I surfed the Astronomy Picture of the Day site a bit. If you are interested, see Eta Carinae, 8-12-00
The single most troubling thing that has appeared in the pages of your procon discussions was best summarized in the exchange between Dan G. and yourself over the issue of a "partial rapture". It is so difficult to resolve the issues of 'saved by faith, not by works', and the 10 Virgins and letter to the Laodicians. Every time this issue comes up, I become very troubled also. I have also been reading the 'Left Behind' series of books, and they have done for me what nothing else has since reading 'End of the Age'. They have drawn me into a more intimate relationship with the Lord of Hosts.
In the course of considering this thorny issue, the thought occured to me that a possible solution is perhaps just the matter of temporal perspective. Please bear with me as I lay a little groundwork. God lives, of course, outside of time, while we are captive to it. The most difficult issues of Calvinism hinge on this perspective of just exactly who knows when the saved are actually 'saved'. When are the 'elect' elected, exactly? Before creation? At the moment of decision for Christ? At the Judgement Seat? Since God exists outside of time, He knows full well who will and who won't choose Christ. He can see time from the end, which of course is where all prophecy comes from. But we have to 'muddle through' it, making decisions as we go, since we don't share God's perspective unless He chooses to reveal it. We see through a glass darkly, only because of the Light that he's shared. Without the Light, we'd not be able to see through the glass at all. If He chose to tell us the whole story, then of course we'd see through the glass clearly. But, for reasons of His own, He has chosen not to.
Now, it seems possible to me, that the 10 Virgins issue, and perhaps the Laodician one as well, may be the result of being 'seen' from God's perspective, and not man's. When the Word talks about "believers", is there any reason to think it's only people who right now are believers? Maybe God sees "believers" from His vantage point, knowing full well who ARE virgins, and who will BECOME virgins, and those who will never be virginal. Are the folks who are saved after the Rapture, i.e. Tribulation Saints, not 'believers'? Could the Wise Virgins simply be those who chose Christ before the Rapture, and the Foolish Virgins be those who will make the choice after it? Ultimately, won't they all end up Virgins? I used to believe that the Body of Christ is the Bride. The idea that the Bride is taken out of the Body, like Eve being taken out of Adam's body, is convincing. Is the Blessed Hope mere salvation, or is it membership in the Bride? Is 'Brideship' just another aspect of receiving 'rewards' based on works through faith? I'm having spiritual mind-cramps. I hope I haven't rambled too badly.
Your most precious gift to me, Marilyn, is your ability to bring the Word of God to bear on thorny issues such as these. Please share your thoughts on these ideas. Thanks, and many blessings in Christ Jesus!
> > It is so difficult to resolve the issues of 'saved by faith, not by works', and the 10 Virgins and letter to the Laodicians.
In your mind, you are making this seem hard by combining a lot of other issues with it. Let's simplify the whole thing and it should come clear.
We definitely are saved by faith not works. Eph. 2:8-10 says, "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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." We cannot work for Salvation, but we can work for rewards.
Paul was saved. There could be no doubt about that, and once born into God's family, we can't get unborn any more than we can get unborn physically. Yet, he was running a race to win THE PRIZE, an incorruptible crown, and to not be a "CASTAWAY." In I Cor. 9:24-27, he said, "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth THE PRIZE? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible CROWN; but we an INCORRUPTIBLE. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a CASTAWAY." I think a Laodicean that gets spewed out of Christ's mouth or a foolish virgin that gets left behind the 1st time is a castaway, not forever, but at the 1st Rapture, when the Bridegroom comes for his Bride.
In Phil. 3:11-14, Paul reveals what the PRIZE is. He said, " If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead (at the Rapture). Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for THE PRIZE OF THE HIGH CALLING OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS." The PRIZE is to be included in the first Rapture and receive an incorruptible crown. The "HIGH CALLING " is the "Come up hither" we hear Christ say with his voice like a trumpet at the Rapture (Rev. 4:1; 1:10).
