The RaptureWritten by Michael Bradley
Continued from page 1
2. This next verse talks about that those who are "alive" will be "caught up" to meet Lord in "air". Here is verse:
"For Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with voice of an archangel, and with trumpet of God. And dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be CAUGHT UP together with them in clouds to meet Lord in air. And thus we shall always be with Lord." (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) This verse really seems to be implying that there will be a group of saints who are going to "caught up" or pulled up to meet Lord in air while we are still alive! Those words spell possible "Rapture" to me.
3. The next verse tells us a "mystery"- that not all of Godís saints are going to "sleep" - and that this group is going to be changed in a moment, in twinkling of an eye, and that this event will occur at last trumpet. I believe Last Trumpet is Godís last call to His people, and that it implies that whoever is saved and born again when this trumpet sounds off, will be Raptured and spared going through horrors of Tribulation.
I believe that word "mystery" is being used to let us know that God is keeping possibility of a Rapture a "secret," a "mystery" to rest of world. That is why all of Scripture verses pertaining to this event do not "perfectly" spell it out or state it without any shadow of a doubt. There is enough of a "hint" in these verses for His own people to pick it up, but not to rest of unbelieving world. Here is verse:
"Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed - in a moment, in twinkling of an eye, at last trumpet." (1 Corinthians 15:51) I believe that words "last trumpet" tells us this event will occur at end of times. The words "shall be changed in a moment, in twinkling of an eye", really do describe what could be a Rapture - immediate vanishing or disappearance of Godís people from face of earth in "snap of a finger."
4. The next verse is from Jesus Himself out of Revelations. Here is verse:
"Because you have kept My command to persevere, I ALSO WILL KEEP YOU FROM THE HOUR OF TRIAL WHICH SHALL COME UPON THE WHOLE WORLD, to test those who dwell on earth." (Revelations 3:10) This verse could be literal translation - that Jesus will keep His Body of Believers that are living at this time out of hands of Antichrist. He obviously will either do it by Rapturing them off face of earth or by providing some kind of physical protection for them if there is no Rapture. My guess is that He will do this by Rapturing them off of earth.
5. Here is another verse from Jesus stating that we watch and pray that we be counted worthy to escape all things that may be coming our way. The verse is:
"Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be COUNTED WORTHY TO ESCAPE ALL THESE THINGS THAT WILL COME TO PASS, and to stand before Son of Man." (Luke 21:36) This verse really seems to be hinting or implying once again that God is going to allow some of us to escape or be prevented from having to go through events of Tribulation.
6. Now here are some additional verses that are not quite as strong as above verses, but do suggest possibility that God will keep us from these events.
"... and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from dead, even Jesus who DELIVERS US FROM THE WRATH TO COME." (1 Thessalonians 1:10) This verse either means Jesus will deliver us before wrath comes, which would line up with a Rapture, or it may mean when He comes down for second time at battle of Armageddon to put an end to all of carnage with Antichrist.
"FOR GOD DID NOT APPOINT US TO WRATH, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thessalonians 5:9) This verse could be implying that His Body will not be appointed or be subject to events of Tribulation - or "wrath" could simply be pointing to people going to hell for refusing to accept Jesus and His gift of eternal salvation.
Article written by Michael Bradley of Bible Knowledge Ministries. Their website is a resource of Bible commentary and teaching. If you do not want to wait for the next article, you can go to our end times section. Copyright © 2005 by Michael Bradley. All Rights Reserved.
Are We Saved By Works?Written by Stephen Kingery
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It is sort of like old saying, "Put your money where your mouth is." It is one thing to say that we believe something, and another to conduct ourselves in such a manner as to demonstrate our belief. I have a friend who is a pilot. I may say, "I believe that he is an excellent pilot." But my refusal to fly with him indicates that I do not really believe that. My actions disprove my statement. In respect to salvation and saving faith, our actions after we have been saved proves or disproves our faith.
If we have kind of faith which will save us (not just intellectual assent), that faith will produce repentance, confession, baptism, and faithful living. So then we ask, "Are these (repentance, confession, baptism, and faithful living) works?" The answer is, no they are not works. Now I would be first to agree that these four items could be perverted into works. One might say, "I want to go to heaven (or maybe avoid hell) so I will do those things which he has taught that I need to do." He might say "I'm sorry for sins I've committed."; he might confess that Jesus is Christ; he may permit himself to be baptized; and he may go through all "acts" of being a Christian (faithful living). He is then trying to work his way to heaven. Real salvation is different.
When one has real saving faith that Jesus is Christ Son of living God, and gives his life to Him, a transformation takes place. He becomes truly remorseful of his sinful nature and strives to eradicate sin from his life. He is happy and please to proclaim Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He willingly submits himself to watery grave of baptism so his sins can be washed away. And he strives to live a life which is pleasing to God by committing himself to daily prayer, Bible study, and fellowship with his brothers and sisters in Christ. These then are not works, but manifestation of saving faith in his life.
There are several other Scriptures in Bible that discus subject of works. Again, these seem to indicate that works are important to salvation. Here are some examples: ". . . each one's work will become clear; for Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet as through fire." (1 Corinthians 3:13-15); "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in work of Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in Lord." (1 Corinthians 15:58); and "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work." (2 Corinthians 9:8) See also: Ephesians 2:10, Colossians 1:9-10, 1 Thessalonians 1:2-4; 5:12- 13, Titus 1:16; 3:8; 3:14, and James 1:25.
Do these Scriptures teach that we must "work" our way to heaven. Again, answer is no. If we are truly saved, and have abiding faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, these works are a natural result of our desire to please Him. Because we are a child of God, saved by His grace through our faith in Him and His Son, we want to do works mentioned here. And really it is more than just a "want to", it is a deep burning desire which cannot be extinguished.
I hope that I have given my readers a better understanding of subjects of faith, works, and salvation and how three work perfectly together. We are saved by faith, repentance, confession, baptism, and faithful living; but these produce in us and through us good works for kingdom of God. May God bless you as you continue in His good work.
All scriptures quoted are from New King James Version unless otherwise noted
Are We Saved By Works?
By: Stephen Kingery
Stephen Kingery is an author, preacher, teacher and founder of Be Ye Doers Of The Word.
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