Monday, June 30, 2014

Will The Church Go Through The Tribulation?

The Church will not go through the Tribulation. There is a distinct difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming. Some may disagree with me, and that is perfectly okay. Whether you and I, do or do not agree about the Rapture, it will have no effect on our salvation in Jesus Christ. However, for those who disagree, I strongly believe that rather than my being sorely disappointed, you will be pleasantly surprised.

There are many differences in these two events as shown here:

· Rapture: Jesus comes FOR His Church.
· 2nd Coming: Jesus comes back WITH His Church.

· Rapture: Jesus waits in the air for His Church.
· 2nd Coming: Jesus comes to the earth.

· Rapture: Church removed and unbelievers left behind.
· 2nd Coming: Unbelievers removed but Tribulation saints left behind.

· Rapture: He comes to present His bride to the Father.
· 2nd Coming: He comes to judge and set up His kingdom.

· Rapture: The marriage of the Lamb in Heaven follows the Rapture.
· 2nd Coming: The marriage is followed by war on earth.

· Rapture: It happens in the twinkling of an eye.
· 2nd Coming: Will be a steady view of His return.

· Rapture: Only the Church will see Him.
· 2nd Coming: Every eye will see Him.

· Rapture: Jesus descends with a shout.
· 2nd Coming: No shout is mentioned.

· Rapture: A resurrection takes place.
· 2nd Coming: No resurrection is mentioned.

· Rapture: It can happen at any time.
· 2nd Coming: Can only happen at the end of the Tribulation.

· Rapture: Angels are not sent. Jesus comes Himself.
· 2nd Coming: Angels are sent to gather people for judgment.

· Rapture: Earthly bodies are changed to Heavenly bodies.
· 2nd Coming: The Church returns with Heavenly bodies.

· Rapture: Jesus does not return on a white horse.
· 2nd Coming: Jesus does return on a white horse.

· Rapture: Jesus’ return is for His Church (His bride).
· 2nd Coming: Jesus returns for redeemed Israel and Tribulation saints.

· Rapture: It is a message of hope and comfort.
· 2nd Coming: It is a message of judgment.

The seven year period of Tribulation on earth will be a time of God’s wrath on earth like never before. He will judge the nations and through this self-same judgment bring Israel back in faith believing. “For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:17) But concerning His bride, the Church, He says, “And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” (1 Thessalonians 1:10) He promised again in Revelation 3:10, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” (Revelation 3:10)

Also, some see Revelation chapter four verse one as a clear reference to the Church being raptured. On the other hand, some do not, even though they believe in the Rapture. Personally, it is very clear to me that this passage is most definitely referring to the Church being taken up to Heaven via the Rapture. This verse is shown below in four reliable English translations.

“After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” (KJV)

“After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, "Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this." (NKJV)

“After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this." (ESV)

“After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things." (NASB)

Note that in every instance verse one begins with the word “after” and ends the same. In chapter one of Revelation we see Jesus revealed (revelation) in His glory. In chapters two and three Jesus is speaking to the church. He then transfers the Apostle John to Heaven in chapter four verse one to continue the prophecy. In chapter one, we see the eternal “I Am.” In chapters two and three, we see the present day and age of the church period. Then beginning at chapter four, verse one He immediately takes us past the church age to the future.

If I go to see a play and there are three acts to the play, I will see one act after the other, not all three at once. Neither do they overlap in any way. If I attend a concert, I will listen to one song after the other, not all at one time. Neither do they overlap in any way. Neither do the church age and the Tribulation period co-exist or overlap in any way. One follows the other. As in a play, Act 1 comes BEFORE Act 2. Act 2 comes AFTER Act 1 and BEFORE Act 3. Act 3 comes AFTER Act 2. The Apostle John is shown the church age, and then he is raptured up to Heaven to see what follows the end of the church age. To me, you just can’t get any clearer than that. After means after.

Some say that the word “Rapture” is not in the Bible. That is true, and neither are the words “Bible” or “Trinity” found in the Bible, but they are just as true as the Rapture.

The word “Rapture” is derived from the Latin translation of “caught up” in

1 Thessalonians 4:17, “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.” The Latin translation uses the word “rapturo,” and this is where the word “rapture” is derived. The Greek word is “harpazo,” and it means:

1.     To seize, carry off by force
2.     To seize on, claim for one’s self eagerly
3.     To snatch out or away

A few other verses where “harpazo” is used are:

Acts 8:39, “And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.”

