Pro and Con 352

Uploaded 7-5-99

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FWD: From Prophecy Central:
JERUSALEM, Israel. Anglican Bishop spearheads United Religions Project
Leaders of an initiative to set up a united body of the world's religions, paralleling the United Nations, claim that their campaign is gaining momentum.

The Christian clergyman spearheading the "United Religions Initiative", California-based Episcopal (Anglican) Bishop William Swing, said that religions lagged at least half-a-century behind nation states in establishing international forums to resolve conflicts between different faiths.

"As nations have got together for the past 50 years to pursue global good, during the same 50 years the religions have not spoken to each other and have not sat down to figure out what their common vocation is," he told ENI during a visit to Jerusalem during which he, along with the Tibetan Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, attended an inter-faith conference.

"Religions talk to each other at conferences, walk away, meet every two years, or five years or never. I am convinced that religions have to meet on a daily, permanent basis.

"The problems, among religions, and in religions, are everyday problems, and they are not going to be solved, or addressed or helped, until we finally have some kind of 'United Religions', that will parallel the United Nations, so that we can carry out negotiations."

His goal is to set up the world body of religions by June next year, and he remains hopeful of meeting the deadline - with God's help....
(ENI - Ecumenical News International) (Post date: June 22, 1999)

My reply

Thanks. This is the first I have heard of this.

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We enjoy your pros and cons very much. We tend to believe the rapture (at the last trump) will occur during the Feast of Trumpets (hopefully this September), but hope for him to come as soon as possible. My question is: what is your position on children and the rapture? Most everyone I have heard says that all children under the age of accountability will be taken in the rapture. Do you agree with this? If so, what are the scriptures that back this up? Also, what is the age of accountability? I can't find this anywhere in the Bible either. Any answer you have would be greatly appreciated, as my wife and I have two young children (18 months and 3 months). We are eagerly awaiting the rapture but worry what might happen to our children in the tribulation if they are not caught up with us at the rapture. Our greatest concern is that no one would teach them about Jesus, and they would be separated from us for eternity.

My reply

I'm glad you enjoy the P & Cs.

> We tend to believe the rapture (at the last trump) will occur during the Feast of Trumpets

I think you are right in what you stated, but I don't think that is what you actually meant. Let me explain. There are two trumps to call the saints to Heaven. The first trump calls the Bride of Christ to Heaven before the Tribulation. The last trump calls the rest of the Body of Christ to Heaven before God's Wrath falls on Earth.

Nu. 10:2-4 says, "Make thee TWO TRUMPETS of silver...use them for the CALLING OF THE ASSEMBLY, AND FOR THE JOURNEYING OF THE CAMPS. And when they shall blow with them (both, i.e., at the last trump), ALL the assembly shall assemble themselves to thee at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation." This "ALL" and last trump tie in with I Cor. 15:51,52, the second Rapture. Then "we shall ALL be changed...at the LAST TRUMP."

Continuing, verse 4 says, "And if they blow but with ONE TRUMPET, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel (the elders of Rev. 4:4), shall gather themselves unto thee." This is the first Rapture, the one in I Thess. 4:13-18. The "Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with THE TRUMP of God (the first trump): 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."

The reason both trumpets are blown at the last Rapture is found in Mark 13:27. Two groups are to be called to the assembly that day. It says, And then (when "the stars of heaven shall fall," v. 25) shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth (the Pre-Wrath Rapture) to the uttermost part of heaven" (those that were taken to Heaven at the Pre-Trib Rapture).

I think the first trump is the Pre-Trib Rapture on Pentecost, hopefully in 2000. I feel certain that the last trump is the Pre-Wrath Rapture on the Feast of Trumpets in 2007. The Tribulation saints are taken to Heaven (Rev. 7:14) between the breaking of the sixth (Rev. 6:12) and seventh seals (Rev. 8). Rev. 6:17 says, "For the great day of his wrath is come." This is the Feast of Trumpets, the first day of the millennial Day of the Lord.

Mal. 2:3 shows that the Day of God's Wrath is on a feast day. It says, "your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it."

Joel 2:1,2 shows that it is the Feast of Trumpets. It says, "BLOW ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the DAY OF THE LORD COMETH, for it is nigh at hand; A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong (Gog's army, Eze. 38); there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it."

Dan. 12:1,2 shows that the Pre-Wrath Rapture is that day. It says, "at that time (when the False Prophet comes to his end, Dan. 11:45) shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a TIME OF TROUBLE (day of Jacob's trouble), SUCH AS NEVER WAS SINCE THERE WAS A NATION EVEN TO THAT SAME TIME: AND AT THAT TIME THY PEOPLE SHALL BE DELIVERED, EVERY ONE THAT SHALL BE FOUND WRITTEN IN THE BOOK. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake." The "EVERY ONE" here agrees with the "ALL" of I Cor. 15:51,52 and the "ALL" of Nu. 10:2-4. In the first Rapture, the Bride of Christ is caught up. In the second Rapture, ALL the rest of the Body of Christ is taken to Heaven. The assembly is complete as the Judgment Seat of Christ convenes.

