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Ironside: A Wonderful Expectation!—He is Coming Again!

Ironside: A Wonderful Expectation!—He is Coming Again!

June 7th, 2015

By Harry A. Ironside

In the eighth chapter of the Epistle of the Romans, reading from verse 18, we have the words:

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (18-23)

Then if you will also turn to Philippians, chapter 1, verses 20 and 21:

According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

The Christian has a wonderful expectation. Our Lord Jesus Christ while He was here on earth had a great deal to say about His second coming. I have never been able to understand why some persons who profess to be Christians (and I would not dare doubt in some instances but they are really such) seem to have no interest whatsoever in the truth of the return of our blessed Savior. I have often heard people say, “I am not interested in the second coming of Christ. The only thing that concerns me is to be ready when He comes.”

Of course it is very important that we should be ready when He comes, but to say, “The only thing that concerns me is to be ready for that event,” seems to me to be the quintessence of selfishness. Am I only concerned about my personal readiness? Do I not have a deep, warm expectation in my soul, looking forward to that glorious day when the Savior shall return? Am I not longing to see Him?

He has said that He is coming back, and He told us to watch and to wait for His coming, to be like men that wait for their Lord when He will return from the wedding. And surely if we have learned to love Him, if we know Him as the One who died for us and washed away our sins in His precious blood, we certainly ought to be looking eagerly for His return.

EXPECTATION IS NOT FEAR

Some people think of the second coming of the Lord as though it were a dreadful event, an event from which we might well shrink, because they confound the second coming of Christ for His people with the day of judgment for a godless world; but these are two very distinct events.

When He said, “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,” He was not referring to the final day of judgment. He was speaking of the time when He will come back and raise the dead and change the living, those of His own redeemed people, and take them up to be with Him in the Father’s house. Surely there is nothing to dread about that. It is no fearful portent, the thought of the Lord’s coming.

On one occasion, I was asked in a certain Canadian city to give an address to the ministerial union on the second coming of the Lord Jesus, and so I went down with a heart and mind full of the subject, and found nearly seventy of the city’s preachers gathered together. It was my privilege to talk to them for about forty minutes on what I believe the Word of God teaches concerning this great expectation of the Church. When I had finished, the moderator of the meeting, who was a Presbyterian minister, rose and said, “My friends, I want to give my personal testimony concerning this subject. I was a minister for a great many years before I ever took the time to study what the Bible has to say about the second coming of the Lord, but some years back I became deeply interested and I searched the Scriptures for all references to the subject. You know, as that truth opened up to me, I got a new Bible. It just seemed as though my Bible was entirely different. So many things were plain that had been dark before.” Then he said, “Now I would like to have you tell us how this subject appeals to you.”

There happened to be present a very venerable old gentleman, an Anglican clergyman, who had received a great many honors because of his scholarship and ability. He had written a great many books and I had read all of them, so I was quite interested when he was pointed out to me. The moderator knew he was in the audience that day and because he seemed in a certain sense to be a dean of them all, he turned to him and said, “Doctor, wouldn’t you like to speak to us on the subject?” The dear old gentleman stood up and in that fine, cultured way that is so characteristic of Anglican clergyman, said something like this: “Well, my dear brother, I am really sorry that you referred to me at all, because I never like to take issue was a visiting speaker. I would far rather have just said to our brother at the close, ‘Thank you,’ and left it at that; but since you put me on the spot, it is necessary for me to express myself, and I regret to have to say that I do not find myself at all in agreement with the speaker who has addressed us today. Of course, I think there is something in the Bible about the second coming of the Lord, but just what it is I do not know and I do not think anyone else does. I have listened carefully to what he has presented and I have been thinking that if his presentation of the subject is the correct one, it must be an awful thing to believe, as he says he believes, that Christ may come back at any moment. Why, if one believed that, it would unnerve him completely. Suppose I were out making pastoral calls and the awful thought came to me that Christ might come today! I would not be able to continue my work, but would want to get back to my study and read the prayer book and try to get ready for that awful event.”

Well, you know it was a little difficult for me. I was much younger than he and I did not want to be discourteous, but I said to him, “Doctor, I hope that you do not mean us to infer that one could have been a member of the great church to which you belong and have taken all the ecclesiastical and academical honors that you have and yet never have been washed from his sins in the precious blood of Christ! For Doctor, if you have been saved through what the Lord Jesus did when He was here the first time, whether you realize it or not, you will be ready when He comes the second time.” Because it is not our understanding of the doctrines of the Lord’s return that makes us ready to meet Him, or our growth in holiness, but the fact that Another has, in the blessed will of God, shed His blood and died for us, cleansing us from all sin.

THE FOCUS OF OUR EXPECTATION

To me the expectation of the Lord’s return is one of the most precious hopes that I have, “According to my earnest expectation and my hope.” He was looking for the coming of the Savior, and he said, “I do not want to be ashamed. I want to be found, while I am watching for him, laboring always for His glory, endeavoring to bring others to Him, and seeking to manifest Christ in my daily life so that I can always say, ‘For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.’”

This poor world needs the coming Savior. Suppose our Lord had come ten years ago. Then the world would never have known the dire conflict that is prevailing at the present time. Why do we see the nations engaged in bloody conflict one with the other? It is because when the Prince of Peace came here to dwell amongst men in lowly grace He was not recognized. He was rejected. He came to bring peace but men said, “We will not have this man to reign over us”; and so, according to Hosea He said, “I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.” He has gone back to the Father’s right hand and is there preparing a place for His redeemed. Some day He is coming again and His coming is going to mean the rapture of His Church and our presentation before the Father in fullness of joy.

THE EXPECTATION OF ALL CREATION

That is what the apostle is referring to, especially in the eighth chapter of the Book of Romans, when he says that “the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” And we know by the context of this passage that this expectation is shared by the entire creation, for creation’s blessing will come with that manifestation. And when will the sons of God be manifested? The sons of God are already in the world at this time, but their manifestation has not come yet. They are in the world but the world knows them not, even as it knew Him not; but we read that when He is manifested, then shall we be manifested. When He reigns, then we will appear with Him in glory! That will be the time when earth’s blessing will come, when creation will be liberated from the bondage of the curse.

Look at John’s Gospel, chapter 14, the passage we all love and the portion which I think fits in so well at every Christian funeral. I do not know that I have ever been called upon to say a few words at the burial of a saint of God but that I have felt I must read these words: “Ye believe in God, believe also in me .” That is, Christ is saying in effect, “I am going away from you, so you won’t be able to see Me; but you believe in God the Father, though you cannot see Him. Now I want you to believe in Me, God the Son, when you cannot see Me.” And so He has gone back to the Father. We cannot see Him, but we love Him and we love to serve Him, and we wait for His return.

“In my Father’s house are many mansions,” many resting places, many abodes. It is the same word as the one translated ” abode” a little farther down in the chapter: “We will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (verse 23). So He says, “In my Father’s house are many abodes, many places of rest.” Many of God’s dear children know very little of rest here, but they will rest there in the presence of God and His Son when they put on their resurrection bodies.

“If it were not so, I would have told you.” There are so many things that the saint of God longs for that perhaps are not based upon positive Scripture, but He says, “If this were not a fact, if this hope, this expectation were not based on truth, I would have told you. I would not want you to be deluded; I would not want you to be deceived.” When we look forward to resting in His presence, when we think of Heaven as the Father’s house, it is not just a lovely dream, it is not mere imagination. It is a blessed, precious truth vouched for by our Lord Jesus Himself. He came from the Father and went to the cross for our redemption. He has gone back to the Father to prepare a place for us.

THE EXPECTATION OF GOING HOME

I love to think of Heaven as a home. Some of us have not known very much of a home here on earth. It is said of the one who wrote that most beautiful of all songs about home, that he was a wanderer all his life. I refer, of course, to John Howard Payne who wrote, “Home, Sweet Home.” Some of us have not enjoyed much of the comforts of home down here on earth, but oh, what a home He is preparing for us up yonder!

At death, the believer goes home, but that is not the final thing, that is not the fulness of our expectation, for the Lord Jesus says, “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.” Dear young Christian, do get hold of this truth in the early days of your Christian life. The Lord Jesus says, “I will come again.” How can anybody say he doesn’t believe in the second coming of Christ in view of a promise like that? It is amazing how people twist those words to try to make them say anything but what they really say.

FALSE VIEWS OF OUR EXPECTATION

Some people tell us that He simply meant that He was coming to individual souls when they were converted, to dwell in their hearts. That is not what He is talking about. He says, ‘I am going “to receive [them] unto myself, that where I am there [they] may be also.” There are other folk who think that when the Lord said those words He was referring to the descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, that the Holy Spirit, being Jesus’ other self, came down to make good this promise. But I think that when people talk like that, they forget that the great bulk of the promises of the second coming in the New Testament were given after theHoly Spirit came at Pentecost. It was after the Holy Spirit fulfilled the Lord’s words and came as the Comforter that He moved the hearts of saints to cry, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus,” and to look on with eager, glad expectation to His personal return.

Then some people say, “Well, it just means that He is coming in the hour of death. When the believer comes down to death, the Lord will be there to take him home to Heaven.” And yet, if it is just as true now as it was before the cross that angels transport ransomed souls to Heaven, it is a very different thing from the personal coming of Christ. The beggar Lazarus died and was carried by angels to Abraham’s bosom, and I suppose that angels take the saints now into the presence of the Lord. “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14). But Jesus speaks of a personal coming. That is not death; it is the destruction of death for the believer.

There are some people who confound the Lord’s return with the judgment day of all of the unsaved. There is nothing about that judgment here. “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.” There is no hint of a judgment of the lost there. It is the returning bridegroom coming for His bride and taking her with Him into the Father’s house to share the rest and the glory of the blessed place. The manner of it is described for us in the fourth chapter of the First Epistle to the Thessalonians, a passage with which we are all familiar, unless it be those to whom these things are new and strange. Beginning with verse 13, we read:

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (or precede them) them which are asleep. For the Lord himself (Notice how distinctly personal that is!) shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. (vss. 13-16)

See the contrast between the Lord’s coming and death. Death is not the Savior’s return, but when the Savior returns, death is destroyed for the believer.

The dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. (v. 16-17)

THE TWO GROUPS OF BELIEVERS

You see, there will be the two classes of believers who will have part in the glorious event of the Lord’s return. There will be those who are asleep, that is the saints who have died. The bodies of many of them have gone back to the dust from which they came, but they will be raised and those bodies tenanted again by the glorified soul and spirit of the believers. But then there is another group — the believers actually living in this world when Christ returns.

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (v. 17)

Would it not be a wonderful thing if we Christians who are living today should be among that number! If, before death claims our bodies, the Savior should return and we would be caught up together with the resurrected saints in clouds to meet the Lord in the air! Of course, these bodies of ours will have to undergo a great change in order that that may be, but in Philippians 3 we read of that change: “For our conversation (or citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body” (3:20-21). or literally, “transform the body of our humiliation.” This body, you see, is called the body of our humiliation. You know how often you are humiliated in your body, don’t you? It is such a drag on the spirit at times. Well, when the Savior comes, He will change the body of our humiliation.

. . . that it my be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (vv. 20-21)

We read of this more particularly in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, chapter 15, beginning with verse 51. There the apostle says:

Behold, I shew you a mystery (I tell you a secret, something nobody knew anything of until is was revealed); We shall not all sleep (that is, we shall not all die), but we shall all be changed (whether living or dead, we shall all be changed), In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump (the trump that ends this dispensation of grace): for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption (that is, the dead, the corrupted bodies of the dead will be raised in incorruption), and this mortal (that is, the living) must put on immortality. (vss. 51-53)

Those who are now living in mortal bodies will suddenly be given immortal bodies when Jesus comes back again, and in those bodies will live forever.

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (vs. 54)

No wonder the apostle can exult in triumph:

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?. (vs. 55).

He says:

The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (vss. 56-57)

THIS IS OUR HOPE!

