), reprobates and unregenerate while you party in Heaven for 7 years.

So this Prophecy worship by the Evangelicals is no different than Saul running to the witch in Endor, trying to see if she can conjur up a spirit (re-interpreting various texts in Daniel, Ezekiel and Zecharaiah) to provide some insight on things that are of no use to them as a true Believer in Jesus Christ who ought to have their minds, not set on the latest earthquake or M.E. troop movement, but to the things of God and His present Heavenly Kingdom.

Trust me, I can go on...

34 posted on 06/18/2010 12:24:46 PM PDT by The Theophilus
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To: Jim 0216
OK, well as I've said, after a fair amount of fear and confusion from all the different viewpoints, I wiped the blackboard of my heart and mind clean, came to the Lord (not man), and asked Him for the truth. Jesus told us the Holy Spirit would guide us into all truth and show us things to come (John 16:13) and that the truth will set me free (from fear and confusion among other things) (John 8:32). I believe he's done just that with me.

When someone says that God has guided him to an understanding (feeling) of something and that understanding is directly contradicted by unconvoluted scriptural texts, then one either must say that the texts don't mean what they say or that a subjective feeling of certainty is higher in truth value than something open to all for examination.


35 posted on 06/18/2010 12:41:28 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: Ken4TA
Very good statement! Jesus will not pour out wrath on His people, but only on those who are not His: And I shudder for those people by knowing this.

I am not sure what you mean by this. Clearly, God has poured out His wrath on His people. Just check out 2 Kings 21:10-15, very vivid description of God's Wrath.

36 posted on 06/18/2010 12:45:18 PM PDT by The Theophilus
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To: Ken4TA
When one reaches the top one will see the whole view - chapter 21-22, which completes the picture one sees as one ascends. Does that make any sense?

Yes, that's probably one way of looking at it. Rick Joyner’s The Quest has a similar theme, very powerful.

However, Jesus tells John that His revelation to John is about a timeline (Rev. 1:19). With care and the Holy Spirit's help, one can add the various "times” throughout the book to two divisions of 3 1/2 years each.

BTW, I wouldn't discount the Daniel's words out of hand here. Study closely what he's talking about in these passages. You have to back in time and in God's Word in Kings and Chronicles to the Babylonian captivity during the reign of Zedekiah, the last recorded king of Judah, and Jeremiah 25:11-12, and then count forward from the "command to restore Jerusalem unto Messiah the prince" (when Jesus first came as Savoir) (Dan 9:25). It has been shown to have been exactly 493 years in actual time or "sixty-nine weeks" in Daniel's prophetic time. So the measure here is one week equals seven years.

What about the seventieth week? Dan 9:27 reveals this last week and the broken covenant and abomination of the world ruler in the midst (halfway through) of the "week" (3 1/2 years). This maps exactly to 2 Thess 2:4 and more precisely to the events after Rev 11: 14 and in Matt 24:15-31 (the second 3 1/2 years - what Jesus called "the end").

37 posted on 06/18/2010 12:54:51 PM PDT by Jim 0216
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To: Ken4TA
"That type of thinking affects many more people that one would believe."

I'm sorry but I believe in speaking the truth. I know it would be nice if we could escape the birth pangs of redemption but that isnt taught in the Tanakh. And the Tanakh is my only guide to truth. (After studying the NT and all apologetic sources for many years).

38 posted on 06/18/2010 12:55:07 PM PDT by blasater1960 ( Dt 30, Ps 111, The Torah is perfect, attainable, now and forever)
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To: aruanan
Your arguments contain no evidence - just assertions. What do you have to back up your statements other than more assertions?

I've given you line and verse in God's Word as backup to what I'm saying including Jesus' clear statements in John, which you seem to reject out of hand, that the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth and will show us things to come.

As I said, agreement isn't necessary as long as the discussion is benevolent and intelligent, but if this devolves into something less, count me out.

39 posted on 06/18/2010 1:05:02 PM PDT by Jim 0216
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To: BrandtMichaels
Thanks.

This can be a thorny subject, but my weakness is I enjoy it. I think it is meant to be a blessing to people or else God would not have said that the Holy Spirit would show us things to come. It's balancing the enjoyment of the subject, the desire to bless and comfort God's people, while endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (ie. takes God's grace.)

40 posted on 06/18/2010 1:11:24 PM PDT by Jim 0216
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