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July 30, 2013
What We Have Now in Christ
“That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:15)

The one who is trusting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord has many wonderful possessions which cannot be seen with our physical eyes but which are as real and permanent as if we were already in heaven. Many of these (only a few of which can be listed here) are noted by the present tense of the verb “have” (Greek echo).

 

First of all, as our text indicates (and these are the words of Christ!), we who believe in Him have—right now—eternal life. Our sins have been taken care of by the sacrificial death of Christ, “in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7; see also Colossians 1:14). Our sins will be remembered against us no more, because we have already been eternally redeemed. Then, also, in spite of all our sins and failures, “being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

 

One of the great resources we now have, but use so seldom, is the capacity to “think God’s thoughts after Him.” “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).

 

Having the mind of Christ should keep us from sin. Nevertheless, “if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). Not only do we have an advocate defending us, but we have a priest as our mediator. “We have a great high priest, . . . Jesus the Son of God” (Hebrews 4:14).

 

Finally, we already “have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1). And all this is only the beginning! “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard . . . the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). HMM

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HOW CAN I KNOW IF I AM SAVED

Since the evidence of genuine salvation is the presence of the Holy Spirit within the individual, how can this be verified? How can we be reasonably certain about ourselves, as well as others, without being guilty of judging? To answer this, let’s take our own case first-there are several “tests” that we can take to determine His presence within us: (all Scripture quotes from Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary).

1. Romans 8:16 tells us: “The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God.” First and foremost, we have the unshakable testimony from within us! The indwelling Holy Spirit of God constantly reassures us that we belong to Jesus Christ.

2. The entire book of First John was written as a “test” for determining the reality of salvation. Verse three of Chapter one tells us: “What we have seen and [ourselves] heard we are also telling you, so that you too may realize and enjoy fellowship as partners and partakers with us. And [this] fellowship that we have (which is a distinguishing mark of Christians) is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ, the Messiah.” The fellowship enjoyed by genuine Christians is proof positive of salvation. Those who claim Christ, but yet rarely attend church to worship God and associate with other believers, are possibly fooling themselves! A backslidden Christian can stay out of church and away from other believers, but I can guarantee you from first-hand experience that there will never be a time when you will be comfortable with it! On the other side of the coin, verse 8 teaches us that if we deny the existence of sin within us, the Truth is not in us. Verse 3 of Chapter two teaches us that we are genuine and “growing in grace and knowledge of Christ”, if we keep His commandments. Verse 10 teaches us that we are of Christ if we love the brethren. Again, those who habitually absent themselves from God’s house and do not make it clear that they love being around God’s children, are very likely to be tares and not wheat. Verse 15 teaches us that if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. “Worldly Christians” is almost a contradiction in terms and those who claim Christ, but yet cling to the value system of this world-are suspect.

3. 1 John 5:13 informs us that the entire Book of 1 John was written so that we can know that we possess eternal life in Christ. Do you know for absolute certainty that, if you were to die tonight, you would go to Heaven?

4. The Word of God teaches that the Bible is incomprehensible to the “natural man”-the unsaved individual. It is a spiritual book and the unsaved person is not only spiritually blind, but 1 Corinthians 2:14 tells us that he “is incapable” of knowing that which is spiritually discerned. Do you understand the Bible? Does it make sense to you and speak to your heart? Does it convict you of your sin and teach you the right way?

5.  The Bible is very clear that an unregenerate individual will not seek God (Rom.3:11). Are you painfully aware of your sinful nature and cry out to God from your heart for forgiveness when you sin? If so, this is one of the signs of having been born again.

Is your soul, your conscience, sorely vexed when you see sin in the culture around you? When you see blatant sin in public, or on TV, or in Entertainment, or anywhere else you encounter it, do you feel a severe vexation in your spirit? The Bible says of Lot, who was foolish enough to live and do business in Sodom: “(God) delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds)” [2 Peter 2:7-8]

If your heart is “vexed” by the terrible sin in our daily culture, that is a good sign you are saved. If your spirit is not vexed by this sin, that is a good sign you are not saved.

6.  The Bible says that an unregenerate individual is a slave of Satan and incapable of doing anything about it (Eph.2:2). Have you been able to turn your back upon this world and its sinful ways? Are all of your close friends Christians? If you have been born again, your unsaved friends will drop you like a bad habit! (Just as an illustration, spray a small amount of “WD-40” lubricant on a surface wet with water and watch how fast the water retreats! A genuine dose of salvation is like the WD-40 where reprobate buddies are concerned.)

7.  Do you love–really love–Christians and would rather be with them than anyone else? Can you meet a total stranger, find out that they are a believer, and then have instant fellowship with them? Is there “something” in your heart that draws you to them and establishes a closeness which cannot be explained any other way? [We alluded to this feature in Paragraph 2, above]

8.  Do you actually enjoy giving to the Lord’s work? Do you give generously of your time, talent, and treasury?

9.  Do you sin less now than you did prior to receiving Christ?

10. Have other people seen the “fruit of the Spirit” at work in your life? That is, can they see genuine love, joy, peace, long-suffering, etc., (Gal.5:22), being wrought in and through you by God’s Holy Spirit? Do they sense that you are a different person from the one you used to be?

11. Have you experienced persecution because of your faith in Christ? (Former friends who back away because of your testimony for Christ, are a subtle form of persecution).

12. Are you eagerly expecting and anticipating the any-moment return of Jesus Christ for His Church?

If you can truthfully answer “yes” to these questions, you are a child of God and the Holy Spirit dwells within you! If you cannot truthfully answer “yes” to these questions, then you are probably not saved and you need to go to the bottom of this page to the Salvation message and go through the steps in honesty and sincereness of heart so you can be saved!

“You must be born again”

The Bible is very clear on the necessity of a person being “Born Again” if they are to receive eternal life. Jesus coined this term, in John 3:3-7, when he told Nicodemus, “You must be born again” to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Since this necessity is so critical, Satan has attacked it with all his might for two thousand years, causing most “Christian” churches to stop teaching this doctrine, even though no one can be saved without undergoing this wondrous spiritual conversion. However, Satan’s most effective weapon against being Born Again has been, and still is, confusion.

Fortunately, Jesus lovingly made this transformation process very simple, so simple that even those who are retarded or not educated can understand. There are several steps to becoming Born Again, listed below:

1. Understand that ALL men ever born are sinners. Romans 3:23, says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” This message that all men are sinners is amply repeated through Scripture . This means you are a sinner in the eyes of an angry God, Who must punish all sin. Do you believe you are a sinner?

2. Since man is an imperfect sinner, and God is a perfect God, no man can save himself. Jesus made this fact very plain in Matthew 5:48, when He said, “Be ye, therefore, perfect, even as your Heavenly Father is perfect.”!!!
If we all have to be perfect in God’s eyes, how can there be anyone in Heaven, especially since the Bible declares, repeatedly, that ALL people are sinners? Obviously, no one is going to get to Heaven this way, by trying to be ‘good enough’ to merit Heaven. Since the Bible says there are going to be untold millions of people in Heaven, there must be some other way to get there, other than by trying to be ‘good enough’.

You must also be very sorry for your sins, and want to have them forgiven. This is known as Repentance. The word Repent means to both be very sorry for your sins, and to want to not sin anymore. Repentance means the desire to turn your life around 180 degrees. This does not mean you will never sin again, but it does mean that sin will become the exception in your life, not the rule.

