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PRE-TRIB, A PROBLEMATIC THEORY ^ | unknown | unknown

Posted on 04/29/2002 8:22:44 AM PDT by realpatriot71


The prewrath position continues to gain support as serious Bible students examine it in light of Scripture. For that is the crucial test and is why the Bereans ". . . received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). The important factor is not what we may teach or believe but rather, what does Scripture say when we take it for what it says. We need to read the language of Scripture in its normal, natural, customary usage, as we are careful to take it in context, and then compare Scripture with Scripture. Too often Christians are not like the Bereans and are led astray and ". . . tossed here and there by waves. and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming. . ." (Eph. 4:14). We need Bereans who are faithful in saturating themselves with the Word of God and willing to check out everything they hear to see if indeed it is truth.

The majority of those who attack the prewrath position regarding the rapture are from the pretribulation camp. More times than not, they have not studied the scriptures to see if prewrath is biblically sound. Many of the attackers refuse to study the position because either they never considered the position or they fear the consequences if they adopted the position, consequences they are not willing to endure. For these reasons, they aggressively try to discredit the prewrath position without really understanding it and how it is arrived at via the teaching of Christ and Paul.

I know what the consequences are for taking a biblical stand like this. You may lose your position, bible teacher, ministery leader, board member, etc. etc., church; you may lose your membership in that church; you may be called a false prophet; you may be consigned to hell by people; you may be lied about; friends may shun you. You may lose your respect as a Christian and to some you may not even be a Christian. These people who may judge you and sentenced you to hell are born again believers who are supposed to exhibit the love of Christ. I pray that their love for Christ will grow to where they will stop condemning people who believe differently than they do on certain issues.

Because the people who write books and articles against the prewrath position dogmatically maintain that they take scripture for what it says, I want to deal with a few of the problems of pretribulationism. The questions I will raise must be answered both logically and biblically if one is to have real biblical integrity concerning the view he is espousing. Perhaps the issues I will raise will be of help to those who honestly are considering the problems associated with pretrib. After all, it is the very lives of the flock that preachers of pretrib are told to protect that are directly at risk if there position is wrong. If, however, pretribulationism cannot be clearly demonstrated and substantiated from Scripture, pastors must have the right to teach their conscience on this matter without fear of reprisal from their fellowship leaders. Lives of God's elect are at stake (Matt. 24:21-22), not some remote doctrine that will have no severe consequences if one is wrong. Without going into any great depth, here are a few of the problems.

First of all, pretribulationism didn't exist before 1830, and there is considerable documentary proof it was initially introduced in England by Edward Irving, the father if the charismatic Apostolic Church, and not John Darby. Edward Irving probably picked up the idea of an "any moment rapture" from his work on the translation of Emmanuel Lucunza's, "The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty", a catholic priest who initially wrote the book in Spanish under the pen name of Rabbi Ben Ezra. In reality, with whom the pretrib position originated really does not make that much difference other than the fact that it contradicts the first 1800 years of prophetic thought and contradicts the plain teaching of the New Testament. on the other hand, , the basic tenant of prewrath (that the Church will undergo the persecution of Antichrist before the return of Christ) was taught clearly and consistently by the early church fathers. Among evangelicals, what other basic doctrine of Scripture, other than pretrib, has been "discovered" in the past 160 years and directly contradicts the basic, accepted teachings (as a whole) of early Church fathers? There is none. Some pretrib pastors heard in Bible School that, yes, it is correct that the early Church fathers believe that the church would go through the tribulation. But because of "progressive revelation" we know different now. Listen, whatever progressive revelation we come to know it must never be in contradiction to the Word of God. If it is, the revelation that we received is not from God.

Second, pretribulationism has no clear biblical basis of support. Problem passages such as 1 Thes. 2:1-8, are ignored and Matt. 24:15-31, is ascribed to unsaved Israel. By comparison, the prewrath position can be clearly demonstrated from the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, 1 THESSALONIANS, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, and the book of Revelation, with absolute consistency and no contradictions, letting the student of God's Word compare scripture with Scripture without fear of contradiction, finding instead perfect harmony in all that is recorded in the new testament.

