Examining the Evidence For the Pre-Trib Rapture - By Jack Kinsella
In yesterday’s Omega Letter, we discussed the Rapture of the Church and why nobody should be discouraged that it hasn’t happened yet.
We discussed the fact that God is long-suffering towards us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and suggested that what appears to us to be a delay is really God providing one last chance for the lost before the Lord Jesus comes for His church.
As usual, it prompted a firestorm of emails from people demanding (again) that I prove to them that there is such a thing as a pre-Trib Rapture, using all the usual ‘bait’ — I am preaching falsehood that will somehow harm the Church and that the Bible doesn’t teach a ‘great escape’ etc., etc.
It is fascinating to me how those who hold to a different view of the Rapture are so hateful toward those who anticipate the Rapture first and the Tribulation to follow. It is as if they have a holy mission to chance my view to match theirs.
On the other hand, I feel no such mission to ‘convert’ them. Whether one believes in a pre, mid or post Trib Rapture, or whether one believes in the Rapture at all, when it happens, if such a one is saved, they will be just as raptured as somebody who doesn’t.
We aren’t saved by the timing of the Rapture, or even by the doctrine of the Rapture. We are saved by trusting in the completed Work of the Cross through the shed Blood of Jesus Christ, shed on our behalf as an atonement for sin. Period.
Additionally, many of my critics say that in teaching a pre-Trib Rapture, I am condemning Christians to lose their faith during the Tribulation.
The reasoning goes like this: Since I teach a pre-Trib Rapture, if it doesn’t happen, the faith of those Christians who shared my view will be so shattered that they will turn away from Christ, accept the Mark of the Beast and be lost forever.
The obvious flaws in that line of reasoning are immediate and obvious. First, saving faith is in Christ, not the Rapture. Secondly, the Scripture promises the Holy Spirit will indwell me until Jesus returns, so it is impossible for me to be both truly indwelt and to turn away, accept the Mark, or be lost forever.
Finally, a pre-Tribulation Rapture is the only explanation that meets all the difficulties presented by Scripture in regard to any other view.
One of the first objections to the doctrine of the Rapture is that the word ‘Rapture’ doesn’t appear in the Bible. (As many have noted already, neither does the word ‘Bible’ appear in the Bible. What does that mean?)
The word ‘Rapture’ is derived from the Greek word, ‘harpazo’ which means to ‘seize, carry off by force’, or to ‘snatch out or away’. The Greek ‘harpazo’ translates into Latin as ‘rapios’ and it is from the Latin that we get our word ‘rapture’.
1st Corinthians 15:51-58 describes a translation of New Testament saints that involves an instantaneous change from mortality to immortality. Those believers living at that hour will never see death (1Corinthians 15:51)
1st Thessalonians 4:17 describes the same event, saying that the dead in Christ ‘rise first’ and then we who are alive and remain will be ‘caught up’ (harpazo, rapios) to be with Him in the clouds.
The Rapture is definitely a Biblical doctrine, unless we want to discard or allegorize away what is clearly a literal teaching. But does it take place before the Tribulation, during the Tribulation, or at its end?
1 Thessalonians 1:9-10, 5:1-9, Romans 5:9 and Revelation 3:10 all promise that Church Age believers will be ‘saved from the wrath to come’. The Tribulation Period is expressly called the Day of God’s Wrath.
Today, the Lord is withholding judgment. He sits on the Throne of Grace, but the day approaches when He will sit at the Seat of Judgment. Then, the ‘day of His wrath’ will fall upon all the world. (Psalms 110:5, Revelation 6:17, Isaiah 13:6-13)
There are those who believe Scripture promises that the Church won’t be saved OUT of the Great Tribulation, but instead think that the Church will be saved THROUGH it. That view collides with Revelation 13:7, which clearly teaches that those on earth during the Tribulation won’t be delivered from wrath, but rather, will be overcome by it.
“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.”
It also fractures Daniel 7:21’s prophecy that says of the antichrist (the little horn); ‘I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them.”
If the antichrist prevails against the Tribulation saints, and overcomes them, as Scripture clearly says, then it cannot simultaneously be that those same saints are delivered ‘through’ the Tribulation.
The Scripture says the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit will be removed BEFORE the Tribulation.
The Bible says the Holy Spirit is the restrainer of sin; (Genesis 6:3, Isaiah 59:19). The Holy Spirit came into the world in His present special dispensation at Pentecost (Acts 2), specifically to empower the Church for the Great Commission.
