BY AARON EBY
The English word “holy” does not imply anything in particular. Some Christian commentaries consider this a direct reference to Yeshua’s message of the Gospel. The Didache (9:5) connects this verse with sharing a sacred meal. But when the words are represented in Hebrew, a different allusion emerges:
אַל־תִּתְּנוּ אֶת־הַקֹּדֶשׁ לַכְּלָבִים
Do not give the kodesh to the dogs. (DHE)
When the term kodesh is used in this way, it does not refer to holy things in the broadest sense, but rather to items that have been dedicated to the Temple as a sacrifice. The fifth order of the Mishnah, entitled Kodashim, discusses laws relating to the sacrifices. One of its tractates, Temurah, discusses what happens when an animal is designated as a sacrifice and becomes unfit. For example, such an animal might develop a defect or a serious disease, which places it in a category called trefah (literally, “torn”). Such an animal cannot be sacrificed, but since it had already been designated as sacred (kodesh), people were not allowed to use it for secular purposes either. What, then, is to be done with it? Can it be redeemed—that is, purchased with money or substituted for a different animal and then put to secular use? The Mishnah explains:
Any kodashim that become trefah are not redeemed, since we do not redeem kodashim to feed it to dogs. (m.Temurah 6:5)
This statement is quoted verbatim in several places in the Gemara outside of its direct discussion of this Mishnah (b.Pesachim 29a-b, b.Bechorot 15a-b), suggesting that this teaching has an axiomatic or proverbial use.
Although Yeshua used this phrase in an idiomatic sense (i.e., he was not literally making a ruling regarding what is to be done with defiled sacrificial animals), one cannot begin to understand the significance of a metaphor without first understanding the symbols that it employs. The interpretation via Hebrew in the context of first-century Judaism enables us to see how familiar Yeshua was with sacrificial Oral Law. Furthermore, it shows the implied importance that he gave to the sanctity of the sacrifices by using them as a figure of speech.
Having explored the source of Yeshua’s figure of speech, we can begin to unpack and apply it. Like many of the rabbis of the Roman era, Yeshua covertly referred to the Roman government using a code language. He warns his followers not to entrust matters of Torah (“kodesh”) to such godless courts (“dogs”).
This is just one example of how studying the words of Yeshua in light of the Hebrew language can bring clarity and insight into his teachings. (Click to Source)
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A Dog for Jesus
(Where dogs go when they die)
I wish someone had given Jesus a dog.
As loyal and loving as mine.
To sleep by His manger and gaze in His eyes
And adore Him for being divine.
As our Lord grew to manhood His faithful dog,
Would have followed Him all through the day.
While He preached to the crowds and made the sick well
And knelt in the garden to pray.
It is sad to remember that Christ went away.
To face death alone and apart.
With no tender dog following close behind,
To comfort its Master’s Heart.
And when Jesus rose on that Easter morn,
How happy He would have been,
As His dog kissed His hand and barked it’s delight,
For The One who died for all men.
Well, the Lord has a dog now, I just sent Him mine,
The old pal so dear to me.
And I smile through my tears on this first day alone,
Knowing they’re in eternity.
Day after day, the whole day through,
Wherever my road inclined,
Four feet said, “Wait, I’m coming with you!”
And trotted along behind. (Click to Source)
by: Rudyard Kipling
There is no better evidence of Satan’s existence than the fact that so many Christians in this country deny it. We are a culture where even those who believe in the saving power of Christ do not necessarily believe that we actually need to be saved from anything. This is the Devil’s handiwork. By pretending he isn’t real, we show his fruits.
Surveys show that 30% of American Christians reject the idea of Hell. For Catholics, the number is almost 40%. It’s a smaller figure — 25% — for Protestants, but that’s deceptive because 40% of Protestants say they don’t believe in demonic possession. They may affirm “Hell” as some kind of abstract concept, but they clearly don’t accept that evil spirits are actively at work in our world.