Third, pretribulationism views substantial sections of the New Testament Scripture as having no application to the Church. This is done in order to protect pretribulationism from the plain and obvious teachings concerning the timing of Christ's return as given in the Olivet Discourse! However, the flawed position that the Olivet discourse describes the coming of Christ at Armageddon (instead of Christ coming for his elect at the rapture, is both logically and expositionally an absolute impossibility if one takes the time to consider the context of his coming (parousia) as it relates to other clear passages. For example, Christ teaches in His Olivet Discourse that "in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and given in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son of man be" (Mt. 24:38-39). In other words, Christ taught His disciples that life was going on "as usual" right up until the time of His coming. How can the world go on like nothing has happened, when, if pretribulationism is correct and the Olivet Discourse is referring to the Battle of Armageddon, the earth has just undergone the worst series of events known to mankind, leading up to the battle of Armageddon, including the death of a third of mankind (the sixth trumpet), the turning to blood of all the seas and all the rivers and every spring of water (the second and third bowl judgments), all the armies of the world preparing for battle against God in the plains of Armageddon (the sixth bowl) and, immediately prior to Armageddon, the destruction of every Island and mountain by the worst earthquake known to man, followed by 100-pound hail rained down upon those in flight (the seventh bowl judgment)?

In addition, if the Olivet Discourse is written for unbelieving Jews going into the seventieth week, why the repeated use of the personal pronoun "you" (vv, 4, 6, 9, 15, 20, 23, 25, 26, 33, etc.), when Christ was addressing his disciples, his followers that soon thereafter would build His Church and would suffer and die for the cause of Christ? And how can the elect (vv. 22, 24) be unsaved Israel, if the unsaved remnantof Israel does not come to know Christ until after the seventieth week is complete (Dan. 9:24; Rom. 11:25, cf Rev. 10:7), and how is it that every other use of the term "elect" in the New Testament is a direct reference to the Church, and suddenly the elect in the great tribulation (Mt. 24:21-22) refers to unsaved Israel? And if not unsaved Israel, how can this be a reference to Gentile converts during a time devoted exclusively to Israel (remember, pretrib teaches that the entire seventieth week of Daniel is a different dispensation, devoted to the nation of Israel), especially in light of the fact that Paul tells us that during the reign of Antichrist there will be little salvation. "...Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth..." (2 Th 2:9-12). During the great tribulation, those unbelievers who are not deceived by Satan will be deluded by God. The elect in the contest of the Olivet discourse cannot be a reference to a huge Gentile or Jewish revival, if Paul's words are to be taken at face value. Therefore the Olivet Discourse cannot be a reference to the battle of Armageddon. It must be a reference to exactly to what Christ says it is, to His coming when "He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other" (Mat. 24:31). In other words, the rapture of the Church.

The prewrath position sees all of the book of Matthew as applicable to the Church and thereby consistent with the command of Christ to teach new believers "all that I command you" (Mt. 28:20). As such, it permits us to accept the parallel teachings concerning the parousia of Christ recorded in the Gospels of Mark and Luke without the confusion of which Gospel is for the Jews and which is for the Church. It also negates the question of why, if the teaching in Matthew is only for the Jews and it is not) it is included in the other Gospels if they are intended solely for the Church.

Pretribulationism sees much of the book of Matthew and most of the book of Revelation as not written for the Church, but rather for "unsaved" Israel that will come to know Christ during the seventieth week. How can the Church not be in mind in these key passages in light of the given audiences to whom the books are written (Rev.1:1 - His bondservants and 22:16 - the churches; and Mt. 28:20 - the new disciples from all nations)? In reality, pretribulationism accomplishes for the conservative Christian what he dare not do with culture. Liberalism throws out Scripture because it says it is cultural. Pretribulationism throws out Scripture because it says it is not applicable to the Church.

