Biblical Q&A: "Saints Alive!..." [WordDevo]11-17 thru 11-24 ANSWERS

Biblical Q&A: "Saints Alive!..." [WordDevo]11-17 thru 11-24 ANSWERS

"Seven Questions and Seven Answers; One for each day of the Week usually posted by Saturday"

 

ONE

 

Saints Alive!

Q. I understand from my studies that there are 3 groups of saints, Old testament saints who believed in a coming Messiah, Church saints, who come to the Lord between Pentecost and the Rapture, and Tribulation Saints who believe in Him after the Rapture but before the 2nd Coming.  When is each group given glorified bodies? I know that the Church/Bride is given glorified bodies at the Rapture – but what about the others? And where do we/they all reside in the years between the (pre-trib) Rapture and the New Heaven & Earth after the Millennium?

A. You’re correct in saying that all Church Age saints will receive glorified bodies at the rapture/resurrection. We will reside in the New Jerusalem.  Old Testament saints will receive their new bodies at the time of the 2nd Coming (Daniel 12:2) and will dwell in Israel. Tribulation saints who are martyred will receive new bodies along with Old Testament saints at the time of the 2nd Coming (Rev. 20:4-5), and will serve the Lord in His Temple (Rev. 7:14-15).  Tribulation Saints who survive in their natural state will re-populate the nations on Earth during the Millennium. (Matt. 25:34)

But you must look at Rev. 21-22 again.  The first verses of each chapter are virtual copies of the Old Testament, put there to show you that John was speaking of Earth at the beginning of the Millennium, not its end.  It’s confusing because Rev. 20:7-15is a parenthetical passage John used to follow two thoughts to their conclusion; the final disposition of Satan and the 2nd resurrection.

Then, beginning in Rev. 21 he went back to describe the Millennium including the New Jerusalem, home of the Church, and the restored Earth, home of redeemed Israel and Tribulation Saints.  We know this partly because Rev. 21:1 is a direct quote fromIsaiah 65:17 where the context is the Millennium, and Rev. 22:1-7 is taken from Ezekiel 47:1-12, another Millennial passage.  Time is also referenced in Rev. 22:2 with the tree bearing 12 crops of fruit one each month, and eternity by definition is the absence of time.

 

 

TWO

Is God In Total Control Of Everything?

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

There’s a theory, only hinted at in Scripture, that Planet Earth had been the domain of Satan prior to his rebellion. Although he was only a created being, Satan was an enormously powerful dignitary in God’s Universe (Jude 1:9). He was the overseer of the Cherubim (the guardians of God’s Throne) and a leader of the angelic host. He was God’s most impressive creation (Ezekiel 28:12-15). Because of his position, his power, and his beauty he became proud and rebelled (Ezekiel 28:17,Isaiah 14:13-14), bringing about a judgment that destroyed planet Earth.

All this seems to have happened between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. Hints of this in Scripture are

1) an alternate (and some say more literal) rendering of Genesis 1:2 reads, “But the Earth became formless and void”, rather than “and the Earth was formless and void.”

2) In Isaiah 45:18 the Lord said He didn’t create the Earth that way, using the same Hebrew word that’s translated formless in Genesis 1:2, but formed it to be inhabited. Putting these two points together hints at a judgment sometime after Earth’s original creation.

3) The angels already existed at the time of the Genesis creation account. They shouted and sang for joy when the Lord laid the foundations of Earth (Job 38:4-7) so they must have been created earlier. If so, then Satan must have been created earlier was as well.

4) The serpent seems to appear out of nowhere in Genesis 3:1 although there’s no mention of him in the creation account. Also the Hebrew word translated serpent comes from a root meaning enchanter, which could mean it was not an ordinary animal. And Eve didn’t seem to be reluctant to converse with him, indicating she might have recognized him for who he really was.

Let me hasten to add that I don’t believe in a pre-Adamite civilization. The Bible clearly calls Adam the first man (1 Cor. 15:45). It also says the animals were created on the same day as Adam (Genesis 1:24-26) so I don’t believe dinosaurs or any other animals preceded Adam’s creation.

After Earth sat submerged in ruin and darkness for who knows how long, God said “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3) and the six day Genesis creation process began. It helps to remember that the Bible is not a book about eternity, it’s about the age of man. As such it begins with the creation of the first man and ends when the Millennium ends seven thousand years later. It gives only vague hints about what happened before the Age of Man began and what will come after it ends. All we really know is that there was an eternity past and there will be an eternity future.