Rev. 3:10,11 mentions the crown. It says, " Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee FROM (ek, out of) the hour of temptation (pierasmos, trial, i.e., the Tribulation), which shall come upon all the world, to try (pierasai) them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy CROWN."
When the saints appear in Heaven after the 1st Rapture, they sing the new song and say that Christ "hast made us unto our God KINGS and priests: and we shall reign on (epi, over) the earth." Kings wear crowns. The Tribulation saints that are caught up in the 2nd Rapture are not said to be kings. Rev. 7:15 says, "Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple."
> > Could the Wise Virgins simply be those who chose Christ before the Rapture, and the Foolish Virgins be those who will make the choice after it? Ultimately, won't they all end up Virgins?
No, and no. All 10 virgins are virgins at the time of the Pre-Trib Rapture. When we accept Christ, all our old sins are wiped off the books. We are as pure virgins in God's eyes. The only ones that are sure to end up virgins at the Pre-Wrath Rapture are the 144,000. Rev. 14:4,5 says, "they are virgins...being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are WITHOUT FAULT before the throne of God." They are in the last rank of the firstfruits to be caught up to Heaven, but they are added to the Bride group. That is one reason the Marriage of the Lamb does not take place until the Tribulation saints are called to the assembly (Heb. 12:23; Mk. 13:27).
> > Is the Blessed Hope mere salvation, or is it membership in the Bride?
The blessed hope is the hope of winning the prize of participating in the 1st Rapture and being kept out of the Tribulation. This is reflected in Lu. 21:36. Jesus said, "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be ACCOUNTED WORTHY TO ESCAPE all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."
> > Is 'Brideship' just another aspect of receiving 'rewards' based on works through faith?
The account of the 144,000 gives us the key. They are "WITHOUT FAULT before the throne of God." We need to use I John 1:9, confess our known sins so the Lord can cleanse us of all unrighteousness. Then the level of the Holy Spirit in us will well up within us like a fountain of living water. We will have enough oil of the Holy Spirit to keep our lamps burning brightly. We will be wise virgins. Agape
***From Marilyn: If a person living in this Dispensation of Grace accepts Christ as their own personal Saviour, they will end up in Heaven, period. Whether they go in the 1st Rapture or the 2nd Rapture doesn't alter the fact that their eternal home is Heaven. Hell is only for unbelievers.
Here briefly is what my bible tells me. John 3:16 teaches that "whosoever believes in Jesus(and follows Him)will NOT PERISH,BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE. Saints are a special group known only to God.Firstly they are "predestined & called",and provided they remain faithful,they will be "chosen" to go to heaven as the"Sons of God".They will be raptured.
Multitudes of others who believe in Jesus and keep His commandments(are motivated by love & purity) are also promised everlasting life.They will retain their humanity and remain on the renewed earth. Heaven is not the only destination for christians.
***Believers in this Dispensation of Grace are ALL promised Heaven. NONE are promised Earth. In the previous Dispensation of Law, Israel was promised Earth, forever. Daniel was told that he would stand in his lot after the 1335 days, counted from Mid-Trib. Even so, some Israelites of that Dispensation will end up in Heaven, but by their own choice. They could have returned to Earth if they had so chosen. Heb. 11:13-16 says of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Sara, "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were STRANGERS AND PILGRIMS ON THE EARTH. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out (Israel on Earth), they might have had opportunity to have returned. But NOW they desire a better country, that is, AN HEAVENLY: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city" (New Jerusalem).
Heaven eventually comes down to the earth in any case. Peter repeated the statement from Joel,.."whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord SHALL BE SAVED".Acts 2:21.
***New Jerusalem is a sphere about 1500 miles in diameter. Even if it was a 1500-mile square, as some suppose, it would not fit in Israel. It would fit in the US from the Mississippi River to the Atlantic Ocean. There is no way it could fit in Israel, which is more like the size of Rhode Island. New Jerusalem seems to come down and orbit the Earth like the Moon. The saved on Earth will walk in the light of it.