2nd Thessalonians 2:1-8 makes it clear that His restraining influence is FIRST ‘taken out of the way’ and THEN ‘that Wicked’ is revealed. If the Holy Spirit will not leave or forsake me until Jesus comes, then He cannot be taken out of the world without taking me with Him. To argue otherwise is to amend Jesus’ Promise to mean, “the Comforter will never leave or forsake you, (except when you need Him the most.”)
The Church plays no role in the Tribulation Period, which is the time of Jacob’s trouble, the 70th Week of Daniel. It is expressly reserved for two purposes; judgment against a Christ-rejecting world, and to bring about the national redemption of Israel described in Zechariah Chapter 12.
In the Book of the Revelation, chapter 4:1 begins with John hearing the phrase, ‘Come up hither!’. From that moment forward, there is no mention of the Church on earth, although the first three chapters discussed nothing else. The Church is not mentioned again until Chapter nineteen when the Church returns along with the Lord.
Jesus told the Church; “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:2-3)
But when Jesus comes at the end of the Tribulation, He comes to set up a Messianic kingdom on earth. If the Tribulation were for Church Age believers, that promise would not be fulfilled.
Then there is the doctrine of imminency. The Bible says the Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation will be preceded by specific signs — see Matthew 24, for example.
The Apostle Paul said that we need not worry about the signs of the times, because the Church is promised redemption from the ‘day of darkness’ that is to overcome the whole world. (2nd Thessalonians 5:1-5) Pre-Tribulational Christians are awaiting Christ, not the antichrist.
Finally, there is the issue of the believers at the end of the Tribulation Period. Mathew 25:31-46 shows that there will be believers that will move on to the Millenium Kingdom. If the Rapture occurs at the end of the Tribulation, where do they come from?
It is clear that the pre-Tribulation Rapture is the only explanation that satisfies the requirements of Scripture.
“Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.” (1st Thessalonians 4:18)
Israel Closer Than Ever Before To Civil War – By Amir Tsarfati - https://harbingersdaily.com/worldview-with-amir-tsarfati-closer-than-ever-to-civil-war/
Shalom from Israel! Because of my very busy schedule, I don’t have the opportunity to spend nearly as much time on tours as I used to. But when I am able, it reminds me of what first drew me to becoming a tour guide so many years ago. Israel is so rich with history and biblical relevance. It is the key prophetic location for God’s future plans for the world. What a blessing it is to be able to share those truths with God’s people.
But even as I am teaching and answering questions, the reality of what is taking place in my country is not far from my mind. Not only has the threat against our nation from the surrounding states recently increased, but we are facing internal division that is unprecedented in the more than six decades of the existence of the State of Israel.
From outside, the attacks being carried out by terrorist groups is growing. One significant incident from Lebanon that nearly brought us to war is detailed below. Hamas, Hezbollah, and others see Israel’s societal and military weaknesses that are a direct result of the devastatingly destructive “government of change”, and they are viewing it as an opportunity to finally bring about their long dreamed of elimination of the Israeli nation and the Jewish people.
On the inside of the country, the liberal left has become absolutely unhinged over the reelection of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the probability of the passing of his judicial reform. They have learned from the worst of America’s antifa and BLM riots, and are now employing the same kind of violent tactics. And it’s not just students and young people. Former pilots and soldiers are saying they won’t join the reserves in case of emergency should the judicial reforms be passed. Many are hoping for a collapse in the economy, while others believe that a major terrorist incident or an attack from a neighboring state could be advantageous toward bringing Netanyahu down. The divisions have become so stark and the left has become so irrational that I believe my beloved country is closer to civil war than it has ever been.
But then I teach once again at one of Israel’s holy sites, and I’m reminded that the same God who restored this nation after nearly 2000 years of exile is still in control today. Just this last week, there have been at least eight significant miracles in Israel that even have the news media saying that God is at work. So, while I mourn what’s taking place, I will continue to rejoice in the hope that comes from trusting in a loving, omnipotent Lord.
Psalm 121:3-4 KJV – “He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.”
