Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
7 Reasons to Regard the Rapture ...., Part 2 - By Jonathan Brentner - https://www.raptureready.com/2019/03/23/7-reasons-regard-rapture-part-2-jonathan-brentner/
In my previous post, I began listing reasons why we must regard the rapture and Second Coming as separate and distinct events. Much confusion ensues when believers combine them.
I know many pastors and teachers in Bible-believing churches combine the rapture and Second Coming into one event. For this reason, I am including a section from my book (as of yet unpublished) here and on my blog explaining why we must see them as separate events.
As in part 1, please note: In making my distinctions between the rapture and second coming, I assume a premillennial belief. Without beliefs in a literal seven-year tribulation, Jesus' return to earth after this time, and the setting of a millennial rule that includes Israel, these distinctions would not make much sense.
Here are my remaining 3 reasons why we should regard the rapture as a unique event.
5. The Differing Emphasis of Each
The emphasis of Jesus' second coming is judgment; He judges the armies gathered against him, the antichrist, locks up Satan, and then gathers all who dwell on earth before his throne. The theme of the second coming is the judgment of all who dwell on the earth at that time.
The message of the rapture, on the other hand, is one of comfort and encouragement (1 Thess. 4:18; 5:11). This is when Jesus raises the "dead in Christ," gives them and living believers immortal bodies, and takes us all home to his Father's house (1 Cor. 15:50-57; John 14:2-3). These passages console us when faced with the death of someone we love. They give hope in the midst of tragedy.
In contrast to the second coming passages, the message of the rapture is hope and eager expectation of seeing our Savior face to face.
6. The Presence of Living Believers to Populate the Earth During the Millennium
When Jesus returns to earth, as noted in part 1, He judges all who are alive at the time. Matthew 25:31-46 depicts Jesus separating the sheep from the goats, believers from those who are not. The former group enters the kingdom while Jesus sends the others away to "eternal punishment." Believers enter the kingdom in natural bodies; Scripture does not say they receive imperishable bodies, but suggests quite the opposite.
If the rapture and the second coming are the same event, then all the believers would already possess glorified bodies before this judgment. Jesus would not need to separate the goats from the sheep because all who would be left would be goats. Everyone with a glorified body would automatically be a part of God's kingdom while all others would face his condemnation. No one would enter the thousand- year reign of Jesus in natural bodies; everyone would possess immortal ones.
This is far, far different from what both the Old and New Testament tell us about the millennium.
John MacArthur says this about the distinction:
"If God raptures and glorifies all believers just prior to the inauguration of the millennial kingdom (as a post-tribulational Rapture demands), no one would be left to populate and propagate the earthly kingdom of Christ promised to Israel. It is not within the Lord's plan and purpose to use glorified individuals to propagate the earth during the Millennium. Therefore, the Rapture needs to occur earlier so that after God has raptured all believers, He can save more souls-including Israel's remnant-during the seven-year Tribulation. Those people can then enter the millennial kingdom in earthly form."
Many Old Testament passages such as in Zechariah 14 refer to people alive during the millennium that will possess natural bodies as well as the capacity to sin. Zechariah 14:17-19 denotes the possibility of nations rebelling against the King by refusing to come to Jerusalem to worship the Lord. In addition, at the end of the millennium, there will be a rebellion against the Lord (Rev. 20:7-9). Such scenarios cannot exist if the rapture and second coming are the same event or even if one happens shortly after the other.
Furthermore, Isaiah 65:19-20 refers to a time after Jesus' return when there will be infants signifying marriage and reproduction. The passage also refers to death and sin, things not possible in the eternal state of Revelation 21-22. In order for these things to be true, living believers at the end of the tribulation must enter the millennium in natural bodies.
7. The Rapture is a Mystery
In 1 Corinthians 15:51, the apostle Paul begins his description of the rapture with these words, "Behold! I tell you a mystery." Last year, my wife and I saw the movie Murder on the Orient Express, a depiction of the novel written by Agatha Christie. This story is a mystery; we do not know who murdered the man on the train until the end of the movie. This is what we typically think of when we hear that something is a "mystery."
