Friday, July 27, 2012

The Rapture in the Old Testament


Perhaps some of the strongest arguments in favor of a Pre-Tribulation or Pre-Seventieth Week of Daniel Rapture are found in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament we see "a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things" (Hebrews 10:1).

Prophetic Types in the Old Testament

The Holy Spirit explains that these Old Testament types are preserved for our learning:

"For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope" (Romans 15:4).

"Now all these things happened to them (Old Testament characters) as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come" (1 Corinthians 10:11).

Bible students are well aware that there are numerous Old Testament types that foreshadow a New Testament fulfillment. A classic example is when Abraham took his son, his only son Isaac, whom he greatly loved, to the land of Moriah to offer him there as a sacrifice — concluding that God was able to raise him from the dead (Genesis 22; Hebrews 11:17-19). Abraham is a beautiful type of our heavenly Father, and Isaac, his beloved son, is a striking picture of Jesus, who willingly laid down His life on Mount Moriah 2,000 years later.

Though the Rapture was hidden in part from Old Testament believers, the types found throughout foreshadow a future Rapture when God will remove His people prior to pouring out His wrath on a Christ-rejecting world. Let's now review some of these beautiful types that foreshadow the Rapture.

The Noahic Flood

In Noah's day there were those who passed through the flood (Noah and his family in the ark); there were those who perished in the flood (the unbelieving world); and there was Enoch who was "translated" or "caught up" before the judgment of God was poured out. Enoch walked with God (Genesis 5:24) and pleased Him (Hebrews 11:5), just as Christians who abide in Christ please God (1 John 3:22). Interestingly, from the time God told Noah to enter the ark, until the time when the waters of the flood were on the earth, God granted seven more days for the world to repent (Genesis 7:1-10). Perhaps this is a foreshadow of the final seven-year period culminating in the final judgment (Revelation 19:11-21)?

The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

In Lot's day, he and his family were "removed" before God rained down His judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19). God did not just "preserve" them through His wrath, He removed them prior to judgment. Jesus said that just before His return it would be like the days of Noah (Luke 17:26) and like the days of Lot (Luke 17:28).

Judgment in Sodom could not occur until Lot was removed (Genesis 19:22)! Remarkably, "while lingered, the took hold of his hand, his wife's hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city... Hurry, escape there. For I cannot do anything until you arrive there" (v. 16, 22). In other words, they were forcibly removed prior to judgment and judgment could not commence until they safely arrived in the new city!

The Story of Joseph

Joseph (a type of Christ in many ways) takes a Gentile bride before the 7 year famine begins (Genesis 41:45). Notice in the account of Joseph that after he received his Gentile bride, his brethren (the Israelites) and the entire world suffered a seven year famine (Genesis 41:54-57). During this time of famine many came to Joseph for food. Similarly, after Jesus receives His Bride, his brethren the Jews (and many in the world), will turn to the Lord Jesus for relief (Revelation 7).

How fitting that the Great Tribulation is called "the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it" (Jeremiah 30:7). It is also referred to as "the time of the Gentiles" (Ezekiel 30:3), and many Gentiles will also be saved out of it (Revelation 7). The famine is a type of the Tribulation (Amos 8:11), and Egypt is a picture of the world. This account strongly suggests that Jesus will receive His bride before the 70th Week of Daniel — before the famine that will come upon the entire world.

Rahab and the Jewish Spies

In Joshua chapter 2, Rahab trusts the Lord and befriends the Jewish spies. By faith Rahab puts a scarlet thread in her window (a symbol of Christ's blood) and she and her family are "brought out" of Jericho before the city is burned with fire (Joshua 6). Rahab is a prostitute (Hebrews 11:31) and a Gentile woman (Joshua 2), yet she is found in the Messianic line (Matthew 1:5). Rahab is therefore a beautiful picture of the Church as the bride of Christ. Though formerly a prostitute, Rahab, by faith, was made clean and delivered from God's wrath. Amazingly, in this account, we again see seven days of warning preceding judgment (God's gracious delay to encourage repentance). The armies of God marched around the city six days, and on the seventh day they marched around the city seven times, and then the city was finally destroyed (Joshua 6).

