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Rick_Parker last won the day on May 19 2015

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About Rick_Parker

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  • Birthday 06/03/1955

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  1. Church is not the bride- revisted

    I understand. When the Church was formed, GOD created a new race, neither Jew nor Gentile. What is false teaching is saying that the Church is not the Bride of Christ as Christ is married to Israel. I am so sick of these false teachings that are going on, and on, on different subjects without challenge or is defended for defense sake. We are being infected and this pus needs to be treated with the antibiotic of Christ's Truth until this disease of false teaching is eradicated. I have shown over the years on this forum my depth of understanding and learning of the Scriptures, now I am being challenged as to my understanding? And that my words are not my own and that I plagiarize!! Maybe it is time to take my leave of this forum, as quite a few other people who have a deep understanding have done.
  2. How The Devil/Satan Deceiveth The Whole World

    There was NO CHURCH before the death of Jesus Christ!
  3. This is a very good article on israelnationalnews.com website. People need to get their news from other than the MSM. "I just did something fascinating. I just watched the President’s entire 14-minute impromptu news conference at Trump Tower on Monday that sparked all the latest barrage of anti-Trump screeds from the left media that will criticize him every day, no matter what he does, augmented by the “Never Trump” Republicans and neo-conservatives who will not rest until they can re-conquer the political party they lost because of three terms of two failed Bush presidencies, followed by the two failed Presidential candidacies of Sen. John McCain and of Gov. Mitt Romney. Not the reportage about the conference, but the entire 14 minutes unedited, uninterrupted. I found myself agreeing with his every word. I did not find his tone or demeanor “unpresidential” in the least. He sharply and explicitly condemned the Nazis and White Supremacists unequivocally. He also condemned the extreme leftists who premeditatedly came armed with weapons to smash up a demonstration that, rightly or wrongly, had been granted a legal permit."
  4. Church is not the bride- revisted

    Once again, we have false teaching taking place on this Forum. 2 Corinthians 11:2 clearly says that the Church is the Bride of Christ: "I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him." And in Ephesians 5:25–27 "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless." "Every believer from Pentecost to the Rapture is part of the Bride of Christ. The Bride also includes children, both born and pre-born. There is no minimum age. Since the wedding will take place in heaven the guests will be Old Testament believers. Remember John the Baptist, who was not in the Church but the last of the prophets, called himself a friend of the groom (John 3:29-30). That makes him one of the wedding guests. The idea of the adulterous wife of Jehovah as highlighted in the Book of Hosea contrasts with the virgin bride of Christ. The former symbolizes Israel and the latter the Church. It’s meant to show that the destinies of Israel and the Church are separate and distinct. The Bible promises that God will dwell forever with Israel in the Promised land and that the Church will live forever with Jesus in Heaven, or more accurately the New Jerusalem. Both these promises come true. It’s a clear statement that Israel is not the Church, nor is the Church Israel." Gracethrufaith (used with permission.)
  5. According to the word of God, there will be no Rapture!

    For your information, I have Mr. Kelly's written consent to use him material, have posted such permission on this site, and do not represent his writings as my own. You slander Mr. Kelly, who is now dead and can't defend himself. As for Mr. Cooper, I did read all the links that you give, and stick to my position as to how to properly discern the Word. You can accuse me all you want, but nothing you can say or do will change my belief in dispensationalism or the Rapture. Since you have chosen to change the subject and attack me, I am finished with you!! Have a good life.
  6. According to the word of God, there will be no Rapture!

    This quote is by Dr. Cooper in his study An Exposition of the Book of Revelation "When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in he light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise." "Do you know that much harm has been done by those who study the book of Revelation who do not observe this general, fundamental rule? As it states, we are to take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the acts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages, indicate clearly otherwise. We are never to say that a passage is figurative unless the facts of the context indicate that fact. Only when there is positive evidence that a passage is not used in a literal sense are we justified in departing from the ordinary, literal meaning. We should make allowances for figures of speech in the prophetic Word the same as we do in the historical portions of the Scriptures. Also, Whenever the facts of a context indicate that a passage is used in a symbolic sense, we are to interpret the symbol according to God's significance which He attaches to the same." So, it appears that he does not have different rules for studying Prophecy as you suggest. My problem is, and remains to be, is the OP's suggestion that there will be no Rapture. This is clearly a false teaching and is to be ignored and/or challenged for what it is.

    There is nothing you can do to "keep" yourself saved. Christ and the Cross did it all.
  8. Current political environment

    Never mind the perpetual slavery in Africa and Asia! GOD forbid that we should speak of that.
  9. According to the word of God, there will be no Rapture!