Now for the technical stuff! About 30 yrs ago I was led to re-examine much of my end time theory,so I know how difficult it is to "re program one's computer". I belong to the school that believes the book of Revelation follows a chronological pattern,so events happen in their numbered sequence.They must also follow the pattern that Jesus laid down in His teaching. Matt.24,Mark 13,Luke 21. Rev.after its intro. begins by foretelling the broad 2000 yr history of the church and ends with the time of tribulation for the church,then the Jews and the world at large.
***I think Rev. was written as if the Rapture were "at hand." It is "at hand" in both the first and last chapters (1:3; 22:10). Jesus signs off with "Surely I come quickly." He comes quickly at the Rapture (2:5). Jesus' view of the 7 church groups is probably when the Rapture is only 10 days away (2:10). He goes back into each group's history so we will know who he is talking about, then stretches it up to right before the Rapture. His assessment of each group is as if he did it in our days. He looks into the past and the future from the vantage point of when the Rapture is "at hand."
***The Tribulation follows close on the heels of the 1st Rapture and lasts 7 years, which is synonymous with Daniel's 70th week of years.
This is followed by Jesus return with his saints to set up the millenium reign,put down Satan's rebellion, judge living nations according to their works,etc.
So we have 7 churches,7 seals & 7 plagues(trumpets & vials) all following each other in numbered order.
*** I agree.
***My drawing of the Tribulation Circle Clock
The 7 churches are raptured, then the little book sealed with 7 seals is given to Christ. Then the Tribulation begins. He breaks the 7 seals, one at a time, and out of the 7th seal come the 7 trumpet judgments. Out of the 7th trumpet judgment come the 7 last plagues.
It is clear that following the final Laodicean church,the period of events covered by the seals & plagues is duplicated,but from 2 different perspectives,in the same way the gospels vary over the same incident.Thus from John's rapture experience chs 4&5,through the 7 seals covering the time of church tribulation (ch 6 ),we see the gathering of the 144,000 Messianic Jews in the same time space that the Tribulation Saints are caught up to heaven to END THE CHURCH AGE.
***The Tribulation saints, including the 144,000 are caught up to Heaven in the Pre-Wrath Rapture. I think it will be on the 2300th day of the shortened Tribulation (Dan. 8:14).
Then the trumpets(plagues) begin,interrupted only by the 2 Witnesses
***The 2 witnesses prophesy the first half of the Tribulation. The 7 trumpet judgments do not start until after the Pre-Wrath Rapture on the 2300th day of the Tribulation. That day is the Day of God's Wrath. It arrives at the end of chapter 11. All 7 trumpet judgments are poured out on Earth that day.
and the invasion of the Holy City,before the 7th trumpet brings the final events before the Lord's return,at the end of ch 11. These events have been recorded as seen by John in heaven.
The same action is recorded again,but from the earth perspective, but with detail not given formerly.Chs12-16 give firstly the most complete picture of the church's experience from the rapture & tribulation in the bible,continuing through the experience of the 144,000 and the tribulation saints, to the completed final "harvest" of saints (ch 14) and the 7 plagues (vials).
***Chapter 12 starts Mid-Trib and continues 1260 days to the end of the 70th week of Daniel. However that is the 1260-day period that gets shortened to 1040 days (2300 - 1260 = 1040).
The 7th vial brings us to the same events in ch 16 as were shown at the end of ch 11.
***The 7 vials come out of the 7th trumpet. Therefore, they follow the 6 trumpets. Here is an example: in Rev. 8:8,9, the asteroid like a great mountain is cast into the Mediterranean Sea (Zeph. 2:4,5) at the 2nd trumpet. And "the THIRD PART of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died." When the 2nd vial is poured out "upon the sea...it became as the blood of a dead man: and EVERY LIVING SOUL DIED in the sea."
Ch.12 has the woman(true church) give birth to the son who is to "rule all nations with a rod of iron", as was the promise to the overcomers in ch 2:26,27,proving the "man child" is a symbol for saints.