The use of the word "mystery" in the New Testament differs much from this definition. The word as the apostles used it designates something new, a truth God did not reveal in the Old Testament. When Paul introduces the Lord's return for his church in the book of 1 Thessalonians he says, "For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord..." (4:15). He was telling the Thessalonians something new.
On the other hand, we find references to the second coming all through the Old Testament. We even see from the book of Jude that God revealed the Lord's second coming to Enoch who lived before the flood of Noah (see Jude 14:15). The second coming was definitely not something new in the church era; God revealed the second coming to his people long before the birth of Jesus.
The New Testament nowhere describes the second coming as a mystery, as something new. The rapture, however, is a mystery, a new and fresh revelation for the church!
Why all the fuss in separating the rapture from the Second Coming? It matters because it relates to our expectation of what comes next for us.
If they are the same event, then our immediate prospect is not Jesus' appearing, but seven frightful years of devastating tribulation on the earth for which we need to prepare as we see the many signs of the approaching tribulation. On the other hand, if they are distinct events separated by seven years, then we live in anticipation of suddenly being in Jesus' presence.
This is the essence of biblical perspective on life, that of living in hope of Jesus' imminent appearing to take us home! Is this not what Philippians 3:20 tells us? "But our citizenship is in heaven and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ."
Website: Our Journey Home
Echoes of Ezekiel 38: Israel Has "No Alternative" But Force With Iran In Syria - By Yaakov Lappin -
Iran could be trying to build missile factories in Syria again, according to recent reports, raising the possibility of further Israeli preemptive action.
The Israeli commercial satellite company ImageSat International (ISI) published images this month showing suspicious activity at a compound in Safita in northwest Syria.
"The construction patterns, the compound location and the activity signs at the compound and its region increase the probability that this is a missiles manufacturing site," ISI assessed.
Israel remains committed to the use of force to preemptively disrupt Iran's force build-up program in Syria. For now, according to Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror, former national security adviser, that policy has "no alternative."
"I'm not sure they [the Iranians] are manufacturing missiles in Syria, but if it is true, then this determination stems from the fact that the matter is very important to the Iranians," Amidror told JNS.
Russia, which continues to lead the pro-Assad regime coalition, "will not fight Israel's wars," said Amidror. "So long as our maneuvers and those of the Iranians do not destabilize [Syrian President Bashar] Assad's rule, the Russians have no reason to intervene."
According to the report by ISI, the site in northwest Syria has the same "construction visual patterns" that can be found in sites in Iran that produce surface-to-surface missiles.
"The site is located only eight kilometers from the border with Lebanon, in an area controlled by the Syrian regime and in the vicinity of the Russian surface-to-air deployments," the company noted.
"During the last months, buses and vans were detected in the site entrance within the securely fenced compound. It appears that the workers use buses and vans as in military facility common pattern. Also, a new water tower was recently built. Those two findings indicate that the compound is active and under development," it stated.
In addition, nearby to the compound, satellite imagery revealed "massive and extensive trails" that probably belong to heavy vehicles like mobile missile launchers, it assessed.
Emily Landau, head of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, said Israel stands by itself in its battle to prevent Iranian weapons proliferation and military build-up to its north.
"Israel has been left alone to deal with weapons transfers and missile factories, even though as far as Hezbollah is concerned, Iran is blatantly violating U.N. Security Council resolution 1701," she said.
Last month, Israel's Channel 12 said in a report that despite Iranian and Syrian attempts to hide the site, "this information has been documented by Israeli intelligence elements."
Iran's takeover attempts have run into difficulties in the form of hundreds of airstrikes, the report noted. "Nevertheless, the Syrians and Iranians find creative ways to supply the needed equipment to Lebanon," said Landau.
The report noted that Iran and Hezbollah have, in recent years, engaged in an effort to set up precision missile-production sites inside Lebanon as well.
"Where is the international community on this?" asked Landau.
Looking ahead, Landau said Israel will likely "continue to carry out operations against Iranian assets in Syria and transfers to Hezbollah, but it is hard to say whether this will encourage Iran to stop or to step up its efforts. The international community is happy to leave this to Israel, but its indifference must be highlighted and challenged."