    As you may know I believe Paul was the first person on Earth to present a clear pre-trib teaching, about 20 years after the cross. Before that time, it was unknown because Jesus didn’t teach it to His other disciples during their time together. And since the Olivet Discourse is directed at Israel, there’s no mention of it there either, even though the end times is in view. Israel will not participate in the rapture. Now I’ll be the first to admit that doing this requires that you already have a working knowledge of the pre-trib position, because without it you wouldn’t recognize some of these references as being pertinent to the subject. But ever since Paul revealed the rapture, scholars have been seeing hints of it here and there, even in the Old Testament. Before we begin, in 1 Cor. 2:6-8 Paul explained why God’s plans for the Church had been kept secret until after the crucifixion. He said that if the rulers of this age (Satan & Co.) had understood all that God intended for us they would not have crucified the Lord. Not that they could have stopped it, of course. But had they known God was going to use the murder of His Son to save us all, they wouldn’t have gone ahead with it, and in fact would have tried to prevent it. It wasn’t until He was on the cross that they discovered the Lord’s death was going to become payment in full for all our sins, so instead of it being cause for a great celebration it totally disarmed them and made them into a public spectacle (Colossians 2:13-15). Then, 20 years later, they learned about the rapture. These were both things that God had planned from the beginning, but a good general keeps his strategy a secret in order to take his enemy by surprise, so God didn’t let Satan (or anyone else) know about these things until it was too late for him to react. Even now, Satan doesn’t know when the rapture is coming. All he knows is what we know, that each new believer could be the last one, the one that takes us all out of here and beyond his reach forever. I’m convinced that God’s plan requires the Church to disappear before Daniel’s 70th week begins. Remember, the Lord set aside 70 weeks (490 years) for Israel to accomplish 6 things. (Daniel 9:24) At the end of 69 weeks (483 years) Jesus was crucified, the clock suddenly stopped, and Israel disappeared along with its Temple and Old Covenant worship. Daniel’s prophecy was left incomplete and from that time on, God’s focus was on the church. The reappearance of Israel in 1948, the promised rebuilding of a Temple, and the resumption of Levitical sacrifice during the 70th week make it clear that the Church didn’t end the dispensation of Law but only interrupted it seven years short of its intended duration. We would all agree that if the introduction of a dam into a stream of water interrupts its flow, then it’s reasonable and logical to conclude that removal of the dam will be necessary for the flow to resume. Therefore, if the introduction of the Church after the 69th week of Daniels prophecy caused the interruption in its fulfillment, it’s reasonable and logical to conclude that the Church will have to be removed before the final seven years of the dispensation of Law can run their course and Daniel’s prophecy can be fulfilled. Of course there are other sound reasons why the church has to disappear before the End Times begin in earnest. Not having a destiny on Earth, our presence here would serve no purpose during the time of Earth’s liberation from bondage (Romans 8:19-21). Not being subject to judgment the Church has no unfinished business with God that could be concluded during the End Times. Unlike Israel we don’t need to be made righteous because we’re already as righteous as God is (2 Cor. 5:21). Jeremiah 30:11 says the End time judgments will serve a twofold purpose, to completely destroy all the nations among which Israel has been scattered and to discipline Israel. Since God does not consider the Church to be part of either Israel or the nations, our presence on Earth during that time would be unnecessary. But the most important reason, as we’ll see, is that God said we won’t be here. Those who teach the Church’s presence on Earth during any part of Daniel’s 70th Week have to re-define grace, re-invent the church and re-interpret the Scriptures to support their position. With that introduction, let’s look at some of the clearest hints God placed in the Scriptures to show He has always planned for a pre-tribulation rapture of the church. Naturally, we’ll begin in the Old Testament. Enoch Disappeared: “Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took Him away.” (Genesis 5:24) In Matt. 24:37, Jesus said that the time of His coming would be like the days of Noah. He went onto explain that just as all the unbelievers perished in the flood, all unbelievers would perish at the time of His 2nd coming as well. Those who survive the devastation of the Great Tribulation will immediately face judgment and be taken off the planet. The parables of the servant, the ten virgins, and the talents explain this, as does the account of the Sheep and Goat judgment. (Matt. 24:45-25:46) But if you give the Lord’s statement its widest possible application, you can see that as the time of the Great Flood drew near there were 3 kinds of people on Earth. There were the unbelievers who perished in the flood, Noah and his family who were preserved through it, and Enoch, who was taken by the Lord well before it. Just so, as the End of the Age draws near there will still be three kinds of people on Earth. They are the unbelievers of our time who will perish in the End Times judgments, modern Israel who will be preserved through them, and the Church who will be taken by God well before they begin. There some interesting similarities between Enoch and the Church. For starters, the name Enoch comes from a root which means to train or teach. To the church Jesus said, “Go and make disciples (students) of all men.” (Matt. 28:19) And according to Hebrew tradition, Enoch was born on the day that would become Pentecost. It’s the same day the Church was born. I believe Enoch was an early type of the Church and his disappearance before the flood gave the first hint of a pre-tribulation rapture. Lot Had to Leave Sodom: “But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.” (Genesis 19:23) Abraham had struck a bargain with the Lord that if even 10 righteous people could be found in Sodom and Gomorrah He would spare the cities. The fact that the cities were destroyed indicates 10 righteous people could not be found there. But there was one, and though He wasn’t bound to do it, the Lord instructed the angels to get Lot out of town before commencing their judgment. As you see above, Genesis 19:22 tells us the angels could not execute the judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah until Lot was safely away. Peter referred to Lot’s rescue from Sodom as evidence that the Lord does not judge the righteous with the wicked (2 Peter 2:7-9). Lot therefore becomes a model of the Church, who with a righteousness imputed by faith, has to be removed from the time and place of judgment before it begins. Where Was Daniel: Daniel 3 contains one of the most