This is not just a problem among average Christians. Plenty of pastors and church leaders have fostered this heresy either by refusing to ever acknowledge Hell or Satan in their preaching, or by outright denying them. Here’s one article from an apostate pastor named Timothy Tutt who labels the Devil “make believe.” Incredibly, in his defense of this position, he never so much as attempts to address the numerous New Testament passages which depict the Devil explicitly. He never even mentions them.
This form of heresy — easily the most damning heresy in the church today — is one that I noticed over and over again in the reaction to my infamous yoga column from yesterday. I don’t wish to reignite that debate, but I was troubled that so many of the responses I received were based not on a defense of yoga per se, but on an outright denial of the demonic. This email is pretty well representative of so many others I read:
Matt, I couldn’t care less about yoga one way or another but your talk about “evil spirits” and “demonic forces” is what drives people away from Christianity. I’m a Christian but I don’t live my life in fear of “Satan.” The only thing you have to believe in to be a Christian is Jesus Christ. The obsession that some of you fundies have with Hell and demons just makes us all look silly. Do you really think God would make Hell or allow people to be possessed by demons? Give me a break. Focus on telling people the Good News, not superstitions.
Whether you agree or disagree with me about yoga is not the point here. Argue against my opinion about the nature of the practice all you want, but a Christian simply must not argue against my position on the existence of evil and the fact that we can do things that may open us up to their influence. What troubled me is not that some Christians denied that yoga could have that effect; it’s that some denied that anything could have that effect. “Focus on the Good News instead,” they say.
But what Good News? You mean the Good News that Christ conquered evil and redeemed mankind? Well how can I proclaim Christ’s conquering if I don’t talk about the thing He conquered? That’s like trying to tell someone about WW2 without mentioning the Nazis. Not only do you demean the achievement of the Allied Forces, but you make the whole history of the war incomprehensible. You turn Normandy into a holiday in France and Dunkirk into a nice day at the beach.
We expect secular types to laugh at any discussion of demonic spirits. That’s what shallow people do when confronted with a concept they don’t understand. But the really terrifying thing is that millions of Christians will join them in their mockery. I’ve encountered this same attitude when discussing Tarot cards and psychics and Ouija Boards, etc. The problem is not simply that professed Believers will make some argument as to why Ouija Boards or whatever could be fine, but that they’ll scoff at the entire discussion as utter silliness.
“Pffft. You think there are actual demons who might possess you because you played a board game?”
Yes, I do. But you aren’t laughing about the board game. You’re laughing about the demons. If you took the threat of demons seriously, you would never be so flippant about it. One can only imagine these sorts of Christians rolling their eyes and snickering at Jesus as He tells them about His experiences with Satan in the wilderness.
“Pffft. You think you spoke to Satan who tempted you to turn stones into bread? Hilarious!”
In Scripture, the story is recounted just a chapter before the Sermon on the Mount, where Christ makes numerous references to “Gehenna” and “the evil one,” and warns that we may be “cut down and thrown into the fire.” The question of the Devil and Hell is not an ambiguous one in Scripture. We are given no room to question it. Read 1 Peter 5:8; 2 Peter 2:4; Luke 8:2; Luke 11:14; Leviticus 17:7; Genesis 3:1-7; Matthew 10:1, Matthew 12:22; Matthew 25:41; Mark 3:11; Mark 9:38; 1 Corinthians 10:20; James 2:19, Revelation 20:10.
Demons are discussed 63 times in the New Testament. Satan is cited over 30 times. Evil spirits are depicted operating within the world and, yes, entering into human beings and taking possession of them. One of the most terrible passages in the whole text is Christ’s interaction with the possessed man in Mark 5:
He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”
Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”
“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.”
Second runner up for most nightmarish Biblical verse is this warning from the First Letter of Peter: “The Devil prowls through the world like a lion, seeking someone to devour.”
We are cautioned not to be “participants with demons” (1 Cor 10:20), not to “drink the cup of demons” (1 Cor 10:21), and to be watchful for the “disguises” of Satan (2 Cor 11:14). And on and on. The Bible leaves absolutely no room for debate on this subject.