This, then, is our expectation; this is our hope! And the Lord would have us living day by day in view of the possible fulfillment of the promise of His coming again. When you get up in the morning, cultivate the attitude of soul that leads you to say, “Christ may come today; and if He were to come today, I want Him to find me walking in obedience to His holy Word.” And when you go to sleep at night say, “Christ Jesus may come tonight, and I can rest in perfect peace, knowing that when He comes I shall be caught up to meet Him.”

(This has been an excerpt from Harry Ironside’s book Great Words of the Gospel; in the public domain.)

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=17498

Is the Pre-Wrath Rapture View Valid?

Is the Pre-Wrath Rapture View Valid?

By Dr. David R. Reagan

Founder & Director, Lamb & Lion Ministries

Let’s begin with some definitions and clarifications. The term, Rapture, refers to the idea that a day will come when Jesus will appear in the heavens, at which time the dead in Christ will be resurrected to meet Him in the air and to receive their glorified bodies. Living believers will be taken up also and will be translated en route from mortal to immortal. Both the resurrected believers and the living ones will then return to Heaven with Jesus. This event is viewed by most as being separate and apart from the Second Coming of Jesus when He will return to earth to reign for a thousand years.

The word, Rapture, does not appear in English language Bibles, but it can be found in the Latin Vulgate translation of Jerome, which served as the basic Bible of the Western world for over 1200 years, from 400AD to 1611 when the King James Version was published. The word appears in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. In English versions it is expressed as “caught up.” The concept of the Rapture can be found in many other places in the New Testament — for example, in John 14:1-4 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-53.

One other thing that needs to be made clear about the Rapture is that it is a promise to the Bride of Christ, which is the Church. It will not include Old Testament Saints. They will be resurrected at the time of the Lord’s Second Coming, at the end of the Tribulation (Daniel 12:1-2). The Tribulation Martyrs — those who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior during the Tribulation and who are killed for their faith — will also be resurrected at the time of the Second Coming.

The Question of Timing

Among those who believe in a Rapture of the Church, there is disagreement as to the timing of the event. Until recent years, there were three concepts of the Rapture’s timing:

1) The Pre-Trib View — This is the idea that the Rapture will take place before the Tribulation begins.

2) The Mid-Trib View — This viewpoint places the Rapture in the middle of the Tribulation.

3) The Post-Trib View — According to this view, the Rapture and the Second Coming are all one event that takes place at the end of the Tribulation.

The “Pre-Wrath” View

In 1990 Marvin Rosenthal presented a fourth viewpoint in his book, The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church. Rosenthal was not the originator of this new viewpoint. Rather, he was the one who popularized it with his book.

The person who conceived the “Pre-Wrath” view of the Rapture was a man named Robert Van Kampen (1938-1999). Van Kampen became one of America’s richest men through his involvement in investment banking. During his lifetime he accumulated one of the largest private collections of rare and antique Bibles in North America.

In the 1970’s Van Kampen began developing the “Pre-Wrath” concept of the timing of the Rapture. Once he had completed his work on the concept, he started trying to find a well known person in the field of Bible prophecy to endorse his new view. That person finally turned out to be Marvin Rosenthal, who at the time was serving as the director of a very influential ministry called Friends of Israel. Rosenthal tried to convince the board of the ministry to abandon its commitment to the Pre-Trib view and accept the new viewpoint. They refused, and Rosenthal was forced to depart. He went to Florida where he built the Holy Land Experience — a Christian theme park which has since been taken over by the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Today, Rosenthal serves as the director of Zion’s Hope, a ministry located in Winter Garden, Florida.

Rosenthal’s book was financed by Van Kampen’s fortune, and he mailed out thousands of copies to pastors all over America. Later, Van Kampen wrote his own books about the “Pre-Wrath” view, the most important being The Sign (1992).

The Meaning of the “Pre-Wrath” View

The “Pre-Wrath” view of the Rapture argues that the first three-fourths of the Tribulation is the wrath of Man and the wrath of Satan, and not the wrath of God. Therefore, the proponents of this view argue that the Church will suffer through the first three-quarters of the Tribulation since the Church is promised protection only from the wrath of God.

Those who espouse this viewpoint of the Rapture’s timing believe that the Seal Judgments are the wrath of Man and Satan and that they continue throughout the first half of the Tribulation and into the second half, right up to the three-quarters point, or shortly thereafter. They place the Trumpet Judgments in the last quarter of the Tribulation and the Bowl Judgments in the first 30 days following the end of Daniel’s 70th Week of Years.

The Pre-Wrath Rapture

Objections to the Viewpoint

I have a number of objections to this concept of the Rapture’s timing.

1) The Name — I object to the name given the viewpoint by its proponents. The name is both confusing and vague. It is confusing because both the Pre-Trib and Mid-Trib views are “Pre- Wrath.” The Pre-Trib view argues that the entire 7 years of the Tribulation (Daniel’s 70th Week of Years) constitutes a pouring out of the wrath of God. The Mid-Trib view takes the position that only the second half of the Tribulation is the period of God’s wrath. So, Rosenthal’s name for his viewpoint does not distinguish it from the Pre-Trib and Mid-Trib views. All three are prewrath views.

The “Pre-Wrath” name is also vague because it does not give a clue as to when the Rapture occurs in relation to the Tribulation. The name of the Pre-Trib view signifies a belief that the Rapture will occur before (pre) the Tribulation begins. The name of the Mid-Trib view clearly indicates a belief that the Rapture will occur in the middle of the Tribulation. The name of the Post-Trib view puts the Rapture after (post) the Tribulation. But the name, “Pre-Wrath” gives no indication of when the Rapture will occur with relation to the Tribulation.

For that reason, I have decided to call the “Pre-Wrath” view the Three-Quarters Tribulation Rapture viewpoint. And I will be abbreviating it throughout the rest of this article as the “3/4 Trib Rapture.” I have given it that name because its proponents believe the Rapture will occur about three-quarters of the way through the Tribulation, or shortly thereafter.

2) The Chronology — I object to the 3/4 Trib Rapture because it violates the chronology of the book of Revelation. The sequence of events that is pictured in the book of Revelation clearly places both the Seal Judgments and the Trumpet Judgments in the first half of the 70th Week of Daniel. And the Bowl Judgments are clearly contained within Daniel’s 70th Week, near its end. The 3/4 Trib view scrambles all this. As you can see in the diagram above, the Seal Judgments are continued over into the second half of the 7 year period, the Trumpet Judgments are moved from the first half to the end of the second half, and the Bowl Judgments are appended to a 30 day period after the close of Daniel’s 70th Week!

3) Imminence — One of my strongest objections to the 3/4 Trib view is its destruction of the imminence of the Lord’s return. The Bible emphasizes that the Lord could return at any moment and that we should live looking for His return (Matthew 24:44, 1 Corinthians 1:7, Philippians 3:20, Philippians 4:5, Colossians 3: 4, 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 5:6, Titus 2:13, and Revelation 16:15). The 3/4 Trib view says the Lord cannot return until after the Antichrist appears, the Jewish Temple has been rebuilt and the world has suffered through about 5 years of the wrath of Man and Satan. Thus, according to the 3/4 Trib view, we should be living looking for the Antichrist and not Jesus Christ.

Rosenthal asserts that the Bible never says that any prophesied end time events could not occur before the Rapture. He is correct. The re-establishment of Israel is an example. The war of Gog & Magog could prove to be another example. Imminency does not preclude the fulfillment of some end time prophecies before the Rapture. Rather, it asserts that none have to happen before the Rapture can occur.

4) The Wrath of God — Another strong objection I have to the 3/4 Trib Rapture view is its mistaken concept of the sovereignty of God. The view attempts to distinguish the wrath of Man and Satan from the wrath of God. Both Man and Satan operate under the sovereignty of God. That’s why Psalm 2 pictures God sitting in Heaven laughing at the evil plots of the world’s political leaders. His laughing is not motivated by a lack of concern. He laughs because He has the wisdom and power to orchestrate all the evil of Man and Satan to the triumph of His Son.

Further, the Bible portrays God pouring out His wrath both directly (Sodom and Gomorrah) and indirectly (the destruction of both Israel and Judah). God poured out His wrath upon the rebellious northern nation of Israel by allowing the Assyrians to conquer it. He even referred to the Assyrians as “the rod of My anger” (Isaiah 10:5) and “My war-club” (Jeremiah 51:20).

When the prophet Habakkuk complained about God doing nothing about the evil of the southern nation of Judah, the Lord revealed that He was going to pour out His wrath on that nation through Babylon (Habakkuk 1:6). And when the Lord was finished with Babylon, He raised up the Medes and Persians to conquer the Babylonian Empire, referring to the conquering army as “My consecrated ones” (Isaiah 13:3).

During Daniel’s 70 Weeks of Years, much of the wrath of God will be executed through the Antichrist, but it is still the wrath of God.

5) The Tribulation — I object to the way in which the 3/4 Trib Rapture view denies that the first half of Daniel’s 70th Week is part of the Tribulation. The fact of the matter is that both halves of Daniel’s 70th Week are referred to in the Scriptures as a time of tribulation. Matthew 24:9 refers to the first half as “tribulation,” and Matthew 24:21 classifies the second half as “great tribulation.” Incidentally, Jesus’ reference to the second half as the “great tribulation” does not mean it will be worse than the first half. Rather, Jesus called it that because He was speaking to a Jewish audience, and the second half of the Tribulation will be when the Antichrist will try to annihilate the Jews.

6) The Purpose of Daniel’s 70th Week — I object to the way in which the 3/4 Trib Rapture view distorts the purpose of Daniel’s 70th Week. Daniel 9:24-27 makes it clear that the purpose of Daniel’s 70 Weeks of Years is to accomplish six things among the Jewish people:

To finish transgression

To make an end of sin

To make atonement for iniquity

To bring in everlasting righteousness

To seal up vision and prophecy

To anoint the most Holy Place

Just as the first 69 weeks of years (483 years) of the prophecy had nothing to do with the Church, neither does the final week of years. The last seven year period of Daniel’s prophecy is about the accomplishment of the purposes listed above among the Jewish people. Accordingly, the entire period of Daniel’s 70th Week is referred to in Jeremiah 30:7 as “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” There is no purpose for the Church during Daniel’s 70th Week.

7) The Church — I object to the 3/4 Trib Rapture view of why the Church must be present during the Tribulation. Incredibly, the argument has been proclaimed that the Church must suffer “for purging and purifying.”1 The Bible says that the blood of Jesus is sufficient to cleanse us of all sin (1 John 1:7). The idea that the Church needs to be purified creates a Christian Purgatory, which is a blasphemy of the blood of Jesus. Furthermore, why is it that only the end time Church deserves this fate?

8) The Seal Judgments — I strongly object to the 3/4 Trib Rapture view that the Seal Judgments do not constitute any portion of the wrath of God. The judgments originate at the throne of God when Jesus begins to open each seal (Revelation 6:1). Further, they are referred to as “the wrath of the Lamb” (Revelation 6:16-17).

9) The Length of Daniel’s 70th Week of Years — I object to the fact that the 3/4 Trib Rapture view extends Daniel’s 70th Week by 30 days beyond the 7 years or 2,520 days it is supposed to run (Revelation 11:3 and 12:6). There is just no scriptural basis for this extension.

10) The Day of the Lord — I object to the 3/4 Trib view of the Day of the Lord. Rosenthal contends that it begins with the opening of the 7th Seal, and he therefore argues that the wrath of God does not begin until this point.

The problem here is that the Day of the Lord is a term that is used in many different ways in the Bible, and it must always be interpreted in context. There are places when it refers to specific national judgments from God, as when Israel was destroyed by Assyria (Amos 5:18-20) and when Judah was destroyed by Babylon (Lamentations 2:21-22 and Ezekiel 13:5). In like manner the fall of Babylon is called the Day of the Lord (Isaiah 13:6-13).