popular children’s stories of the Old Testament. Many don’t realize that it’s also one of the clearest models of the End Times anywhere in the Bible. King Nebuchadnezzar represents the anti-Christ who decrees that anyone who refuses to bow down and worship the statue he has made will be put to death in the fiery furnace, which represents Great Tribulation. Daniel’s three friends, representing Israel, refuse to worship the image and are thrown into the furnace to die. While in there they encounter the Lord, are preserved through the judgment, and are elevated to positions of honor in Babylon. But where was Daniel? He was a prominent figure both before and after chapter 3. But in this episode his name was not even mentioned. Did he worship the statue to escape judgment? If you think that, you don’t know Daniel. Did he refuse to bow down but was not accused? If you think that, you don’t know his enemies. After all they rounded up his three closest friends. For the purposes of this story it’s as if he has disappeared altogether. In chapter 3, Daniel was a model of the Church, who during the End times judgments will have disappeared altogether, while a believing remnant of Israel will be preserved through them, meet the Lord in the midst of them, and be elevated to positions of honor in the Kingdom Age. Isaiah Said It Best: “But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead. Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by. See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed upon her; she will conceal her slain no longer.” (Isaiah 26:19-21) Without a doubt this is the clearest statement of the Lord’s intentions for the Church anywhere in the Old Testament. It can’t be tied to any event in history, but clearly awaits a future fulfillment. And it can’t be intended for Israel, whose resurrection will come after the time of God’s wrath, not before it. (Daniel 12:1-2) Someday soon a group of people will suddenly rise from the dead. Another group, still living, will be whisked away to rooms prepared for them to be hidden from the time of God’s wrath. Then the Lord will punish the people of the Earth for their sins. The fact that the groups being resurrected and hidden are not objects of his wrath is indicated by the switch from second person (resurrected and hidden) to third person (punished). Notice how similar the wording is to 1 Thes 4:16-17 & 5:9, Paul’s teaching on the rapture; But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. (The dead in Christ will rise first). Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; (After that we who are alive and left will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air) It’s appropriate to insert John 14:2-3 here as well to see what rooms Isaiah was talking about. “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” This promise does not point to the 2nd Coming when the Lord will come to Earth to be with Israel here, where they are. This is a promise to the Church that He has gone to His father’s house to prepare our rooms for us. Then He will come for us to take us there, where He is. See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. (For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.) I’m convinced this is the passage Paul had in mind when he said “According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. “(1 Thes. 4:15). I say this because with the exception of 1 Thes 4:16-17 there is no passage in all the Bible that so clearly describes the pre-trib rapture of the Church. This is not the sum of Old Testament verses that point to a pre-tribulation rapture. But it’s a good sample of the clearest ones, to help you see that God always intended to take us to be with him before He unleashes the End Times judgments upon the unbelieving Earth. In part one of this series we explored some of the clearest hints from the Old Testament that the Lord has always intended to rapture the Church before the End Times judgments begin. This time we’ll continue with a two part survey of the New Testament. Because Paul was the first to reveal the mystery of the Rapture, we won’t expect to find a clear explanation in the Gospels, but since we already know about it, we’ll be able to spot a couple of hints here and there. Shall we continue? Obvious By Our Absence? In His definitive teaching on the End Times, the Lord warned Israel they would be hated and persecuted by all nations because of Him (Matt. 24:9). He said many would fall away from the faith, and would betray and hate each other (Matt. 24:10). He said their Temple would be desecrated by another Abomination of Desolation, and when that happened those in Judea (the New Testament name for Israel) would have to flee into the mountains immediately (Matt. 24:15). He told them to pray that their flight wouldn’t take place in the winter (winters can be harsh in the Judean wilderness) or on the Sabbath (fleeing would violate Sabbath travel restrictions) because the Great Tribulation would be coming and it would be worse than anything man has ever known (Matt. 24:20-21). He said if He didn’t personally intervene not one of them would survive it, but for the sake of the believers among them He would put an end to it at the appointed time (Matt. 24:22). He said false Messiahs and false prophets would perform great signs and miracles to deceive them as the end approached (Matt. 24:24). (Paul confirmed this in 2 Thes. 2:9-10 placing its fulfillment after the rapture.) He said everyone on Earth will see Him when He comes back (Matt. 24:27) and it will be just like the Days of Noah. Unbelievers who survive the Great Tribulation will be taken away in the judgments that follow His return and believers will be welcomed into the Kingdom to build a new world. All this and more, He said to Israel. (Matt. 24:36-25:46) But did He speak one word of comfort, or even warning, to His Bride? Did He say He’d protect us through this terrifying time? Did He even acknowledge our existence? No. Not once. Why? Because He was talking to Israel about a time after we’re gone. He left it to Paul to explain the details of our rescue after it was too late to stop what He was about to do for us. Lot Had To Leave Sodom (Revisited) “It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.” (Luke 17:28-29) In Luke 17:26-27 Jesus had been saying how in the days of Noah unbelievers hadn’t heeded the warnings they were given, and didn’t avail themselves of the Lord’s provision for their rescue. They were caught by surprise when the flood came and it destroyed them all. At first glance verses 28-29 seem like a similar example, but it’s really very different. Lot was taken away from the time and place of the judgment before it began. In fact the angels who were sent to remove him said they couldn’t bring the judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah until Lot was away and safe. (Genesis 19:21-22) As I demonstrated in part one of this series, Lot served as a model of the Church who also has to be rescued from the time and place of the coming judgment before it can begin. The Resurrection And The Life Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26) This is an amazing statement. The Lord had already said that whoever believes in Him would not perish but would have eternal life. (John 3:16) Here he provided more detail, saying that even though a believer experiences physical death, he will still have life. He was referring to the resurrection of those who die in faith. And then He said there would be some would never die, but would pass from this life directly into the next one. If we didn’t already know about the rapture, we wouldn’t see this, but since we do we can understand that He was talking about that one generation of believers who will be alive when He comes for the Church, and will receive eternal life without dying first. And once again the Lord confirmed that the single qualification for eternal life is to believe that His death paid the entire price for our sins. What’s To Become Of Israel? When they finished, James spoke up: “Brothers, listen to me. Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: ” ‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things that have been known for ages. (Acts 15:13-18) It was not quite 20 years after the cross, and the Apostles were meeting together in Jerusalem. None of the New Testament had been written yet. 483 years of Daniel’s 490 year prophecy for Israel (Daniel 9:24-27) had been fulfilled on schedule but with the Messiah’s death everything had come to a stop. Before He died, the Lord had even told them that the Temple would soon be completely destroyed, and after His resurrection He had refused to confirm their hope that the Kingdom would now be restored to Israel. In effect He had said, “That’s not for you to know.” (Acts 1:6) And now Peter, Paul, and Barnabas had given eye witness accounts of the Holy Spirit coming directly upon Gentiles with much prophesying and speaking in tongues. If Gentiles could come straight to the Lord and receive the Holy Spirit without converting to Judaism first, did that mean God was finished with the Jews? If so what would become of Israel and all the Lord’s unfulfilled promises to His people? James, the Lord’s half brother, helped them understand what was coming. What we now know as the Dispensation of Law had been interrupted while the Lord takes from among the Gentiles a people for Himself (the Church). In Greek the phrase “taking from” literally means to take out of, or carry away from. It denotes an exit, a separation of time, place, and cause. After He has taken the Church, James said, the Lord will turn His attention once again to Israel. The Temple will be rebuilt and the remaining 7 years of the Dispensation of Law will run their course. This is the time we know as Daniels 70th week. Here’s a hint that the rapture of the Church will take place before Daniel’s 70th Week begins. He concluded by saying the Lord has known for ages that He was going to do this. Paul’s Confirmation Paul, who was there, explained it to the Church at Rome this way. I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is (or will be) my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” (Romans 11:25-27) The Greek word translated “full number” was often used in a nautical sense to define the number of sailors, oarsmen, and soldiers required to man a ship. Once a ship had its full number it could set sail for it’s intended destination. When it arrived it was said to have “come in.” I believe Paul’s intention was to say that the Church has a “full number” and once that number is reached it will set sail for its intended destination, heaven. No one on Earth knows this number or how close we are to reaching it and that’s why no one will know the day or hour of the rapture in advance. When the Church’s “full number” has “come in” to its heavenly destination, God will turn His attention once again to Israel and the final 7 years of Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy will be fulfilled, culminating in the Lord’s return to establish His Kingdom. This is the Kingdom promised to Israel that Daniel said would never be destroyed, or left to another people, but will endure forever. (Daniel 2:44). The Rapture Goes Public They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. (1 Thes 1:10) For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thes. 4:16-17) For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thes. 5:9) These are the rapture verses, named for the Latin translation of the Greek word harpadzo, which means to be caught up or snatched away in English, and which appears in 1 Thes. 4:17. In part one of this series I showed how closely they resemble Isaiah 26:19-21. I believe Paul was using Isaiah’s words to support his claim that this wasn’t just his idea, but had been announced by the Lord nearly eight hundred years earlier. With the first letter to the Thessalonians Paul gave the first clear promise of a pre-tribulation Rapture. When He called Jesus the one who will rescue us from the coming wrath in chapter 1, he meant that sometime before the seal judgments of Rev. 6, which signal the beginning of God’s wrath (Rev. 6:16-17) Jesus will separate the Church from the time and place of the End Times Judgments. (Look up the full meaning of the Greek word translated “from” in 1 Thes. 1: 10 to confirm this.) In Chapter 4 he said this separation would happen when the Lord comes to take us to be with Him in Heaven. First, believers who have died will be raised up. Then, we who are still alive will be snatched away with them to meet the Lord in the air. Then in chapter 5 he repeated the reason for our sudden rescue. It was never intended that the Church would suffer through the time of God’s wrath. Say That Again, Paul Between the two letters we call 1st and 2nd Thessalonians something happened that would have scared the recipients right out of their socks had they been wearing any. They received a letter that appeared to be from Paul but was in fact a forgery. According to 2 Thes 2:1-2 it said the Day of the Lord had already come. Confused and frightened, they dashed off a hurried request for clarification since this new letter contradicted what Paul had previously taught them. Here we get an extraordinary insight into their understanding of the sequence of End Times events. Receiving word that the Day of the Lord had come would only have upset them so much if they’d been led to believe that the Rapture of the Church would precede it. Think about it. From any other view, this kind of news would have been scary for sure, but their fear would have been tempered by a certain amount of joyous anticipation. Sure the next few years would really be rough, but whether by martyrdom or survival they would soon be in the presence of the Lord forever. But from the pre-trib perspective, hearing that the Day of the Lord had come would be horrifying, because it would mean that they had missed the rapture. And that would mean they weren’t saved. No wonder they wrote Paul for clarification! It’s important to understand that they had asked Paul two questions. The first concerned the Day of the Lord and the second was about our being gathered to Him, the Rapture. Paul answered the 2 questions in that order using verses 3-5 to describe conditions that would bring about the Day of the Lord and verses 6-8 to explain when the rapture would occur in relation to them. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? (2 Thes. 2:3-5) Confirming and amplifying Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy (Daniel 9:27) and the Lord’s warning from the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:15), Paul pegged the beginning of the Great Tribulation to the moment the antichrist stands in the Temple in Jerusalem proclaiming himself to be God. And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. (2 Thes. 2:6-8) Before the antichrist can be officially revealed, One who is currently limiting the power of lawlessness has to be taken out of the way. The phrase “out of the way” literally means out of the midst, or from amongst. Some force that restrains the power of evil within certain predetermined limits (for this power is already at work on Earth) has to be removed. Scholars who read the passage literally identify this force as the Holy Spirit. And since the Holy Spirit is sealed within us, if He’s taken out from amongst the people of Earth, we have to go too. You can’t take the Restrainer without taking the container, as someone has said. This is the Rapture of the Church, and once we’re gone the power of evil will be free from restraint and all Hell will break loose on Earth until the Lord returns at the end of the Great Tribulation to put a stop to it. Here then is the sequence. Before the Day of the Lord can come, the antichrist has to be revealed, and before he can be revealed the church has to be raptured. So according to Paul the next prophetic event involving believers could be our own disappearance. We’re not finished yet, so be sure to tune in again next time for the exciting conclusion of Rapture References. This is the final installment of our three part series on rapture references in the Bible. We concluded part two with Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians. Written about 20 years after the cross, they were the first definitive teaching on the rapture given on Earth, and as we saw Paul placed it before the End Times judgments, saying the Church was not appointed to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thes. 5:9). Shortly after writing the Thessalonian letters, Paul wrote 1 Corinthians and in chapter 15 added more detail to his rapture teaching. We’ll begin the final installment there. What Will We Look Like? In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul was teaching about the resurrection, responding to questions about how the dead will be raised and what we’ll look like. He used an example from agriculture to describe it. You can’t tell what a plant will look like by examining the seed. You have to plant it and wait till it grows. When it does the plant will look different from the seed, but the farmer will recognize it as having come from the seed he planted. He said that’s the way is is with us. We can’t enter Heaven in our earthly state, so we have to be changed into our heavenly state. When we are, the splendor of our heavenly body will be different from the splendor of our earthly one, but we’ll still be recognizable. Just as we can we can tell the sun from the moon and the stars from either and from each other, so it will be with us. We’ll all be unique, recognizable individuals. Then in 1 Cor. 15:51-53 He wrote; Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. The Greek word for mystery means secret. By saying he was going to tell them a mystery, Paul was saying he was about to reveal a secret. And here it is. When the Lord comes down to meet us in the air we’ll receive no advance notice. In one instant we’ll be going about our business here on Earth and in the next we’ll be standing in the Kingdom. It will happen so fast we won’t have time to blink our eyes. We’ll hear the Trumpet call of God and the voice of the archangel and we’ll step out of this world into the next one. As we look around we’ll realize that multitudes of believers from the Church Age have joined us. The dead will have been given new bodies and the living will have been transformed from mortal to immortal. Paul said we’ll know as we’re known (1 Cor. 13:12), so just as the Lord will recognize each of us, we’ll recognize each other. And John said that what we’ll be is not yet known, but we know that when He appears we’ll be like Him (1 John 3:2) To me that means we’ll have the same capabilities that He demonstrated after His resurrection. Don’t confuse the trumpet we’ll hear with the 7th Trumpet of Rev. 11:15. In the first place what we’ll hear is the trumpet of God, mentioned elsewhere only in Exodus 19:13 & 19. The 7th Trumpet is blown by an angel in Heaven, announces the beginning of the Great Tribulation, and is never called the last trumpet. As I said, the Trumpet of God is only mentioned twice in the Bible. The first one is in Exodus 19 at Mt. Sinai and the last one is in 1 Thes. 4. There are some incredible parallels between the giving of the Law and the Rapture of the Church. And as you might expect there are also some big differences. We’ll look at the similarities first. Both are accompanied by the audible voice of God and both create a Kingdom. At Mt. Sinai the Israelites were redeemed from slavery, at the Rapture we’re redeemed from sin. They were consecrated, we’re perfected. They washed their clothes, we’re given clean clothes. God came to the Mt. top, Jesus comes to the air. At Mt. Sinai Moses and Aaron went up, at the rapture we go up. At Mt. Sinai Israel was wed to God. At the Rapture the Church is wed to Jesus. At Mt. Sinai God dwelt with Israel and at the rapture the Church will dwell with Jesus. Since many Biblical models are necessarily incomplete, there are also some obvious differences. Only Moses and Aaron could ascend the mountain. Anyone else going up passed from life to death. At the rapture we all go up and everyone passes from death to life. God promised to dwell with Israel if they obeyed. We will dwell with Jesus because He obeyed. They changed themselves temporarily, He changes us permanently. Theirs was an event accompanied by great fear, ours is an event anticipated with great joy. After all Mt. Sinai was the presentation of God’s Law, and the Rapture is the manifestation of His grace. God blew the First Trump in Exodus 19 in preparation for the giving of the Law, and will blow the the Last Trump in 1 Thes. 4:16 to initiate the Rapture. Rescuing The Righteous Abraham had reminded the Lord that His character wouldn’t allow Him to judge the righteous with the wicked. Even though the negotiated requirement of 10 righteous men to spare Sodom and Gomorrah hadn’t been met, God instructed the angels to remove Lot before destroying the cities. Speaking of this Peter wrote, “if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.” (2 Peter 2:9) Peter wanted us to see from the example of Lot that his case wasn’t an isolated incident but was meant to convey a general principle. The Greek word translated “from” in the NIV is more clearly rendered “out of” in the King James. It means away from the time and place of the event being referenced. We see a similar idea conveyed in Isaiah 57:1: The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Here the Hebrew word translated “taken away” means