3. When the sinless Son of God, Jesus Christ, shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary, He died for the sins of His people in their place as a sacrificial substitute. And in doing so, He suffered the wrath of God the Father upon their sin. He paid the penalty for that sin in His own body and purchased their eternal redemption. This enables Him to give as a free gift His own holiness and righteousness to those who believe in Him and trust Him for salvation. making them absolutely perfect in God. s sight! Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” None of us deserve to be saved; in His love and mercy God extends grace to those who will believe. Grace is defined as “undeserved favor” and perhaps this little acrostic will help you to remember its meaning: G od. s Riches At Christ. s Expense. [The true meaning of GRACE]

4. In Ephesians 2:8-9, the Apostle Paul reiterates this teaching that eternal life with God is a free gift. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast.” No man can stand before God in eternity, and boast that they ‘earned’ their way to Heaven. All people in Heaven will be there only because of Jesus’ FREE Gift, which He obtained from God because of His substitutionary death sacrifice on the Cross. Rather than punishing each person’s individual sins, God heaped all those sins on Jesus on the Cross Isaiah 53:2-12]

Now, you are probably thinking, ‘How can I obtain this free gift of eternal life’? Again, the Bible is not silent. In Acts 16:25-33, the jailer anxiously asked Paul, “What must I do to be saved”? Paul answered “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved …” verse 31″. You must BELIEVE on Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. To truly believe, you must place your complete faith and trust in Christ and rely upon Him as your only hope of salvation and eternal life. This is a matter of the heart and you cannot hope to deceive God by putting on an act because He knows everything about you. Many people mistakenly think that by merely believing the facts concerning Jesus Christ. s death, burial, and resurrection, they will be automatically be given the gift of eternal life. But such is not the case. Preachers call that a “head knowledge and not a heart knowledge.” Salvation is freely given, but only to those who are genuine believers.

  5. In John 1:1, 14, we see that Jesus Christ is God, equal with God, present with God from before the beginning of time, and the actual Creator of the Universe. He is 100% God and 100% human at the same time, which is why He used both titles during His ministry, Son of God and Son of Man. To become Born Again, you must believe this doctrine about Jesus Christ.

Verse 14 is most important, the teaching that Jesus God became man. This teaching becomes a point of separation between the followers of Christ and Antichrist. In 1 John 4:1-3, we see that anyone who denies that Jesus has come in the flesh is the spirit of antichrist. That is just what the Gnostics of that day were saying, i.e., that Jesus the human was not God Messiah come in the flesh; rather, the ‘Christ Consciousness’ the ‘Messiah’ Consciousness, came on Jesus at His baptism and left Him on the Cross; they believe Jesus was not God and Man. The New Age Movement and Freemasonry have resurrected this blasphemy with a vengeance.

6. Isaiah 53:6 foretells exactly what Jesus Christ did for us on the Cross; “the Lord [God the Father] has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Praise God!! Only the Wisdom, Grace, and Power of God Almighty could conceive of such a gracious Plan of Salvation!! God’s Nature is such that sin must be punished. Period! But, God set up a Plan whereby an innocent substitute was to be punished instead of the guilty person. In the Old Testament, God allowed the lamb to be the substitute sacrifice for sin; Jesus then became the ultimate substitute sacrifice, for all the sins of the world. His was the Perfect sacrifice, that never needs to be repeated, and that saves all people forever more.

You must believe in, and understand, this principle of Substitute Punishment, before you can become Born Again. And, you must believe that Jesus Christ became the Perfect Substitute Punishment for YOU, before you can become Born Again.

Now that you understand these Truths, and believe them for your life, you now need to understand how you can obtain this FREE Gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. After all, if I were to attempt to give you a FREE gift, that gift would not become yours if you were to refuse to reach out and take that gift from my hand. So it is here. You must reach out and take this FREE Gift of Eternal Life from the hand of Jesus Christ. How is this done?

Through Saving Faith .

Notice I said Saving Faith . There are types of faith that will not get you saved. You may have ‘head knowledge’ faith that merely intellectually assents to the facts of Jesus Christ’s person, but that is not Saving Faith. You may be in a ‘church’ or a cult that teaches many truths about Jesus Christ, but who teach that you must do many things to earn your way to Heaven. This is not Saving Faith.

Saving Faith is trusting in Jesus Christ, and Him alone, for your Salvation.

If you think you need to do anything for Salvation except trust in Jesus work on the cross, you are guilty of violating Ephesians 2:8-9 and Isaiah 53:6b. Most cults and false Christian religions err at this point; they add things that are “necessary” for Salvation, or they offer a counterfeit way to Heaven, i.e., Salvation by Baptism.

Do you want this Gift of Eternal Life that Jesus left Heaven and died on a cross to give you? If your answer is, ‘Yes’, you can immediately have Eternal Life.

Let me clarify exactly what this involves. First, you are going to transfer your trust, your hope of eternal life from what you have been doing to what Jesus Christ has done for you on the cross. Jesus will take your sin and transfer TO YOU His right standing with God the Father, what we call His righteousness . This means that though we have failed repeatedly to keep God’s commandments, Christ perfectly obeyed all the laws of God. He lived the perfect life, so He could be the perfect, innocent substitutionary sacrifice that God would accept for your sins, and the sin of the entire world, for all who will believe.

Are you willing to repent of your sins right now, and become a responsible member of God’s forever family, following Him and serving Him as a member of His forever family, following Him and serving Him as a member of His body, the Church? If your heartfelt answer is, “Yes”, then we can go to Him now in prayer, and we can tell Him that you want to cease trusting in anything else for Eternal Salvation, especially in what you can do for yourself. You can place your trust in Him and Him alone for salvation. Before we pray this simple prayer, I need to point our that the Lord Jesus Christ is looking at your heart more than His is listening to your lips. As He promised, “Ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when [after] ye shall search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13).

If this is what you mean, then the Lord will hear your prayer and grant you eternal life, right now, in the privacy of your home. Let me pray.

“Father, I pray that You would grant the FREE gift of eternal life. May thy Holy Spirit draw him or her unto Thyself. Grant him faith to believe Thy wonderful promises. Grant him or her repentance to turn from his sins. Reveal unto him Jesus Christ crucified as the perfect substitutionary sacrifice, today.”

Jesus Christ is right with you right now. You are not talking to anyone now, but to Him. If you really want to be Born Again, into the Eternal Family of God through Jesus Christ, pray this prayer, from your heart.

“Lord Jesus, I want you to come in and take over my life right now. I am a sinner. I have been trusting in myself and my own good works, and in other things. But, now I place my trust in you. I want You as my own personal Savior. I believe You died for me. I receive You as Lord and Master of my life. Help me to turn from my sins and follow You. I thank you for Your offer of the FREE gift of eternal life. I am not worthy of it, but I thank You for it. Amen.”

Now, allow me to pray. “Father, you have heard the prayer which has been prayed. I ask that in this quiet moment, Thy Holy Spirit will grant unto him Your absolute assurance of life eternal; grant unto him the certainty that his sins are forgiven. Grant that he may hear, in the depths of his soul, Thy voice saying, ‘Thy sins be forgiven thee. Go in peace’. Grant, O Jesus, that he may hear Thy voice saying, ‘As far as the east is from the west, so far have I put thy sins from thee, never to remember them against thee anymore. [The person] that believeth on Me shall not come into condemnation . He that trusts in Me is passed from death unto life. He that believeth on Me shall not perish but has everlasting life [paraphrased from Psalm 103:12; John 3:1 8; 5:24; 3:16]. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.”