After the 144,000 and a great multitude that no man can number are safely in Heaven (Rev. 7:14), the seven trumpet judgments fall on Earth. As the second trumpet sounds, "a great mountain (piece of an asteroid) burning with fire was cast into the sea" (the Mediterranean) (Rev. 8:8). It stops Gog's army. As the third trumpet sounds, "there fell a great star (aster, asteroid) from heaven, burning as it were a lamp" (Rev. 8:10). It destroys Babylon. It is the "stone like a great millstone" of Rev. 18:21.

Rev. 11:17,18 explains, "thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned (the Coronation of Christ was first on the agenda that day). And the nations were angry (Gog's army), and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that you shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth."

> what is your position on children and the rapture? Most everyone I have heard says that all
> children under the age of accountability will be taken in the rapture. Do you agree with this?
> If so, what are the scriptures that back this up? Also, what is the age of accountability?

First, the age of accountability among the Jews is 13. That is why Jesus was taken to the temple at 12, to prepare for his Bar Mitzvah at 13. Even Webster's says 13 under bar mitzvah. I agree that all under-age children of parents going in the first Rapture will go with them. I'm not so sure that children of parents left behind would be taken up, much less children of the unsaved. I can't think of specific scriptures that tell us directly. I just keep remembering that Jesus said, "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence" (Mt. 19:14,15; KJV).

The word suffer is Strong's 863: aphiemi, from apo (575) and hiemi, to send; an intens. form of eimi, to go; to send forth, cry, forgive, forsake, lay aside, leave, let (alone, be, go, have), omit, put (send) away, remit, suffer, yield up.

Apo (575) is a prim. particle; "off," i.e., away (from something near). Its various meanings include after, ago, at, because of, before, from, in (out) of, off, since, with. In composition (as a prefix) it usually denotes separation, departure, cessation, completion, reversal.

The Concordant Version has, "'Let the little children be coming to Me, and do not forbid them, for of such is the kingdom of the heavens.' And, placing His hands on them, He went thence." Green's Interlinear has, "Allow the little children and do not forbid them to come to Me, for of such is the kingdom of Heaven. And laying hands upon them, He went away from there."

Mt. 23:37 (KJV) says, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!"

At the Pre-Trib Rapture, we know that under-the-age-of-accountability children of parents going in the Rapture will be caught up too. Those of non-believers may stay here. At the Pre-Wrath Rapture, I feel certain that all under-age children will be taken, regardless of whether the parents are taken up. None would be here during the great catastrophe.

> worry what might happen to our children in the tribulation if they are
> not caught up with us at the rapture

Don't worry. If you go, they go. Acts 16:31 says, "what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." Noah's family was with him in the Ark, you know.
It looks like the underage children will go, even if only one parent is a believer. I Cor. 7:14 says, "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children UNCLEAN; but now are they HOLY." Verse 16 says, "For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife."

I could be wrong. However, it looks to me like the underage "unclean" children of unbelieving parents will probably stay here until the second Rapture, but the "holy" ones will be caught up the first time. The Lord is fair and just.

Incoming Email

If we die now, do we go to heaven now? How does this relate to the rapture of those dead in Christ who will rise at the rapture? What does the bible mean when it says "asleep in Christ"? thanx

My reply

Yes. Believers that die now are "absent from the body," and "present with the Lord" (II Cor. 5:8). "There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial" (I Cor. 15:40).

The OT saints were taken to heaven on Resurrection Day. In the morning, Jesus told Mary Magdalene, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father" (John 20:17). Later that day, he allowed himself to be touched (Lu. 24:59). "When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men" (Eph.4:8).

All these are called "asleep in Christ." At the Rapture, Jesus will bring them with him, and they will get their resurrection bodies first. Then we will rise to meet them in the air (I Thess. 4:13-18).

Incoming Email

Re: PC 347
Dear Marilyn, The longer we wait the sadder I become. I am grieved to learn that you are having to put your house up for sale. I read your comments and you say your faith is still strong in Him. I stand with you that He will bless you out of these circumstances.

Being in a similar circumstance, my desire for Pentecost 98 and then Pentecost 99 was to be finally through with this testing and disappointment. Was not to be the case obviously.

I've always struggled with the story of Job, his righteousness, his testing? who was ultimately responsible? Who was the point being made to? Satan knew who God was/is, Job - why was he righteous if he hadn't known God. The testing finally came to an end and he was blest. Maybe so for us and the rapture. Maybe soon it will occur.