to gather in, receive, or remove. God’s character is such that He can’t allow the righteous to be punished with the wicked. The 7 Churches Of Rev. 2-3 In a previous study I’ve demonstrated how the seven churches of Rev. 2-3 chronicle Church history. I showed how the first 3 churches (Ephesus, Smyrna and Pergamus) have all disappeared and the remaining 4 (Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea) are all present today. Viewed in chronological order and compared to Church history these four represent the Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical and Apostate churches of today. In Rev. 2: 22-24 the Lord warned that some from the Church in Thyatira will face the tribulation while others will be rescued and share in rewards that are uniquely reserved for true believers, which includes the rapture. The distinction will be made on the basis of their beliefs. Those who’ve remained true to the Gospel will go while those who adhere to the Catholic church’s “Jesus plus Mary, grace plus works, and Scripture plus sacraments” doctrine will not. In the letter to Sardis, which represents the main line denominations, Jesus warned of dead orthodoxy having only the appearance of life. “Remember what you have received and heard and obey it,” He said, “Or else you won’t know at what time I will come to you.” He was referring to the Gospel, and notice He said “to you”, not “for you”. Many in the main line denominations don’t know they need to be born again, haven’t got a clue that we’re in the end times and have never even heard of the rapture. As in Thyatira, he said there are a few in Sardis who have remained true. They’ll walk with Him for they are worthy. Once again some will be taken and some left based on what they believe. Philadelphia is often called The Church of the Rapture because of the Lord’s promise to keep us from the hour of trial that’s going to come upon the whole world (Rev. 3:10). The Greek word translated “from” here is the same one Peter used in describing the Lord’s ability to rescue godly men from trials. Remember it means away from the time and place of the event being referenced, in this case the End Times judgments that are coming upon the whole world. Because we’ve kept His word and not denied His name, He has promised us a place in the New Jerusalem, where only those whose names have been written in the Lamb’s Book of Life can enter (Rev. 21:27). This is the Lord’s personal confirmation of a pre-trib rapture, which when John wrote this in about 95AD had been taught on Earth for nearly 50 years. The “Church” at Laodicea is really an apostate movement, a spiritual rebellion. Although it has been around through out the Church Age, it’s current prominence is a sign that the End of the Age is approaching (2 Thes. 2:3) Thinking of itself as rich and self sufficient, it lacks the one thing money can’t buy, a Savior. He’s outside the door knocking, hoping someone will hear. There’s no promise to rescue the group, who will be spit out of his mouth, only to individuals who hear and respond. Come Up Here! At the beginning of Rev. 4, John was called forward to the End of the Age and up into Heaven to observe and report on events that were nearly 2000 years in his future. When he arrived at the throne of God he saw a group never before seen in any of the Bible’s pictures of God’s throne. Isaiah didn’t see them (Isaiah 6) Ezekiel didn’t see them (Ezekiel 1 & 10), and even Daniel, whose vision was oriented in the End Times only saw a vague hint in the form of plural thrones (Daniel 7:9). I’m speaking of the 24 elders sitting on thrones encircling the Throne of God (Rev. 4:4) These 24 elders confuse some people, but they shouldn’t. Their appearance gives them away. They have thrones, so they’re rulers. They surround the Throne of God, so they’re assisting Him. They’re seated, so their work is done. They’re dressed in white, so they’re righteous. They’re wearing crowns, so they’re kings. It’s the Greek “stephanos” crown so they’re victors, over comers. They’re called Elders, a title associated with the Church. That’s a pretty strong case for them representing the Church, and no one has ever come up with a better one. Some try to explain the 24 thrones by saying that they belong to an unidentified group of ruling angels. But four prophets saw the throne of God and recorded their experience. Of the four, only John saw them. And note that the Church won’t receive crowns until the Bema Seat judgment that takes place after the Rapture. Is this a symbolic view of the church in Heaven before the judgments begin? It looks that way to me. The Song Of The Redeemed And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men (us) for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them (us) to be a kingdom (kings) and priests to serve our God, and they (we) will reign on the earth.” (Rev. 5:8-10) This is a controversial passage and taken by itself its difficult to understand. But even though most of the modern translations read like the one above, both the King James Version and Young’s Literal Translation put the passage in the first person plural as I’ve indicated in parentheses. The first person version helps support the view that the 24 Elders represent the Church. Also the Greek word for King and Kingdom is the same, differing only by gender. King is the masculine form and is the one that appears in Rev. 5:10. (Kingdom is feminine.) So the verse is more grammatically and theologically correct when it’s translated Kings and Priests, which define the Church, rather than a kingdom and priests. And there’s no other group that fits the description of verse 9. Finally, the song is more consistent with the context of the passage when it’s sung by the redeemed Church, not by a third party singing about the Church. Taken together Rev. 4-5 present a good circumstantial case for the Church being present in Heaven before the wrath of God begins in Rev. 6. As we’ve already seen, this is what the Bible has promised from the beginning. Who’s That With The Lord? Speaking of the anti-Christ and his 10 king confederacy Rev. 17:14 says, “They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” This is an overview statement that describes the Great Tribulation, during which Satan, working through the anti-Christ, will attempt to assert his ownership claim to Planet Earth. Rev. 17:13 says these 10 kings will have only that one purpose during the time of their reign. Rev. 17:17 says that the Lord will agree to their rule in order for them to accomplish His purpose, not theirs, and that’s to destroy the Great Prostitute. Once they’re finished with her He will appear to personally oversee their defeat. And guess who’ll be with Him when He returns? His called, chosen and faithful followers. That can only be the Church, in Heaven during the Great Tribulation, and returning with Him at its end. From Genesis to Revelation, the overwhelming weight of evidence, some circumstantial and some testimonial shows that the Lord always intended to remove the Church from Earth before the End Times Judgments and to hide us in His Father’s house until His wrath has passed by.
  10. According to the word of God, there will be no Rapture!