But there are also times when the term refers to end time events. In this regard, it sometimes refers to the return of Jesus at the end of Daniel’s 70th Week (Isaiah 2:10-22, Joel 3:9-17 and Zechariah 14:1-9). In other end time contexts, the term is used in a broader sense. For example, in Zephaniah 1:14-18 it is used to refer to the entire period of the Tribulation when “all the earth will be devoured in the fire of His jealousy…”

In 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 it says the Day of the Lord will come at a time when people are feeling safe and secure — which would be at the beginning of Daniel’s 70th Week, after the Antichrist negotiates a treaty that guarantees peace for Israel. But the prophet Isaiah repeatedly uses a shorthand version of the term — “in that day” — to refer to the Millennium (Isaiah 4:2-6). I therefore think that in reference to the end times, the broad use of the term refers to the period of time from the beginning of Daniel’s 70th Week to the end of the Millennium.

http://www.lamblion.com/articles/articles_rapture10.php

Is the Pre-Wrath Rapture View Valid?

Is the Pre-Wrath Rapture View Valid?

By Dr. David R. Reagan

Founder & Director, Lamb & Lion Ministries

Let’s begin with some definitions and clarifications. The term, Rapture, refers to the idea that a day will come when Jesus will appear in the heavens, at which time the dead in Christ will be resurrected to meet Him in the air and to receive their glorified bodies. Living believers will be taken up also and will be translated en route from mortal to immortal. Both the resurrected believers and the living ones will then return to Heaven with Jesus. This event is viewed by most as being separate and apart from the Second Coming of Jesus when He will return to earth to reign for a thousand years.

The word, Rapture, does not appear in English language Bibles, but it can be found in the Latin Vulgate translation of Jerome, which served as the basic Bible of the Western world for over 1200 years, from 400AD to 1611 when the King James Version was published. The word appears in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. In English versions it is expressed as “caught up.” The concept of the Rapture can be found in many other places in the New Testament — for example, in John 14:1-4 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-53.

One other thing that needs to be made clear about the Rapture is that it is a promise to the Bride of Christ, which is the Church. It will not include Old Testament Saints. They will be resurrected at the time of the Lord’s Second Coming, at the end of the Tribulation (Daniel 12:1-2). The Tribulation Martyrs — those who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior during the Tribulation and who are killed for their faith — will also be resurrected at the time of the Second Coming.

The Question of Timing

Among those who believe in a Rapture of the Church, there is disagreement as to the timing of the event. Until recent years, there were three concepts of the Rapture’s timing:

1) The Pre-Trib View — This is the idea that the Rapture will take place before the Tribulation begins.

2) The Mid-Trib View — This viewpoint places the Rapture in the middle of the Tribulation.

3) The Post-Trib View — According to this view, the Rapture and the Second Coming are all one event that takes place at the end of the Tribulation.

The “Pre-Wrath” View

In 1990 Marvin Rosenthal presented a fourth viewpoint in his book, The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church. Rosenthal was not the originator of this new viewpoint. Rather, he was the one who popularized it with his book.

The person who conceived the “Pre-Wrath” view of the Rapture was a man named Robert Van Kampen (1938-1999). Van Kampen became one of America’s richest men through his involvement in investment banking. During his lifetime he accumulated one of the largest private collections of rare and antique Bibles in North America.

In the 1970’s Van Kampen began developing the “Pre-Wrath” concept of the timing of the Rapture. Once he had completed his work on the concept, he started trying to find a well known person in the field of Bible prophecy to endorse his new view. That person finally turned out to be Marvin Rosenthal, who at the time was serving as the director of a very influential ministry called Friends of Israel. Rosenthal tried to convince the board of the ministry to abandon its commitment to the Pre-Trib view and accept the new viewpoint. They refused, and Rosenthal was forced to depart. He went to Florida where he built the Holy Land Experience — a Christian theme park which has since been taken over by the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Today, Rosenthal serves as the director of Zion’s Hope, a ministry located in Winter Garden, Florida.

Rosenthal’s book was financed by Van Kampen’s fortune, and he mailed out thousands of copies to pastors all over America. Later, Van Kampen wrote his own books about the “Pre-Wrath” view, the most important being The Sign (1992).

The Meaning of the “Pre-Wrath” View

The “Pre-Wrath” view of the Rapture argues that the first three-fourths of the Tribulation is the wrath of Man and the wrath of Satan, and not the wrath of God. Therefore, the proponents of this view argue that the Church will suffer through the first three-quarters of the Tribulation since the Church is promised protection only from the wrath of God.

Those who espouse this viewpoint of the Rapture’s timing believe that the Seal Judgments are the wrath of Man and Satan and that they continue throughout the first half of the Tribulation and into the second half, right up to the three-quarters point, or shortly thereafter. They place the Trumpet Judgments in the last quarter of the Tribulation and the Bowl Judgments in the first 30 days following the end of Daniel’s 70th Week of Years.

The Pre-Wrath Rapture

Objections to the Viewpoint

I have a number of objections to this concept of the Rapture’s timing.

1) The Name — I object to the name given the viewpoint by its proponents. The name is both confusing and vague. It is confusing because both the Pre-Trib and Mid-Trib views are “Pre- Wrath.” The Pre-Trib view argues that the entire 7 years of the Tribulation (Daniel’s 70th Week of Years) constitutes a pouring out of the wrath of God. The Mid-Trib view takes the position that only the second half of the Tribulation is the period of God’s wrath. So, Rosenthal’s name for his viewpoint does not distinguish it from the Pre-Trib and Mid-Trib views. All three are prewrath views.

The “Pre-Wrath” name is also vague because it does not give a clue as to when the Rapture occurs in relation to the Tribulation. The name of the Pre-Trib view signifies a belief that the Rapture will occur before (pre) the Tribulation begins. The name of the Mid-Trib view clearly indicates a belief that the Rapture will occur in the middle of the Tribulation. The name of the Post-Trib view puts the Rapture after (post) the Tribulation. But the name, “Pre-Wrath” gives no indication of when the Rapture will occur with relation to the Tribulation.

For that reason, I have decided to call the “Pre-Wrath” view the Three-Quarters Tribulation Rapture viewpoint. And I will be abbreviating it throughout the rest of this article as the “3/4 Trib Rapture.” I have given it that name because its proponents believe the Rapture will occur about three-quarters of the way through the Tribulation, or shortly thereafter.

2) The Chronology — I object to the 3/4 Trib Rapture because it violates the chronology of the book of Revelation. The sequence of events that is pictured in the book of Revelation clearly places both the Seal Judgments and the Trumpet Judgments in the first half of the 70th Week of Daniel. And the Bowl Judgments are clearly contained within Daniel’s 70th Week, near its end. The 3/4 Trib view scrambles all this. As you can see in the diagram above, the Seal Judgments are continued over into the second half of the 7 year period, the Trumpet Judgments are moved from the first half to the end of the second half, and the Bowl Judgments are appended to a 30 day period after the close of Daniel’s 70th Week!

3) Imminence — One of my strongest objections to the 3/4 Trib view is its destruction of the imminence of the Lord’s return. The Bible emphasizes that the Lord could return at any moment and that we should live looking for His return (Matthew 24:44, 1 Corinthians 1:7, Philippians 3:20, Philippians 4:5, Colossians 3: 4, 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 5:6, Titus 2:13, and Revelation 16:15). The 3/4 Trib view says the Lord cannot return until after the Antichrist appears, the Jewish Temple has been rebuilt and the world has suffered through about 5 years of the wrath of Man and Satan. Thus, according to the 3/4 Trib view, we should be living looking for the Antichrist and not Jesus Christ.

Rosenthal asserts that the Bible never says that any prophesied end time events could not occur before the Rapture. He is correct. The re-establishment of Israel is an example. The war of Gog & Magog could prove to be another example. Imminency does not preclude the fulfillment of some end time prophecies before the Rapture. Rather, it asserts that none have to happen before the Rapture can occur.

4) The Wrath of God — Another strong objection I have to the 3/4 Trib Rapture view is its mistaken concept of the sovereignty of God. The view attempts to distinguish the wrath of Man and Satan from the wrath of God. Both Man and Satan operate under the sovereignty of God. That’s why Psalm 2 pictures God sitting in Heaven laughing at the evil plots of the world’s political leaders. His laughing is not motivated by a lack of concern. He laughs because He has the wisdom and power to orchestrate all the evil of Man and Satan to the triumph of His Son.

Further, the Bible portrays God pouring out His wrath both directly (Sodom and Gomorrah) and indirectly (the destruction of both Israel and Judah). God poured out His wrath upon the rebellious northern nation of Israel by allowing the Assyrians to conquer it. He even referred to the Assyrians as “the rod of My anger” (Isaiah 10:5) and “My war-club” (Jeremiah 51:20).

When the prophet Habakkuk complained about God doing nothing about the evil of the southern nation of Judah, the Lord revealed that He was going to pour out His wrath on that nation through Babylon (Habakkuk 1:6). And when the Lord was finished with Babylon, He raised up the Medes and Persians to conquer the Babylonian Empire, referring to the conquering army as “My consecrated ones” (Isaiah 13:3).

During Daniel’s 70 Weeks of Years, much of the wrath of God will be executed through the Antichrist, but it is still the wrath of God.

5) The Tribulation — I object to the way in which the 3/4 Trib Rapture view denies that the first half of Daniel’s 70th Week is part of the Tribulation. The fact of the matter is that both halves of Daniel’s 70th Week are referred to in the Scriptures as a time of tribulation. Matthew 24:9 refers to the first half as “tribulation,” and Matthew 24:21 classifies the second half as “great tribulation.” Incidentally, Jesus’ reference to the second half as the “great tribulation” does not mean it will be worse than the first half. Rather, Jesus called it that because He was speaking to a Jewish audience, and the second half of the Tribulation will be when the Antichrist will try to annihilate the Jews.

6) The Purpose of Daniel’s 70th Week — I object to the way in which the 3/4 Trib Rapture view distorts the purpose of Daniel’s 70th Week. Daniel 9:24-27 makes it clear that the purpose of Daniel’s 70 Weeks of Years is to accomplish six things among the Jewish people:

To finish transgression

To make an end of sin

To make atonement for iniquity

To bring in everlasting righteousness

To seal up vision and prophecy

To anoint the most Holy Place

Just as the first 69 weeks of years (483 years) of the prophecy had nothing to do with the Church, neither does the final week of years. The last seven year period of Daniel’s prophecy is about the accomplishment of the purposes listed above among the Jewish people. Accordingly, the entire period of Daniel’s 70th Week is referred to in Jeremiah 30:7 as “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” There is no purpose for the Church during Daniel’s 70th Week.

7) The Church — I object to the 3/4 Trib Rapture view of why the Church must be present during the Tribulation. Incredibly, the argument has been proclaimed that the Church must suffer “for purging and purifying.”1 The Bible says that the blood of Jesus is sufficient to cleanse us of all sin (1 John 1:7). The idea that the Church needs to be purified creates a Christian Purgatory, which is a blasphemy of the blood of Jesus. Furthermore, why is it that only the end time Church deserves this fate?

8) The Seal Judgments — I strongly object to the 3/4 Trib Rapture view that the Seal Judgments do not constitute any portion of the wrath of God. The judgments originate at the throne of God when Jesus begins to open each seal (Revelation 6:1). Further, they are referred to as “the wrath of the Lamb” (Revelation 6:16-17).

9) The Length of Daniel’s 70th Week of Years — I object to the fact that the 3/4 Trib Rapture view extends Daniel’s 70th Week by 30 days beyond the 7 years or 2,520 days it is supposed to run (Revelation 11:3 and 12:6). There is just no scriptural basis for this extension.

10) The Day of the Lord — I object to the 3/4 Trib view of the Day of the Lord. Rosenthal contends that it begins with the opening of the 7th Seal, and he therefore argues that the wrath of God does not begin until this point.

The problem here is that the Day of the Lord is a term that is used in many different ways in the Bible, and it must always be interpreted in context. There are places when it refers to specific national judgments from God, as when Israel was destroyed by Assyria (Amos 5:18-20) and when Judah was destroyed by Babylon (Lamentations 2:21-22 and Ezekiel 13:5). In like manner the fall of Babylon is called the Day of the Lord (Isaiah 13:6-13).