Bless you Marilyn for sharing all that you have. In Him

My reply

I like the book of Job. It is probably the oldest book in the Bible. There isn't a hint of the law in it, no mention of Tabernacle or Temple. He must have lived in the 430-year Dispensation of Promise that preceded the Dispensation of the Law, i.e., between Abraham and the Exodus. A postscript in the LXX says that he ruled in Edom and was the 5th from Abraham. Gen. 36:31-33 tells of "the kings that reigned in the land of Edom (Esau's descendants), before there reigned any king over the children of Israel...And Bela died, and Jobab (maybe Job) the son of Zerah of Bozrah reigned in his stead." "Eliphaz the Temanite" of Job 4:1 may be the same as "Eliphaz the firstborn son of Esau; duke Teman" of Gen. 36:15. "Bildad, the Shuhite" of Job 2:11 seems to be descended from Shuah, son of Abraham and Keturah (Gen. 25:2).

Job "was the greatest of all the men of the east" (Job 1:3), and Satan was allowed to test him. It was NOT for anything wrong that Job had done. It was because Satan thought that man would not stand strong in the face of adversity. He said, "put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face" (1:11). He got fooled though. Job withstood his testing, and cursing turned to blessing for Job. It turned to Job's advantage, not Satan's. Job learned from his experience, and we can learn from it too.

As we read of Satan coming before the Lord, Satan said he had come "From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it." The Lord then asked if he had considered Job, "that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil."

Here we can get a hint that man was created a lesser creature to prove a point to Satan. If man, who could not see God, could still obey him, God would be proved just in sentencing Satan to prison. Satan could see God and still did not obey him. From Adam to today, Satan is trying to get man to disobey God. I think it is probably because he appealed his sentence, saying that it was unfair. God is proving that he is perfectly just in sentencing Satan and his fallen angels to prison.

Because Satan himself has ulterior motives, he thinks that all men think this way, and some do, but not all. He said, "Doth Job fear God for nought: Hast not thou made an hedge about him...blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased" (1:9,10). In trying to test Job to find out his sincerity, Satan thought sure he would fail. Satan does not understand people like Job.

> Job - why was he righteous if he hadn't known God.

The first verse says he "feared God." He spoke of God as the creator and sustainer of the Universe. He knew to pray to God. He offered up burnt-offerings. Even Noah did that (Gen. 8:20). In Job 19:25,26, he said, "I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." He knew God.

James 2:23 says of Abraham, he "believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God." Job was not far removed from Abraham. He would have known about Abraham and believed the promises. Even though he did not understand all the ways of God, he still trusted him.

Aren't we almost in the same boat? What Satan said to the Lord about Job may be very near to what he is saying about us today. We need to prove that we love the Lord unconditionally. It doesn't depend on what we have or don't have. Just as we are, and whatever happens, we love the Lord regardless.

Job is an example for us. When things seem too much for us to handle, we can read Job and our trials and tribulations seen trivial in comparison. He got to thinking himself a little too wise, and God spoke to show him there still was a lot he didn't know, but Job repented of that in one big hurry. He really really wanted to always do the right thing and his faith in God was never in question. It was solid as a rock even if he lost everything and died. His story is told to bolster us up when things go wrong in our lives. All bad things that happen to us are NOT because we deserve to be punished.

Whether the approach of the three friends was from human experience, tradition, or human merit, it all was so much philosophical reasoning. None of their arguments could hold a candle to Job's sublime faith. Man is to walk by faith, and Job did. He held tenaciously to God, and God did not cast him away. He allowed him to be tested to a point, and no more. Job came through with flying colors, wiser for the whole experience he had gone through. He could help others in similar circumstances while still alive, and even yet today, his story helps us and gives us strength to withstand any and all testing. It doesn't last forever.

Job's three friends thought sure he was a hypocrite, good on the outside, but sinful within. They thought that suffering only comes from sin, and since he was suffering so much, he must be a great sinner. However, they didn't convince Job that all this happened because he sinned. Job did not convince the three that he was innocent, but he got it right when he said of God, "he knoweth the way that I take; when he hath tried (tested) me, I shall come forth as gold" (23:10). His experience tested him and refined his character. He learned not to be so self-righteous and to be more humble. God usually has more than one reason for allowing what he does.

In the end, we can all see that we should trust and serve the Lord because of who and what he is, not because of what we are, and not because we get certain benefits. He is great, and holy, and good, and deserves our faith, and worship, and service. We have to understand that the Sovereign of the Universe cannot be required by us to give us a reason for all that he does or allows. We should be grateful that he has given us as much explanation as he has.