God’s first instruction to Adam and Eve was to give them dominion over Planet Earth, telling them to subdue it and populate it (Genesis 1:28).  Satan, whose domain Earth had formerly been, responded by causing them to sin (Genesis 3:1-13).  As a result of their sin, Adam and Eve fell from immortality to being mortal, carrying all their descendants with them (Romans 5:12). The creation was also placed in bondage to sin (Romans 8:18-21), and Satan snatched control of Earth back from Adam Eve and has held it from then until now (1 John 5:19). This is why Jesus referred to Satan as the prince of this world (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11) and Paul called him the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:3-4).

Jesus redeemed the creation (bought it back) with His own blood at the same time He redeemed us, but He won’t move to actually assert His claim to it until just before the beginning of the Great Tribulation at the sound of the seventh Trumpet.

The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:

“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever” (Rev. 11:15).

And in Rev. 12:10 we read,

“Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.”

In the mean time, the Bible tells us Satan is in charge here, and there are numerous references to demonic powers influencing life on Earth to confirm this.

IN GOVERNMENTS

Satan had representation in all the Gentile Empires of Biblical times. He was called the king of Babylon in Isaiah 14:4 and the king of Tyre in Ezekiel 28:11. An angel spoke to Daniel about being detained by the “prince of Persia” and requiring help from the Archangel Michael to get free (Daniel 10:13). He also said he would soon be doing battle against the “prince of Greece” (Daniel 10:20) although at that time the Greek Empire was still 2 centuries into the future. And the Roman Empire became so evil that many see the Roman Emperor Nero as one of history’s clearest models of the anti-Christ.

Does anyone believe things are different today? After all, Gentile Dominion won’t end until the 2nd Coming. Adolph Hitler was another model of the anti-Christ, and Nazi Germany showed how pervasive evil can become when a nation is under the influence of the occult. Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union an Evil Empire. George W. Bush referred to nations supporting international terrorism as an Axis of Evil. And since the United States entered its post Christian era, who can deny that evil has had a much stronger influence here as well.

IN THE CHURCH

As for evil in the Church, Paul said those who introduce false doctrine into the body are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve (2 Cor. 11:13-15).

He said we would see this becoming more prevalent as the end times approach. In 1 Timothy 4:1 he wrote, The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.

IN OUR LIVES

On a personal level the Bible warns us about the influence of evil in our lives. In Ephes. 6:12 Paul wrote,  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

The fact is the world is an evil place where bad things happen without reason and it will be that way until the Lord comes to restore it (Matt. 19:28, Acts 3:21). It’s not because God created it that way or even because He wants it that way. It’s because when our first parents sinned they unleashed a force of evil on this world that has put all their descendants in bondage and contaminated even the creation itself.

History has shown that God only lets sin and rebellion go to a certain point before reigning it in. Even during the Great Tribulation, when He will remove His agency of restraint altogether (2 Thes. 2:7), He will put an end to evil’s reign before it can completely destroy mankind (Matt. 24:22).

IS GOD IN CONTROL?

This brings us back to the original question, and here’s my answer. I believe things will turn out exactly like God said they will because He’s already seen the end, and He saw it from the beginning. But does that mean I believe God is in total control of everything that happens in the mean time? No I don’t, and I think I’ve shown above that the Bible supports my opinion.

I believe when we become Christians we become aliens behind enemy lines. I believe we can expect God’s help in surviving if we turn over control of our lives to Him. But I think there’s a lot more to that than most people understand.

When Jesus said to take up our cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23) He was calling us to do what He was doing.  And what was He doing?  Matt. 26:39 tells us He laid down His will in favor of His Father’s will.  Romans 12:1-2 explains that’s exactly what we’re called to do.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

We’re to lay down our will for our life and embrace His will for our life instead.

In Ephesians 4:22-24 Paul put it this way.

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

I’ve seen a lot of people who give lip service to this command, and a few who actually obey it. But even those who do obey realize the world remains an evil place, and bad things can still happen.

Jesus said that in this world we will have trouble (John 16:33),  but He also said He came so we can have an abundant life (John 10:10). We gain this blessing by laying down the life we have planned for ourselves and picking up the life He has planned for us.  In this way we can experience a personal world where He is in total control no matter what is happening in the world around us, and where He is working even the bad things that happen together for our good (Romans 8:28).

Paul said our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us (Romans 8:18). For that reason, he said, “we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18). This life is temporary. It’s the next one that’s permanent.

This is also why Paul told us to live by faith not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7), because even when we’re experiencing the adverse effects of this evil place, we can know that God has promised to work everything together for our good. Therefore, no matter how bad things might be, we can take heart in the fact that He has overcome the world, and through faith in Him we will too. 