We have, in the end, only two honest options:
1) We can come to the conclusion that the Apostles, the Prophets, and Christ Himself were all a bunch of superstitious, hallucinating fools and liars. But if that is our opinion, then it makes no sense to continue calling ourselves Christians. The atheists are right and the entire thing is just a collection of ancient fables told by ignorant savages who didn’t understand that all human evil is really the result of mental illness.
2) We can accept that demons are real; they are legion; they are prowling through the world seeking to devour our souls, and our struggle truly is not against any Earthly force but against the “cosmic powers of darkness” (Ephesians 6:12). We can believe, and tremble at the thought, that actual supernatural beings are hovering around us and working around the clock to guide us away from the light and into destruction. We can feel helpless against these beings, who are stronger and smarter than we’ll ever be, and we can cling ever closer to God, who is our protection against the armies of Hell. We can take this threat seriously, and stop laughing about it like idiots and children, and we can take our faith seriously, because our faith is the only weapon we have and the only one we need.
Padre Pio once said that if all the devils took bodily form, they’d be so numerous as to blot out the Sun. This is a horrific thought. But the true Christian does not deny it just because it is scary. Instead he takes shelter in Christ, and he marches on forward.
Those are our two choices. Or we can settle on the comfortable and cowardly and irrational option which lies between the two. We can continue claiming Christianity, wearing it around like a fashion statement, while taking to heart only the bits and pieces that make us feel warm and snuggly inside. We can proclaim a Good that triumphed over a non-existent Evil, and a Christ who delivered us from the clutches of a make believe Devil. We can make a mockery of our faith in front of the entire world, and give a false sense of security to the very souls who are most in danger of eternal damnation.
Satan would be okay with option one, but he much prefers we choose this in-between route. Those who do become agents of Hell on Earth even as they deny the reality of Hell. They are dupes of Satan. His favorite Christians. And he hopes they never repent so that he can make their acquaintance in the afterlife. (Click to Source)
We spend so much time focusing on ourselves and our shortcomings and wallowing in our self-doubt that we effectively remove ourselves from the fight. That is exactly what the enemy wants. Once you realize that Christ has completely eliminated the penalty for your sin
then you are freed and empowered to help others. Those stuck in works-righteousness can never see the forest for the trees because they still don’t understand that the Gospel has decisively solved the sin problem. We are free. And now that we are free we can engage in the broader war and help our brothers and sisters in this bloody fight while we try to snatch more from the fire.
1. The world has collectively chosen to reject God and His rightful rule.
2. The world is presently controlled by the devil and his servants.
3. Those who have rejected God are suppressing the truth and bringing the whole world to annihilation.
4. Mankind is in a spiritual, zombie-like state and headed towards destruction because of sin.
5. When we were completely hopeless and powerless God made the first move by springing a trap that caused the penalty of mankind’s sin to fall on Himself (Acts 20:28) thus setting free those who were enslaved to the devil. From an individual perspective, men and women break free from the devil’s invisible spiritual prison once they accept Jesus’ atoning sacrifice and believe in Christ.
6. Mankind is closer than ever to complete physical and spiritual self-destruction and Jesus is returning very soon to put a decisive end to man’s self-rule and the devil’s tyrannical reign, yet He won’t do it until the Church is complete and the Body of Christ is joined to the Head
For this reason we have a very short intervening time to win a more decisive victory over the enemy and to rescue a few more off the battlefield.
1. Hold faithfully to the truth of the Gospel
until we are removed from the battlefield by physical death or the trumpet of God. That means rejecting all forms of heresy that are creeping into the Church, which twist the Gospel. Some heresies stem from infiltrators who push liberalized doctrines like universalism, moral deism, New Age syncretism, and the like. Equally deadly heresies come from those who purport to be the most faithful and religious – those who to their own doom claim that the Cross was not enough (Gal. 5:4). These modern Pharisees push works-righteousness, a standard that they themselves never meet. No two Pharisees ever agree on what the list of requirements is, but they demand that you meet their list. Woe to them!