***I think this man child represents the 2 witnesses being caught up to Heaven Mid-Trib. Notice that the great red dragon has 7 crowns on his heads. This means that the False Prophet, the 7th head, is already crowned. It is Mid-Trib.
The remnant of this woman's seed "keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus",so they are christians,who are either martyred, or alive and protected for 3.5 yrs (ch 12:14)in the "wilderness". See Luke 21:16,Rev.13:10. Ch.14 shows saints called angels,preaching & bringing in the final harvest,through the tribulation.(Matt.13:39,25:31)
Much more could be said ,but I am taking up a lot of your space & time.
Now for the arguments for 10.5 vs 7 years rapture - 2nd Coming. As the church age is a parenthesis between Daniel's 69th & 70th weeks,it follows that the church age should be completed before the 70th week(7yrs).As it is the Philadelphia Church that is raptured,time must be allowed for the Laodicean church to complete the cycle.
***If the Laodiceans are cut off and left behind at the Rapture, they will be the ones spoken of in Lu. 12:46 that spend time with the unbelievers in the Tribulation. Lu. 12:46 says, "The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder (lit., cut him off), and will appoint him his portion (2300 days) with the unbelievers" (in the Tribulation). Therefore, the tail end of the Church Age is the shortened Tribulation. As this age ends, the Millennium begins.
Rev. has the tribulation in the 5th & 6th seals,with the same physical signs as in Joel's prophecy (Joel 2:30-32)which are said to come "BEFORE THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE DAY OF THE LORD".(Dan.'s 70th week)
***The Tribulation arrives with the breaking of the 1st seal. Joel 2:30-32 says, " I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke (6th seal, Rev. 6:12). The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come (it arrives at 6:00 PM that very day, Rev. 6:17). And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered (the Pre-Wrath Rapture): for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call." The remnant is produced the 1st day of the millennial Day of the Lord. All Israel will be saved in a day, that day (Isa. 66:8). They will live on into the Millennium on Earth.
The 2 Witnesses operate between the 6th & 7th plagues for 3.5yrs,at the same time as the holy city is trodden underfoot by the Gentiles. Where then is the time space for the first 5 plagues? They could only happen in the first half of Daniel's 70th week!
***The 2 witnesses prophesy during the first 1260 days of the Tribulation. Satan is cast out of Heaven down to Earth Mid-Trib. He enters into the False Prophet and sits in the temple "shewing himself that he is God" (II Thess. 2:4). I think he orders all to bow down to the idol. The 2 witnesses won't, so he kills them. There is no way the 5 plagues can come in the first half of the Tribulation. The 7 vials, plagues, come out of the 7th trumpet judgment, which sounds on the first day of the millennial Day of the Lord.
Daniel has 3 periods of approx 3.5yrs.(Dan.12:7,11,12.)One is 3.5,and the others 1 month & 2.5 months longer respectively.Although it is not clearly explained,these differences could allow extra time for sealing the 144,000 and the 7th trumpet's elongated sounding,which could overlap other events. Dan.7:25 also shows the church trib.as 3.5yrs.
***The 1260 days, the 1290 days, and the 1335 days all start when the idol, the abomination of desolation, is placed in the temple. Dan. 7:25 says, "And he (the False Prophet) shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time." This is the last 3.5 years of the Tribulation, the same as the "time, and times, and half a time" of Rev. 12:14.
Let us bear in mind that the 1st Covenant to Abraham & his seed was never revoked.It was only superceded for those who entered into the 2nd Covenant in Jesus. So the promise of the 1st. is everlasting possession of the land of Israel,an earthly prize, whereas the 2nd Covenant in Jesus is to believers from every race,to become heaven based Sons of God.
I do not believe it is possible to prove an overlapping of events coming to both the church and the Jews, from scripture. The church must go through its tribulation for 3.5 years, before the stop watch on the Jews experience is restarted for the last 7 years prior to Jesus return.