Terror Attack in Megiddo Nearly Brings Israel to War
Now that the strict gag order has been lifted, I am free to tell of the early Monday morning terror attack in Megiddo, not far from where I live. A Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist snuck across the border and made his way to the Megiddo traffic junction. There he planted a very large improvised explosive device (IED) set to go off at a time when the area would be packed with commuters. However, something went wrong and the bomb went off when there were no cars directly adjacent to it, saving dozens of lives but seriously injuring an Israeli Arab. The perpetrator made his escape toward the Lebanese border. But before he could make it he was confronted by police. At the time, he was wearing a suicide vest. He was killed before he could detonate it. It is likely he planned on setting off the device at the border in order to kill many of the Israeli border security forces. If either of these attacks had gone off as planned, it is likely that Israel would have been drawn into a war with Lebanon. As it is, Israel is perceived as weak, and it may take Netanyahu’s government going on the offensive against terrorists in order to regain the country’s reputation of strength. To hear my views on this and to get a more detailed explanation of the attack, please watch my Breaking News Update from yesterday.
Terror Attack in Tel Aviv Wounds Three
A 23-year-old member of Hamas snuck up on three men who were walking down the street outside a café in central Tel Aviv. He pulled out a gun and shot them in the back before fleeing while firing toward the café. The three men were all wounded, with one of them suffering life-threatening injuries. The terrorist was later shot and killed after being confronted by two policeman and two civilians.
Israel Conducts Airstrike in Syria
In a rare daytime strike, fighter jets of the Israeli Air Force attacked an area near Misyaf in northwest Syria believed to be a base for Iranian forces and their proxy militias. Three soldiers were injured and significant damage was caused.
China Brokers Agreement Between Iran and Saudi Arabia
An agreement to renew bilateral relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia was signed on Friday. As if the apparent mending of the fences between these two mortal enemies was not surprising enough, the absence of the U.S. or Russia in the mediator’s role signified a growing shift in global influence. Taking the lead in these negotiations was China, once again demonstrating that they are on the path to move into the number slot of the world’s superpowers. Why would Saudi Arabia draw closer to China and go through the motions of buddying up with Iran whom they absolutely detest? Because both China and Iran are enemies of the U.S., and the Saudis want to pressure the Americans into guaranteeing their safety from international threats and to also help them build civilian nuclear reactors. For more information on this global shift, watch my Breaking News Update from last Friday.
Global Banking Takes a Major Hit
It began with a series of regional U.S. banks collapsing last week. Yesterday, problems within Credit Suisse global investment bank sent its value plummeting by nearly one-third. The ripple effects from that plunge reached back to the U.S. causing some of the nation’s largest banks to lose up to 5% of their value. Over the past week, the Dow Jones lost just over 1000 points, and at one time was down 1400 points. There are some experts who say that America could soon get hit by a financial crisis greater than 2008.
U.S. May Pay Iran for Prisoner Release
Tehran claims that they are on the verge of an agreement with Washington by which they would release from prison three dual American citizens in exchange for $7 billion worth of frozen oil funds and a number of convicts being held in U.S. prisons. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said, “If everything goes well on the U.S. side, I think we will witness a prisoner exchange in a short period.” The Biden administration, however, declared his statement to be false.
Russia Gifts American Weapons to Iran
As Russia pushes Ukrainian forces back, they will often find weapons and equipment left behind. Some of these weapons were supplied by the U.S. or NATO. If they are high-grade in nature, such as Javelin anti-tank missiles and Stinger anti-aircraft systems, Russia collects them and sends them on to Iran to be reverse-engineered. This not only increases the quality of Iranian weapons, but it strengthens the bond between Moscow and Tehran. In other Iran relationship news, President Ebrahim Raisi signed a cooperation deal with Putin wannabe President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus. The focus of the agreement was on industry, agriculture, and other areas.
Russian Fighter Jets Hit Unmanned U.S. Drone
Two Russian Su-27 fighter jets encountered a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone on routine surveillance over the international waters of the Black Sea. One of the jets dumped fuel several times on the UAV, then clipped its propeller causing it to crash. The U.S. military called the actions of the fighter pilots “reckless” and “unprofessional”. Russian officials reportedly replied, “Drone? What drone?”
2.5 Tons of Uranium Missing from Libya
Inspectors have found discovered that 2.5 tons of natural uranium has disappeared from a Libyan storage site. A statement by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi said, “The loss of knowledge about the present location of nuclear material may present a radiological risk, as well as nuclear security concerns.” The agency is investigating the disappearance.
Flooding in Turkey Kills 14
Torrential rain poured down on two provinces in Turkey that were already devastated by last month’s earthquakes that killed over 55,000 people. As the waters grew, flash floods tore through the streets of a number of cities killing at least 14 and causing even more damage to the already ravaged areas.