2. Snatch as many from the fire as possible before the fight is over. The time we have left to fight is exceedingly short. This means finding meaningful ways to share your faith and testimony. Evangelism is often intimidating, but always easier than it seems. The intimidation is an incessant satanic illusion. Evangelism is easy. If in person, just ask a question… “do you have a faith?” People love questions and will usually open up. That gives you an instant, non-awkward “in”. There are even easier ways to evangelize: 1. Write letters to prisoners. They are a captive audience and love to receive mail. 2. Share Christian and Gospel material on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, etc. All it takes is a click or two and you don’t even have to face anyone directly if you tend toward timidity. 3. Start a website or blog and share your faith. If God has given you more courage then be winsomely vocal. Hand out tracts. Give out Bibles. Find some way to share publicly. Give big tips to your servers and write “God loves you… John 3:16“. Strike up conversations. Let’s go!
3. Hold down your own fort. That means to do everything in your God-given power to teach your own children and family the truth of God and His Word. Make faith a normal subject of discussion. In a family that doesn’t often discuss spiritual things, talking about God can be awkward, but push through. It might take time, but the goal should be to get to a place where your spouse and children feel loved and comfortable with making God a normal part of discourse. If you want your family to live out their faith and stay faithful then you can’t relegate Christianity to Sunday at 10:00 AM. It should be a normal part of life. Endure all hardships and beatings with grace. Be kind, forgiving, and authentic with your children and spouse. Pray for them daily.
4. Fight the political battles, too. Most people perceive silence as acquiescence, and Christians have become woefully silent. Political power is often given to the most active and vocal. We have to speak out on the issues and present a biblical worldview. Don’t be silent on current events because God has given you so much to say. Just remember to be kind and winsome – you’re not trying to win an argument, you’re trying to lovingly persuade and plant seeds. Everyone is yelling, but let’s be those who stand on the side kindly saying, “look, there’s a better way.” Try to find ways to be physically active in the fight, too. Hardly a day goes by without a mass prayer, walk for life, or local mission opportunity. Search on Google or Facebook for local groups and opportunities and participate.
1. The Church appears to be overwhelmingly outnumbered on this earthly battlefield and this causes many to lose heart, give in, or give up. Yet this obstacle is only an illusion, because the truth is that more are with us than are with the enemy (2 Kings 6:16-17, Matt. 26:53, Rev. 12:7-9). When we choose to fight and engage in the battle we usually win, but we have to fight.
2. The devil has infiltrated our ranks with his own. They often claim to follow Christ, but they try to steer you away from the Gospel in one way or the other. Realize that they are usually just confused and ignorant and have simply never known Christ. They don’t understand the message of the Gospel, which proclaims Christ is the only way and simultaneously that our sin is completely, 100% atoned for. Whether the ultra-conservative Pharisees or the liberal Sadducees
, if you listen to them they will steal your faith or at the very least, cause you to become unproductive in the fight.
3. Self-doubt. We’ve been forgiven, freed, and promised eternal life, but so often we remain in our chains, fretting over our past regrets and the seemingly impossible obstacles ahead. Yet so often the obstacles are purely illusions and the ones that do exist God will trample over if you just step forward in faith. Regarding your sin and your past, just remember that the darkness is dark. If you spend all of your time focusing on the darkness then your life will be darkness. Acknowledge that you are a wretched sinner in need of the Great Savior, but then put the darkness behind you and march forward. Fix and amend what you can, but accept that Christ’s blood covers you completely and meets your every moral need and then enter the battle so you can help others.
We need not compare ourselves to those we perceive to be more successful in the spiritual fight – the Luthers, Spurgeons, and Grahams. God gave each of them the opportunities, abilities, and courage to achieve what they achieved and the truth of the matter is that it wasn’t them achieving anything, but the God who they allowed to dwell inside them. For every Luther or Graham there is a less famous Believer, unknown in the annals of history, who was faithful with what God gave them and because of their faithfulness the Luthers and Grahams came to know the Lord. They may not be famous on earth, but they are very famous in Heaven.
