In The Rapture, we believers will be gathered up to meet with Christ "in the clouds." Christ does not return to earth at the point in thine of The Rapture. He brings us, The Church, His Bride, to Heaven to prepare for The Wedding Feast and ceremony.
At His Second Coming, He does battle with the Ancient Foe, casting him for a thousand years into The Pit, where he will be sealed for Christ's Millennial Reign as King over all believers on an Earth made new and perfect again.
That will be Our Lord's Secong Coming, according to an accurate reading of The Bible.
There are those whose faith is not in God's word, but instead are faithful to a man-made teaching of The Word. God's Holy Spirit does not "translate" for these lost, and they are thus deceived. Christ, hanging on the cross, said to the villain next to Him: "Truthfully I say to you, Today you will be with me in Paradise; your faith has saved you."
Jesus didn't tell him, "My Father picked you, but not that guy hanging next to you." The reason why Jesus didn't say that is because that wasn't what happened. This man elected to have faith in Jesus. He did no "work", he merely had faith in Christ, that Jesus was who He claimed to be. That's all it takes.
Calvinism is a lie, and it deceives and makes haughty and pious many who think themselves "specially selected" by God. God knew who would have faith before they were born, but that doesn't alter that these saints had faith, and that it is this faith which sets them apart, and makes them holy.
"For God so loves the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that all who believe in Him might never perish, but have life everlasting." John, 3:16
I know that your scales are firmly in place, for God has predicted even this, and there is no way I can remove them. God alone can do this. I will not change your mind, but I still owe you The Truth.
I'm truly sorry for you.
“Truthfully I say to you, Today you will be with me in Paradise; your faith has saved you.”
There was no punctuation in the original writings; the emphasis could have, and most likely was, a common AFTER the word ‘today’. To then read “Truthfully I say to you today, you will be with me in Paradise...”
We know that no ‘dead’ are with Christ yet as the Bible says upon His return ‘the dead in Christ will rise first’.
Actually, the Bible is filled with the teaching of predestination/election. What Calvinism teaches is actually Double predestination, which is not supported in the Bible. I would challenge any to find a passage where the Lord says he has chosen some for damnation.
As you rightly quoted John 3:16, all who believe will be saved.
If a person is saved, it means God has chosen him and given him grace. If a person is lost, it means that the person has resisted God's grace (Romans 8:29,30).
2 Peter 3:9 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Ephesians 1:4-6 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.<
Ephesians 2:8 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faithand this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God
John 15:16 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruitfruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name
Predestination is a deep teaching. We try to reason that if God elected some for eternal life, than he must have elected some for eternal damnation. But scripture is very clear that God wants all to be saved. Truth is God has not made known the mystery of predestination and our human minds cannot use logic to explain it.
But it is a profound teaching in which it shows God loves us so much, he has done everything for us. For a believer in Christ this is the ultimate comfort because I know my salvation does not rely on me, a lowly sinner.
Here is a great quote from Martin Luther in regards to predestination:
"God has given men reason so that they can milk cows, bridle horses, and know that a hundred gulden are more than ten. Show your wisdom there; be a master and a good helper; use your knowledge. But here, when it come to the question how we are to be saved, in heavenly matters and matters of faith, stop your reason, keep still, listen and say: Here I can no longer operate; this is different from the matters related above. Curb your reason, therefore, and say: I do not understand this; I will not figure or measure it but will keep still and listen, for it is beyond my measuring and is incomprehensible to reason.
Predestination/election is spoken of extensively by the Apostle Paul in Romans 8 & 9 and Ephesians 1.
Sorry for such a long post, but I feel this is an extremely important part of scripture, which can bring great comfort to believers, despite our not being able to comprehend it fully.
And few if any of the most thoughtful doctors in the history of the Church have believed in a complex multiple-2nd-coming scheme, as cooked up by the Millerites in the 1830s—and so popular today.
Jesus comes secretly, rapturing the Church, (1st 2nd Coming)
Next He comes either in the middle or end of the Great Tribulation to stop the Beast et al. from wrecking His plans and in this He is saving the Jews(2nd 2nd Coming)
Then Jesus sets up His Millennial Kingdom on Earth (headed by the Jews-for-Jesus or ?) (2nd or 2nd & 1/2, or 3rd, 2nd Coming)
After 1000 years the Devil is released messing up things again, and FINALLY Jesus puts a stop to all this, (3rd or 4th 2nd Coming) bringing the Last Judgement and Heaven on Earth (but wait, the White Throne judgement is in there somewhere too...hmmmm, soooooooo complicated!).
Golly, can’t Jesus just simply come, raise the dead, judge the world, and establish His reign once and for all?!!! (Well, yes, that’s exactly what the Bible teaches-—and the vast majority of Christians everywhere have believed for 2000 years...)