With Russia playing a dominant military and strategic role in Syria, "Israel has no choice but to coordinate its military action in Syria with Russia, as the U.S. is signaling it is not interested in being directly involved," she noted. "But it is a delicate balancing act because of the importance of Israel's relationship with the U.S."
Nearing Midnight: The Age of Accountability Question - Terry James - https://www.raptureready.com/category/nearing-midnight/
Some time ago I received an email in which the correspondent expressed his adamant belief that there is no such thing as the "age of accountability-i.e., he declared that those under such a fictitious age will not automatically be transported into Heaven by Christ's shout at the time of Rapture.
I replied that he had touched on a topic that is a hot issue with yours truly. On this, I give no quarter, whatsoever. But, through experience in dealing with the issue, I am fully aware that no matter what evidence I offer to the contrary, those who accept 1 Corinthians 7:14 as dealing with children and the Rapture consider it a verse that stands alone as proving their point that only children with at least one saved parent will go to Jesus in the Rapture. And, most won't change on that.
Here is that Scripture: "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy."
Even the great Dr. John Walvoord believed this Scripture indicates that only the child below the age of accountability who has at least one "saved" parent will go to Christ when He calls the Church to Himself.
I'm name-dropping, I guess, but I asked my good friend, Dr Walvoord (he wrote a number of chapters for my books and we were indeed good friends and talked by phone and in person on occasion), if he could give any other Scriptures that backed up the contention that this verse indicated as he believed.
He thought for a moment and shook his head no. "No, I can't," he said somberly.
I no longer debate the matter when given a contrary opinion, but respond one time and one only.
This is a salvation matter between Jesus Christ and the child (an eternal matter-not a matter dealing with physical life and death). It is not a matter of earthly relationship (child to parent) and religion (to church affiliation) or morality (to personal conduct).
Children who have died physically and children who will be taken in the Rapture have in common the fact that they were/will be instantly with the Lord. This is because they are seen in God's merciful economy as innocents, considering the factors as dealt with in this treatment of the subject.
Most importantly, it is an INDIVIDUAL matter-God dealing one on one, not collectively or corporately with the salvation issue.
Acceptance of Christ is based upon a decision to accept or reject. If a person doesn't have-and has never had-the ability to accept or reject because he or she doesn't have the mental capacity to understand, they cannot accept or reject.
The Bible says that those who know to do good and do it not-to them it is sin. Conversely, I believe that the whole body of Scripture presents the case that if one doesn't know they are lost because of sin, they are not condemned. But, when maturity that brings understanding comes (and the Holy Spirit draws them, convicting them of sin), they must accept God's offer of reconciliation.
The very character of God, as presented throughout the entire Word of God, is at stake. All in Christ will go at the Rapture. Paul says "all will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." What does this mean-"all" that are "in" Christ? It refers to the fact that all who are redeemed by the shed blood of Christ are a part of the Body of Christ-the Church. The child-even though born into sin because of Adam's disobedience-is "in" Christ before he/she is able to comprehend God's salvation provision. None who are in Christ will have to face the wrath of God during the coming Tribulation (Daniel's seventieth week).
One area of Scripture regarding the wrath of God that addresses the position of all in Christ-thus the Rapture-is found here in 1 Thessalonians: "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him" (2 Thessalonians 5:9-10). During this Age of Grace (Church Age), all who are born and have not reached the age of understanding-thus accountability-will go to Christ when they die. This is totally in keeping with God's character, again, as plainly laid out in God's holy love letter to mankind.
All of the children who have died-before maturing to the point of being able to make decisions regarding salvation-are now with Christ. To God's holy praise, that includes every one of the millions upon millions of babies this evil world system has aborted and continues to murder. This number of "innocents" includes every child who has been slain in wars throughout history or who have died due to other causes.
The Scripture that talks about the name being blotted out of the Lamb's Book of Life deals with this, I'm convinced. The names of all who are born are in that book, I believe. Once the child reaches the age he/she realizes Christ is the way to salvation, but rejects God's way (John 14:6) have their names blotted out. They are written back in when salvation does occur in the only way God prescribes.