Some are called to be Pauls who seem to reap a great harvest on earth and others are called to be Stephens who seem unsuccessful in the world’s eyes, but in a single moment of faithfulness achieve a spiritual harvest of equal worth that isn’t revealed until the story further unfolds. Yet we are all called to fight faithfully, courageously, and with unrelenting fervor.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
Allow me the liberty to apply Winston Churchill’s most famous speech to the Church:
I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend the Gospel, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of Our Lord’s Government-every man of His. That is the will of Christ and Heaven. The Church and the Host of Heaven, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their heavenly land, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength. Even though large tracts of earth and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of Beelzebub and all the odious apparatus of satanic rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in our homes, we shall fight on the streets and in our schools, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength against the prince of the air, we shall defend the Gospel, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight in the culture, we shall fight in our churches, we shall fight on land and at sea, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, the Church or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our brotherhood beyond the seas, armed and guarded by divine power, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, Heaven’s armies, with all their power and might, step forth to the rescue and the liberation of us all.
The Rapture: What is it?
It is Jesus coming to claim His bride, the church, and bring her back to His place in heaven. Why does He do that? Because we are in a period of time called the church age or the age of Grace. It initially began with the resurrection of Christ, but “officially” began at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out and indwelt all believers. From that day until now, all believers are born again with the Holy Spirit residing in them during this church age, which has a beginning at Pentecost and an end when Jesus comes for His bride and takes her back to heaven to be with Him.
Why is the church referred to as the bride of Christ?
A marriage relationship is the strongest, most intimate relationship God has set up. It is when two become one, and it means this in a much stronger context than simply physical union. We often say our spouse is our “soul” partner. We are “two become one” soul partners. Jesus says in John 14:20 that “I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”
That is Divine God being “two become one” through our bride and marriage relationship with God. This is the most intimate relationship God provides. Not even the angels have this type of relationship with God. AND since the church is called the bride of Christ, it is important to examine the Jewish betrothal customs to see how this betrothal relationship unfolds.
When a Jewish bridegroom proposes to his perspective bride, he offers her a cup of wine. If she drinks from the cup, she has accepted his proposal. Next, the bridegroom goes away to prepare a place for them to live, sometimes back to his father’s house. When he is through preparing a place for He and his bride to live, he comes back for her. She has been waiting, not knowing when he will come back. When he comes back, there is a shout and a blowing of a trumpet or shofar. He gets his bride and takes her back to his place for a wedding and a wedding feast, which lasts seven days.
How does this line up with the church?
Jesus’ proposal to the church occurred at the last supper, when He had wine with His disciples, and told them He would not drink from the wine cup again until they were in His Father’s house. He then went away to prepare a place for He and His bride to live – in heaven. In John 14:2-3 He says, “In my Father’s house are many rooms. 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.”
We, the bride of Christ, are still waiting for Him to return to take us back to His place in heaven. In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 it says, “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.” THAT is the rapture, and THAT is when Christ comes to take us back to His place in heaven.
The wedding feast lasts for a week, but in this case it will be for a week of years; and we shall see why in a moment. Jesus “promised” that He has prepared a place for us and that He will come and get us at some point. The rapture is the fulfillment of that promise.
Is the rapture the same thing as the Second Coming of Jesus?
No. What happens at the rapture is that Jesus comes back in the “air” ONLY for His bride, the church, to take her back to heaven for the wedding feast. It is immediately following the wedding feast at the end of the week-long feast of years in Revelation 19 that Jesus returns to Earth “with His bride, the church;” and THAT is His Second Coming. Matthew 24 says that every eye shall see Him as He comes back to judge the surviving wicked, and to rule over planet Earth.
He will rule from Jerusalem during a period of 1,000 years called the millennial reign of Christ. It will be an unprecedented time in history. His church, who are now immortal beings, will physically and visibly be reigning on Earth with Jesus. Human beings will co-exist alongside visible immortal beings. Only believers who survive the seven-year tribulation will be allowed to enter into the 1,000-year millennial reign of Christ.
What happens between the rapture and the Second Coming of Christ?