Fourth, pretribulationism sees two separate parousias (comings) of Christ, one when He comes "for His Church" and the second when he comes "with His Church," a grammatical position with not one verse of substantiation or explanation. One Second Coming of Christ (parousia) is referred to, never two, never spoken of in the plural, and never differentiated by any writer, including Christ. As important as the return of Christ is, if two separate parousias were the teachings of Christ and Paul, there would be no confusion in this matter. What's even worse, the proof text of Christ coming "with" the Church is in a singular passage given in Revelation 19. At the great and final battle of Armageddon, "the armies which are in heaven clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him [Christ] on white horses" (v. 14). Simply, because they are wearing white linen clothing some assume Christ's army must be the "bride of Christ," even though the angels are seen wearing the exact same clothing (Rev. 15:6). Both Christ and Paul taught that it would be His angels that accompany Christ in the battle during the day of the Lord (Mt. 16:27; 2 Thes. 1:7-8). The idea that the new bride of Christ is to, immediately after the marriage ceremony described earlier in the chapter, follow her bridegroom into battle stretches one's imagination, especially in light of other clear teachings of Scripture. The prewrath view sees only one parousia of Christ, at a time that perfectly harmonizes every passage.

Fifth, some try to use Revelation 3:10 as the key verse to prove that the Church will not be present during "the hour of testing." However, some of the greatest recognized Greek scholars of the past several centuries (i.e. Moffatt, Fausett, Beckwith, Zahn, Trench, Swete, Alford, Tregelles, and Robertson to just name a few) take the position that this verse promises removal out from within the sphere of danger, not kept outside of it. If protection outside the sphere of danger had been what was intended, clearly other Greek words (i.e. apo) would have been used instead of ek.

In addition, if pretribulationism is going to use Rev. 3:10 (the church of Philadelphia) as a proof text, then it must also be consistent and use the church of Thyatira with the same end time application. In that church Christ directly tells John that "My bondservants" (Rev. 2:20) who have been led astray by Jezebel, "I will cast... into great tribulation unless they repent of her {Jezebel's] deeds" (Rev. 2:22). The next verse goes on to say that "all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts." Therefore, the bondservants are part of the Church, not a group of believers that come to Christ after the Church has been raptured. As it is, only Christ uses the term "great tribulation" and only three times in Scripture. In other words, two cases (Mt. 24:21; Rev. 7:14) there is no question that it refers to the second half of the seventieth week. To accommodate its position, pretribulationism must deny the obvious. On the other hand, if Christ meant what he said, and "great tribulation" refers to exactly how He used the phrase in His other teaching concerning the last days, the pretribulation view of Revelation 3:10 is directly contradictory to Revelation 2:22.

Testing always implies separation or ranking. There is no need to test the whole world after the separation has already taken place. However, pretribulationism maintains that this testing occurs after the rapture of the Church. The prewrath view, by comparison, shows that the Church is removed during the testing as the Scripture says, "the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation [the same word translated "testing" in Rev. 3:10] and to keep the unrightous under punishment for the day of judgment" 2 Peter 2:9).

Sixth, The doctrine of imminency is nowhere taught in Scripture. The concept that Christ could return at "any-moment" since His departure back to heaven is simply not taught anywhere in the entire Bible. Not one of the passages used to sustain imminency, actually teach imminency. Expectancy, yes, Imminency (an any-moment rapture), no. If imminency had been the concept that the writers had wanted to convey, it could have and would have been clearly stated (in fact, 19th century promoters of pretribulationism initially taught expectancy rather than imminency for this reason). In addition, there were many events prophesied by Christ, known throughout the Christian world at that time, that still had to occur before he could return, such as the destruction of the temple (Luke 21:6) and the death of Peter (John 21:18,19). Imminency was impossible until after the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.

Likewise, Christ taught that His rescue of the elect of God will occur "on the same day" that His wrath will begin upon the wicked that remain (Luke 17:26-30). There is no gap between the rapture and His wrath. If the whole of the seventieth week of Daniel is really the wrath of God, as the pretribulationism maintains, and the seventieth week begins with Israel's covenant with Antichrist (Dan. 9:27), then Israel must be back in the land and Antichrist must be on the world scene before the rapture, a simple deduction which once again destroys the unbiblical concept of imminency. But the prewrath position has no problem with any of these passages, including Revelation 12:12, where the persecution of Antichrist against the "elect" of God during the great tribulation is not called the wrath of God, but rather the wrath of Satan. Pretribulationism makes Antichrist's persecution of God's elect the wrath of God. Prewrath rapturism sees this great persecution as the wrath of Satan. Antichrist's persecution of God's elect is never the wrath of God (Mt. 24:21-22; Rev. 12:7; 13:7; 14:12-13).