 

You have just prayed the most important prayer you have ever prayed in your life. If you were sincere in this prayer, I want you to see what Jesus says about what you have just done. In John 6:47, Jesus says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on Me has everlasting life.” In your prayer, you didn’t hear any angel choirs or see any visions; however, by a simple act of faith, you have placed your trust for your eternal salvation in Jesus Christ.

 

Saving Faith is trusting in Jesus Christ ALONE for your salvation . If you meant with your heart what you just said with your lips, you have the promise of Jesus Christ that He has forgiven your sins, and has adopted you into the kingdom, and has given you eternal life in Heaven with Him.

 

If this sounds so simple you have trouble believing that it could be true, the Bible assures you that it is most definitely true. Over the centuries, man has deliberately complicated this simple Plan of Salvation that most people simply do not know how simple and uncomplicated God has planned Salvation through Jesus Christ to be!! If you were genuine in your prayer, you now have eternal life, and are as assured of it as if you were already there!! This is why Jesus said, that no person can ever take any of His who are Born Again out of the Father’s hand.

How can you know for sure that you have been born again? Please do not expect any “earth-shaking” experience, because in the majority of cases it comes about in a rather peaceful way, a sense of relief and a load lifted. There will be no fireworks or brass bands playing, just a wonderful calm that is deep down inside. But with the passing of time, I have found that one of the best indicators of the New Birth is a genuine understanding of the Word of God. Prior to being Born Again, the “natural man”, as the Bible calls him, (a lost person), cannot understand the Bible because it is spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14). Indeed, it is foolishness to him! So when the Word begins to make sense, to speak to your heart, and convict you of sin in your life, it is a very good indicator that you have the Holy Spirit of God residing within you. You see, a Christian obtains a new spiritual nature by the New Birth, but he does not get rid of the old nature he was born with. That is why it is so vitally important that we “grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). We must cooperate with the Holy Spirit as we walk through this sinful and spiritually defiling world around us. The Holy Spirit literally takes up residence within us when we are Born Again and will never leave us nor forsake us.

Another wonderful evidence of genuine salvation is found in the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22) that will take place in our daily lives as the Holy Spirit works within us. His presence will be manifested to the outside world by means of the love, joy, peace, longsuffering, faith, etc., they see in us! Then, the Bible tells us in Romans 8:16 that, “The Spirit itself (lit. Himself) beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” In other words, the Holy Spirit living deep within us tells us that we belong to God.

But, He has done much more!! In Revelation 3:20, Jesus promised, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock [He has been knocking at the door of your heart, and you have just opened that door to let Him in]; if anyone hears and listens and heeds My voice, and opens the door I WILL come in to him and will eat with him, and he will eat with Me.” Jesus Christ has just entered INTO YOUR HEART through the work of the Holy Spirit, to live in your heart for the rest of your life!! What great news, for now we have the same Holy Spirit power within us that raised Jesus from the dead [Romans 8:11]. In fact, read Romans 8 to see all the advantages we have because the Holy Spirit indwells us daily.

 

Salvation through Jesus shed blood on Calvary gives you a deep, abiding Personal Relationship with His Holy Spirit while you live on this Earth!! As you read the Bible, especially the New Testament, you will come to understand the wonderful depth you can reach between you and your Creator!! Salvation produces a relationship that will deeply enrich your life daily!! You will never have believed, prior to becoming Born Again, what kind of life you have been missing out on for so long!

 

Please write back to tell us if you have decided to become Born Again. We need to give you some practical advice on how to ensure your continued maturity and productivity in the Lord. When you e-mail us, please put “Born Again” in the subject field.

 

We love you in the Lord. Pray for us in this ministry, in warning people all over the world about the impending New World Order. Satan has been so strong in attacking this ministry.

 

Because of His Love On Calvary,

David Bay

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THE PRETRIBULATION RAPTURE

The Pretribulation Rapture

What is the Pretribulation Rapture?

The rapture is an event that will take place sometime in the near future. Jesus will come in the air, catch up the Church from the earth, and then return to heaven with the Church. The Apostle Paul gave a clear description of the rapture event in his letters to the Thessalonians and Corinthians.

“For the Lord himself 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: 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thess, 4:16-18).

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality” (1 Cor. 15:51-53).

The timing of the rapture is not known. From the Word of God and from sound reasoning–something Jesus used quite frequently–I hope to prove the reality of the pretribulation rapture.

The word “rapture” comes from Paul’s “caught up” remark in verse 17. The words “caught up” are translated from the Greek word harpazo, which means “to carry off,” “snatch up,” or “grasp hastily.” The translation from harpazo to “rapture” involved two steps: first, harpazo became the Latin word raptus; second, raptus became the English word “rapture.”

Scriptural Evidence for the Pretribulation Rapture

The Unknown Hour
When we search the Scriptures and read the passages describing the Lord Jesus’ return, we find verses that tell us we won’t know the day and hour of that event. Matthew 25:13 says Jesus will return at an unknown time, while Revelation 12:6 indicates that the Jews will have to wait on the Lord 1,260 days, starting when the Antichrist stands in the Temple of God and declares himself to be God (2 Thes 2:4). This event will take place at the mid-point of the seven-year tribulation (Dan 9:27). Note that some people only see a three-and-a-half-year tribulation. In a way, they are correct because the first half of the tribulation will be relatively peaceful compared to the second half. Nonetheless, peaceful or not, there still remains a seven-year period called the tribulation. When the Jews flee into the wilderness, they know that all they have to do is wait out those 1,260 days (Mat 24:16). There is no way to apply the phrase “neither the day nor the hour” to this situation. The only way for these two viewpoints to be true is to separate the two distinct events transpiring here: 1) the rapture of the Church, which comes before the tribulation; and 2) the return of Jesus to the earth, which takes place roughly seven years later.

The Marriage Supper of the Lamb
In Luke 12:36, the Word states that when Christ returns, He will be returning from a wedding. In Revelation 19:7-8, we read about the marriage itself. The marriage supper takes place before the marriage. According to Jewish custom, the marriage contract, which often includes a dowry, is drawn up first. The contract parallels the act of faith we use when we trust Jesus to be our Savior. The dowry is His life, which was used to purchase us. When it’s time for the wedding, the groom goes to the bride’s house unannounced. She comes out to meet him, and then he takes her to his father’s house. This precisely correlates with the events according to the pre-trib scenario. Jesus, the Groom, comes down from heaven and calls up the Church, His Bride. After meeting in the air, He and His Bride return to His Father’s house, heaven. The marriage supper itself will take place there, while down here on earth the final events of the tribulation will be playing out. After the marriage supper of Jewish tradition, the bride and groom are presented to the world as man and wife. This corresponds to the time when Jesus returns to earth accompanied by an army “clothed in fine linen, white and clean” (Rev 19:14).