And, I'm convinced that not one child born after the Rapture into that horrendous, seven-year era will ever reach that age. Thus, all children born following that event will go to be with the Lord-either upon their deaths, or during the sheep/goats judgments following the triumphant return of the Lord Jesus. As a matter of fact, read Jesus' words here: "And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!" (Matthew 24:19).
Jesus is talking here about the Tribulation era-the last seven years of human history before His Second Advent. The Lord mentions two age classifications: 1) children who are in the womb, and 2) those who are so young that they are still at the mothers' breasts.
There is no mention even of toddlers-i.e., these children have been conceived or born during the Tribulation period. And Jesus is talking here about halfway through the seven-year period.
All children below the age of being able to make decisions on the salvation matter will go to be with Jesus-I have absolutely no doubt, after studying the matter for forty-plus years.
I respect thoughts and beliefs of others on the matter. But as ol' Dr. J. Vernon McGee used to say with a chuckle, "You have room to disagree, but if you want to be right, I'm sure you'll want to come along with me." ( I say this, even though Dr. McGee, like Dr. Walvoord, most likely held to the generally accepted seminary line that 1 Corinthians 7:14 indicates contrary to my position. I don't recall Dr. McGee's belief on this issue.)
We will see the truth of it when we stand before Christ. I believe that time is not far distant.
Coincidence or Divine Payback: Trump Exonerated In Mueller Investigation Days After Recognizing Israeli Golan - By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz -
"I will bless those who bless you And curse him that curses you; And all the families of the earth Shall bless themselves by you." Genesis 12:3 (The Israel Bible™)
Donald Trump showed himself to be a true friend of Israel when he made the historic step of moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Last week he became the first world leader to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. His announcement came 52 years after Israel effectively annexed the region vital for national security and, most auspiciously, on the Jewish holiday of Purim.
It is interesting to note that after two years of investigation, it was announced on Friday afternoon that the soon-to-be-issued report of special counsel Robert Mueller will not include any indictments concerning collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the presidential election.
Rabbi Hillel Weiss, the spokesman for the Sanhedrin, stated that there was clearly a cause-and-effect relationship between the results of the Mueller investigation and Trump's support of Israel and recognition of the Golan.
"The borders of Israel are written in the Bible as is the requirement of all nations to establish courts of justice," Rabbi Weiss said to Breaking Israel News. "By supporting one, the other also grows in strength. A leader that rejects the Biblical boundaries of Israel will surely suffer from evil justice. This is not a threat. It is simply a natural outcome of rejecting the Bible."
Rabbi Weiss pointed to the financial woes of the United Nations (UN), an institution responsible for countless unjust anti-Israel resolutions as well as resolutions that sought to erase the historical connections between the Jews and their homeland. The UN is struggling financially and many of its branches are in danger of dissolution.
"Adhering to the Noahide laws, strengthening borders and nations and legal institutions, is even more important for a leader than an individual," Rabbi Weiss said. "Non-adherence to these basic principles of humanity leads to greater destruction and damages the entire nation, maybe even the world."
Rabbi Ken Spiro, a historian and Senior Lecturer and Researcher for Aish HaTorah Yeshiva, noted that having Israel as an ally did seem to be a successful political tactic for the U.S. President.
"America and Israel have the strongest possible relationship right now thanks to President Trump," Rabbi Spiro told Breaking Israel News. "Even though he is not a particularly religious man, he is connecting the American Evangelicals to Israel. Evangelicals overwhelmingly support Israel because they see prophecy coming true and they realize that God is going to judge them on how they treat us."
Rabbi Spiro cited as his source the well-known verse from Genesis.
I will bless those who bless you And curse him that curses you; And all the families of the earth Shall bless themselves by you." Genesis 12:3
"On the level of the simple reading of the verse, we know that God blesses people who bless Israel and curse people who curse Israel."
"America and Israel have the strongest possible relationship right now thanks to President Trump," Rabbi Spiro said. "Even though he is not a particularly religious man, he is connecting the American Evangelicals to Israel. Evangelicals overwhelmingly support Israel because they see prophecy coming true and they realize that God is going to judge them on how they treat us."
But as a student of history, Rabbi Spiro noted that blessing Israel has historically borne tangible benefits.