Acts 23:10, “And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle.”

2 Corinthians 12:2-4, “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.”

So there is no doubt that Jesus will come in the clouds and eagerly claim His bride the Church for Himself, by seizing her and snatching her away by force to Heaven at the end of the church age. The next act will be the Tribulation, AFTER the Rapture.

The Tribulation period is a time of intense judgment by God. What groom would beat the living daylights out of his bride and then say, “Okay, now let’s go get married.” It ain’t going to happen.

Some say that the Church has suffered persecution down through the years, so why would she not suffer during the Tribulation? The reason is quite simple. “Persecution” has come from evil men who carry out the deeds of their father, the Devil. Judgment comes from God. The Tribulation, as I have already stated, is not persecution. It is judgment. God is not going to judge those who He has already promised will be protected from His wrath to come. (See verses above.) Conclusion; the Church will not go through any part whatsoever of the Tribulation. She will be raptured (LT-rapturo), snatched up (GK-harpazo), BEFORE the Tribulation, and the Tribulation will commence AFTER the Rapture.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Oil-The "Hook" In The Bear's Mouth?

Oil is without doubt humanity’s most important natural resource. When petroleum was first distilled in the 1800s, it was used as lamp oil and as lubrication for machinery. Over time, thousands of new uses have been found for oil. We have become so dependent on black gold, our Industrial Age would come to a complete standstill if the oil wells were to suddenly run dry.

The scarce nature of oil has made it the catalyst of dozens of military conflicts. About 80 percent of the world’s readily accessible reserves are located in the Middle East. It should come as no surprise that the Iran-Iraq, Gulf, and Iraq wars were all fought over oil.

The economic importance of oil is not lost on Russian President Vladimir Putin. Since coming to power in 2000, Putin has made restoring Russia’s strength his central goal. He has not been shy about using his nation’s energy supplies as an economic billy club against his neighbors. In 2009, Putin turned off gas supplies to pipelines to Kiev in the dead of winter leading to freezing cities across Eastern Europe as Russian gas stopped moving through Ukranian pipelines to other nations.

In recent years, he has worked diligently to turn his nation’s oil and gas wealth into a strategic advantage. A likely reason why Putin decided to back the much hated Syrian dictator Bashar Assad (after it became clear he had used chemical weapons against his own people), was because of the flow of energy. If a pipeline was to be built to supply the West with Iraqi or Iranian gas, it would have to go through Syria.

Putin’s latest strategic move came last month. China and Russia’s state owned energy giant, Gazprom, signed a $400 billion gas deal that will allow Russia to shift away from Europe. signed a $400 billion gas deal that will allow Russia to shift away from Europe.

Since Europe accounts for about 50 percent of the Gazprom’s revenues, the inclusion of China would allow Putin to thumb his nose at sanctions imposed as payback for the Russian takeover of Crimea.

When it comes to China’s energy usage, time is on Putin’s side. In 1980, Chinese oil consumption was at 2 million barrels per day (bpd). Today, it consumes over 10 million bpd. By 2020, its daily usage is expected to rise to the 18 million bpd.

Another way Putin has made himself immune to sanctions is by signing massive development deals with a host of Western oil firms. In the past few week alone, just about every Russian oil and gas company has signed a major deal that further integrates it with the rest of the world. Once a company spends billions to help Russia bring a remote oilfield online, they can’t afford to walk away from the project. Here are some of the deals:

1. Rosneft and BP formed a joint venture to explore in the Volga River Basin.
2. Lukoil and Total formed a joint venture to explore in western Siberia.
3. Rosneft and ExxonMobil inked a $400 billion exploration plan for Russia's arctic.
4. Rosneft contracted all of North Atlantic Drilling's fleet.|
5. Novatek signed a 15 year LNG supply deal with China National Petroleum.

U.S. foreign policy on oil has been adrift for the past several years. Washington DC sits idly by while Russia and China lock-up vast areas of the global oil reserves. A key reason for this lack of motivation is the belief that the ongoing fracking-led oil boom will driving America toward energy independence by around 2030.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) originally came up with this projection, but there is now great doubt about their numbers. Last month, the IEA suffered a huge embarrassment when it downgraded the potential amount of shale oil reserves in California by 96 percent. Just last week, they added a huge price tag to what it would take to make 2030 a reality. The IEA estimated that $48 trillion dollars would need to be invested to meet energy needs. There is no way we could raise this amount of money without pushing the cost of oil sky high.