    The Bible isn’t such a complex document that it requires years of formal education before you can begin to comprehend it. I’ve always believed the Bible was meant to be understood by any believer who can read and has a serious interest in knowing what it says. I say this because I believe the Bible is best approached by relying on the power of the Holy Spirit rather than one’s own intellect. James 1:5 says that any of us who lacks wisdom need only ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault. Conversely the man without the Spirit cannot accept the things that come from the Spirit of God regardless of his mental prowess. (1 Cor. 2:14) This is why we hear of people who tried to read the Bible as non-believers and found they couldn’t figure it out, but as soon as they were born again it began to make sense. They didn’t suddenly become more intelligent, they simply gained the supernatural insight of the Holy Spirit who teaches us all things. (John 14:26) Over the 35 years or so I’ve been studying the Bible I’ve picked up a handful of principles that have also given me a better understanding of what it says. They help keep me honest so I know it’s the Holy Spirit teaching me, and not just my sin infested intellect coming to its own conclusion. The Golden Rule of Interpretation: “When the plain sense of scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise.” (Dr. D.L. Cooper) This hasn’t become known as the Golden Rule of Interpretation for nothing. If you ignore all the others and only follow this one rule you will avoid almost all the mistakes people make in reading the Bible. And the next one is like it, sort of an expanded version of the first. Literal, Historical, Grammatical, Contextual: These could be called the most important words in Biblical Hermeneutics, which is the science of properly interpreting the Bible. Literal means that each word is given the same exact basic meaning it would have in normal, ordinary, customary usage, whether employed in writing, speaking or thinking. Unless it’s clearly indicated otherwise, we’re to assume the Bible means exactly what it says. Examples of passages that are not intended to be taken literally are parables, dreams, and visions. These are all identified as such, alerting us to the fact that they’re meant to be understood symbolically. Historical means that each passage is put into its proper historical setting and surrounded with the thoughts, attitudes, and feelings prevalent at the time of its writing. In Biblical times the Jewish view of the Messiah was one of a charismatic leader like King David. In other words, a man, not God in human form. Knowing that helps us understand how they failed to recognize Him, and why they accused Him of blasphemy when He claimed to be God. Grammatical means that words are given meanings consistent with their common understanding in the original language at the time of writing. Grammatical interpretation also includes following recognized rules of grammar and in its more advanced form, applying the nuances of the Hebrew and Greek languages to the understanding of a passage. A good example showing the importance of following the rules of grammar can found in Daniel 9:27 where the subject of the first sentence in the verse is a personal pronoun. “He will confirm a covenant with (the) many.” The rule of grammar regarding personal pronouns is that they refer to the closest preceding personal noun. In this case it’s “the ruler who will come” in verse 26 indicating that the person who will confirm the covenant with Israel is the anti-Christ, not the Lord as some commentators’ assert. Contextual interpretation involves always taking the surrounding context of a verse/passage into consideration when trying to determine its meaning. The Holy Spirit has usually prompted the Bible’s writers to place indicators in the text surrounding a passage to guide you in interpreting it. In 1 Cor. 9:24-27 Paul compares our life to that of an athlete, training and competing for crowns. The mention of crowns tells us the passage is not about salvation, which is a free gift, but rewards believers can win after being saved. (In this case it’s the crown of victory, awarded to those who overcome the ways of the flesh by getting rid of selfish desires, bad habits and attitudes, etc.) When you stop to think about it, reading the Bible this way actually makes perfect sense. If you received a letter from a friend you wouldn’t have to be reminded to apply these principles. You would naturally assume that your friend was using words that meant the same thing to both of you. You would understand them within the parameters of your shared history, you would assume that the rules of grammar you had both been taught applied, and you would interpret what was written within the context of your relationship. You would expect your friend to alert you if any of these assumptions were not going to apply, and explain the reason for it. The only difference with the Bible is that it was written over a long period of time, during which the meanings of some words changed, and society is generally different now than it was when the Bible was written. This makes books on Bible history and a good concordance valuable additions to your library. Expositional Constancy: This is a fancy term to remind us that symbolism in scripture tends to be consistent. For example, throughout the Bible “leaven”, or yeast, is used symbolically to stand for sin. Therefore, there’s no justification for claiming that in the Parable of the Yeast (Matt. 13:33) and there alone, it stands for the Gospel. Expositional Constancy only applies to words that are used symbolically, so be careful. Peter’s statement in 2 Peter 3:9 that with the Lord a day is like 1000 years and 1000 years is like a day does not justify substituting 1000 years for a day every time it comes up. Peter was simply explaining that the Lord’s concept of time is way different from ours. Internal Consistency: The Bible, being the word of God, cannot contradict itself. The Lord is just and righteous so He can’t say something in one place and something different in another. He knows the end from the beginning so He can’t change His mind or take back something He’s given. Everything He says has to agree with everything else He says. For example, if the Bible says it’s God who makes us stand firm in Christ, that He anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us and put His Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee of what’s to come (2 Cor. 1:21-22), then it can’t say that we can walk away from our salvation or have it taken away from us someplace else. Principle of First Mention: Often when an important concept is mentioned for the first time there is elevated significance in the context of the passage in which it appears. The first mention of the Church is in Matt.16:18 where Peter declared that Jesus is the Messiah, son of the living God. Jesus said that this truth would be the foundation upon which He would build His Church. Notice who’s going to be doing the building and whose Church it is. Studying the passage where an important concept first appears can be very helpful in interpreting subsequent passages on the same subject. Use Clear Passages to Interpret Obscure Ones: Some passages of Scripture are more difficult to interpret correctly than others. When confronting one of these, it’s best to locate the clearest verses on the subject and use them to help interpret the difficult one. A classic example is Hebrews 6:4-6 which, when taken alone, seems to say that we can fall away and lose our salvation, and if that should happen we can never get it back. But the clearest verses on salvation are Ephesians 1:13-14 and 2 Cor. 1:21-22, and they plainly state the opposite. The Ephesians passage says we were included in Christ when we first heard and believed the gospel. Having believed we were sealed with the Holy Spirit, a deposit that guarantees our inheritance. In 2 Corinthians Paul went even further saying that God himself has accepted responsibility for making us stand firm in Christ and has set His seal of ownership on us, like a rancher brands his cattle. Applying the principles above we must conclude that the writer to Hebrews had to be talking about something else. When we look at the context of the letter, we find that it was written to Jewish believers who were being lured back into the Levitical system, which used the sacrifice of a lamb to atone for sins. For the Church, the Lord’s death fulfilled what the sacrifice only symbolized, so going back to this was tantamount to sacrificing Him all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace, because by their actions they were saying that His death was not sufficient to atone for their sins. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, going back to the sacrifice was no longer acceptable to God because the Law was only a shadow of the good things that are coming, not the realities themselves. For that reason, it could never make perfect those who draw near to worship no matter how many times they repeated it. (Hebr. 10:1) But when the Lord offered His sacrifice once for all time, He made perfect forever those who are being made holy (Hebr. 10:12-14) During the Church Age all we have to do after sinning is confess our sins to receive forgiveness, be brought back to repentance, and be purified from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) Now Hebrews 6:4-6 makes sense because it conforms to the internal consistency of God’s Word. There are lots of other rules and principles man has developed for application to God’s word, but in my opinion if we just apply the ones I’ve listed above we’ll stand a good chance of avoiding the errors and misinterpretations that seem to be so common these days. The Bible is quite simply the most amazing book ever written. Some parts of it were written at least 4000 years ago, and by 95AD its most recent chapters were finished. But according to Paul it was written to teach us, upon whom the end of the age has come. (Romans 15:4, 1 Cor. 10:11) If we’ll just read it the way we would any other document, as if it means what it says, the Holy Spirit will reveal wondrous truths from within its pages. Truths that will give us an anchor against the storms of deceit and controversy that have become so common in our time.
  11. Must it be hard to be an atheist? No.