Abigail and David

In 1 Samuel 25:39-42 Abigail is informed that King David (foreshadowing King Jesus) wants to take her as his bride. She immediately responds and "rose in haste" with five of her damsels to "depart" and go to David for the marriage. Compare this with Matthew 25:1-13 where five wise virgins who truly had oil went forth to meet the Bridegroom (Jesus) away from their dwelling place (earth). Interestingly, the name Abigail means "the Father's joy."


Solomon's Song

The Song of Solomon is an amazing picture of Christ and His Church (Ephesians 5:29-32). In the Song of Solomon 2:8-13, the Bride (the Church) hears the voice of her Beloved (Jesus) coming for her. Then, in verses 10 and 13, the Bridegroom speaks and calls His bride to "Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away." This is a beautiful foreshadow of our marriage and honeymoon in heaven!

Isaiah's Hint

Isaiah 26:20-21 also gives us a possible picture of the Rapture preceding the Tribulation:

"Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past. For behold, the LORD comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth will also disclose her blood, and will no more cover her slain."

Apparently, believers are tucked away in Heaven before the Tribulation falls on the earth. Could this also apply to the Jews who hide away in Petra during the Tribulation?

The Prophet Daniel

In Daniel chapter 3, King Nebuchadnezzar (a type of the Antichrist, cf. Revelation 13) demands that the entire population bow down to his image. Daniel's three friends (Jews) are preserved through the fiery tribulation, but Daniel is nowhere to be found. Daniel was "ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon" (Daniel 2:48), yet he is missing from the account. Why? Daniel was apparently away. Might he be a type of the Church? Three times Daniel is called "greatly beloved" (Daniel 9:23; 10:11; 10:19).

Zephaniah's Clue

In Zephaniah 2:2-3 we read:

"Before the decree is issued, or the day passes like chaff, before the Lord's fierce anger comes upon you, before the day of the Lord's anger comes upon you! Seek the Lord, all you meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the Lord's anger."

According to this passage, believers will be hidden in the day of the Lord's anger (cf. Isaiah 26:20-21. See also: Zephaniah 1:7.)

Malachi's Hint

Malachi chapter 3 deals with the Day of the Lord. Interestingly, Malachi 3:18 implies two comings of the Messiah: "Then shall ye (believers) return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not." It becomes clear when we read the entire context of Malachi 3 that believers shall return to the earth. In order to return and discern, believers must have first been caught away to Heaven.

Other Examples

Isaac and Rebekah, as well as Ruth and Boaz, also provide beautiful pictures of Christ taking a Gentile bride — one who counts the cost and leaves their own family — but is not required to suffer through great tribulation or famine. Other examples could be expounded on, but these should be sufficient to show that Christians will be removed before God's wrath is poured out and most likely before the 70th Week of Daniel.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

LET’S PLAY “CASTING PEARLS” (What’s wrong with this game?)



There are only two rules.
Rule #1: Each contestant will be tossed several pearls.  If you catch one, you can trade it in for a fabulous prize!!!  A lifetime all paid vacation to a paradise island! 
Rule #2: Although tosses are unlimited, your time is up when the game ends, so focus on getting that prize before time runs out!  Let’s begin!

Host: “Contestant #1, are you ready?”
Contestant: “Ready Bob”
Host: “Then here we go!!!”
(Several lusterous pearls are tossed to Contestant #1.  He desperately reaches for them, but misses the first few.  He finally catches a pearl on toss #7.)
Host:  Wonderful!  You may now go claim your prize!!!
(Contestant #1 rushes from the state in utter joy)

Host: Contestant #2, are you ready?”
Contestant:  “I sure am!”
Host: Then get ready for the toss!”
(The contestant catches a pearl on the very first try.)
Host:  That was amazing!  You may go claim your prize!
Contestant:  Well, I actually just wanted to play the game to see what it was like.  This game was too easy.  I think I’ll go on “Casting Coals” and get to paradise that way.  It’s much more difficult and I think that by putting more effort into catching the coal, it will make my trip to that island paradise even more enjoyable.”
(Contestant #2 leaves the stage smiling and waving.)