***Lu. 12:46 says, "The lord of that servant (the foolish one) will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder (lit., cut him off), and will appoint him his portion WITH THE UNBELIEVERS." The tail end of the Church Age is the Tribulation. There are 3 ages, the Age of the Gentiles, the Age of the Jews, and the Age of the Church. I think all 3 have the extension like the 70th week of Daniel for the Jews. All 3 end with the trial that comes upon the whole world. All 3 end in a photo-finish as the millennial Day of the Lord begins.
All we like sheep have followed whoever first proposed this theory,and for many, unfortunately,it is now set in concrete.
Sorry,if I have given you a head ache,Agape
I might add, we have also had more butterflies than I ever remember, seem to be hundreds. There is the comparison with the caterpillar turning into a butterfly, and us "changing in the twinkling of an eye." I think butterflies are proof that God has a sense of humor.
Since Song of Sol. 2:10-14 calls the Bride a dove, it seems that the Rapture would be between April and October when the turtledoves are in Israel. Agape
I know that a person cannot do everything, that is, cannot devote themselves but to a limited (some limit) amount of effort. Your current efforts seem a bit strained lately, with so many questions to answer, and some readers, such as our "dear lady" friend, take so much of your time. I am hesitant to ask you about something that bothers me quite a bit, since I feel that it is a bit out of line with your current efforts....
My great problem is the assumption by many that the House of Israel is, or includes, Jews. I have come to believe that the House of Israel are not Jews, and never were, but the House of Israel is the northern “lost” ten tribes of Israel, who were carried away, as were the Jews later, and were transplanted to the north of Syria (Josephus) as a buffer against the raiding tribes coming over the mountains from NW Europe. They are only "LOST" to those who do not realize who or where they are.
There is some debate that these lost tribes returned to Israel when the Jews returned from Babylon. I believe that the Bible denies this.
So, I believe that when Jesus says something about the "House of Israel", or the "lost sheep of Israel", He is talking about the ten "lost" tribes of Israel, who, after the decline of Syrian power in a few hundred years or so, began to migrate (escape) over those mountains into Europe. The tribes had lost their knowledge of their God, of their language, and of whom they were, all according to scripture. Since the ten tribes did not know who they were, and the people of Europe did not know who they were, they were called, according to usual custom, by the name of the land from which they came. They came from the land north of Syria, at the foot of the Caucasian Mountains, and they became known as Caucasians.
I have made these statements as brief as possible to conserve your time. Of course, I could go much deeper, with some references, but I am aware that you are reluctant to accept anything that cannot be confirmed by the Bible. Although the tribes are "lost" to the Bible, they become quite alive when the scriptures are read with the understanding of who is who.
I want to thank you for your precious time, and leave you with these silly statements. ALL Floridians (I am from Florida) are Americans, ALL Americans are not Floridians, MOST Americans are not Floridians. ALL Jews are Israelites, ALL Israelites are not Jews, MOST Israelites are not Jews. May God continue to bless your work. Agape.
> > I have come to believe that the House of Israel are not Jews, and never were, but the House of Israel is the northern “lost” ten tribes
I prefer to use the word Israelites, because it applies to all the descendants from Abraham through Isaac. However, common usage of the word Jew at the present time is not limited to descendants of Judah, but is used for all Israelites.
British Israelism is false. The Lord has seen to it that Israelites retain their special looks. It is so pronounced that you can almost pick out every one in a large crowd.
We must be especially careful not to fall into this false doctrine, for in Rev. 3:9, Jesus warned, "Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee." Rev. 2:9 says, "I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan."
My dad was 100% British. His mother was born in London and came over here with her aunt when 16. She married a man whose family had come over here from England. Dad did not look anything like the Jews, but looked more like the Duke of Windsor and had sandy hair. You would never mistake him for a Jew. The British are not Jews.
As for the so-called 10 lost tribes, God knows where they are, even if we don't. They are not really lost. Some of them were probably in Jerusalem on Pentecost in 30 AD. Acts 2:5 says, "there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven."
Caucasians, according to Webster, are of a white race. They are descended from Noah's son Japheth. Jews are descended from Noah's son Shem/Sem. Lu. 3:36 says, "Which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem, which was the son of Noe." Agape
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