After God spoke, Job repented of some of the things he had said, He confessed that he uttered things that he did not understand. Here are his words, "I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not....Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (42:1-6). This was the right thing to do. The Lord said to Eliphaz, "My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath....my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept...And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, WHEN HE PRAYED FOR HIS FRIENDS" (42:7-10).

There, we get a hint of why we should pray for others, even those that accuse us unjustly.

Sprinkled through all the discussion over why men suffer are some real gems the Holy Spirit caused to appear. Job 20:23f applies to the False Prophet. "When he is about to fill his belly, God shall cast the fury of his wrath upon him, and shall rain it upon him while he is eating." That turns out to be noon, Psa. 91.6 and Zech. 2:4,5.

"WHY, seeing times are NOT hidden from the Almighty (Jesus Christ, Rev. 1:8), do they that know him not see his days?" (24:1).

"He holdeth back the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud upon it. He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end. The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof. He divideth the sea with his power, and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud (lit., rahab). By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent. Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand?" (26:9-14).

I have gotten so much out of the book of Job, but this is the information that opened up so much of Scripture to me. Job. 11:6 says, "the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is!" Double is kephel, duplicate. The recorded history of Israel suddenly became more interesting. They played out little dramatic skits to help us understand prophecy. History does repeat itself--by God's design. "For enquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers: (For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow:) Shall not they teach thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of their heart?" (8:8-10).

Concerning the Pre-Wrath Rapture, "He shall deliver thee in six troubles (i.e., sixth seal): yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee" (5:19). Out of the seventh seal come the seven trumpet judgments. There is no way that the Pre-Wrath Rapture can be at the seventh trumpet, as many say. After that "thou shalt know that thy tabernacle shall be in peace; and thou shalt visit thy habitation, and shalt not sin" (5:24). There is no way that those raptured can go up in the air and turn around and return with Christ to the Earth at that time, as some say. Thou "SHALT VISIT THY HABITATION."

My favorite chapter is 38: "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures therof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (38:4-7). It is majestic.

From Job, we learn that good people are tested. The tests can bring us low temporarily. Suffering does not necessarily mean that we are being punished for something we have done. We can keep the faith in spite of adverse circumstances. There is an end to this kind of suffering, and it ultimately develops character in us, keeps us humble, glorifies God and proves a point to Satan. We will be rewarded in Heaven for our steadfastness in the face of adversity. I keep thinking that if I can't take a big step, I'll take a small step and keep on going.

Incoming Email

I do beleive your timeline is correct, but I think the bride of Christ will go thru the Trib, God preparing a place for us in the wilderness! I welcome an early rapture but I for one would like to be around to help harvest the lost souls during the Trib! It is so close, the Kingdom is at hand. (Prayer)Jesus help us to watch and not be decieved by "strong delusion", In Jesus Name! Amen.

It sounds like you're a born-again Christian, we'll see each other in the air, whether it be before or after the Tribulation! Love in Christ

My reply

There are Church saints and Tribulation saints. The Church saints are seen in Heaven in Rev. 5:9. They are the redeemed "out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." The Philadelphians are not told to repent or prepare for the Tribulation. They are the wise virgins that already have enough oil of the Holy Spirit.

The Tribulation saints are seen in Heaven in Rev. 7:14. They are the "great multitude which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues" that have "washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:9,14). Among their numbers are the Laodiceans, who were told to repent and to be zealous, and the foolish virgins, who did not have enough oil of the Holy Spirit when the Bridegroom CAME.

The Pre-Trib Rapture is not a "strong delusion." If we were not to be kept "FROM" the trial that is to come upon the whole world (Rev. 3:10), why in the world would we be instructed to pray that we be accounted worthy to ESCAPE? (LU. 21:36). We would instead be told to prepare for the Tribulation. We are not told that. Don't you find that a little strange? We are told to watch, repent, be ready, and confess our sins. We are not told how to prepare for the Tribulation. Nowhere does it say for us to buy a gun, move out of all cities, build a bomb shelter, hoard food and water, buy a compressor, grow your own food, etc.

The only city to move out of is Jerusalem in the middle of the Tribulation. At that time, the one on the rooftop is not to "come down to take any thing out of his house" (Mt. 24:17). What good would hoarded goods do him?

There is a good reason the word "church" is not found between Rev. 4:1 and 22:16. The "church" is not there. The Tribulation takes place "hereafter" the "Come up hither" of Rev. 4:1. The saints mentioned "hereafter" are the Tribulation saints. They are caught up between the breaking of the sixth and seventh seals. By contrast, the Church saints are caught up before the first seal is broken.

Isa. 57:1 says, "THE righteous perisheth (abad, go away, evacuate), and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are TAKEN AWAY, none considering that the RIGHTEOUS IS TAKEN AWAY FROM THE EVIL TO COME."

You bet, I'm a born-again Christian. Agape

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Updated 7-5-99