Kim Jong-un Takes Daughter on Family Outing to Watch Missile Launch
Many fathers, when they want a special day out with their daughters, will take them to a park for a picnic or the theater to see a movie. North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, for his daddy-daughter date, took his 10-year-old to watch a live-fire artillery exercise complete with missile launches. It’s reported that they finished their special time together at the refreshment stand where they each enjoyed an ice cream bar shaped like a tactical nuke. Memories to last a lifetime!
As you are praying this week, please remember to lift Israel up before the Lord. Not only is it biblical to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, but it is praying according to God’s heart. And as we watch what is going on in the world around us, I would encourage you to lift up one more prayer straight from Scripture – “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”
Psalm 122:6-9 KJV – “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek thy good.”
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I Told You That They Know EXACTLY Where The Ark Of The Covenant Is Located… - by Michael Snyder - http://endoftheamericandream.com/i-told-you-that-they-know-exactly-where-the-ark-of-the-covenant-is-located/
It isn’t a mystery. For decades, “experts” in the western world have been coming up with incredibly bizarre theories about where the Ark of the Covenant is located. One of those theories was popularized by “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, but that theory is just fiction. In fact, all of the wacky theories that you see out there are just fiction. Over in Israel, the current location of the Ark of the Covenant is an open secret. It is in the same underground chamber where it has been for more than 2,600 years, and it will be there until the time comes for it to be revealed. And once it is finally revealed, the Israeli people will see an immediate need to construct a new temple for it.
The article that I posted about the Ark of the Covenant the other day certainly got a lot of attention.
And it also spawned a lot of questions.
In particular, many people wanted to know how I could be so sure about the location of the Ark of the Covenant.
This surprised me, because the truth is that the location of the Ark of the Covenant has actually been known for decades.
A reader has pointed out to me that the Temple Institute is even publicly admitting that they know exactly where the Ark of the Covenant is on their own website. The following excerpt comes from the page where the Temple Institute answers frequently asked questions…
The Ark of the Covenant is one of the most fascinating of all Temple-related subjects. There are many theories about what happened to the Ark of the Covenant, and speculation abounds as to its actual location. Some people think it was taken to the Vatican, together with other Temple vessels, such as those depicted on the Roman monument, the Arch of Titus. There are many authentic, ancient historical chronicles, and even more popular legends, that attest to many sacred vessels having been taken away to Rome. However, this does not apply to the most holy feature of the First Temple, the Ark.
While some claim to have evidence that the ark is in Ethiopia, and of course, moviegoers were treated to a fanciful version of the story in “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” in reality, the expression “lost” ark is not an accurate description for the Jewish people’s point of view – because we have always known exactly where it is. So the Ark is “Hidden,” and hidden quite well, but it is not lost.
Tradition records that even as King Solomon built the First Temple, he already knew, through Divine inspiration, that eventually it would be destroyed. Thus Solomon, the wisest of all men, oversaw the construction of a vast system of labyrinths, mazes, chambers and corridors underneath the Temple Mount complex. He commanded that a special place be built in the bowels of the earth, where the sacred vessels of the Temple could be hidden in case of approaching danger. Midrashic tradition teaches that King Josiah of Israel, who lived about forty years before the destruction of the First Temple, commanded the Levites to hide the Ark, together with the original menorah and several other items*, in this secret hiding place which Solomon had prepared.
This location is recorded in our sources, and today, there are those who know exactly where this chamber is. And we know that the ark is still there, undisturbed, and waiting for the day when it will be revealed. An attempt was made some few years ago to excavate towards the direction of this chamber. This resulted in widespread Moslem unrest and rioting. They stand a great deal to lose if the Ark is revealed – for it will prove to the whole world that there really was a Holy Temple, and thus, that the Jews really do have a claim to the Temple Mount.
Personally, I disagree with the Temple Institute about who hid it.
They believe that it was King Josiah, but I believe that Jeremiah hid it in order to keep it from being captured by the Babylonians.
But we all agree where it is right now.
It is in a cave under the Temple Mount, and it will stay there until the time comes for it to be revealed.
And that could happen a lot sooner than you may think.
Once it is finally revealed, it will just be a matter of time before Jewish leaders start conducting sacrifices.