"You can chart the rise and fall of empires by how they treat the Jews," Rabbi Spiro said, "When they are good to us, it is always a great symbiotic relationship; we benefit and the host country benefits. But when they are bad to us, we suffer and they suffer."
Rabbi Spiro gave as examples Germany and Spain, both of which flourished as a result of the contributions of their Jewish populations. But when they began to oppress the Jews, their economies crumbled.
"It's not exclusively a supernatural thing," Rabbi Spiro explained. "If you have in your country a creative and intelligent people and encourage them to do what they do best, everyone will flourish. It is a win-win situation. But we see that in the long-run, nations that oppress the Jews and their Jewish population always lose big."
The rabbi's lesson came with a warning.
"It isn't exclusive. Often, the nations that started out being the best to us ended up being the worst to us."
Daily Jot: More Mueller Report--What you need to know - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Both the Mueller Special Counsel report and the US Attorney General have flatly stated that neither President Donald Trump nor his campaign conspired with the Russians to influence the 2019 presidential campaign or committed obstruction of justice during the investigation. Yet Marxist Democrats continue to claim collusion (conspiracy) between Russia and Trump, and vow to continue their investigations at taxpayer expense. Maxine Waters (D-CA) told MSNBC, "This is not the end of anything." House Intel Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) told "This Week" that "there is significant evidence of collusion." Waters said, "Those of us who chair these committees have a responsibility to continue with our oversight."
After one of the most costly "investigations" into a President in American history, both the Mueller Special Counsel and the US Attorney General determined that Trump and his campaign refused to collude even when offered by the Russians. Attorney General William Barr stated: "As noted above, the Special Counsel did not find that any U.S. person or Trump campaign official or associate conspired or knowingly coordinated with the IRA[sic: Internet Research Agency] (emphasis added)in its efforts, although the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian nationals and entities in connection with these activities. The second element involved the Russian government's efforts to conduct computer hacking operations designed to gather and disseminate information to influence the election.
"The Special Counsel found that Russian government actors successfully hacked into computers and obtained emails from persons affiliated with the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organizations, and publicly disseminated those materials through various intermediaries, including WikiLeaks. Based on these activities, the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian military officers for conspiring to hack into computers in the United States for purposes of influencing the election. But as noted above, the Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts,despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign. (emphasis added)"
These communist Democrats need to call it a day. But they won't. They are persistently attempting a coup. The Russians were cunning in trying to influence the presidential election with class warfare and other communist-era propaganda techniques. The Russians were not, however, as bad as the Clinton Campaign, the immediate past president, the Democratic National Committee and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) who conspired with false charges to cause a secret FISA Court investigation of a presidential candidate with the intent to remove him from office if he won. It's time to reverse the tables on the coup-makers. Proverbs 17:15 says, "He that justifies the wicked, and he that condemns the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD." They are abominations to the LORD AND to all of society.
Daily Devotion: The Reality of the Afterlife - by Greg Laurie -
So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ. - Colossians 1:28
There are a lot of strange and incorrect views of the afterlife, and sometimes even Christians will adopt some of those views. What we need is a biblical view.
Heaven exists. And of course, so does Hell. We need to think about this, because as we get older, the afterlife is getting closer. We start losing friends and family, and we know our day will come. One day we might realize that we have more friends in Heaven than we have on earth.
When I was a kid, it seemed as though the third grade lasted ten years. Now decades go by. I've lived through all the decades of the music channels on satellite radio. (You know you're getting older when nineties songs are called oldies.)
Life marches on. Eternity gets closer. And the Bible is very clear on what happens when you die: If you are a Christian, you will go straight to Heaven. And if you are not a Christian-and I don't say this with any delight-you will go to Hell. Jesus Himself said, "You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way" (Matthew 7:13 NLT).
And according to Jesus and the rest of Scripture, more people are going to Hell than are going to Heaven. That is not what God wants, but He has given us a free will.
If we Christians believe what the Bible says about the afterlife, then why are we not doing more to warn people about the reality of Hell? My hope is that the knowledge that Hell is real will motivate unbelievers to come to Christ. I also hope it would motivate believers to share their faith with more urgency.
FROM THE HEART
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