The discovery of 100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas beneath the Israeli controlled waters of the Eastern Mediterranean could disrupt Putin’s plan to control the energy market. The Russian leader will obviously do everything in his power to prevent Israel from entering the market in Europe. Envy over Israel’s gas discoveries could be the “evil thought” that gets Russia involved with the Muslim coalition that Ezekiel said will attack Israel.

“Thus saith the Lord GOD; it shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, to take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land. Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil?” (Ezekiel 38:10-13a).

Prophecy Watch...

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Passenger Or Crew Member?

Adrian Rogers is considered the "Pastor's Pastor". On my Facebook page the other day, a post came up with a link to a message he delivered several years ago. He stated that most Christians think they’re on a cruise ship instead of a battle ship. When you sop and think about that statement, it makes a lot of sense.

He was referring to the fact that we Christians are in a spiritual war, but most don’t even know it. Most Christians think they’re just passengers, out to enjoy the ride and soak up the sun.

The Apostle Peter says in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

The Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 6:11, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”

Jesus says to His disciples in Luke 10:3, “Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.”

In the previous verse (Luke 10:2) Jesus says, “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.”

Taking from what Adrian Rogers was saying, and being honest that I have never been on a cruise ship, there are two groups of people; crew members and passengers.

Whether considering cruise ships vs. battle ships or passengers vs. crew members both lists comprise passengers, those who are working and those who are playing.

In a majority of churches today, there is a very small percentage of Christians that actually do anything that is work related. Those who work are the crew members. Everyone else just coasts along for the ride. They are the passengers. Of course they always want a piece of the action, if there is any, but they won’t lift a finger to get there. Mention food for example, and they’ll be right there with an appetite but little else.

Funny thing though, if you mention contributing some elbow grease to work that needs to be done around the church building only a handful will show up. If you mention going out together and visiting people, even fewer show up. They disappear like rats on a sinking ship.

I’ve noticed also in churches whose members rarely show their face, just announce an important business meeting that concerns some interest of theirs, [ie. getting rid of the pastor] they’ll be right there.

Well let’s face it. This is just the nature of most people. What we should strive for is to overcome that about ourselves, if it applies to us.

As a Christian, I realize that my responsibility is to be in the "center of God's will" for my life  in whatever the Lord requires of me. And I’m not busy working in order to be saved or to keep my salvation. That is already settled in Heaven. Jesus saved me. Jesus keeps me. So that isn’t it at all. My work is totally obedience related. We work at whatever He calls us to do because He is not just our Savior, but also our Lord. We live to serve Him.

Sadly, far, far too many who claim they are Christians are not serving the One they say saved them. Since there are only two masters, Jesus Christ and Satan, and they are not serving Jesus as Lord, then it must be Satan.

Probably all of us would like to be a passenger on a cruise ship, having all our needs met while we just relax and do nothing but have fun. Who wants to be a crew member and work the whole time while we could be playing? That seems to be the attitude of most Christians when it comes to serving Christ.

The one thing they miss though is that being the Lord’s crew member is by far more satisfying than being a vacationing passenger for the world. This is not talking about vacations on a real cruise ship, but about life. 

Ask your self these questions:
  • What mode is your life in? 
  • Are you a faithful servant of our Lord, or are you avoiding your Christian responsibilities? 
  • Is our life just one big “What can I do for me” or “What can I do for Jesus?”
It’s sad that most people strive their whole life for material things and activities in search for happiness, not realizing that true happiness is found in serving Jesus Christ. In other words, they strive for what is temporary instead of what is permanent.

I am not anti-fun, anti-vacations, etc. and neither is God, but when that consumes our time so much we have none left for Him, then it’s a problem.

Enjoy your leisure time, and your time off, but be sure there is plenty of time to do what you were called to do as a Christian; i.e. serve the Lord.

If every Christian got this message and acted upon it, many of our pastors would pass out from the shock. They wouldn’t know what to do or say when so many of the flock would actually volunteer to serve.