In fact, the Temple Institute says that such offerings could actually begin “before the building of the Temple itself”…
We are building a stone altar offsite so that when the opportunity arrives we can move it to its proper location on the Mount. The Divine service, including the offerings can begin before the building of the Temple itself, once the altar is built and standing in its proper place.
With that in mind, I would like to expand on what I shared about Daniel chapter 9 the other day.
As I shared in that article, a corrected translation of the original Hebrew of the first clause of Daniel 9:27 should look something like this…
“The Covenant will be confirmed (or strengthened) with many for one week”.
If you don’t understand how I came up with that translation, I would encourage you to go back and read my previous article, because I am not going to repeat that analysis here.
Today, I want to examine the original language of the second clause of Daniel 9:27. This is how it is translated in the King James Version…
“and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease”
Once again, I want to remind all of you that every time that you see the word “he” in Daniel 9:27 you should disregard it because there is no “he” in the original language of Daniel 9:27 at all.
Just like the first clause of Daniel 9:27, the second clause of the verse is also made up of just five Hebrew words.
The first Hebrew word is “ḥēṣî“, and most of the time in your Bible it is translated as “half”, but it can also be translated as “midst” or “middle”.
The second Hebrew word is “šāḇûaʿ”, and as I discussed the other day it can be translated as “a period of seven” but more commonly in our English versions it is translated as “week”.
The third Hebrew word is “šāḇaṯ”, and it is most commonly translated as “cease” or “rest”.
The fourth Hebrew word is “zeḇaḥ”, and it is translated as “sacrifice” 155 times in the King James Version.
The fifth Hebrew word is “minḥâ”, and it is translated as “offering” 164 times in the King James Version, but it can also be translated as “present”, “gift” or “oblation”.
So let’s put all of the pieces together.
A corrected translation of the second clause of Daniel 9:27 should look something like this…
“halfway through (or in the midst of) the week, sacrifices and offerings will cease”.
The original Hebrew appears to indicate that sacrifices and offerings will be resumed after the Covenant is confirmed, but they will come to a sudden halt at some point.
Of course if you have read my new book you already know why they come to a sudden halt.
But for purposes of this article I want to focus on the fact that the Bible says that sacrifices and offerings will definitely resume, and the Temple Institute is openly telling us that this could happen even before a new temple is constructed.
To me, the public revelation of the Ark of the Covenant could be the catalyst.
Once the entire world sees that the Ark of the Covenant still exists, that will change everything.
And among Jewish leaders there will be a firestorm of interest in resuming the ancient practices.
This is really coming.
In our time, the Ark of the Covenant will be revealed for the first time in more than 2,600 years, and it will be the greatest archaeological bombshell in human history.
This is such an exciting time to be alive, and I believe that global events are going to accelerate even more in the weeks and months ahead.
Pope Francis Under Fire for Comments Denying The Existence Of Hell – Michael Haynes - https://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=5964
In an interview to mark his 10-year anniversary, Pope Francis appeared to deny the existence of Hell, saying that "is not a place" but is instead simply "a state of the heart" and "a posture towards life."
The pontiff's comments formed part of a lengthy conversation conducted by Argentinian news site Perfil, one of a number of recent interviews the Pope granted journalists to mark his decade upon the papal throne. Touching on a number of topics he discussed with other reporters, Francis also spoke about his philosophical and theological thought, along with aspects relating to global politics.
As part of the in-depth discussion, Francis was asked, "What is your own interpretation of Hell and paradise, and what happens to people who go to Hell, and what happens to those who go to paradise?"
Giving a trademark lengthy, convoluted, and somewhat evasive answer, Francis appeared to deny the existence of Hell as an actual place. "Hell is not a place," he said. "If one goes to attend the Last Judgment, and sees the faces of those who go to Hell, one gets scared. If you read Dante, you get scared. But these are media representations."
Expanding on his answer, Francis described Hell simply as "a state" -- a description which appeared to refer to a state of mind. "Hell is a state, there are people who live in Hell continuously."
He clarified that he was not referring to suffering generally, but to "those who make a world of bad or sick self-referentiality, and end up living in Hell."
Hell is a state, it is a state of the heart, of the soul, of a posture towards life, towards values, towards the family, towards everything. There are people who live in Hell because they seek it, there are others who do not, who are suffering. And who goes to Hell, to that Hell, to that state? They are already living from here.
Not content with appearing to deny the existence of Hell, however, Francis implied that there was no one actually in Hell -- an about-turn in his argument that saw him appear to thus accept that Hell could be real.