Seventh, pretribulationism argues from John's statement, "After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, 'Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.'" (Rev. 4:1). They take the command to John to "Come up here" to signify the Rapture of the Church. Since this occurs in chapter 4, before the opening of the seals, trumpets and bowls, the rapture must be pretribulational.

The argument which suggest that John's being called up to heaven represents the Church and determines the timing of the rapture is fanciful and totally without biblical justification. That kind of interpretation dishonors a literal and grammatical approach to the Scriptures. To make John's being caught up into heaven mean the church is raptured at that time is tantamount to adopting Origen's allegory method of interpretation--an approach premillennarians universally shun in other instances. John is called to come up so he could have a heavenly perspective as what was going to occur. Lastly, why do pretribulationism deny the clear, plain teaching of Christ that states His coming will occur when He cuts short (amputates) the great tribulation for the sake of the lives of the elect (Mt. 24:21-31). This theme is repeated and expanded upon in Mark and Luke with the same substance and sequence again perfectly confirmed by the teachings of Paul to the Thessalonian church. Why deny the clear warnings given to the Church that enters the last days? The stakes are so very high.

Those who teach pretribulationism run a big risk by telling believers that this does not concern them. Christ specifically told the disciples to teach His disciples from all nation "to observe all that I commanded you" (Mt. 28:20) and again told John "to show to His bondservants the things which must shortly take place" (Rev. 1:1). Yet pretribulationism teaches that these two critical passages (Mt. 24 and Revelation) are not written for the Church, but for unsaved Israel that enters into the final seven years of human history as we know it. Why are His "bondservants" told to read, hear, and heed the words of the prophecy of Christ's revelation to John (Rev. 1:3)? Then we have a warning in Rev. 22:19, "Woe to the one who takes away from the words of the book of this prophesy, [because] God shall take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city." If one compares all the passages of Revelation, they all fit perfectly and give no comfort to the compromising Church of the last days, but hope is given to the faithful church. Who are you going to believe, the words of men who espouse denominational traditions or the Word of God.

Pretribulationism, if it is wrong, will result in untold agony of innocent, untaught Christians who have accepted it. In light of that, end- time prophecy becomes very relevant. 1 Peter 4:17-18, For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now "If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?"

On the other hand, if the prewrath view is wrong, it has only helped to make Christians more alert and watchful for the return of Christ through holy living (2 Thes. 1:4-11; Lk. 21:25-36; 1 Jn. 2:28). The fact is that I know that the words of Christ, substantiated by Paul, are for the Church, and the unprepared Church has been set up for "a great tribulation such as not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall, and unless those days be cut short, no life would have been saved, but for the sake of the elect, those days shall be cut short" Mt. 24:21). That makes all previous persecutions pale in comparison to the persecution of the elect of God will undergo during the great tribulation of Antichrist. The truth must be proclaimed, no matter how unacceptable it is to those who seemed more concerned with tradition than the clear teaching of Christ, especially in the day and age that we live in today. "It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes" Mt. 18:17).

Paul, after warning the confused Thessalonians to "let no one in any way deceive you" (2 The. 2:3) concerning the timing of "our gathering together to Him [Christ]" and the timing of when "the day of the Lord has come" (2 Thes. 2:1-2), ends his profoundly clear sequence of events that must precede the "appearance of His [Christ's] coming" (2 Thes. 2:8) with this admonition: "If anyone does not obey [listen, attend to] our instruction [words] in this letter [which is almost entirely prophetic concerning the second coming of Christ]. take special note of that man and do not associate with him so that he may be put to shame. And yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother" (2 Thes. 3:14- 15). Why? Because the stakes are to high for genuine believers to be misled by teachers in whom they have put their trust. The beginning of the seventieth week could occur almost overnight. We are the first generation of the Church since 70 A.D. to be in this peculiar position in history. As never before we must be alert and sober.