It is important to remember that God “still” has a covenant with the Jewish people, in which He told them that there is a time coming when they will receive their long-awaited Messiah. And they, Israel, will be the “predominant” nation on earth and will be held in high esteem. This covenant is spelled out in Daniel chapter 9 in what is called the 70 weeks of Daniel prophecy. This, too, is 70 weeks of years, which begins when the Jews in Israel, who have been in Babylonian captivity, are allowed to return and rebuild Jerusalem. And it says from that time until after 69 weeks or 483 years, the Messiah will be cut off or killed. That lines up in time with Jesus being crucified. The 490-year time-period “clock” of years stops due to the crucifixion of Christ, leaving a period of one week of years, the 70th week still remaining.
This 69 weeks of years is a covenant God has with Israel and does not include the church. The church never spent one day inside that first 69 weeks of years. The 69 weeks stopped when Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the donkey, and was rejected and crucified. Up until the church age, God used the nation of Israel to bring about revelation of Himself to the rest of the world through His word, written by Jewish authors, and through the Jewish people, since Jesus is from the linage of David – in fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
Following the crucifixion of Jesus, God turned from Israel to the “church” to bring about revelation of Himself to the world, and that is where we still are today. One of the main reasons for the rapture is for the Lord to bring the church home so that God can now turn back to Israel and restart the 70 weeks clock again. This is in order to fulfill His promise to the Jewish people, to bring them their Messiah and fulfill His other promises to them. This last 70th week of seven years is also called the seven-year tribulation period, in which God pours out His wrath on Earth and sees to it that Israel will “finally” recognize Jesus as their Messiah (Zechariah 12). They will call on Jesus to save them when they are surrounded by all nations, who want to destroy them at the battle of Armageddon. THIS is when Jesus returns at His Second Coming. He comes back to save Israel and to set up His reign on Earth for the 1,000 years.
Since the church did not spend even one day inside the first 69 weeks of God’s covenant with Israel, there is no reason to think it will spend even one day inside the 70th week, which is the seven-year tribulation period. This also shows why it is necessary that the rapture will be a “pretribulation rapture” versus a mid-trib or post-trib rapture.
What other evidence is there that the rapture will be pretribulation?
There are many, many people who have differing views as to whether the rapture will occur before the seven-year tribulation, during the middle of it, at the end of it, or somewhere in between. Let’s see what the Bible has to say.
Since the seven-year tribulation period is described in great detail in the book of Revelation, let’s begin there. As the book of Genesis tells us how everything began, Revelation tells us how everything ends. In the first three chapters, the church is mentioned around 27 times. There is symbolism in the book of Revelation, but the symbolism is explained as to what it is. In chapter 1, John sees seven lamp stands, and they are described as representing the seven churches. Seven is a number of completion with God, and this is also symbolic as representing all churches for all times.
Chapter 4 begins like this: In verse one John says, “After this I looked and there before me was a ‘door’ standing open in heaven. [Remember this door for later]. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a ‘trumpet’ said, ‘Come up here and I will show you what must take place after this.’”
This clearly is a wonderful picture of the rapture: there is a trumpet call, and the bride is called to heaven, and “I will show you what must take place after this,” meaning after the bride is in heaven.
John immediately describes seeing the Throne Room and says he sees the seven lamp stands “again,” which represent the seven churches that were on earth but now all reside in heaven. Following this is when the scrolls are opened and all of the events of the seven-year tribulation are described. The church is not mentioned even one time during this seven-year period from chapter 4 to chapter 19, when finally it mentions the church at the wedding feast with Jesus at the end of the tribulation. Immediately following the wedding feast is when Jesus comes back to Earth with His bride, the church, to save Israel in His Second Coming. This is “strong” evidence in Revelation that shows a pretribulation rapture versus one occurring during the tribulation.
Many people think the church will not be spared the tribulation period, and that we are to be persecuted, but is that what the Bible says?
First, we need to recognize that Jesus died on a cross to save us from our sins and to also save us from God’s wrath. He took on God’s wrath for us at the cross. And yes, Christians have suffered much persecution and endured “man’s” wrath from its beginning until now. However, the tribulation period is described as a period of God’s wrath on Earth – not man’s wrath on Earth. God has already saved us from His wrath that will be poured out on earth during that time.
Rev. 3:10 describes Jesus speaking to the churches: He says, “Since you have kept My command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.”