But there are also times when the term refers to end time events. In this regard, it sometimes refers to the return of Jesus at the end of Daniel’s 70th Week (Isaiah 2:10-22, Joel 3:9-17 and Zechariah 14:1-9). In other end time contexts, the term is used in a broader sense. For example, in Zephaniah 1:14-18 it is used to refer to the entire period of the Tribulation when “all the earth will be devoured in the fire of His jealousy…”

In 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 it says the Day of the Lord will come at a time when people are feeling safe and secure — which would be at the beginning of Daniel’s 70th Week, after the Antichrist negotiates a treaty that guarantees peace for Israel. But the prophet Isaiah repeatedly uses a shorthand version of the term — “in that day” — to refer to the Millennium (Isaiah 4:2-6). I therefore think that in reference to the end times, the broad use of the term refers to the period of time from the beginning of Daniel’s 70th Week to the end of the Millennium.

http://www.lamblion.com/articles/articles_rapture10.php

Wrath To Come: You Brood of Vipers!

YOU BROOD OF VIPERS! WHO TOLD YOU TO FLEE FROM THE WRATH TO COME?” Matthew 3:7

[1]

by William Gray

November 29, 2014

I. INTRODUCTION:

The wrath of God is coming! It is a fact revealed in scripture. It is stated in many places. The quote from Matthew Chapter 3 above is a quote from John the Baptist when he saw the Scribes and Pharisees coming out to him to be baptized. The truth of God’s Holy Word is set forth concerning the wrath of God to make certain that everyone knows that the wrath of God is coming. Indeed, the Apostle Paul writing to the church at Thessalonica in the very first chapter reminds them that “they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God. And to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus “who delivers us from the wrath to come.”

The wrath of God will be poured out on all ungodliness at THE DAY OF THE LORD. It is not my purpose here to discuss the many eschatological views, but merely to state that it is an undisputed statement of holy scripture that at the day of the Lord the wrath of God will be poured out on all ungodliness. The Apostle John writes in Revelation Chapter 6 as follows:

“And the Kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the lamb! For the great day of his wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Revelation 6:15 – 17).

To be sure, there are many who disagree with this position. The unrighteous and ungodly do not agree. Many professing Christians who describe themselves as being liberal in their interpretation do not agree with this doctrine, and, finally, many professing Evangelicals profess to believe this doctrine, but they do not live as if they believe the doctrine. Nevertheless, it is a fact that is revealed in scripture. “The great day of God’s wrath is coming!”

Are we seeing the times that we live in at the present leading up to “the great day of His wrath?” Jesus himself said as it’s recorded in the 24th Chapter of Matthew beginning with the 37th verse,

“but as the days of Noah were, so also will be the coming of the son of man. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the Ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will be the coming of the son of man.”

What were the days like in the days of Noah? The Bible tells us what those days were like that Jesus references. It reveals in the 6th Chapter of Genesis, the book of beginnings, in the 5th verse as follows:

“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts and intents of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5)

We should look around us and see what is going on, not only in our culture in America, but around the world. Can it be denied that it is growing worse almost daily? Almost daily we hear of some new revelation of the wickedness of mankind on the earth; multiple large banks conspiring to fix prices; politicians lying about the so-called “affordable care act” because they state that the American people are so “stupid” that they cannot understand and will not know; multiple lying and misrepresentations of the truth by many in Congress regarding the Affordable Health Care Act, which is neither affordable nor is it providing Universal Health Care! In addition, many in the Middle East are killing, destroying, maiming, and committing evil continually. Many in America are shooting children in schools, setting off bombs at public events such as the Boston Marathon, and other reprehensible, cruel, ungodly, and unrighteous acts.

Clearly, the Lord God has preserved unto himself, a remnant which is walking in righteousness by the grace of God and seek “those things which are above where Christ sits on the right hand of the father” and further seek to “set their affection on things above and not on the things of the earth”. Nevertheless, there have been multiple random acts of cruel and vile behavior which indicate that “all of the imaginations of men’s hearts are only evil continually”. Even professing Evangelical pastors are now denying the truthfulness of God’s Holy Word, some, to a greater degree then others, but there are many professing that “God did not create the heavens and the earth and all that is therein” in 6 days. They deny the truthfulness of the fall of man set forth in Genesis. They deny the truthfulness of the global flood and the salvation of Noah and Ham, Japheth, and Shem and their wives. Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said of such denials “It is really quite monstrous, and utterly illogical, to accept certain revelations [of scripture] and to reject others; that leaves us in the most impossible position of all.” I have personally heard Dr. Frank M. Barker Jr, pastor emeritus at Briarwood Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Birmingham, Alabama, use the terminology that such people “declare that the Bible is only inspired [I]in spots and they are inspired to spot the spots”[/I]. Either way, it is shameful! A brief look at Romans Chapter 1:18-32 gives us the fact of the coming wrath of God and the reasons for it. This is truly a picture of life in America and many other places around the world in the 21st Century:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Roman 1:18-32)

II. THE WRATH OF GOD:

We immediately see that Paul wastes no time in getting to the fact of the wrath of God. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness…” It is interesting to note that Paul uses the same terminology in describing the revelation of the wrath of God as he does when he’s talking about the revelation of the righteousness of God. What is the wrath of God? The term “wrath” or, “the wrath of God” is frequently misunderstood. It does not describe the same kind of wrath that we see in human beings. Frequently we see individuals in some kind of rage, a man out of control almost beside himself because of some provocation or perceived wrong. This is not the case with the description of “the wrath of God”.

Scripture consistently reveals that the term “wrath of God” means God’s hatred of sin. God hates sin, which is abhorrent to him because sin is opposed to God. All that is opposed to God is hateful to God. Everything that is in the realm of darkness and of sin and of Satan is opposed to God and is abhorrent to Him. What the wrath of God means therefore is God’s view of sin. What we see in scripture is that we are to be holy for God is Holy. The very character of God is that he is Holy! Because God is Holy, sin and unholiness is antithetical to God’s holy character. In the Holy Bible we see over and over again that you cannot have fellowship between light and darkness. Light and darkness simply do not mix! Light expels the darkness and causes it to flee. The Apostle Paul describes us as being “light in the Lord, wherefore, we should walk as light”. (Ephesians Chapter 5) In the same manner, sin cannot exist in the presence of God. The Lord God must deal with sin. He must show his hatred of it. It is part of his own holiness and his greatness and the glory that He should reveal his hatred of sin.

There are multiple references to the wrath of God in God’s Holy Book. It may surprise you to understand that God’s word reveals this concept of the wrath of God 10 times in this epistle to the Roman Church. The first reference is in Chapter 1 verse 18. The 2nd is in the Chapter 2 verse 5,.“But after your hardness and impenitent heart treasures up unto yourself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God”, and again in the 8th verse of the 2nd Chapter. Other references to the wrath of God are found in Romans in the 5th verse of the 3rd Chapter, the 15th verse of Chapter 4, and again in Chapter 5 verse 9. Paul had been saying in chapter 5 verse 8, “God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”, then in verse 9 he says, “much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from the wrath through him”. Thus we are enabled to see the connection between the wrath of God and that glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the Gospel of Christ that saves us from the wrath to come! Jesus is the door. Just as the door of the Ark saved those who entered in, the door of Jesus, when we enter in by trust in the Lord Jesus Christ in repentance and surrender of our will to the Lord’s will, saves us from the wrath to come. We see the next reference to the wrath of God in Romans in Chapter 9 verse 22, and again in Chapter 12 verse 13. And finally, the last 2 examples are found in Romans in Chapter 13 verse 4 and 5. The reader may read these actual references for him or herself.

These references to the wrath of God are not limited to the book of Romans. Indeed, if you go through all of Paul’s epistles you will find that this concept that the gospel of God delivers us from the wrath to come is everywhere. A few references are First Corinthians Chapter 3; 2nd Corinthians Chapter 2 and Chapter 5. In Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians in the 2nd Chapter and the 3rd verse, we see him saying “among whom also we all once had our conversation (manner of life) in times past in the lust of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as others.” It is also in the 5th Chapter of Ephesians verse 6; and in the 3rd Chapter of Colossians verse 6 we see “because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience”. Everywhere in scripture we see that the wrath of God is equated with the “sons of disobedience”. Interestingly, in Ephesians, Chapter 2, Paul says we are all “children of wrath by nature”. Everyone, without exception, will experience the wrath of God unless… Unless what? Unless the Lord God saves them according to his sovereign grace through their hearing that great and glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit’s application of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to our lives. This results in a turning from our sin, true repentance unto life (a true surrender of our will to the Lord’s will), and placing our trust in Christ alone for our salvation. Have you done that? Are you prepared to flee from the wrath of God? You cannot flee! You cannot run fast enough; you cannot hide; you cannot get away, unless and except you have received the pardon, freely given, of redemption through the precious blood of Jesus. He alone makes us accepted in the beloved. Only the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin and makes it possible for us to escape the wrath of God.

Look again at Paul’s epistle to the Church at Rome. In part we see that God has chosen to reveal “the wrath to come” and has set forth for our edification specific sins, on which His wrath shall be poured out. In part we see in Romans Chapter 1 verses 18 through 32 that “the wrath of God” is poured out against “all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness”. Another way to look at that is that they suppress the truth. They do not speak the truth they hide the truth. We see clearly in this first chapter of Romans that they have a knowledge of God and it is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. They have clearly seen and understood God’s invisible attributes, even his eternal power and God- head so that they are without excuse. Nevertheless, “they did not glorify God as God. They were not even thankful. Their foolish hearts were darkened and professing themselves to be wise they became fools and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man…” The absolutely terrible pronouncement is that God “gave them up”. He gave them up to uncleanness. He gave them over to the lust of their own hearts. “They exchanged the truth of God for the lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator who is blessed forever Amen.” God gave them over to vile passions. Lesbians! “Women who exchanged the natural use for what is against nature” Likewise also the men “leaving the natural use of the woman burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.”

This description of homosexuality is a specific warning/revelation to all who will listen, of the evidence of the nearness of the Day of the Lord. For those who may be engaged in such activity, as well as others who are engaged in other ungodly and unrighteous acts set out in Romans 1:18-32, the good news is that God has prepared the door for your escape from the wrath of God. Repent and turn from sin and place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. Call on the name of the Lord and be saved from the wrath to come. The fact, for it is a fact, that salvation is by faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ, is that God has given us great promises that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Do you realize that this is also evidence of the fact that there is no sin too Black, no sin too grievous, that God is not willing to receive those who repent from their sin (surrender their will to the Lord’s will) and place their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for their salvation? Have you done that? If not, do so and be saved from the wrath to come.

In the remaining verses of the first Chapter of Romans, we see that there are many other sins that are described.

They did not like to retain God in their knowledge; God gave them over

“to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting, being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil mindedness, they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventers of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful, who, knowing the righteous judgment of God that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve those who practice them.”

What a terrible list. All of these terrible ungodly, unrighteous, sinful things, but right there in the middle is “disobedient to parents”! This applies to everyone!

The offer is the same to all! All who will surrender their will to the Lord’s will and receive the gift of eternal life offered by saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can come to him! God cleanses them from all sin by the precious blood of Jesus, redeems them, and makes them accepted in the beloved and He adopts them into his family. No longer an outcast. No longer subject to the wrath of God, Jesus says, “Come unto me all you that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest; take my yoke upon you and learn of me for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest unto your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Have you come in that way to the Lord Jesus Christ? If not, will you come? If you have come would you pray for all of those that you know who have not come, or who evidence the fact that they have not come? Pray that the Lord Jesus Christ would manifest himself unto them and that they would surrender their will to the Lord’s will and place their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for their salvation and be saved from the wrath to come.