What They Didn’t Teach You in History Class
Many groups try to discredit the pre-trib rapture by saying most of the end-time events in the Bible have already taken place. A group of people called preterists claims that the Book of Revelation was mostly fulfilled by 70 AD. If the events described in the Book of Revelation took place in the past, I’m at a loss to explain some of the current situations I see around us: the rebirth of Israel, the reunification of Europe, the number of global wars that have occurred, and the development of nuclear weapons. During history class, I must have slept through the part where the teacher talked about the time when a third of the trees were burned up, 100-pound hailstones fell from the sky, and the sea turned into blood (Rev 8:7-8, 16:21). I think several people would have to question their opposition to the pre-trib rapture doctrine if they knew that the evidence provided to them was based on the understanding that most tribulation prophecies have already occurred.

The People of the Millennium
If Christ were to come back after the tribulation, rapture all the saints, and slay all the ungodly, who would be left to populate the earth during the millennium? Only the pre-trib viewpoint can account for this post-trib problem. The Church is raptured before the tribulation, a vast number of souls are saved during this seven-year time frame, and those who make it through the tribulation go into the millennium while the unsaved are cast into hell.

The Saint U-Turn
In the pre-trib scenario, after we rise to meet the Lord in the air, we will go to heaven and abide there seven years. At the end of that period, Christ will come down to earth, defeat the Antichrist, and cleanse the temple. In a post-trib rapture, we would rise in the air to meet the Lord, then do a 180-degree U-turn and come back down to earth. Revelation 1:7 states that Christ will appear out of the clouds and come down to earth. Zechariah 14:4 says that His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives. If He’s already headed our way, why would we need to be caught up to meet Him?

Come Up Hither”
Many pre-trib writers cite Revelation 4:1, which says, “come up hither,” as a prophetic reference to the rapture of the Church, leaving Revelation chapters 1 through 3 as a description of the Church Age. After the shout to “come up hither,” the Church is not mentioned in Scripture at all. The attention of Scripture switches from the Church to the Jews living in Israel.

Armies in Fine Linen
When Jesus returns (Rev. 19:18), an army follows Him. The army’s members are riding on white horses, and they are clothed in fine linen that is white and clean. In Revelation 19:8, we are told that the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints. If the saints of God are returning with Christ to wage war on the Antichrist, then it is not possible to have a post-trib rapture without us running into ourselves as we are coming and going.

The Time of Jacob’s Trouble
In several passages, the Bible refers to the tribulation as a time of trouble for the Jews. The phrase “Jacob’s trouble” pertains to the descendants of Jacob. Jeremiah 30:7 says that this time of trouble will come just before the Lord returns to save His people. The final week of Daniel’s 70th week is yet to take place. An angel told Daniel that, “70 weeks are determined unto thy people” (Dan 9:24). Scripture never mentions that the tribulation is meant to be a time of testing for Christians. However, some post-tribbers try to claim that they are the ones being tested during the tribulation. To make this so, they need to spiritualize the 144,000 Jewish believers in Revelation 7:2-8 who receive God’s protective seal. Placing the Church dispensation into the same time frame as the seven-year Jewish dispensation, as the post-tribbers do, raises one good question: Can two dispensations transpire at the same time? In the past, God has only dealt with one at a time. Having both present during the tribulation would have to be an exception.

“He” That is Taken Out of the Way
Before the Antichrist can be revealed, Paul said a certain “He” must be taken out of the way. According to 2 Thessalonians 2:7, the “He” that must be removed is widely thought to be the Holy Spirit. It has been promised that the Holy Spirit would never leave the Church, and without the working of the Holy Spirit remaining on earth, no one could be saved during the tribulation. The removal of the Church, which is indwelt by the Holy Ghost, would seem the best explanation for this dilemma. The working of the Holy Spirit could go on during the tribulation, but His influence would be diminished because of the missing Church.

War or Rapture
(Rev 19:19-21) When Jesus returns at the end of the tribulation, He will be coming for battle. For those who believe in a post-trib rapture, it would be strange to meet your Lord and Savior just as He’s rushing into battle. The idea that war and rapture could occur together is difficult to imagine, especially since they transpire at the same moment.

The Five Foolish Virgins
The wedding story that Jesus gave in Matthew 25:2-13, I believe, is a parable of the rapture of the Church. It explains how some will not be ready. Jesus clearly states that a group of people will miss out on an event, and will cry out to God to let them into the place where He resides, heaven. Although some try to put this parable in a post-trib context, it doesn’t fit very well. The ones left behind in a post-trib rapture will not need to seek the Lord because they’ll immediately be confronted by Him and His army of angels.

God Hath Not Appointed Us to Wrath
In 1 Thessalonians 5:9, Paul assures us that God has not appointed His people to wrath. This wrath is plainly God’s anger that will be poured out during the tribulation. Pre-trib believers interpret this as meaning that Christians will be removed from the earth. Post-trib believers tell a different story. They describe this as meaning that God will protect Christians during the tribulation and pour this wrath out on the unbelievers only. This idea runs against the statement made in Revelation 13:7, in which the Antichrist is given power to make war with the saints and to overcome them. A post-trib view would make God’s promise of protection from wrath into a lie. In years past, it was possible to think of being protected from the guns and swords of that day. Today, when any major war would involve nuclear and chemical weapons, it’s impossible to expect that same kind of protection. When Nagasaki, Japan was bombed during World War II, the bomb exploded over a Catholic church. Everyone who was in the center of the explosion died–both Christians and non-Christians. The only way to validly interpret God’s promise of protection from wrath is by viewing 1 Thessalonians 5:9 as the bodily removal of the Church from this world.

The Salt of the Earth
Jesus said, “Ye are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13). When the believers are supenly removed, the earth will be plunged into spiritual darkness. When this happens, the Antichrist will then be free to control the world.

God Takes an Inventory
In Revelation 7:3, an angel descends to earth and seals the servants of God. Two bits of information about this sealing highly disclaim a post-trib viewpoint. The first item is the number of people sealed: 144,000. The second one is that all those who are sealed are from the 12 tribes of Israel. For the events in Revelation 7:3-8 to be true in a post-trib interpretation, either the Church has turned against God or God has turned against the Church. A post-tribber could write a thousand-word commentary about why the Church doesn’t need to be sealed. Instead of trying to argue about why the Church is not mentioned or sealed, a pre-trib proponent could just say, “We’re already in heaven.”

Noah and Lot as Examples
The tribulation period is compared to the times of Noah and Lot by Jesus in Luke 17:28. Most people argue over whether the time frame Jesus was talking about in that passage was pre-trib or post-trib. In doing so, they miss an important point. The two circumstances that the Noah and Lot situations have in common are the removal of the righteous and the judgment of the unbelievers. From these two accounts, we see that God prefers to remove His own when danger is involved.

Common-Sense Reasons for Believing in the Pretribulation Rapture

The World Test
One way to check the soundness of a doctrine is to see how the world reacts to it. One company put out a questionnaire that was used to screen prospective employees. One of the questions was, “Do you believe in the rapture?” If you answered “yes,” your chances of getting hired would not be good. Some internet sites do not allow the topics of Rapture or Second Coming. They do allow topics such as sex, gays, and drugs. The only time the news media mentions the rapture is when someone sets a date and is proven to be wrong.

That Old-Time Religion
It used to be a rule of thumb that when one was visiting a church or listening to a preacher, one could assume the preacher believed in repentance, prayer, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost if he taught the rapture doctrine. It was also true that the churches on fire for God worshipped out of storefronts. Today, many of those storefront churches have moved into marble palaces and have strayed from their principal doctrines.