I realize that there are many views concerning prophecy. However, there is major disagreement by sincere men of God over every position one chooses to take and be dogmatic about. If one employs the proper hermeneutic (consistent literal interpretation), truth can be known by those willing to study to show themselves approved, by rightly dividing the Word of God. But truth is truth no matter who agrees or disagrees, or how sincere their motives. So it is with end-time theology. The truth of what is being taught in Scripture is so simple. What are complex and confusing about the coming of Christ are the systems and traditions of men which absolutely no biblical basis. Men and their wishful thinking make the issues concerning the last days confusing, which aids the cause of Satan who cannot afford to have the Church prepared for the last days, Satan will do all he can to keep men out of the book of Revelation, because end-time events, in particular "the hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell upon the earth" (Rev. 3:10), will determine what will happen to Satan (Rev. 20:2) and who will rule the world (Rev. 11:15).

Well friend, you have seen my heart, my passion, and why I am driven the way I am, especially as I see the compromised condition of the Church today and know the cost of being unprepared. My prayer is that the Church will not be "surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation" (1 Peter 4:12-13) rather than "shrink away from Him in shame at His coming" (1 Jn. 2:28).





If you would just kick back for a moment , close your eyes (after reading this, of course) and imagine a clear, cool brook flowing at the bottom of a gently sloping, grassy hill. At the top of this hill sits an old rustic, yet well kept cabin. You notice hung on the porch are two slightly rusted buckets used to haul water up from that clear, cool brook. Grabbing these buckets, you joyfully run down to hill to get some of that refreshing water for later use. Upon your return trip up the hill you notice the chore of carrying those two buckets becomes suspiciously easier. Glancing down as you near the top of the hill, you notice, to your dismay, that there's a hole in the buckets and nearly all the water has leaked out.

Now, you may wonder what this allegory has to do with theology? Say for instance that the water is the refreshing word of God and the cabin represents where we live. Then what use are the buckets if we have the word and a place in the world to live? Unfortunately, this is all that many Christians see of any importance. Why have a theology? It only seems to complicate our lives anyway. But this little allegory represents the way many of us live, with buckets full of holes! (The buckets, by the way if you haven't yet figured this out, represent theology itself). The word of God can only be practically refreshing, "where we live", if we have a sound and tested theology. Otherwise we only have an ideally pretty, pastoral scenery of no practical value.

I think you're beginning to get the picture. Theology is of a very practical use in our daily lives. But, how do we acquire a practical theology with personal convictions. Every time we're handed a bucket (er..a theology) we must test it before we can trust it to do the job. The obvious way to test any theology is to see if it "holds" the word of God. Next, does it practically meet real needs where I live? If only we could all be like the Bereans. "These (Bereans) were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so." (Acts 17:11). We read what Paul says about those Thessalonians: "... that you may not be quickly shaken from your mind or disturbed either by a spirit or a word or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come." (2 Thess. 2:2). The Thessalonians had actually thought that the day of the Lord had sneaked upon them as a thief in the night and that they had actually missed the rapture and God's judgment was upon them! And after all that Paul had taught them both by his presence and by letter! A little crisis in the form of some persecution comes along and their whole theology falls apart. If our theology is weak and without conviction the same will happen to us, just as with the Thessalonians. Therefore it's imperative that our theology is sound and we're sure of this as the day of the Lord approaches. Just because a theology is popular doesn't mean it is necessarily sound. History proves this fact true.

Therefore let's examine the pre-tribulational rapture theology to see if it "holds" the water of the word. First, adherents of this view say that there is a "secret" rapture apart from the day of the Lord when Jesus returns for judgment. If these are indeed two separate events, then which verses specifically refer to the rapture (parousia) and which to the day of the Lord with His appearing (epiphany)? Any true "Berean" would find this a hopeless venture of futility. On Christ's appearing (epiphany) and His coming (parousia), we have a quote from Dave MacPherson's The Incredible Cover-Up: "Referring to this article entitled 'On the Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Gathering of His Elect', Rowdon's The Origins of the Brethren (1967c.), pp. 30-31, points out that, interestingly enough, later Brethren writers completely reversed these terms; to them the parousia was the rapture and the epiphany Christ's return to earth. One might ask: are there really two stages to the Lord's return if such terms are so evidently interchangeable?" (Notes # 4). Paul even associates these events together as one: "Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming (or presence; see marginal reference in NASB) of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together to Him, the effect that the day of the Lord has come." (2 Thess. 2:1).