III. THE WRATH OF GOD -MOTIVATION FOR THE PROCLAMATION AND PREACHING OF THE GLORIOUS GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST:

This great doctrine of The Wrath of God is the great motivation for going and telling others of Jesus. Let’s all be zealous to tell others of Jesus who is mighty to save (from the wrath of God). Paul says that it is his motivation to preach and teach the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. Look at the connection or relationship between verse 16 of the first Chapter of Romans, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” and the 18th verse of Chapter 1. Notice in verse 16 that the Gospel of Christ is God’s power unto salvation. This is the means of escape from the coming Wrath of God later revealed in verse 18. Verse 16 makes it clear that we don’t save anyone. Our job, indeed, our calling (for the call is to everyone), is to preach and teach the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. This call is not just for evangelists, or pastors, or those who preach to thousands! It is for you and for me and for everyone who names the name of Christ. We have the truth. We cannot be those who suppress the truth! We cannot “hold the truth in unrighteousness”. It is our calling to go and tell others of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the Holy Spirit of God who actually applies the Gospel of Christ to those who are the called!

The great expository preacher of the 20th century, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in his sermons on this particular section of the first chapter of Romans says this about Paul:

“[Here] he tells us why he preaches. This is his motive, the thing that sends him out and makes him travel over seas and continents, working day and night to preach this Gospel. This is the reason and the motive …This is the thing that Paul starts with. There is no mention here of any experience. He is not talking in terms of their happiness or some particular state of mind, or something that might appeal to them, as certain possibilities do – but this staggering, amazing thing the wrath of God! and he puts it first; it is the thing that he says at once. Here is the motive for evangelism; here is the thing that urged and drove this man: “for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men…..

Paul is telling the church at Rome, beginning at the first of the chapter, that

“he is a bond servant of the Lord Jesus Christ and that he is called to be an apostle, separated, to the Gospel of God which [God] promised before through his prophets in the holy scriptures, concerning his son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead. Through him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for his name, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ.”

It is this Wrath of God that is the great motivating factor for Paul to go and tell others of this great and grand and glorious Gospel of God, the Gospel of Christ. Remember we are all evangelists. Why are we to be evangelists and to evangelize? It is to tell people to flee from the Wrath of God that is coming on all the earth. It is not to talk about the needs of the people and how to be a better father, mother, brother, sister, or any other particular need. It is not to talk to people about how much “fun” we have at our church. It is not because of the music. It is because of the Gospel of Christ applied by God the Holy Spirit is the only way to escape from the Wrath of God!

Dr. Lloyd-Jones said, that he had seen a “big poster outside a big chapel that I passed [recently] which said ‘Come and join us next Sunday evening. Come to our bright Sunday evening service. Come and have a good time with us – cheery music, bright music. Come and join us’. I, like Dr. Lloyd-Jones once heard a preacher invite people to come to the evening service “to have fun” and not to be worried because there would be “no doctrine at the evening service.” No doctrine? “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto every good work.” No doctrine? That is utterly disgusting to Christian people! We must believe in the power of the Holy Spirit even as the apostle Paul did. Paul knew that everything depended upon the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit of God who warns men, not Paul; it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is the power of God unto salvation! That is doctrine! God’s Holy Truth! It is the Holy Spirit who applies that Gospel to the hearts of men and women. Whatever men may do or say, it is the business of each of us to preach the truth, while it is the Holy Spirit who does the application. Let us all be zealous to tell others of Jesus who is “mighty to save.” Let us be peculiar people, a people whom he purifies for himself, his own special people, zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:14) This then is the motivation for Paul and it must be the motivation for each of us.We have all been called to proclaim the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. The urgency of the hour is to proclaim the glorious message of Christ that others might hear and that God might, in his mercy and in his grace, grant them repentance unto life and saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that they too may escape the wrath to come!

CONCLUSION:

Now unto Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we even ask or think, according to the power that works in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end, Amen!

Your Servant and Brother in Christ,

Daniel (Bill Gray)

Exposition of Chapter 1 the Gospel of God – ROMANS page 342

Dr. D. Martin Lloyd-Jones’s Exposition of Chapter 1 The Gospel of God-Romans page 325

http://www.worldviewweekend.com/news/article/you-brood-vipers-who-told-you-flee-wrath-come-matthew-37

Wrath To Come: You Brood of Vipers!

YOU BROOD OF VIPERS! WHO TOLD YOU TO FLEE FROM THE WRATH TO COME?” Matthew 3:7

[1]

by William Gray

November 29, 2014

I. INTRODUCTION:

The wrath of God is coming! It is a fact revealed in scripture. It is stated in many places. The quote from Matthew Chapter 3 above is a quote from John the Baptist when he saw the Scribes and Pharisees coming out to him to be baptized. The truth of God’s Holy Word is set forth concerning the wrath of God to make certain that everyone knows that the wrath of God is coming. Indeed, the Apostle Paul writing to the church at Thessalonica in the very first chapter reminds them that “they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God. And to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus “who delivers us from the wrath to come.”

The wrath of God will be poured out on all ungodliness at THE DAY OF THE LORD. It is not my purpose here to discuss the many eschatological views, but merely to state that it is an undisputed statement of holy scripture that at the day of the Lord the wrath of God will be poured out on all ungodliness. The Apostle John writes in Revelation Chapter 6 as follows:

“And the Kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the lamb! For the great day of his wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Revelation 6:15 – 17).

To be sure, there are many who disagree with this position. The unrighteous and ungodly do not agree. Many professing Christians who describe themselves as being liberal in their interpretation do not agree with this doctrine, and, finally, many professing Evangelicals profess to believe this doctrine, but they do not live as if they believe the doctrine. Nevertheless, it is a fact that is revealed in scripture. “The great day of God’s wrath is coming!”

Are we seeing the times that we live in at the present leading up to “the great day of His wrath?” Jesus himself said as it’s recorded in the 24th Chapter of Matthew beginning with the 37th verse,

“but as the days of Noah were, so also will be the coming of the son of man. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the Ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will be the coming of the son of man.”

What were the days like in the days of Noah? The Bible tells us what those days were like that Jesus references. It reveals in the 6th Chapter of Genesis, the book of beginnings, in the 5th verse as follows:

“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts and intents of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5)

We should look around us and see what is going on, not only in our culture in America, but around the world. Can it be denied that it is growing worse almost daily? Almost daily we hear of some new revelation of the wickedness of mankind on the earth; multiple large banks conspiring to fix prices; politicians lying about the so-called “affordable care act” because they state that the American people are so “stupid” that they cannot understand and will not know; multiple lying and misrepresentations of the truth by many in Congress regarding the Affordable Health Care Act, which is neither affordable nor is it providing Universal Health Care! In addition, many in the Middle East are killing, destroying, maiming, and committing evil continually. Many in America are shooting children in schools, setting off bombs at public events such as the Boston Marathon, and other reprehensible, cruel, ungodly, and unrighteous acts.

Clearly, the Lord God has preserved unto himself, a remnant which is walking in righteousness by the grace of God and seek “those things which are above where Christ sits on the right hand of the father” and further seek to “set their affection on things above and not on the things of the earth”. Nevertheless, there have been multiple random acts of cruel and vile behavior which indicate that “all of the imaginations of men’s hearts are only evil continually”. Even professing Evangelical pastors are now denying the truthfulness of God’s Holy Word, some, to a greater degree then others, but there are many professing that “God did not create the heavens and the earth and all that is therein” in 6 days. They deny the truthfulness of the fall of man set forth in Genesis. They deny the truthfulness of the global flood and the salvation of Noah and Ham, Japheth, and Shem and their wives. Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said of such denials “It is really quite monstrous, and utterly illogical, to accept certain revelations [of scripture] and to reject others; that leaves us in the most impossible position of all.” I have personally heard Dr. Frank M. Barker Jr, pastor emeritus at Briarwood Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Birmingham, Alabama, use the terminology that such people “declare that the Bible is only inspired [I]in spots and they are inspired to spot the spots”[/I]. Either way, it is shameful! A brief look at Romans Chapter 1:18-32 gives us the fact of the coming wrath of God and the reasons for it. This is truly a picture of life in America and many other places around the world in the 21st Century:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Roman 1:18-32)

II. THE WRATH OF GOD:

We immediately see that Paul wastes no time in getting to the fact of the wrath of God. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness…” It is interesting to note that Paul uses the same terminology in describing the revelation of the wrath of God as he does when he’s talking about the revelation of the righteousness of God. What is the wrath of God? The term “wrath” or, “the wrath of God” is frequently misunderstood. It does not describe the same kind of wrath that we see in human beings. Frequently we see individuals in some kind of rage, a man out of control almost beside himself because of some provocation or perceived wrong. This is not the case with the description of “the wrath of God”.

Scripture consistently reveals that the term “wrath of God” means God’s hatred of sin. God hates sin, which is abhorrent to him because sin is opposed to God. All that is opposed to God is hateful to God. Everything that is in the realm of darkness and of sin and of Satan is opposed to God and is abhorrent to Him. What the wrath of God means therefore is God’s view of sin. What we see in scripture is that we are to be holy for God is Holy. The very character of God is that he is Holy! Because God is Holy, sin and unholiness is antithetical to God’s holy character. In the Holy Bible we see over and over again that you cannot have fellowship between light and darkness. Light and darkness simply do not mix! Light expels the darkness and causes it to flee. The Apostle Paul describes us as being “light in the Lord, wherefore, we should walk as light”. (Ephesians Chapter 5) In the same manner, sin cannot exist in the presence of God. The Lord God must deal with sin. He must show his hatred of it. It is part of his own holiness and his greatness and the glory that He should reveal his hatred of sin.

There are multiple references to the wrath of God in God’s Holy Book. It may surprise you to understand that God’s word reveals this concept of the wrath of God 10 times in this epistle to the Roman Church. The first reference is in Chapter 1 verse 18. The 2nd is in the Chapter 2 verse 5,.“But after your hardness and impenitent heart treasures up unto yourself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God”, and again in the 8th verse of the 2nd Chapter. Other references to the wrath of God are found in Romans in the 5th verse of the 3rd Chapter, the 15th verse of Chapter 4, and again in Chapter 5 verse 9. Paul had been saying in chapter 5 verse 8, “God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”, then in verse 9 he says, “much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from the wrath through him”. Thus we are enabled to see the connection between the wrath of God and that glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the Gospel of Christ that saves us from the wrath to come! Jesus is the door. Just as the door of the Ark saved those who entered in, the door of Jesus, when we enter in by trust in the Lord Jesus Christ in repentance and surrender of our will to the Lord’s will, saves us from the wrath to come. We see the next reference to the wrath of God in Romans in Chapter 9 verse 22, and again in Chapter 12 verse 13. And finally, the last 2 examples are found in Romans in Chapter 13 verse 4 and 5. The reader may read these actual references for him or herself.

These references to the wrath of God are not limited to the book of Romans. Indeed, if you go through all of Paul’s epistles you will find that this concept that the gospel of God delivers us from the wrath to come is everywhere. A few references are First Corinthians Chapter 3; 2nd Corinthians Chapter 2 and Chapter 5. In Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians in the 2nd Chapter and the 3rd verse, we see him saying “among whom also we all once had our conversation (manner of life) in times past in the lust of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as others.” It is also in the 5th Chapter of Ephesians verse 6; and in the 3rd Chapter of Colossians verse 6 we see “because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience”. Everywhere in scripture we see that the wrath of God is equated with the “sons of disobedience”. Interestingly, in Ephesians, Chapter 2, Paul says we are all “children of wrath by nature”. Everyone, without exception, will experience the wrath of God unless… Unless what? Unless the Lord God saves them according to his sovereign grace through their hearing that great and glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit’s application of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to our lives. This results in a turning from our sin, true repentance unto life (a true surrender of our will to the Lord’s will), and placing our trust in Christ alone for our salvation. Have you done that? Are you prepared to flee from the wrath of God? You cannot flee! You cannot run fast enough; you cannot hide; you cannot get away, unless and except you have received the pardon, freely given, of redemption through the precious blood of Jesus. He alone makes us accepted in the beloved. Only the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin and makes it possible for us to escape the wrath of God.