Birds of a Feather Flock Together
Whenever I look at all the groups that teach false doctrine and are highly focused on end-time events, I cannot find any that support the rapture theory. Some organizations, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example, teach a false gospel and are heavily into Bible prophecy. Why, then, don’t Jehovah’s Witnesses teach a false doctrine that would be right up their alley? Could it be that the demonic forces that influence these groups know something that Christians opposed to the rapture don’t know? The list of prophetically minded cults that reject the idea of a rapture goes on and on. Here are some more: the Mormons, the Worldwide Church of God and the Moonies, as well as leaders like Jim Jones and David Koresh.

The Church Would Rebuke the Antichrist
If the Antichrist came to power with the Church still here, I do not see how he could operate. When Hitler was fighting to take over England, a number of Christians were praying for victory. Hitler made mistake after mistake, and England outperformed its enemy at every stage of the conflict. It is difficult to measure the impact of intercessory prayer in physical warfare. Little is known of how great a role praying saints played in the defeat of Nazi Germany. If the Church were to reside on earth during the tribulation, I am sure she would give the Antichrist fits. In Revelation 11:3, the two witnesses alone give the Antichrist enough headaches. Millions of Christians who know their Bibles well would recognize the man of sin and pray fire down on his head. The post-trib view would have to plan on the Church just rolling over and playing dead the whole seven years.

We should all remember one thing: Knowing the Antichrist’s mother’s maiden name isn’t the primary goal. Knowing Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and having your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life should be your number-one priority. The jailer asked Paul, “What must I do to be saved?” The answer was, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:30-31).

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Apocalipsa – XV. Antihristul. Cap. 13.11-18

XV.
Antihristul
Capitolul 13.11-18

     Lumea aşteaptă un lider religios cu autoritate. Într-un veac al îndoielii şi nesiguranţei, oamenii ar dori pe cineva care să aibă răspuns la toate problemele etice, religioase şi politice care îi frământă. Credincioşii însă ştiu că Dumnezeu a vorbit deja cu autoritate în persoana Fiului Său şi Şi-a descoperit gândul în Cuvântul Său cel sfânt. Privitor la pământ, şi credincioşii aşteaptă pe Cineva în viitor, și anume pe Domnul Isus Hristos venind în glorie ca să stabilească autoritatea şi puterea cerului pe pământ. El va coborî din cer pe pământ însoțit de toți sfinţii Lui glorificaţi, care vor domni pe pământ împreună cu El timp de o mie de ani de pace şi binecuvântări. Însă „omul viitor” pe care necredincioşii îl aşteaptă să se nască pe pământ este un om al pământului, pământesc, și nu Domnul din ceruri. Aşteptarea aceasta urmează să-şi aibă împlinirea în „omul păcatului”, Antihristul, falsul Mesia, care se va descoperi în curând. Acesta nu va fi cunoscut decât după ce Biserica celor întâi născuţi va fi răpită în prezenţa Domnului.

     Mulţi care aşteaptă pe Antihrist, închipuindu-şi că aşteaptă o reîncarnare a lui Hristos Însuşi, mărturisesc că sunt în aşteptarea unui mântuitor care să se nască pe pământ în mod firesc. O societate cunoscută ca „Ordinul Stelei de Răsărit” a înrolat la repezeală mii de membri care declară că aşteaptă un mare învăţător mondial, dar care în realitate pregătesc lumea pentru primirea acelui monstru al nelegiuirii, falsul Hristos, a cărui venire este prin lucrarea balaurului, cu semne şi minuni mincinoase.

     A fi înştiinţat înseamnă a fi înarmat: sfântul Cuvânt al lui Dumnezeu a prezis venirea acelui viclean şi a arătat unde va duce descoperirea lui. Niciun cercetător atent al Cuvântului, învăţat de Duhul Sfânt, nu poate să nu observe umbra Antihristului descrisă pe multe pagini ale Scripturii. Ioan spune: „aţi auzit că are să vină Antihrist” (1 Ioan 2.18). Singura întrebare care frământă pe mulţi priveşte identificarea persoanei sau a lucrurilor la care se referă. Este Antihristul o persoană sau un sistem? Multe nume cu greutate pot fi citate ca fiind în favoarea unei sau altei opinii, dar, pentru ca încrederea noastră să nu se întemeieze pe înţelepciunea oamenilor ci pe puterea lui Dumnezeu în această problemă, ca şi în oricare alta, dorim să fim călăuziţi de Cuvântul scris al lui Dumnezeu. Să reamintim acest fapt binecuvântat şi anume: că Hristos este o Persoană glorioasă, sfântă, atotputernică, una din Treimea veşnică, care a pus pe oameni în legătură cu Dumnezeu; El S-a născut ca om pe pământ dintr-o fecioară, şi S-a smerit şi S-a făcut ascultător ca om până la moarte şi încă moarte de cruce. Logic vorbind, cine aşteaptă ca Antihristul să fie tot om, cu o personalitate definită și opusă Domnului Isus Hristos, dar pretinzând să fie tot ce a fost El, aşteaptă uzurparea locului lui Hristos. Să nu uităm că în lume există un Trup unit cu Hristos, al cărui Cap glorios este El. Tot în lume există de asemenea, şi un sistem religios apostat, așa-zis creștin, opus celui divin, pretinzând fals că este mireasa lui Hristos şi singurul păzitor autorizat a tainelor lui Dumnezeu. Este sistemul acesta Antihrist sau este mai degrabă Babilonul cel mare, antibiserica? Probabil că această opinie din urmă este cea corectă.

     Cuvântul profetic scoate în evidenţă două mari înşelătorii religioase: un fals Hristos şi o falsă biserică. Nu trebuiesc confundate una cu cealaltă. Antihristul va fi un om, aşa cum Hristosul lui Dumnezeu a fost Om. Babilonul însă este un vast sistem organizat, aşa cum Biserica lui Dumnezeu este o organizaţie divină. Dar una este o contrafacere satanică. Când glasul profeţiei vorbeşte despre Antihrist, este folosit pronumele masculin „el”. Când se vorbeşte despre biserica falsă, se foloseşte neutrul „it” în engleză sau femininul „ea”. Antihristul este capul suprem al sistemului apostat care are aceeaşi relaţie cu el, ca şi Hristos cu Biserica. De la prima promisiune făcută Seminţei femeii, care urma să zdrobească la împlinirea vremii capul şarpelui, oamenii au aşteptat şi aşteaptă să se ridice dintre ei un izbăvitor. O astfel de aşteptare se bizuie pe Scriptură şi a fost realizată la naşterea Domnului Hristos. Dar de când El a fost lepădat, continuarea aşteptării a devenit o pervertire a adevărului. Pentru că Izbăvitorul trimis de Dumnezeu, „Sămânţa femeii”, a fost răpit de Dumnezeu şi aşezat pe tronul Său. În locul Lui a venit sămânţa şarpelui (Antihristul) şi cei ce îl aşteaptă nu-şi dau seama de aceasta. De mii de ani şarpele a fost simbolul religiei ezoterice (ascunse) care reprezintă înţelepciunea şi venirea celui ce revendică a fi înţelepciunea lui Dumnezeu. Religia ezoterică este religia prin excelenţă a lui Antihrist. Deci, un om este aşteptat. Venirea lui se apropie. El va veni când, în cele din urmă, puterea care-l opreşte acum, adică Duhul Sfânt, va fi luat la venirea Domnului Isus pentru răpirea credincioșilor Lui. Cel ce va veni este marele monarh al cultului Noii Ordini Mondiale. El este viitorul Imaum, sau Mahidi al musulmanilor. El este Parasu Roma (ultima încercare a lui Vişnu) aşteptat de brahmani; viitorul Montezume al aztecilor; falsul Mesia al evreilor apostaţi; marele Maestru al tuturor sectelor yoghine; supraomul evoluţioniştilor; hun al filosofilor, ale căror aiureli au pregătit calea războiului mondial. El va fi un supus al lui Satan, un hulitor al lui Dumnezeu, fără nicio conştiinţă, aproape un supraom, un individ a cărui descoperire va însemna încoronarea prezentei apostazii şi deplina zeificare a umanităţii pentru victimele lui zăpăcite. Astfel, lumea va fugi de Hristosul lui Dumnezeu şi îşi va întinde mâinile dornice să ureze bun venit viitorului, adică „omului păcatului”. Bizuindu-se pe el, acesta va urma să vină la timpul său. Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu declară că venirea lui este la fel de sigură ca şi a doua venire a Domnului Isus Hristos din glorie.