THREE

 

Tribulation Children

Q.  I know that all children under the age of accountability will be taken in the rapture, including children still in the womb. After the rapture, will anymore children be born? I am sure for at least a few years people will carry on as normal. Will everyone be barren during the tribulation?

A.  In Matt. 24:19 the Lord said the Great tribulation will be a dreadful time for pregnant women and nursing mothers.  That tells us there will be children during the Great Tribulation.  Remember, the church will be long gone.   Most of the people who are left on Earth won’t know the full extent of what’s coming and will be trying to live as normal a life as possible, believing that things will eventually get better.  They won’t know the end of the world is upon them.

Jesus said it will be like the days of Noah when people were eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage right up until the flood came and took them all away (Matt. 24:38-39).  This is how it will be during the time leading up to the 2nd Coming as well.

FOUR

The Last Person Saved

Q.  We know that God has not already raptured the Church because of His long suffering,  giving every human a chance to trust His plan of salvation.  Do you think He will come back at a time when every person that will make a decision for Him will have done so, or will there be those who might have trusted Him at a later date, but be lost because He came back?  Or do you think it is simply a number thing, when the full number of Gentiles has come in?

A.  I believe Romans 11:25 tells us the Church has a specific number and when that number is reached the rapture will come.  But that doesn’t mean there will be no more people saved.  Rev. 7:9 speaks of a number too large to count from all over the world who will become believers and be martyred for their faith during the seal judgments of Rev. 6.  And Rev. 20:4 tells us of another group of martyrs who will die for refusing to take the Mark of the beast during the Great Tribulation and will be resurrected at the time of the 2nd Coming.  Neither of these groups will be part of the Church, but they’ll be saved just the same.  Scholars call them Tribulation believers or Tribulation saints.

In Matt. 24:30 we learn that all the nations of Earth will mourn when they see the sign of the Son of Man in the sky following the end of the Great Tribulation.  I think they’ll mourn because they’ll finally realize that what they’ve been told about salvation is true and it’s too late for them.

So all through the last seven years people will be getting saved, right up to the time they see the Lord coming in the clouds. Following that time no one can be saved.

FIVE

When Do The Birth Pangs Begin?

Q. I was wondering when do the birth pangs begin?  Is it when the tribulation starts or before?  I heard a teacher say it’s when the tribulation starts and that confused me.  I always thought it was when Israel became a nation but now I am hearing that a lot of pastors do not teach this theory.

A. In effect, Jesus said that the things He called birth pangs would be characteristic of the entire Church age, not just one generation (Matt. 24:6-8).  In other words, they’d be present throughout, but as the end gets closer they would become more frequent and more intense, like the labor pains of a pregnant woman.  He said the only clear sign that people on Earth would get that the Great Tribulation is about to begin is the Abomination of Desolation (Matt. 24:15-21).  When that happens the people in Judea (Israel) are to immediately flee for their lives.

SIX

Drugs Or Sorcery?

Q. I was listening to a popular TV bible teacher recently, and his comments involved drug use in the Bible. He said that in the book of Revelation, ch.9, those who refused to renounce their sorceries would be cursed. He said that was a misinterpretation in the Bible, and that it meant “pharmachia” or pharmacy. So which is it?

A. In the King James, Rev. 9:21 says, “Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.” The Greek word translated sorceries is pharmakeia, which literally means the use of drugs.  It only appears 3 times in the Bible and is either translated witchcraft or sorcery.  Perhaps that’s because the King James translators were not familiar with recreational drug use.  Most modern translations follow the King James lead, and I don’t know of any that use the literal meaning of the word.

 

SEVEN

Antiochus IV Epiphanes

Q.  An article I read recently claims that many of the prophesies of Isaiah 10 and 11 (and Isaiah 30:30-31) that traditionally are understood to have been fulfilled by the Seleucid King Antiochus Epiphanes around the time of the Maccabees might instead be prophesies that lie ahead for the Anti-Christ himself.  Could it be that understanding the Seleucid King who defiled the second Temple in the second century BC could teach us more about the Anti-Christ?

A. I believe that much of Isaiah has a dual fulfillment, the first one now historical to us and the 2nd one coming soon in the End Times.  Antiochus Epiphanes was one of history’s clearest models of the anti-Christ.  Because of him end times believers will know how to recognize the Abomination of Desolation mentioned by Jesus in Matt. 24:15.  The Abomination of Desolation that Antiochus erected in the 2nd Temple helped trigger the Maccabean revolt, and is the only time such a thing has ever happened.  Studying the historical account of this period gives us a clear picture of how the anti-Christ will cause the Great Tribulation to begin (2 Thes. 2:4, Rev. 13:14-15).


 

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