Look again at Paul’s epistle to the Church at Rome. In part we see that God has chosen to reveal “the wrath to come” and has set forth for our edification specific sins, on which His wrath shall be poured out. In part we see in Romans Chapter 1 verses 18 through 32 that “the wrath of God” is poured out against “all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness”. Another way to look at that is that they suppress the truth. They do not speak the truth they hide the truth. We see clearly in this first chapter of Romans that they have a knowledge of God and it is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. They have clearly seen and understood God’s invisible attributes, even his eternal power and God- head so that they are without excuse. Nevertheless, “they did not glorify God as God. They were not even thankful. Their foolish hearts were darkened and professing themselves to be wise they became fools and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man…” The absolutely terrible pronouncement is that God “gave them up”. He gave them up to uncleanness. He gave them over to the lust of their own hearts. “They exchanged the truth of God for the lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator who is blessed forever Amen.” God gave them over to vile passions. Lesbians! “Women who exchanged the natural use for what is against nature” Likewise also the men “leaving the natural use of the woman burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.”

This description of homosexuality is a specific warning/revelation to all who will listen, of the evidence of the nearness of the Day of the Lord. For those who may be engaged in such activity, as well as others who are engaged in other ungodly and unrighteous acts set out in Romans 1:18-32, the good news is that God has prepared the door for your escape from the wrath of God. Repent and turn from sin and place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. Call on the name of the Lord and be saved from the wrath to come. The fact, for it is a fact, that salvation is by faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ, is that God has given us great promises that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Do you realize that this is also evidence of the fact that there is no sin too Black, no sin too grievous, that God is not willing to receive those who repent from their sin (surrender their will to the Lord’s will) and place their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for their salvation? Have you done that? If not, do so and be saved from the wrath to come.

In the remaining verses of the first Chapter of Romans, we see that there are many other sins that are described.

They did not like to retain God in their knowledge; God gave them over

“to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting, being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil mindedness, they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventers of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful, who, knowing the righteous judgment of God that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve those who practice them.”

What a terrible list. All of these terrible ungodly, unrighteous, sinful things, but right there in the middle is “disobedient to parents”! This applies to everyone!

The offer is the same to all! All who will surrender their will to the Lord’s will and receive the gift of eternal life offered by saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can come to him! God cleanses them from all sin by the precious blood of Jesus, redeems them, and makes them accepted in the beloved and He adopts them into his family. No longer an outcast. No longer subject to the wrath of God, Jesus says, “Come unto me all you that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest; take my yoke upon you and learn of me for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest unto your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Have you come in that way to the Lord Jesus Christ? If not, will you come? If you have come would you pray for all of those that you know who have not come, or who evidence the fact that they have not come? Pray that the Lord Jesus Christ would manifest himself unto them and that they would surrender their will to the Lord’s will and place their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for their salvation and be saved from the wrath to come.

III. THE WRATH OF GOD -MOTIVATION FOR THE PROCLAMATION AND PREACHING OF THE GLORIOUS GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST:

This great doctrine of The Wrath of God is the great motivation for going and telling others of Jesus. Let’s all be zealous to tell others of Jesus who is mighty to save (from the wrath of God). Paul says that it is his motivation to preach and teach the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. Look at the connection or relationship between verse 16 of the first Chapter of Romans, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” and the 18th verse of Chapter 1. Notice in verse 16 that the Gospel of Christ is God’s power unto salvation. This is the means of escape from the coming Wrath of God later revealed in verse 18. Verse 16 makes it clear that we don’t save anyone. Our job, indeed, our calling (for the call is to everyone), is to preach and teach the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. This call is not just for evangelists, or pastors, or those who preach to thousands! It is for you and for me and for everyone who names the name of Christ. We have the truth. We cannot be those who suppress the truth! We cannot “hold the truth in unrighteousness”. It is our calling to go and tell others of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the Holy Spirit of God who actually applies the Gospel of Christ to those who are the called!

The great expository preacher of the 20th century, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in his sermons on this particular section of the first chapter of Romans says this about Paul:

“[Here] he tells us why he preaches. This is his motive, the thing that sends him out and makes him travel over seas and continents, working day and night to preach this Gospel. This is the reason and the motive …This is the thing that Paul starts with. There is no mention here of any experience. He is not talking in terms of their happiness or some particular state of mind, or something that might appeal to them, as certain possibilities do – but this staggering, amazing thing the wrath of God! and he puts it first; it is the thing that he says at once. Here is the motive for evangelism; here is the thing that urged and drove this man: “for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men…..

Paul is telling the church at Rome, beginning at the first of the chapter, that

“he is a bond servant of the Lord Jesus Christ and that he is called to be an apostle, separated, to the Gospel of God which [God] promised before through his prophets in the holy scriptures, concerning his son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead. Through him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for his name, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ.”

It is this Wrath of God that is the great motivating factor for Paul to go and tell others of this great and grand and glorious Gospel of God, the Gospel of Christ. Remember we are all evangelists. Why are we to be evangelists and to evangelize? It is to tell people to flee from the Wrath of God that is coming on all the earth. It is not to talk about the needs of the people and how to be a better father, mother, brother, sister, or any other particular need. It is not to talk to people about how much “fun” we have at our church. It is not because of the music. It is because of the Gospel of Christ applied by God the Holy Spirit is the only way to escape from the Wrath of God!

Dr. Lloyd-Jones said, that he had seen a “big poster outside a big chapel that I passed [recently] which said ‘Come and join us next Sunday evening. Come to our bright Sunday evening service. Come and have a good time with us – cheery music, bright music. Come and join us’. I, like Dr. Lloyd-Jones once heard a preacher invite people to come to the evening service “to have fun” and not to be worried because there would be “no doctrine at the evening service.” No doctrine? “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto every good work.” No doctrine? That is utterly disgusting to Christian people! We must believe in the power of the Holy Spirit even as the apostle Paul did. Paul knew that everything depended upon the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit of God who warns men, not Paul; it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is the power of God unto salvation! That is doctrine! God’s Holy Truth! It is the Holy Spirit who applies that Gospel to the hearts of men and women. Whatever men may do or say, it is the business of each of us to preach the truth, while it is the Holy Spirit who does the application. Let us all be zealous to tell others of Jesus who is “mighty to save.” Let us be peculiar people, a people whom he purifies for himself, his own special people, zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:14) This then is the motivation for Paul and it must be the motivation for each of us.We have all been called to proclaim the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. The urgency of the hour is to proclaim the glorious message of Christ that others might hear and that God might, in his mercy and in his grace, grant them repentance unto life and saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that they too may escape the wrath to come!

CONCLUSION:

Now unto Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we even ask or think, according to the power that works in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end, Amen!

Your Servant and Brother in Christ,

Daniel (Bill Gray)

Exposition of Chapter 1 the Gospel of God – ROMANS page 342

Dr. D. Martin Lloyd-Jones’s Exposition of Chapter 1 The Gospel of God-Romans page 325

http://www.worldviewweekend.com/news/article/you-brood-vipers-who-told-you-flee-wrath-come-matthew-37

Revelation 6 and Amillennialism

Revelation 6 and Amillennialism

Sept. 9, 2014

by Matt Waymeyer

Is Revelation 6:9–11 (Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) ) a proof text for amillennialism?

A few months ago, Sam Storms wrote a blog article explaining that, unlike many of his fellow amillennialists, he came to embrace amillennialism because of Revelation 20, not in spite of it. According to Storms, the evidence in Revelation 20 is altogether persuasive that the millennial reign of the saints is “a reference to the experience of co-regency on the part of those believers who are now in the intermediate state with Christ.” For this reason, in contrast to the premillennial view that the thousand years of Revelation 20 will take place after the Second Coming, Storms believes “the millennium is a current phenomenon, in heaven, spanning the age between the two advents of Jesus Christ.”

In the remainder of the article, Storms offers ten reasons why Revelation 20 itself persuades him that amillennialism is true, all of which were also articulated in his recent book, Kingdom Come. In the fifth reason, Storms appeals to “the obvious parallel” between Revelation 20:1–6 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) and Revelation 6:9–11 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) (also see Kingdom Come, 457–58).

According to Storms, a careful comparison between the two passages reveals that they are clearly describing the same experience of martyred saints in the intermediate state:

Because of these parallels, Storms says it “seems beyond reasonable doubt” that these two visions are describing the same experience of the martyrs and therefore that Revelation 20:4–6 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) must portray life in the intermediate state, which is the amillennial view.

The problem with this argument is that the similarities listed by Storms merely prove that both visions refer to the same group of individuals, not that both visions describe the same experience of those individuals. In fact, John identifies the martyrs and what led to their deaths in Revelation 6:9Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) and 20:4a Open in Logos Bible Software (if available), but he does not describe the experience of these martyrs until Revelation 6:10–11 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) and 20:4bOpen in Logos Bible Software (if available). For this reason, if Storms wants to demonstrate that Revelation 6:9–11 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) and 20:4 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) describe the same experience of these martyrs in the intermediate state, he must show clear parallels between Revelation 6:10–11 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) and 20:4b Open in Logos Bible Software (if available). But these are the very parts of the passages he ignores in his comparison.

The two visions are obviously related to one another, but their relationship is one of progression rather than simple identity (J. Ramsey Michaels, “The First Resurrection,” 107). More specifically, the progression from Revelation 6:9–11Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) to 20:4–6 is such that if the former refers to the intermediate state (as it clearly does), then the latter must refer to a subsequent stage in the experience of the martyred saints (Michaels, 107–08). In Revelation 6:10–11 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) the martyrs cry out to the Lord to avenge their blood because of the ongoing martyrdom of the saints (v. 10). In response to their anguished pleas, they are given white robes and told to wait until the full number of martyrs has been slain (v. 11), with the implied promise that vindication will come when this number has been reached. This is indeed the intermediate state.

In Revelation 20:4b Open in Logos Bible Software (if available), however, their number is now complete (cf. Rev 13:15 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available); 18:24 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)) and their prayers for vindication have been answered, for the Lord has returned in judgment (Rev 19:11–21 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)). The wait for divine vengeance described in 6:9–11 is now over, and the entire group of martyrs comes to life and reigns with Christ for a thousand years (Rev 20:4 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)). This distinction between the two passages is reflected in the fact that the experience of the martyred saints in Revelation 6:9–11 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) lasts for a short time (“a little while longer” in v. 11), whereas the experience of the martyred saints in Revelation 20:4–6Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) lasts for a long time (“a thousand years” in v. 4) (William J. Webb, “Revelation 20,” 32). The two passages are clearly not describing the same experience or period of time.

Storms and other amillennialists may disagree with this reading of the Book of Revelation, but the consistency of this progression between the two passages demonstrates the compatibility of Revelation 6:9–11 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) with the premillennial view of Revelation 20:4–6Open in Logos Bible Software (if available). In doing so, it also demonstrates that Revelation 6:9–11 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) fails to provide compelling evidence that Revelation 20:4–6 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) describes life in the intermediate state. Storms may claim to be an amillennialist because of Revelation 20, but Revelation 6:9–11 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) provides no support for his argument.

http://thecripplegate.com/revelation-6-and-amillennialism/

Revelation 6 and Amillennialism

Revelation 6 and Amillennialism

Sept. 9, 2014

by Matt Waymeyer

Is Revelation 6:9–11 (Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) ) a proof text for amillennialism?

A few months ago, Sam Storms wrote a blog article explaining that, unlike many of his fellow amillennialists, he came to embrace amillennialism because of Revelation 20, not in spite of it. According to Storms, the evidence in Revelation 20 is altogether persuasive that the millennial reign of the saints is “a reference to the experience of co-regency on the part of those believers who are now in the intermediate state with Christ.” For this reason, in contrast to the premillennial view that the thousand years of Revelation 20 will take place after the Second Coming, Storms believes “the millennium is a current phenomenon, in heaven, spanning the age between the two advents of Jesus Christ.”

In the remainder of the article, Storms offers ten reasons why Revelation 20 itself persuades him that amillennialism is true, all of which were also articulated in his recent book, Kingdom Come. In the fifth reason, Storms appeals to “the obvious parallel” between Revelation 20:1–6 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) and Revelation 6:9–11 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) (also see Kingdom Come, 457–58).