     Între timp marea antibiserică (sistemul rău care este o contrafacere a adevăratei Biserici), aruncă sistematic peste bord adevărurile Scripturii şi urmează minciunile ce va pregăti lumea să primească pe „mincinosul” despre care spune 1 Ioan 2.22, adică Antihristul. Cine este mincinosul? Cel ce tăgăduieşte pe Tatăl şi pe Fiul. Cine iubeşte şi spune o minciună îşi va avea partea în iazul care arde cu foc şi cu pucioasă, este porunca neschimbată a Dumnezeului adevărului. Nu este de dorit pentru nimeni să fie amestecat în această nelegiuire îngrozitoare!

     Cea mai completă descriere a lui Antihrist în Scriptură se află în Daniel 11.36-45. A se citi acest pasaj. Observăm că aici este prezis că un împărat, care va fi un ateu, se va ridica în Ierusalim, deci un evreu; pentru că este prezis clar despre el că „nu va ţine seamă nici de Dumnezeul părinţilor săi, nici de dorinţa femeilor”. Expresia „Dumnezeul părinţilor săi” nu poate însemna nimic altceva decât Dumnezeul lui Avraam, Isaac şi Iacov, şi este o expresie frecvent folosită în Scriptură; în timp ce expresia „dorinţa femeilor” este recunoscută, atât de evrei cât şi de comentatorii creştini ca referindu-se la Mesia. Punctul acesta cred că este foarte important, pentru că Antihristul n-ar fi putut să fie falsul Mesia dacă n-ar fi fost evreu, sau, în caz contrar, n-ar fi putut revendica supunerea lui Israel. El va fi un mare conducător evreu care, la început, va părea un mare iubitor al poporului său şi care îi va stabili în ţara lor. Dar în curând va da la o parte orice restricţie şi înălţându-se pe sine, se va mări împotriva oricărui dumnezeu, va vorbi lucruri mari împotriva Dumnezeului dumnezeilor în timpul ultimilor trei ani şi jumătate a celei de-a 70 săptămână a lui Daniel. Să facem o comparaţie dintre cele două texte: cel din Daniel şi cel din Apocalipsa 13.11 unde citim: „Apoi am văzut ridicându-se din pământ o altă fiară, care avea două coarne ca ale unui miel şi vorbea ca un balaur”. Observăm că nu se ridică din naţiunile păgâne ca prima fiară, ci iese din pământ (ţară), ţara Palestinei, exact aceeaşi ţară în care împăratul din Daniel 11, urmează să se descopere. El avea „două coarne ca un miel”, pentru că la început pare să aibă şi blândeţe (ca un miel), dar vorbirea lui este apoi asemănătoare cu a balaurului şi aceasta îl trădează ce este de fapt. Este vorbirea înălţării de sine care arată că păcatul său este acelaşi ca şi al stăpânului său, diavolul, care a căzut datorită mândriei.

     Acum Daniel spune că deşi încăpăţânatul împărat nu vrea să recunoască niciun dumnezeu supranatural, totuşi el cinsteşte pe unul numit „dumnezeul cetățuilor”, evident, un om, pentru că este unul căruia el îi plăteşte tribut: „un dumnezeu pe care părinţii lui nu l-a cunoscut, va fi cinstit cu aur, argint, pietre scumpe şi lucruri plăcute”. Acest om puternic va fi sprijinitorul lui Antihrist şi, în schimbul protecţiei lui, va face ca Palestina să se supună autorităţii sale şi să-i plătească tribut. Acest ”dumnezeu străin” îl va confirma şi îl va acoperi cu slavă şi-l va face să cârmuiască peste mulţi şi să împartă ţara pentru câştig. Dar acelaşi lucru este implicat în Apoc.13.12: „Ea lucra cu toată puterea fiarei dintâi înaintea ei; şi făcea ca pământul şi locuitorii ei să se închine fiarei dintâi, a cărei rană de moarte fusese vindecată”. Înţelegem că el este viceregele primei fiare, pe care lumea o recunoaşte ca dumnezeu (în sensul în care erau recunoscuţi Cezarii în vechime, ca dumnezei), și ca stăpân, îmbogăţind-o cu averile evreiești.

     Antihristul nu va fi numai un abil om de stat, un politician viclean, ci şi un făcător de minuni: „Săvârşea semne mari, până acolo că făcea chiar să se coboare foc din cer pe pământ, în faţa oamenilor. Şi amăgea pe locuitorii pământului prin semnele pe care i se dădea să le facă în faţa fiarei. Și a zis locuitorilor pământului să facă o icoană fiarei, care avea rana de sabie şi trăia” (v.13-14). Aceasta se potriveşte cu relatarea izbitoare a „omului fărădelegii” din 2 Tesaloniceni 2.3-12. A se citi aceste versete. Aici este o precizare a venirii împăratului ateu din Daniel 11 şi a făcătorului de minuni din Apocalipsa 13.

     Unul din semnele timpurilor din zilele noastre este setea nesănătoasă după minuni şi semne, predominantă în multe domenii. Este cea mai periculoasă stare a minţii, iar Domnul Hristos se ferea de orice lucru de genul acesta. Suntem prea aproape de sfârşitul dispensaţiunii actuale ca să mai aşteptăm vreo minune divină; numai semnele satanice şi minunile vor creşte pe măsură ce ne apropiem de sfârşit şi, când Antihristul va apărea, el va da oamenilor toate minunile pe care le doresc, doar ca să-i amăgească şi să-i facă să accepte pretenţiile lui nelegiuite. Ce semnifică cu exactitate imaginea fiarei, nu ştim. Putem spune că este legată de înştiinţarea Domnului nostru că „urâciunea pustiirii” va fi aşezată în locul sfânt. În orice caz, va fi apogeul apostaziei, va fi semnalul ca toţi evreii credincioşi, care în zilele acelea de mari prigoniri se vor lipi de Domnul, trebuie să fugă din Ierusalim printre naţiuni, până la arătarea Domnului Hristos. Se spune că fiara, asemănătoare cu mielul, va da viaţă imaginii (icoanei) şi va vorbi şi va face „ca cei ce nu se vor închina icoanei fiarei, să fie omorâţi”. O mare companie se va forma din evrei apostaţi şi naţiuni apostate care vor copia într-un fel sindicatele noastre din ziua de astăzi şi organizaţiile unite prin jurământ. Aceasta se spune în versetele 16 şi 17: „Şi a făcut ca toţi: mici şi mari, bogaţi şi săraci, liberi şi robi, să primească un semn pe mâna dreaptă sau pe frunte şi nimeni să nu poată cumpăra sau vinde, fără să aibă semnul acesta, adică numele fiarei, sau numărul numelui ei”. Este bine ca cei credincioşi de astăzi să se păzească de astfel de asociaţii lumeşti şi de juguri nepotrivite.