Again we clearly see that any view other than, as the holy scriptures state, the rapture happening on the very same day of the Lord is a fantasy of human invention and leaves the body of Christ totally unprepared and in the dark as to the truth. "But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief ..." (1 Thess. 5:4). This so- called "secret" pre-tribulational rapture must be very secret indeed if we can not even find it in the scriptures! This bucket (er...theology) must definitely have a hole in it.

At Christ's first advent He exhorts His disciples saying, "When it is evening, you say, 'It will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?" (Matt. 16:2, 3). Today, in Matthew chapter twenty-four we have a clear, chronological order of events and signs in reference to His return in response to the disciples question, "Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming (or presence), and of the end of the age?" (Matt. 24:3). Yet, the pre-tribulational rapture advocates insist on ignoring this obvious truth. Many signs and events precede our Lords coming and our rapture, "...and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other." (Matt. 24:30, 31). Preceding His expectant coming and our rapture we have many signs and events. First, the birth pangs (Matt. 24:4-8), followed by tribulation (Matt.24:9-14) and the Abomination of Desolation (Matt. 24:15). Immediately subsequent to this is the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:16-28) and the sign of the sun and the moon and the stars (Matt. 24:29). The church has remained in darkness about this truth since the inception of the pre-tribulational rapture in the 1830's and popularized by the Scofield Reference Edition Bible of the early 1900's.

How long can the church go on crooking their necks while waiting for an elusive, signless, imminent rapture as Hal Lindsey's "The Late Great Planet Earth" book promised us? How long can an imminent rapture remain imminent and retain any meaning? Hal Lindsey's definition was forty years from Israel's birth in 1948. 1988 has come and gone! The church is then told to "occupy" until this wearying, unexpected, "as a thief in the night" event never seems to happen. As a result many Christians have given the command "occupy" a whole new meaning by living in exclusive neighborhoods, attending their exclusive social club "churches" and acquiring expensive status symbols to find their approval and place amongst peers and family. The church has lost her way, always "busy" with meaningless activities and programs that don't really work; serving their children by meeting their every demand and taxiing them to and fro (as if our children learn to be servants by us serving them!). Husbands submit to constantly pleasing their wive's sometimes selfish desires (indeed, we are to love our wives, even as Christ loves the church, His own body), rather than courageously and maturely being the spiritual leaders God calls them to be. The church has become self-serving and has lost the ability to respond (i.e., responsibility) to God and others in a meaningful way. The proverb thus comes true: "Hope deferred makes the heart sick,...", but if we have the truth: "but desire coming is a tree of life." (Proverbs 13:12 NASB).

It's now time to follow those such as Francis of Assisi and give back the very clothes off our back, to end our obligations with the world, and walk out naked (if necessary to ending these obligations). "Let us begin to serve the Lord", he exhorts us today from the past. As with the past reformers, the time may have come, if we too can not reform our religious institutions, then to leave their corruption and start afresh, rather than be conformed by them. Blessings have always ensued. Such a movement as this is certainly Holy Spirit motivated and pleases God rather than men! Who will have the courage to say with conviction as Joshua, "And if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15).

Lest we sweep these thoughts under a rug, a few scriptures of warning in reference to our accountability: "And that slave who knew his master's will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, shall receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. And from everyone who has been given much shall much be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more." (Luke 12:47, 48). And concerning how we spend our time, "...each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire. Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time but wait, until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God." (1 Cor. 3:13-15; 4:5). And this praise will be in the form of eternal glory, for "there is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory." (1Cor. 15:41). "And those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever." (Daniel 12:3).

When Jesus comes, may He find you faithful to, and in obedience to His Word, not to some denominations constitution or tradition.

May God richly bless you.

TOPICS: General Discusssion
KEYWORDS: pretribulation; rapture
Posted for comment and discussion
1 posted on 04/29/2002 8:22:44 AM PDT by realpatriot71
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To: realpatriot71
2 posted on 06/22/2002 7:43:26 PM PDT by Terp
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