Twice in the Bible in the Old Testament and New Testament, a day is represented as 1,000 years with God; thus, an hour is represented as clearly a very short period of time. This clearly has to mean the seven-year tribulation period of God’s wrath that He has prophesied will occur before His Second Coming. He is telling the churches that He will keep us “from this hour of trial that is to come upon the whole earth.”
Another strong evidence for a pretribulation rapture occurs in 2 Thessalonians, Chapter 2
This chapter talks in detail about a time when the antichrist is ruling the earth and sets himself up to be God; but it says that the antichrist CANNOT be revealed until the Restrainer is removed from the scene. Since the Bible says the antichrist will be a person controlled by Satan, who is it that can restrain Satan? Clearly, the only one who can restrain him is God Himself; and since God the Holy Spirit resides inside all believers, it is necessary to remove all believers in order that the Restrainer, the Holy Spirit, is removed from the scene. This occurs pretribulation. THEN Satan can bring about his plan to control a one-world leader called the antichrist.
Pre-Fulfillment and Fulfillment
There is a very “interesting” example of a pretribulation rapture in Genesis, Chapter 6. The Bible has quite a few examples of something happening in the Old Testament that is a pre-fulfillment, and then something much bigger called a fulfillment happening later, often in the New Testament. A great example of this is when Jesus said in Matt. 12:40, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Jonah was the smaller pre-fulfillment, and Jesus the greater fulfillment.
In Genesis,chapter 6, God refers to Noah and his family as the righteous on Earth. He wants them to enter the ark, for in seven days He is going to bring down His wrath and judgment onto the earth. This is a picture of God taking the righteous on Earth, Noah and his family, and putting them in a safe place, the ark, for a period of seven days until His judgment begins upon the earth. This is a pre-fulfillment.
The greater fulfillment is talked about in Matt. 24: 37-41 when Jesus says, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.”
This is saying that, just as people were unaware in the days of Noah, so will they be unaware in the end of days; and it shows the rapture represented by the man and woman “being taken” during this time and the other two left.
The greater fulfillment is that the church is considered the righteous on earth; and here we have God taking the righteous on earth, the church, and putting her in a safe place–heaven–for a period of seven years before He comes back to judge the earth. Of course, this seven years is the time of the wedding feast already mentioned.
We have another example of this in Genesis 19:12 where God is getting ready to pour out His “wrath” and destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. He sends His angels to save Lot and his family from His wrath. Indeed, the angel even says he cannot destroy Sodom and Gomorrah “until” Lot and his family are in a safe place. Once they are, then God’s wrath destroys Sodom and Gomorrah.
However, I have saved the best for last.
One of the most powerful, if not “the” most powerful verses in the Bible that talks about the rapture, not only describes the rapture beautifully but describes it point blank as a pretribulation rapture. AND it occurs in the Old Testament. Isaiah 26:19-21 says this: Verse 19 describes the rapture; “But your dead will live, Lord; their bodies will rise—let those 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.” This is clearly a beautiful picture of the rapture.
Verse 20 further describes this as a pretribulation rapture: “Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you. [Remember John saying he saw an open door in heaven in Revelation, Chapter 4?]. ‘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.”
This is a strong picture of the church being called up to heaven. Why? Because the Lord is getting ready to bring down His wrath onto the earth to punish the people for their sins. The church is “behind” the doors, and it even describes the time of God’s wrath on Earth as a “little while,” corresponding to the “hour of trial” that is to come upon the whole world (Rev 3:10).
These are all good examples of a pretribulation rapture. They are by no means exhaustive, but strong enough by themselves to give a pretribulation rapture far greater weight than biblical evidence to support a mid-trib or post-trib rapture. Post-trib is really a non-issue because, if the rapture occurred at the very end of the tribulation, there would be no “believers” to enter into the 1,000 year millennial reign of Christ, as they would all have just been raptured. The only ones left would be unbelievers who are not allowed to enter the 1,000 year millennial reign of Christ.
I hope this is helpful to those who care about the rapture and “when” in relation to the seven-year tribulation that it occurs.
Maranatha! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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