     Domnul nostru Isus Hristos spunea iudeilor: „Eu am venit în Numele Tatălui Meu şi nu Mă primiţi; dacă va veni un altul în numele lui însuşi, pe acela îl veţi primi” (Ioan 5.43). El vorbea despre această îngrozitoare persoană arătată mai sus. Şi Zaharia 11.16-17 spune: „Căci iată că voi ridica în ţară un păstor, căruia nu–i va păsa de oile care pier; nu se va duce să caute pe cele mai tinere, nu va vindeca pe cele rănite, nu va îngriji de cele sănătoase; ci va mânca din carnea celor mai grase şi nu le va mai lăsa decât copitele! Vai de păstorul de nimic care îşi părăseşte oile! Să cadă sabia pe braţul lui şi pe ochiul lui cel drept! Să i se usuce braţul de tot şi să i se stingă ochiul drept!” Acest idol păstor este pus în contrast cu Păstorul cel Bun, pe care Zaharia trebuie să-l personifice sau să-l reprezinte, aşa cum este descris în prima parte a capitolului, că a fost vândut pe 30 de arginţi. Această parte a profeţiei a fost literalmente împlinită şi putem crede că restul se va împlini la timpul potrivit.

     Pe idolul păstor evreii îl aşteaptă chiar acum, deşi ei nu-şi dau seama. La un Congres Sionist, cu câţiva ani înainte de primul război mondial, Max Nordau a declarat: „Noi suntem gata să urăm bun sosit oricărui om care ne va conduce înapoi în ţara noastră şi ne va stabili acolo în prosperitate”. Max Nordau este un evreu reformat care a părăsit speranţa mesianică. Dar recent, doctorul Mosinsohn, de la Colegiul ebraic din Iafa, a făcut un turneu prin America în interesele aceleiaşi mişcări sioniste, şi am avut prilejul să-l aud vorbind Universităţii din California. În comentariile sale a spus: „Gândiţi-vă la toţi marii lideri religioşi care au ieşit din Răsărit. Moise s-a ridicat din Răsărit; Buda, Confucius, Isus şi Mahomed, toţi s-au ridicat din Răsărit. Şi vă spun vouă, popor din Apus, cu încredere, că dacă voi veți readuce pe evrei în căminul lor strămoşesc, nu peste mult timp noi vă vom da un alt mare lider religios care va depăşi poate pe toţi câţi au venit mai înainte”. Eu și cu un medic credincios cu care venisem împreună, ne-am privit uimiţi unul pe altul. Simţeam că ascultăm pe un Ioan Botezătorul al lui Antihrist, atât de surprinzător era anunţul. Şi cu lumina pe care cuvântul profetic o aruncă peste viitorul foarte apropiat, nu ne îndoim că declaraţia acestui lider evreu se va împlini în cel perfid care urmează să se ridice în Palestina, şi care va fi recunoscut de iudaismul şi creştinătatea apostată ca fiind Hristosul, omul viitorului. Spre acest îngrozitor sfârşit tind și toate cultele moderne şi, după ce prezenţa Duhului Sfânt va fi retrasă de pe pământ odată cu răpirea credincioșilor, descoperirea acestui om nu va mai fi oprită.

     Mulți reformaţi moderni consideră că papa reprezintă împlinirea profeţiilor la care am meditat. Şi nu ne miră, pentru că papalitatea, acest sistem nesfânt, este unul din cele mai uluitoare contrafaceri a ceea ce este din Dumnezeu. Însă este cert că aceasta nu satisface cerinţele cazului nostru, deşi negreşit că este unul din „mulţii antihrişti” despre care scrie apostolul Ioan, când ne înştiinţează mai dinainte de „Antihrist”, a cărui venire este încă viitoare.

     Dacă ne îndreptăm atenţia către acest mincinos de la Roma, găsim şase lucruri prezise despre Antihrist care pentru papă n-au fost niciodată adevărate şi probabil că nu vor fi nici în viitor:

  1. Antihristul trebuie să fie iudeu, altfel nu ar fi recunoscut de Israel ca Mesia al lui;

  2. El trebuie să se ridice în Palestina, nu în Italia la Roma, și nici în Ierusalim;

  3. El trebuie să fie supus şi legat cu putere civilă; nu să o domine, cum a făcut papalitatea de veacuri;

  4. El trebuie să fie recunoscut de masa evreilor ca împăratul şi liderul lor religios şi este bine cunoscut faptul că evreii n-au recunoscut niciodată pretenţiile papilor;

  5. El trebuie să fie ocrotitorul Israelului, pe când Biserica romano-catolică a fost întotdeauna prigonitorul lor;

  6. El nu trebuie să se descopere decât după ce piedica, adică Duhul Sfânt, va fi luat din drumul lui, iar aceasta va fi numai atunci când Duhul Sfânt se va ridica împreună cu Biserica la revenirea Domnului Isus Hristos; aceasta va avea loc înainte să sune ceasul judecăţii pentru această lume nelegiuită unde Domnul Isus Hristos și Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu au fost lepădați.

     Sunt şi alte sisteme deopotrivă anticreştine ca şi papalitatea, dar nici una din ele nu corespunde cerinţelor de mai sus; de aceea nici una din ele nu trebuie confundată cu Antihristul ca persoană, care trebuie totuşi să se ridice şi să înşele o vreme pe cei ce „au refuzat dragostea adevărului ca să fie mântuiţi”. Antihriştii cei mulţi pregătesc numai calea pentru această întrupare a nelegiuirii; şi setea cu care oamenii beau din învăţăturile lor rele, pot să ne dea o idee de cât de ușor îi va fi falsului Mesia să stabilească revendicările sale.

     Unii poate ar ridiculiza gândul că va fi un mare număr de oameni ce va răspunde la acele pretenţii monstruoase, dar noi să ne amintim că Dumnezeu Însuşi îi va lepăda la judecată pentru că au crezut o minciună şi n-au primit adevărul. Şi în zilele noastre, ce uşor au putut înşelători ca Mary Baker Patterson Clover Eddy, Ellen G. White, doamna Blatvasky, Annie Basant, Katherine Tingley, John Alexander, „Elijah” Dowie, dar şi alţi şarlatani, să înrobească mintea şi cugetele unor vaste mulţimi de oameni care refuză adevărul simplu al Cuvântului lui Dumnezeu; şi acestea se întâmplă acum când este prezent Duhul Sfânt în lume, când El călăuzeşte în tot adevărul pe fiecare suflet cinstit care se lasă călăuzit de El şi învăţat prin Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu, dar atunci ce uşor vor fi rătăciţi oamenii când Duhul Sfânt nu va mai fi pe pământ.