    I too think that it would be easy. No GOD, no conscious (once seared), no condemnation, no need to feel like you need to do the "right" thing. You can do what you, when you want and damn the consequences (if there are any.) Crime pays. The guilty go free if you have enough money or know the right people. The poor are used and abused without any thought of doing harm. (Sadly, most Christians do the same things - some forgiven but most condemned as frauds.) Racism on the right and on the left abounds. Slavery and sexual deviancy abound, mostly without recourse for the enslaved. So, ya, it's easy to be an atheist - until you are on your death bed and are scared to death about it there is an afterlife or not. Neighbor's piece is a well written piece, but I feel the need to make one correction. It is not "if" GOD wills, for scripture tells us that GOD wills that "everyone" is saved, knowing that not everyone will accept HIS Solution to the sin problem.
  12. According to the word of God, there will be no Rapture!

    Because there are pages and pages and Thread upon Thread explaining the Rapture. Most of us don't feel the need to do the research within this forum in order to "teach" someone who has seen the Truth but has decided that he knows better than EVERYBODY ELSE. That is why.
  13. Girlfriend's past

    It's an individual decision. Most women today have had sex, just as most men have. Women, especially young ones, equate sex with love while most men equate sex with sex. I don't know what it is that bothers you so much about this woman having had sex in the past, except maybe the desire to "be her first." You may never find a woman like that in this day and age, but if it is that important to you, and you can't get past it, than you need to move on as the relationship will never work out in the long run.
  14. What is the gospel?

    There is only one gospel, and it’s for everyone. Paul claimed to have been taught the gospel directly by Jesus (Galatians 1:11-12) and summarized what he learned in 1 Cor. 15:3-4 “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
  15. According to the word of God, there will be no Rapture!

    There are many who disagree with our Lord. False teaching is false teaching. I will call attention to it no matter how many time you think that you are teaching truth when you are teaching a lie. May the Holy Spirit lead you into Truth!! Otherwise, people should disregard un-Scriptural teaching.