(Time passes until we reach Contestant #6)

Host: “Contestant #6, are you ready?”
Contestant: “I don’t think I want to play, Bob.”
Host:  “Well, you’re already part of the game, so you’ll have to play before the next contestant can get their shot.”
Contestant:  “Nah, this game is stupid.”
Host: “But the prize is a lifetime all paid vacation to a paradise island of your choice.”
Contestant: “Yeah, I don’t believe there is such a thing as an island of paradise.”
Host: “Let me show you a picture of the island.”
Contestant:  “This could have been Photoshopped.  How do I know it’s real?”
Host: “Let’s hear from someone who has been to the island.”
Contestant: “Let’s not.  How do I know what they have to say isn’t just a bunch of fairy tales and lies?”
Host: “Here is a contract that guarantees you will receive the prize promised.”
Contestant: “So I play the game and win the “prize” and find out right after the show that there is a loop hole in the contract and it’s voided because I didn’t wear the right colored socks or something.  No way.”
Host: “I refuse to let you pass up this wonderful prize!  I will not go to the next contestant until I have convinced you to play the game.”
Contestant: “You’re an idiot.”

(As the host continues in his attempt convince this contestant that the prize is real and the game is worth playing, the other contestants wait.  Some are getting tired and fall asleep; others begin talking about other game shows they’d like to be on, others leave the set and go home.  Still, the host continues in his attempt to convince Contestant #6 to play the game.)

Okay, do we see the problem here?

Contestant #1 accepted the salvation message eagerly, and although the word of God was shared with him several times, it wasn’t until he was witnessed to the 7th time that he finally made his decision to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.  The important part is that he was eager to hear the word, which was planted and continually watered until it produced the fruit of repentance.

Contestant #2 was eager to try Christianity, but the thought of just repenting of her sin and accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior seemed a little to easy for her.  She decided to reject Christianity and opt for another religion where good works and religious rituals lead to heaven.

Contestant #6 has no interest in the word of God or knowing who Jesus is.  Although he is offered the word of God, he continually rejects it, even to the point of calling the host an idiot.

What happened to the other contestants; the ones that never got the chance to play?  Some fell asleep and never completed the game.  Some left the studio and went on with their lives as if they were never offered the chance to play.  Some decided to play other game; games that promised the same prize, but never had any intent on meeting their obligation.

The problem is that the host was so intent on getting a contestant to play the game that he ignored those contestants who really wanted to play.  The host was so convinced that he could change the contestant’s mind that he ignored his chief responsibility to get as many contestants to play the game as possible in the limited time offered to him.  By spending so much time on Contestant #6, he neglected the other contestants and most never took the opportunity to play again.

That’s what it’s like in witnessing to the lost.  There are those who eagerly accept the word of God and there are those who reject it outright.  The problem I used to have (and many Christians still have) is that I used to spend a lot of time trying to use the word of God to show people that God is real and that they need to repent of their sin.  Unfortunately, that took a lot of time away from other Christians who needed encouragement.  It also took time away from those who were urgently seeking someone to answer their questions about salvation.

Look, Jesus gave us the perfect example on how to deal with non-believers who totally reject who God is.
  • Don’t cast your pearls before them (they’re just going to trash the word of God).
  • Shake the dust off your feet and walk away (if they’re not going to accept the salvation message, move on).
  • Let the blind lead the blind (if they’re intent on continuing in the same direction, let them go).