     „Aici este înţelepciunea. Cine are pricepere, să socotească numărul fiarei. Pentru că este un număr de om. Şi numărul ei este: 666”. Tot ce pot să spun este că numărul şase este numărul omului, iar trei al Dumnezeirii. În aceşti trei de şase eu văd descoperirea a ceea ce este în inima omului – ultimul efort al omului de a atinge divinitatea şi zeitatea – de a fura gloria lui Dumnezeu ca să se înalţe pe sine. Evident, când Antihristul se va arăta în realitate şi prima fiară se va descoperi, înţelesul va fi atât de deplin încât oricine se va întoarce la Dumnezeu în timpul acela, va fi înştiinţat prin aceasta să „nu aibă nicio părtăşie cu lucrările neroditoare ale întunericului”, ci să se lipească de Domnul cu atât mai serios, pentru că se ştie că sfârşitul s-a apropiat. Presupunerile cu privire la 666 au fost nenumărate.

     Timpul zboară atât de repede! Dacă vreunul din noi nu este mântuit, este bine să-şi aducă aminte că ziua harului aproape s-a dus. Lumina Evangheliei va dispărea de pe pământ; întunericul apostaziei face progrese; în curând aici va fi foame după auzirea Cuvântului lui Dumnezeu. Fie ca acum, în această zi a harului, oamenii să ia seama la mărturia Scripturii adevărului, să primească pe Fiul lui Dumnezeu născut din fecioară ca Mântuitor şi Domn, şi să dispreţuiască minciunile fiecărui antihrist.

„O, pământ, pământ, pământ,
auzi Cuvântul despre antihrist.
Auzi-l, şi sufletul tău va trăi”.

„Cel ce aude Cuvântul Meu şi crede în Cel ce M-a trimis,
are viaţa veşnică şi nu vine la judecată,
ci a trecut din moarte la viaţă”
(Ioan 5:24).

http://catalin67.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/apocalipsa-xv-antihristul-cap-13-11-18/

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rapture

rapture (Photo credit: ChuckHolton)

The Early Church And The Rapture

http://gracethrufaith.com/

Q. We are studying Revelation in the home study
at my house, and I know I am going to butt heads with the leader over the Rapture. He is convinced of a “mid trib” Rapture, because he doesn’t believe we would be taken out of the world to escape persecution, which
is all he sees in the first half, not the wrath of God.

He has also cited that tired “fact” that no church father ever taught or believed in a rapture. I know there is not a huge amount written about it, but I do know there are some who believed it. Would you givean example please?534352_125603257575371_100003770935740_117468_1946230387_n

A.  The mid- trib view is impossible to defend from
Scripture, which is probably why your friend relies on opinion.  It’s very name is misleading because the mid trib position actually placesthe rapture in the middle of Daniel’s 70th week, just before the Great
Tribulation begins. So it’s technically a pre-tribulation rapture.

Since the Great Tribulation begins in Rev.13,mid-tribbers have the Church going through the seals and 6 of the 7trumpet judgments, leaving earth at about the time of the 7th Trumpet in
Rev. 11.  By then over 1/3 of the world’s population will have died and a group of tribulation martyrs too big to number will
have arrived in Heaven (Rev. 7:9-17). That’s a bit more intense than “mere” persecution.

Paul was the best known proponent of the pre-trib rapture, having personally introduced it to the Church.  If you read the text carefully, you’ll find that 2 Thessalonians 2 doesn’t make sense unless Paul had taught them the pre-trib position when he was there.

The Book of Revelation clearly states that God’s wrath begins in Rev. 6 with the Seal Judgments.   Paul taught that since we have now been justified by the Lord’s blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him (Romans 5:9).  In 1 Thes. 1:10 he said that the church would be rescued from the time, place, or any relation to the coming wrath, because we weren’t appointed to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thes 5:9).  And the Lord Himself said that He would keep us out of the hour of trial coming upon the whole world (Rev. 3:10).

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on Sunday, July 28th, 2013 at 5:00 pm and is filed under Ask a Bible Teacher.


 

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sunset in the holy city of Tzfat

 

 

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=jrO5fGSIyM8

 

 

Joni Eareckson Tada Speaks at the 2013 NRB Convention

 

Joni Eareckson Tada Speaking at Park Street Church

Joni Eareckson Tada Speaking at Park Street Church (Photo credit: Rachel Ford James)


 

 

Thank you my dear sister for speaking the truth in love with passion for the Savior and glorifying Him!

 

 

I love her so much because she’s honest. She hates her
paralysis, she hates that wheelchair. She doesn’t sugar coat her
struggles.

But she still follows and finds Christ in the midst of them.

I doubt I’ll meet her in person in this life. But I will meet her in
heaven someday. And I will rejoice when she meets the Savior that she’s
walked with all these years, and she will finally be completely healed –
not just in body, but in spirit as well.

Stay strong, Joni! Yesika
What wonderful gifts were squeezed from her heart through
suffering! The water of life flows from her heart down the cross that
she bears into the river of God.Van W

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A trăi după credinţă

A trăi după credinţă
nu-i uşor, dar nu-i nici greu.
A trăi după credinţă
e la om cu neputinţă
însă nu la Dumnezeu.

A trăi umblând pe ape
nu-i uşor, dar nu-i nici greu.
A trăi umblând pe ape,
când vin valuri să te-ngroape
e un drum cu Dumnezeu.

A trăi după iubire
nu-i uşor, dar nu-i nici greu.
A trăi după iubire
e o cruce pentru fire
şi-o-nviere-n Dumnezeu.

A trăi după credinţă
nu-i uşor, dar nu-i nici greu.
Dar a fi în necredinţă

şi-a muri fără căinţă,
nu-i nimic, nimic mai greu!

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Cât de maret e Dumnezeu!

 

Cat de maret e Dumnezeu!

Vad marea cu talazuri grele,

ma-nalt pe muntii de bazalt

si-mi zboara gandul printre stele,

tot mai inalt!

 

Ce-imparat isi duce-ostirea

spre un gigantic apogeu?

Acel ce-a pus in goluri firea,

Acel ce-a scris oricui menirea,

mai mult decat nemarginirea

e Tatal meu!

 

Cat de temut e Dumnezeu!

Vuiau de pe Sinai ecouri

cand glasul Domnului vorbea.

Iar Moise-nainta prin nouri

si tremura…

 

La tronul alb se strang sfielnic

voivozi de foc din Empireu,

Si heruvimii vin cucernic,

slavind Eternul Vistiernic.

Si-acest Stapan Atotputernic

e Tatal meu!

 

Si cat de bun e Dumnezeu!

Chiar daca stelele batrane

tot au o vreme cand se-astern,

dar cine in Isus ramane

e-un fiu etern!

 

Si-n fata slavei sclipitoare

in ceasul lumii cel mai greu,

acei ce-au dat pe sfintii la fiare

vedea-vor Forta Creatoare,

eu voi soptii cu adorare:

“E Tatal meu…”

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181219_601924573151549_592761859_nhttp://vesnicia.ro/index.php/poezii/14-costache-ioanid

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