According to Storms, a careful comparison between the two passages reveals that they are clearly describing the same experience of martyred saints in the intermediate state:

Because of these parallels, Storms says it “seems beyond reasonable doubt” that these two visions are describing the same experience of the martyrs and therefore that Revelation 20:4–6 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) must portray life in the intermediate state, which is the amillennial view.

The problem with this argument is that the similarities listed by Storms merely prove that both visions refer to the same group of individuals, not that both visions describe the same experience of those individuals. In fact, John identifies the martyrs and what led to their deaths in Revelation 6:9Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) and 20:4a Open in Logos Bible Software (if available), but he does not describe the experience of these martyrs until Revelation 6:10–11 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) and 20:4bOpen in Logos Bible Software (if available). For this reason, if Storms wants to demonstrate that Revelation 6:9–11 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) and 20:4 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) describe the same experience of these martyrs in the intermediate state, he must show clear parallels between Revelation 6:10–11 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) and 20:4b Open in Logos Bible Software (if available). But these are the very parts of the passages he ignores in his comparison.

The two visions are obviously related to one another, but their relationship is one of progression rather than simple identity (J. Ramsey Michaels, “The First Resurrection,” 107). More specifically, the progression from Revelation 6:9–11Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) to 20:4–6 is such that if the former refers to the intermediate state (as it clearly does), then the latter must refer to a subsequent stage in the experience of the martyred saints (Michaels, 107–08). In Revelation 6:10–11 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) the martyrs cry out to the Lord to avenge their blood because of the ongoing martyrdom of the saints (v. 10). In response to their anguished pleas, they are given white robes and told to wait until the full number of martyrs has been slain (v. 11), with the implied promise that vindication will come when this number has been reached. This is indeed the intermediate state.

In Revelation 20:4b Open in Logos Bible Software (if available), however, their number is now complete (cf. Rev 13:15 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available); 18:24 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)) and their prayers for vindication have been answered, for the Lord has returned in judgment (Rev 19:11–21 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)). The wait for divine vengeance described in 6:9–11 is now over, and the entire group of martyrs comes to life and reigns with Christ for a thousand years (Rev 20:4 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)). This distinction between the two passages is reflected in the fact that the experience of the martyred saints in Revelation 6:9–11 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) lasts for a short time (“a little while longer” in v. 11), whereas the experience of the martyred saints in Revelation 20:4–6Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) lasts for a long time (“a thousand years” in v. 4) (William J. Webb, “Revelation 20,” 32). The two passages are clearly not describing the same experience or period of time.

Storms and other amillennialists may disagree with this reading of the Book of Revelation, but the consistency of this progression between the two passages demonstrates the compatibility of Revelation 6:9–11 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) with the premillennial view of Revelation 20:4–6Open in Logos Bible Software (if available). In doing so, it also demonstrates that Revelation 6:9–11 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) fails to provide compelling evidence that Revelation 20:4–6 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) describes life in the intermediate state. Storms may claim to be an amillennialist because of Revelation 20, but Revelation 6:9–11 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) provides no support for his argument.

http://thecripplegate.com/revelation-6-and-amillennialism/

JOHN PIPER AND THE RAPTURE

JOHN PIPER AND THE RAPTURE

by Dr. Thomas Ice

August 18, 2014

A new movie version of Tim LaHaye’s and Jerry Jenkins’ Left Behind novel is scheduled for release in movie theaters on October 3, 2014. This version features Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage cast in the role of pilot Rayford Steele. The announcement of this movie release has lead to a number of articles critical of the pretribulational rapture. Morgan Lee produced a piece primarily quoting William Craig,[1] a Philosophy professor at historically pretribulational Talbot School of Theology in Southern California. Another article appeared a week later: “Nine Reasons Why John Piper Disagrees with Nicolas Cage’s ‘Left Behind’ Movie’s View of Rapture.”[2] Apparently a number of folks within the Evangelical community are concerned that the new movie may have a great impact upon the thinking of the Christian community, so they are trying to get a head start on bashing the biblical basis for our blessed hope.

Pied Piper

Retired pastor and author John Piper has a large following, especially among younger Evangelicals. While he is premillennial, he is decidedly anti-pre-trib and not a supporter of the modern state of Israel. According to Noske, Piper recently tweeted his nine reasons against pretribulationism. Even though space is limited, I will attempt to evaluate those reasons.[3]

1. “To meet” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 means to meet and accompany back to earth, thus, cannot be pretribulational. The Greek word for “to meet” does NOT mean what Piper says. Piper’s view was developed in the 1930s and more recent scholarship has disproved his speculation.[4] “To meet” does not imply any direction on the basis of the word itself. Instead, spatial direction is indicated by the context of a passage.

2. 2 Thessalonians 1:5–7 refers to the second coming. I agree this passage refers to the second coming and not the rapture. Perhaps there are some pretribulationists who see the rapture in this passage but I have never met one. Many of Piper’s objections, such as this one, are based upon a false understanding of what pretribulationists actually believe. He is chasing after windmills.

3. In 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 Piper equates the “gathering together to Him” and “the day of the Lord” as referring to the same event, the second coming. I disagree! They are separate items. The phrase “gathering together to Him” and “to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thess. 4:17) are identical concepts. Both refer to the rapture as a separate event from that of the “day of the Lord.” The “day of the Lord” is used in the Old and New Testaments to primarily refer to the seven-year tribulation period and is not at all a synonym for the second coming. The phrase “great and terrible day of the Lord” is a reference to the second coming (Isa. 13:9; Joel 2:31; Zeph. 1:14–16; Mal. 4:1, 5). If Piper is correct concerning his view on this matter, then it would mean that the man of sin (the antichrist) would come after the second coming, which does not make sense within anyone’s viewpoint.

Piper says further support for his view is that “gathering” is also used in Matthew 24:31, which is clearly a posttribulational event. He claims it is the same word as in 2 Thessalonians 2. Actually, both are from the same root but are not the same word. One is a noun (2 Thess. 2) and the other is a verb (Matt. 24). The contexts of the two passages are very different, just like the rapture and the second coming are also very different events.

4. If Paul intended to teach pretribulationism then why did he not just come out and say that in 2 Thessalonians 2:3? I have been arguing in a number of articles[5] over the years that the Greek word often translated “falling away” or “apostasy” is best translated “departure.” Since the context supports the idea of a spatial or physical departure in 2:3, then Paul is saying exactly what Piper suggests. Paul tells them that they are not in the day of the Lord or the tribulation since the departure of the church, which is the rapture, has not taken place. The false teachers in 2 Thessalonians are teaching posttribulationism and Paul corrects them with pretribulationism.

5. Piper says no pre-trib rapture is found in Matthew 24 or Mark 13 or Luke 21. I totally agree that the rapture is not found anywhere in the Olivet Discourse. That Discourse provides Jesus’ outline of the seven-year tribulation period leading up to the second coming with no mention of the rapture. The rapture of the Church is not revealed by Christ until the night before He was crucified. The Upper Room Discourse (John 13–16) contains Christ’s introduction to Church Age truth that He expands upon in the Epistles. It makes sense that the new revelation about the rapture was introduced to His disciples shortly before His death and resurrection (John 14:1–3).[6]

6. Piper notes the New Testament teaches saints will be protected by God during the tribulation by the seal of God (Rev. 9:4). How is this an argument against pretribulationism since all holding to a pre-trib position believe that there will be saints who will be protected during the tribulation? Those saints in the tribulation are never called the church, instead they are the hundreds of millions who will be saved after the rapture of the church during the tribulation (Rev. 7:9–17). Many will be martyred (Rev. 6:9–11) and many will make it through the perils of that time and will enter into the millennial kingdom in their mortal bodies. So it means all will not be protected during the tribulation as Piper intimates. Revelation 9:4 speaks specifically of the five month torture of the demonic locusts (Rev. 9:1–11).

7. Next, he speaks of the command to “watch” as admonished by our Lord in Matthew 25:1–13 when speaking of the parable of the ten virgins. Matthew 25 is a parable to Israel about watching for the second coming, not the rapture. The rapture is never found in the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24—25). Instead, the church, in relation to the rapture is “waiting” for His Son from heaven . . . Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come (1 Thess. 1:10). Since the rapture is signless, unlike the second coming, there are no signs to watch for, thus, the church is charged with waiting for her Bridegroom (1 Cor. 1:7; Phil. 3:20; 1 Thess. 1:10; Titus 2:13; Heb. 9:28; 1 Pet. 1:13; Jude 21).

8. Piper cites Revelation 3:10 and pronounces it as the strongest passage for pre-trib, then says it means to be preserved through the tribulation. Piper cites Galatians 1:4 and John 17:15 in an attempt to support his misguided notion that “kept from the hour” in Revelation 3:10 really means preservation instead of its normal meaning of kept from the time and place of the tribulation.[7] First, Galatians 1:4 does not employ the Greek phrase “tereo ek” used in Revelation 3:10, therefore, the Galatians passage is not a factor to help one understand the meaning of 3:10. Next, the only other time tereo ek is used in the Greek New Testament is John 17:15 where it speaks of God the Father keeping believers from the evil one. I am sure Piper would agree Christ’s prayer has been answered since all genuine believers are protected from Satan. In the same way, all church age believers will be kept out of the time of the tribulation via the rapture before that seven-year event.

9. His final reason is “New Testament moral incentive is . . . that we should love the appearing of the Lord so that we want to be pure as the Lord is pure.”[8] This is hardly an argument against pretribulationism since we believe most mentions of the rapture in New Testament Epistles are accompanied with a moral imperative applied to the present. Piper cites 1 John 3:1–3 as an example. Pretribulationists believe this passage is an example of multiple references to moral purity in the present in light of a future event. This verse and many others refer to the rapture and admonishes believers to “purify oneself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:3).

Conclusion

Evangelical leaders like John Piper appear to be on a crusade against the New Testament teaching of the pre-trib rapture doctrine as introduced by Jesus Himself in the Upper Room Discourse and expounded upon and applied in the Epistles by the Apostles, especially in Paul’s letters. In fact, Paul calls the rapture a believer’s “Blessed Hope” (Titus 2:13). Since the early 1970s in North America, God has used the teaching of pretribulationism as a key factor in seeing millions of people come to faith in Christ. Opposition to pretribulationism in the 70s came from liberals and unbelievers. Now, in 2014 many Evangelical leaders lead the way warning of the supposed dangers of preaching such a message. As a new movie is about to be released featuring the pre-trib rapture, believers should be praying that God will use it as a catalyst to proclaim the gospel to an unbelieving world so our Lord will use it to see an influx of unbelievers getting saved, similar to the early 70s. Maranatha!

http://www.worldviewweekend.com/news/article/john-piper-and-rapture

JOHN PIPER AND THE RAPTURE

JOHN PIPER AND THE RAPTURE

by Dr. Thomas Ice

August 18, 2014

A new movie version of Tim LaHaye’s and Jerry Jenkins’ Left Behind novel is scheduled for release in movie theaters on October 3, 2014. This version features Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage cast in the role of pilot Rayford Steele. The announcement of this movie release has lead to a number of articles critical of the pretribulational rapture. Morgan Lee produced a piece primarily quoting William Craig,[1] a Philosophy professor at historically pretribulational Talbot School of Theology in Southern California. Another article appeared a week later: “Nine Reasons Why John Piper Disagrees with Nicolas Cage’s ‘Left Behind’ Movie’s View of Rapture.”[2] Apparently a number of folks within the Evangelical community are concerned that the new movie may have a great impact upon the thinking of the Christian community, so they are trying to get a head start on bashing the biblical basis for our blessed hope.

Pied Piper

Retired pastor and author John Piper has a large following, especially among younger Evangelicals. While he is premillennial, he is decidedly anti-pre-trib and not a supporter of the modern state of Israel. According to Noske, Piper recently tweeted his nine reasons against pretribulationism. Even though space is limited, I will attempt to evaluate those reasons.[3]

1. “To meet” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 means to meet and accompany back to earth, thus, cannot be pretribulational. The Greek word for “to meet” does NOT mean what Piper says. Piper’s view was developed in the 1930s and more recent scholarship has disproved his speculation.[4] “To meet” does not imply any direction on the basis of the word itself. Instead, spatial direction is indicated by the context of a passage.