"If you ask me how many people are in Hell, I answer you with a famous sculpture of the cathedral of Vézelay," he said. Providing a description of the sculpture, Francis noted that the sculpture "has Judas hanging and the devil pulling him down, and on the other side they have the Good Shepherd, Jesus who grabs Judas and puts him on his shoulders with an ironic smile."
"What does that mean?" he queried. "That salvation is stronger than damnation. This pilaster is a catechesis that should make us think."
"God's mercy is always at our side, and what God wants is always to be with his people, with his children, and not for them to leave him," he ended.
His remarks echo those made in a controversial interview with atheist journalist Eugenio Scalfari, in which Scalfari claimed that Francis denied the existence of Hell and argued instead that "lost souls" were annihilated upon the death of the earthly body.
The Vatican subsequently issued a process of damage control following Scalfari's publication of the interview. At the time, Fr. Thomas Rosica, English-language assistant to the Holy See Press Office, told LifeSiteNews: "All official, final texts of the Holy Father are found on the Vatican website," and since they were never published by the Holy See Press Office they "should not be considered official texts."
They were, said Fr. Rosica, "private discussions that took place and were never recorded by the journalist."
Catholic teaching on existence of Hell (PNW is not a Catholic site however we felt the response of Catholics in regards to to his comments were most appropriate)
Pope Francis earnest attempt to deny the existence of Hell, or the possibility of anyone being in it, runs in the face of the Catholic Church's teaching on the subject.
The Gospels present the words of Christ on the matter. In the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, Christ warns how the greedy and selfish rich man, who died unrepentant, "also died, and he was buried in hell." (Luke 16:22)
So also in St. Matthew's Gospel, Christ presents the account of Judgment Day and the separation of the just from the unjust. Those who did not follow the law of God "shall go into everlasting punishment," teaches Christ. (Matt 25:46)
In yet another discourse with His disciples, Christ explained the meaning of the parable of the sower, likening it to the final days of judgement. "The Son of man shall send his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all scandals, and them that work iniquity. And shall cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matt 13:41)
In his supplement to the Summae Theologiae, St. Thomas Aquinas draws upon the teaching of Scripture to clearly outline and defend the existence of Hell. Writing about where souls are borne immediately after death, the great theologian writes:
And since a place is assigned to souls in keeping with their reward or punishment, as soon as the soul is set free from the body it is either plunged into hell or soars to heaven, unless it be held back by some debt, for which its flight must needs be delayed until the soul is first of all cleansed.
"This truth is attested by the manifest authority of the canonical Scriptures and the doctrine of the holy Fathers," he continues, "wherefore the contrary must be judged heretical as stated in Dial. iv, 25, and in De Eccl. Dogm. xlvi."
Later in the same section, St. Thomas reaffirms the physical existence of Hell, drawing as always from the Fathers of the Church and Sacred Scripture. Citing St. Basil, Aquinas writes that:
at the final cleansing of the world, there will be a separation of the elements: whatever is pure and noble remaining above for the glory of the blessed, and whatever is ignoble and sordid being cast down for the punishment of the damned: so that just as every creature will be to the blessed a matter of joy, so will all the elements conduce to the torture of the damned, according to Wisdom 5:21, "the whole world will fight with Him against the unwise."
This is also becoming to Divine justice, that whereas they departed from one by sin, and placed their end in material things which are many and various, so should they be tormented in many ways and from many sources.
So resolutely did St. Thomas teach regarding the existence of Hell, that he outlined the manner in which the tormenting fire - of which the Scriptures speak - would be real. "However, whatever we may say of the fire that torments the separated souls, we must admit that the fire which will torment the bodies of the damned after the resurrection is corporeal, since one cannot fittingly apply a punishment to a body unless that punishment itself be bodily."
Aquinas further cites the teaching of Pope St. Gregory along with that of St. Augustine to support his writing.
In comments provided to LifeSiteNews, catechist and author Deacon Nick Donnelly highlighted the importance of teaching the physical existence of Hell, since doing so "upholds the objective reality of God's Justice."
"When our Lord referred to the punishments of Hell -- the eternal fire and undying worm -- He described them in very physical terms, not in terms of psychological or spiritual states of mind," said Donnelly.