We can’t neglect the rest of the harvest just because of one person.  The consequences of that is just too great.  Jesus taught those who wanted to listen.  I don’t recall any recorded incident in the bible where Jesus sat down with those who rejected God and tried to convince them otherwise.   Jesus lets everyone make their own decision whether to believe and repent or to deny and remain in their sin.  We must understand that having a human nature means that we take on much more responsibility than God wants us to have.  It’s the Holy Spirit’s responsibility to convict the sinner.  It’s His responsibility to convince the sinner of who God is.  Our job is to spread the word of God with those who will listen.  If they don’t want to listen, then we’re to move on, NOT double down and put a more concerted effort into trying to convince them of who Jesus is.

The enemy uses this flaw in Christians to delay them from coming in contact with those who are on the verge of repentance.  He has convinced Christians that you can’t love the sinner if you’re so willing to just walk away, but that’s a lie.  Our personal walk with the Lord is a witness.  Our prayers for the lost individual is powerful!  Lets not be deceived into believing that our one-on-one witnessing is the only way to share the the word God with those who have hardened their heart against the Lord.

So what do I suggest?  If someone doesn’t accept the salvation message, offer to give them some information (tracts) or point them to a specific Christian web site.  If they won’t accept the information, then let them know that you’re there for them if they have any questions.  Always share the love of Christ with them through selfless acts, a warm smile, an offer of prayer in a time of need, etc…   That is a wonderful witness.

The most important thing is to get to the harvest and reap as much fruit as possible before your time here on earth is over.  


Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Which "Ten Commandments" Do You Believe In?


There seems to be two different sets of Ten Commandments.  One set is written in the bible and the other set is taught through the Catholic Church.  This isn't about church bashing.  This is about sharing information.  What you do with this information is up to you.


FIRST COMMANDMENT
BIBLE: I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
CATHOLICISM: I am the LORD your God. You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.


SECOND COMMANDMENT

BIBLE: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

CATHOLICISM: You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.


Wait a minute! What happened to not making any graven images and not bowing down to them? Seems the second commandment was deleted and replaced with the third commandment. Maybe it’s just a reorganization of the commandments. Let’s continue and see if it shows up further down the list.


THIRD COMMANDMENT

BIBLE: Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

CATHOLICISM: Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.


Okay, so now they have moved the fourth commandment up to the third commandment slot. Let’s continue.


FOURTH COMMANDMENT

BIBLE: Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.

CATHOLICISM: Honor your father and your mother.


Again, the commandment has been moved up from the following position to the current one.


FIFTH COMMANDMENT

BIBLE: Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

CATHOLICISM: You shall not kill.


Same situation. The sixth commandment has become the fifth commandment. If this keeps up, they’ll be short one commandment by the time we get to the end of the list, unless they’ve taken the commandment about not creating idols or bowing down to them and added it to one of the remaining five commandments.


SIXTH COMMANDMENT

BIBLE: Thou shalt not kill.

CATHOLICISM: You shall not commit adultery.


We’re still in that same pattern. Let’s continue.


SEVENTH COMMANDMENT

BIBLE: Thou shalt not commit adultery.

CATHOLICISM: You shall not steal.


Well, we’re getting close to the end. The Catholic Ten Commandments still don’t line up with the exact order in the bible, but I’m more concerned about the missing commandment. There are three left. Let’s see if it appears down below.


EIGHTH COMMANDMENT

BIBLE: Thou shalt not steal.

CATHOLICISM: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.


Nope, not yet. But Catholicism does have ten commandments. Hmmm…. let’s get to the ninth commandment and see what that says.


NINTH COMMANDMENT

BIBLE: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

CATHOLICISM: You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.


Hold on!!! Although the tenth commandment has been moved up the the number nine position, it is an incomplete commandment! What Catholicism uses for the ninth commandment is actually half of the tenth commandment!


TENTH COMMANDMENT

BIBLE: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's.

CATHOLICISM: You shall not covet your neighbor's goods.


… and there is the other half of the tenth commandment. So, in order for Catholics to continue to have statues of Jesus, Mary and all the “saints” and in order for Catholics to be able to pray to those “saints”, the Catholic church had to kill the second commandment. That left them with a problem. How could you call it the Ten Commandments if there were only nine? Solution: Split the tenth commandment up into two commandments, thus creating a complete list of ten commandments.