2. 2 Thessalonians 1:5–7 refers to the second coming. I agree this passage refers to the second coming and not the rapture. Perhaps there are some pretribulationists who see the rapture in this passage but I have never met one. Many of Piper’s objections, such as this one, are based upon a false understanding of what pretribulationists actually believe. He is chasing after windmills.

3. In 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 Piper equates the “gathering together to Him” and “the day of the Lord” as referring to the same event, the second coming. I disagree! They are separate items. The phrase “gathering together to Him” and “to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thess. 4:17) are identical concepts. Both refer to the rapture as a separate event from that of the “day of the Lord.” The “day of the Lord” is used in the Old and New Testaments to primarily refer to the seven-year tribulation period and is not at all a synonym for the second coming. The phrase “great and terrible day of the Lord” is a reference to the second coming (Isa. 13:9; Joel 2:31; Zeph. 1:14–16; Mal. 4:1, 5). If Piper is correct concerning his view on this matter, then it would mean that the man of sin (the antichrist) would come after the second coming, which does not make sense within anyone’s viewpoint.

Piper says further support for his view is that “gathering” is also used in Matthew 24:31, which is clearly a posttribulational event. He claims it is the same word as in 2 Thessalonians 2. Actually, both are from the same root but are not the same word. One is a noun (2 Thess. 2) and the other is a verb (Matt. 24). The contexts of the two passages are very different, just like the rapture and the second coming are also very different events.

4. If Paul intended to teach pretribulationism then why did he not just come out and say that in 2 Thessalonians 2:3? I have been arguing in a number of articles[5] over the years that the Greek word often translated “falling away” or “apostasy” is best translated “departure.” Since the context supports the idea of a spatial or physical departure in 2:3, then Paul is saying exactly what Piper suggests. Paul tells them that they are not in the day of the Lord or the tribulation since the departure of the church, which is the rapture, has not taken place. The false teachers in 2 Thessalonians are teaching posttribulationism and Paul corrects them with pretribulationism.

5. Piper says no pre-trib rapture is found in Matthew 24 or Mark 13 or Luke 21. I totally agree that the rapture is not found anywhere in the Olivet Discourse. That Discourse provides Jesus’ outline of the seven-year tribulation period leading up to the second coming with no mention of the rapture. The rapture of the Church is not revealed by Christ until the night before He was crucified. The Upper Room Discourse (John 13–16) contains Christ’s introduction to Church Age truth that He expands upon in the Epistles. It makes sense that the new revelation about the rapture was introduced to His disciples shortly before His death and resurrection (John 14:1–3).[6]

6. Piper notes the New Testament teaches saints will be protected by God during the tribulation by the seal of God (Rev. 9:4). How is this an argument against pretribulationism since all holding to a pre-trib position believe that there will be saints who will be protected during the tribulation? Those saints in the tribulation are never called the church, instead they are the hundreds of millions who will be saved after the rapture of the church during the tribulation (Rev. 7:9–17). Many will be martyred (Rev. 6:9–11) and many will make it through the perils of that time and will enter into the millennial kingdom in their mortal bodies. So it means all will not be protected during the tribulation as Piper intimates. Revelation 9:4 speaks specifically of the five month torture of the demonic locusts (Rev. 9:1–11).

7. Next, he speaks of the command to “watch” as admonished by our Lord in Matthew 25:1–13 when speaking of the parable of the ten virgins. Matthew 25 is a parable to Israel about watching for the second coming, not the rapture. The rapture is never found in the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24—25). Instead, the church, in relation to the rapture is “waiting” for His Son from heaven . . . Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come (1 Thess. 1:10). Since the rapture is signless, unlike the second coming, there are no signs to watch for, thus, the church is charged with waiting for her Bridegroom (1 Cor. 1:7; Phil. 3:20; 1 Thess. 1:10; Titus 2:13; Heb. 9:28; 1 Pet. 1:13; Jude 21).

8. Piper cites Revelation 3:10 and pronounces it as the strongest passage for pre-trib, then says it means to be preserved through the tribulation. Piper cites Galatians 1:4 and John 17:15 in an attempt to support his misguided notion that “kept from the hour” in Revelation 3:10 really means preservation instead of its normal meaning of kept from the time and place of the tribulation.[7] First, Galatians 1:4 does not employ the Greek phrase “tereo ek” used in Revelation 3:10, therefore, the Galatians passage is not a factor to help one understand the meaning of 3:10. Next, the only other time tereo ek is used in the Greek New Testament is John 17:15 where it speaks of God the Father keeping believers from the evil one. I am sure Piper would agree Christ’s prayer has been answered since all genuine believers are protected from Satan. In the same way, all church age believers will be kept out of the time of the tribulation via the rapture before that seven-year event.

9. His final reason is “New Testament moral incentive is . . . that we should love the appearing of the Lord so that we want to be pure as the Lord is pure.”[8] This is hardly an argument against pretribulationism since we believe most mentions of the rapture in New Testament Epistles are accompanied with a moral imperative applied to the present. Piper cites 1 John 3:1–3 as an example. Pretribulationists believe this passage is an example of multiple references to moral purity in the present in light of a future event. This verse and many others refer to the rapture and admonishes believers to “purify oneself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:3).

Conclusion

Evangelical leaders like John Piper appear to be on a crusade against the New Testament teaching of the pre-trib rapture doctrine as introduced by Jesus Himself in the Upper Room Discourse and expounded upon and applied in the Epistles by the Apostles, especially in Paul’s letters. In fact, Paul calls the rapture a believer’s “Blessed Hope” (Titus 2:13). Since the early 1970s in North America, God has used the teaching of pretribulationism as a key factor in seeing millions of people come to faith in Christ. Opposition to pretribulationism in the 70s came from liberals and unbelievers. Now, in 2014 many Evangelical leaders lead the way warning of the supposed dangers of preaching such a message. As a new movie is about to be released featuring the pre-trib rapture, believers should be praying that God will use it as a catalyst to proclaim the gospel to an unbelieving world so our Lord will use it to see an influx of unbelievers getting saved, similar to the early 70s. Maranatha!

http://www.worldviewweekend.com/news/article/john-piper-and-rapture

The New Jerusalem

The New Jerusalem

by Nathan Busenitz

April 8, 2014

Have you ever thought about heaven as a city?

In the apostle John’s account of the new earth in Revelation 21-22, prominent attention is given to the New Jerusalem, the capital of the eternal heaven. Nearly half of Revelation 21 is devoted to describing the physical properties of the magnificent metropolis. Its glorious splendor will be the heart of the new earth, for it is here that God Himself dwells.

Christians rarely think of heaven as a city, and yet that is precisely how God describes it (Heb. 11:16 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available); cf. John 14:2Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)). Cities have buildings, streets, houses, and citizens. They are places of political power, economic industry, higher learning, refined culture, and impressive architecture. These characteristics are true of the heavenly city as well, though the New Jerusalem will far outshine any of earthly city in both its magnificence and its might.

The fact that every major society on earth organizes itself into cities is indicative of the way God designed human beings. He created them to function in community with other people. It is not surprising, then, to learn that life on the new earth will center around a great municipality. As John MacArthur explains, “The concept of a city includes relationships, activity, responsibility, unity, socialization, communion, and cooperation. Unlike the evil cities of the present earth, the perfectly holy people in the new Jerusalem will live and work together in perfect harmony” (Revelation 12-22, 264).

In stark contrast to the harlot city of Babylon (destroyed in Rev. 18 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)), the holy city of the New Jerusalem is free from God’s judgment (21:9). It is the home of the redeemed and the bride of the Lamb (21:2). It is also a realm characterized by the glory and presence of God (v. 11). Like a giant prism, illuminating God’s glory everywhere, the New Jerusalem will light up the entire new universe.

Unlike the dirty, smoggy cities of this world, the New Jerusalem glistens like a massive jewel as it descends from heaven onto the new earth. The Greek word translated “jasper” in Revelation 21:11 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) does not necessarily refer to the actual gem jasper, which possesses a reddish or brownish hue. Rather, it is a general term that can refer to any kind of precious gemstone. The further description, “clear as crystal,” suggests that John is describing a diamond. Thus, the New Jerusalem descends from heaven onto the New Earth like a jewel-studded crown from heaven. The image of a heavenly crown is appropriate because, as Revelation 22:2–5 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) describe, it is the very throne room of God Himself.

According to Revelation 21:15–17 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available), the measurements of the New Jerusalem are immense, approximately 1,500 miles long on each side. By way of illustration, if one corner of the city were placed on Los Angeles, a second corner would sit on Mexico City, a third corner on St. Louis, Missouri, and the final corner on Edmonton, Alberta. If the center of the New Jerusalem rested where the current Jerusalem stands, it would stretch across three continents from Greece to Iran to Saudi Arabia to Libya. The current city of Los Angeles has an area of 468 square miles. The state of California comprises roughly 164,000 square miles. But the New Jerusalem will encompass over 2 million square miles. That is the equivalent of 14 states of California put together; or 4,807 cities of Los Angeles combined.

But the New Jerusalem is not just a big square. It is a cube. The highest mountains on earth are about 5 miles tall; but the New Jerusalem will rise into the air 1,500 miles—with walls over 200 feet thick. The massive city houses a total volume of more than 3 billion cubic miles. In light of the city’s immensity, some commentators have speculated that the resurrection bodies of the redeemed may not be subject to gravity. If so, the residents of the New Jerusalem would be able to traverse through space not only horizontally, but also vertically, making every part of this glorious cube inhabitable and accessible to the citizens of the New Jerusalem.

But there is more going on than just information about its enormous dimensions. The specific arrangement of the three gates on each side of the city, in verses 13–14, points back to the way the twelve tribes of Israel camped around the tabernacle (cf. Num. 2:1–31 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)), and also the arrangement of the gates of the millennial Jerusalem (cf. Ezekiel 48:30– 35 Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)). Furthermore, the cube-shaped dimensions of the New Jerusalem hearken back to the Holy of Holies. As Mark Dever explains,

Any Christian who knows the Old Testament knows that John’s vision harks back to the Most Holy Place. This special place within Israel’s temple was itself a perfect cube and the most manifest location of God’s presence on earth. Now, in this cube-shaped heavenly city, God’s full, unmediated presence is given to all his people. The whole world becomes the temple. (The Message of the Old Testament, 39)

In Revelation 21:22Open in Logos Bible Software (if available), the apostle John transitions from an external description of the New Jerusalem to an internal one. Having established the physical dimensions of the capital city, with significant parallels to the Most Holy Place, he begins to describe the worship and activity that characterizes those who are inside. He primarily focuses his attention on the fact that the Triune God will be personally present there. As a result, there will be no need for a temple because God and the Lamb are the temple (v. 22).

The redeemed will live forever with the Lord in intimate worship and fellowship; they will not need a curtain to separate themselves from His holy presence, because they have been made perfect just as He is perfect (cf. 1 John 3:2Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)). Above all else, it is God’s personal presence that defines the new earth as heaven (Rev. 21:3Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)). It is not heaven because it is beautiful and glorious; or because the saints of all the ages are there; or because angels lift up their voices in magnificent hymns of praise. On the contrary, it is only heaven, because the Triune God will make it His dwelling place. In the words of D. L. Moody, “It is not the jaspar walls and the pearly gates that are going to make heaven attractive. It is the being with God.” In heaven, the redeemed shall be reunited with their Redeemer!

Spending eternity with Him in perfect fellowship, worship, and service is what makes eternity so glorious. His presence is heaven’s essence. Charles Spurgeon poignantly expressed this reality with these words:

Oh, to think of heaven without Christ! It is the same thing as thinking of hell. Heaven without Christ! It is day without the sun, existing without life, feasting without food, seeing without light. It involves a contradiction in terms. Heaven without Christ! Absurd. It is the sea without water, the earth without its fields, the heavens without their stars. There cannot be a heaven without Christ. He is the sum total of bliss, the fountain from which heaven flows, the element of which heaven is composed. Christ is heaven and heaven is Christ.

http://thecripplegate.com/the-new-jerusalem-2/