The Church Fathers understood Jesus' depiction of Hell as being a literal description of a physical place. It is essential to teach the nature of Hell as a physical place because it upholds the objective reality of God's Justice -- God determines the punishment of the damned -- and the objective reality of the resurrection of the body -- the bodies of the damned suffer real punishments.
The English cleric slated Francis' comments on Hell as ultimately being an "example of his dethronement of the true God for one of his own making."
Pope Francis' caricature of Hell as being a psychological state is yet another example of an idolatrous humanism that reduces everything to this world, as if man's experience is the measure of God, rather than God's eternal design and plan as being the measure of man's destiny. Pope Francis' offhand dismissal of our Lord's description of the physicality of Hell is yet another example of his dethronement of the true God for one of his own making.
Daily Jot: The American Chronicles: It’s not the step, it’s the sudden stop - Bill Wilson – www.dailyjot.com
When I was a youngster, I had a dream to ride a horse from the East coast to the Pacific Ocean. That dream has stuck with me throughout my life. Now at 67, that dream seems out of sight. Last fall, my wife Chris and I were blessed to purchase a used travel van and our intent is to complete that monumental ride. I may not ever realize my dream on horseback, but as Chris said, “The Lord has seen it fit to give you 160 horses under the hood to make that dream possible.” The American Chronicles will journal the stories along the way, the people we meet, the sights we see, with an eye toward what is good and right about America. So take a break from the hard news, and step out with us in our travels.
We had taken a couple of short trips last fall, but this 10-day trip was stepping out and testing our ideas of how we can live and work in such a small space. Chris planned a trip to Greenville, SC to visit friends Linda and Bob and my brother Larry; then to North Augusta on the South Carolina/Georgia border to see friends Elaine and John; then to Englewood, FL to visit Chris’ long-time friend, Chris C. On the way to Greenville, we stayed at a really nice campground in south-central, VA. It was unique because it not only had campsites, it also had Conestoga wagons people could rent for overnights. Those wagons were not so unlike our van—narrow, have water in barrels (tanks) on the sides, and a place to sleep as the settlers made their way across the new nation. We are certainly happy to have more of the comforts of home.
In North Augusta, Elaine and John had us park under their extra-high carport. It was going to be nice to have a hot shower, some of Elaine’s high-end cooking, and John’s conversation over a cigar. They have a picturesque home along the Savanah River. Dr. John is a cancer researcher and Elaine a retired school teacher, if one ever does retire from that profession. Always a missionary, Elaine now teaches the Bible to public school kids. They took us to Aiken, SC., a dog-friendly quaint town with western wear stores and charming restaurants. We had lunch at one of them. We bought some very interesting olive oil at a shop there. Then back to Elaine and Johns for a nice evening. Well, at least that’s the way it began. Our dog, Charlie, needed to go out. So, I put on my boots and grabbed the leash.
As we were stepping out the front door, he lunged a bit too hard and my toe caught on the porch floor causing me to stumble. Charlie just kept pulling as I was falling down four brick steps, thought I had broken my fall with my knees and palms, but then my head slammed into the brick landing. Blood pooling in my hands, the neighbors helped me up and I staggered into the hall bathroom, applying some paper towels to clean up the mess. We went to emergent-care. Three stitches later, they sent me home. Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” A few lessons—Stepping out to begin a dream is great, stepping off a porch not so much; It’s not the step or the fall, it’s that sudden stop; I know now why they call them “landings,” and finally, it’s better to let God order your steps than a dog.
Daily Devotion: The Master Manipulator - by Greg Laurie – www.harvest.org
Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you. —1 Timothy 4:16
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/the-master-manipulator/ - Listen
Years ago, I watched a TV show in which a so-called magician revealed his secrets. I had always wondered about how these entertainers performed certain tricks, and it was fascinating to me.
At the same time, it reminded me of how the devil is a master manipulator. He wants to trick us, and we need to be aware of that. He tries to dazzle us with a lot of deceptions and temptations.
The Bible reminds us, “Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:16 NLT).
As Christians, we need to know what we believe. False teachers can trick and mislead us, especially when we are new in the faith and don’t have spiritual discernment.
The apostle Paul wrote, “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. . . . Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth” (Ephesians 4:11–12, 14 NLT).
The King James Version renders the last part of the passage this way: “They lie in wait to deceive.”
That is how Satan is. He sizes us up, waits, and looks for the right opportunity. And then when he sees the opportune time, he strikes. We need to be aware of his tactics and make sure that we are spiritually mature. And we need to be firmly grounded in what we believe.
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