When God is Ashamed to be Called Your God

The religions of the world all seem to have one thing in common: the worship of God or many gods as represented in idols or as pantheism. Some believe that their god cannot be known but must be appeased to receive protection and favor. Except for the Living God who has communicated through prophets, both in writing and personally, no other god has reveal what he is thinking – how could they, no god of wood or stone actually lives, it’s just an idol.

When the Living God allows disaster and tragedy to come upon a nation or community, it may be because the people in that community have ignored God’s clear communication to them. In the book of Judges, the Bible records many cycles when people disobeyed the Living God and did their own thing. Tragic consequences brought these people back to want to hear God’s voice and obey Him thus bringing peace to the land. Falling back into sin and disobedience eventually brought another cycle of disaster and tragedy.

The Living God has clearly communicated to the people of earth those things that please Him and those things that do not. But imagine what He must think when people who claim to be His children say and do things that are contrary to His will and instruction! And when these people teach others to follow their ways, I suspect that God is ashamed that they claim to be His children (Hebrews 11:16).

Jesus made it very clear – if you love God you will do what He says, you will obey Him recognizing that He has redeemed you from the pit of destruction and given you a new life, a new hope and the promise of a very enjoyable life in the world to come. Having been redeemed with a price that you could never pay yourself, it is a small thing to commit this new life to serving the Living God. If you do not want to serve God, then your only option is to stay on the road to destruction and eternal torment – your choice.

Hebrews chapter 11 records the history of people who believed God and in faith did things that may have seemed to be illogical but in hindsight accomplished great things in obedience to God. Of such people, the Bible records that God was not ashamed to be called their God. The passage goes on to say that He has prepared a city for them. Having left this earth, they await the resurrection and the new earth which will be free from sin.

God has endured the hostility of sinners against Himself, but there is coming a day of judgment when all of God’s promises will be fulfilled and the obedient will see all the wonders God has prepared for His people – those of whom He is not ashamed.

The Error of the Eucharist

The Lord’s Supper as a sacrament was taught to Christ’s disciples on the night He was betrayed. The Gospel of Matthew chapter 26 records that Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you;  for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.

Did the disciples actually eat Christ’s flesh and blood? The answer should be obviously “no!” The text says that Jesus took some bread and broke it, and he took the cup with its contents and gave it to them to drink from it. Clearly, Jesus used the bread and the wine to symbolize the death of his body and the shedding of blood for the forgiveness of sins.

Unfortunately, the Roman Catholic fathers have added their own concepts to the truth, much like the Pharisees did in their day, making the truth an untruth. The Council of Trent said “And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and offered in an unbloody manner…

To teach that the elements of the Eucharist actually become the real body of Christ is contrary to Scripture and was refuted even before it became a common practice among Roman Catholics. The author of the book of Hebrews in chapter 9, while discussing the ways in which Christ’s sacrifice is superior to the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament, says His one perfect sacrifice was sufficient to redeem mankind for all ages.

If His sacrifice was not complete, it would have to be offered time and time again, just as the Roman Catholics do it in the Mass. But Scripture says the sacrifice was complete:

For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;  nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own.  Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

Here is the error: Christ does not offer His body and shed His blood every time a Roman Catholic priest conducts the Eucharist service because His sacrifice was complete, perfect and final. If you argue that the Mass is “unbloody” then you must also acknowledge that the Mass is useless for the forgiveness of sins since the Scripture clearly says “without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22).

When the apostle Paul teaches the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11, he repeats Jesus’ words showing that by the breaking of bread and drinking of the cup we are to remember what the Lord has done, and we are to proclaim it until He comes. The bread and cup are symbols of remembrance, and do not cause Christ to have to offer His body again and again for the forgiveness of sins. Any other interpretation of Paul’s words degrades the value of Christ’s sacrifice which was offered for once and for all.

I am well aware that many Roman Catholics value the words of the early Roman Catholic Church fathers as weightier than the Scriptures, but those who do so, do so at their own peril. The Scriptures were given as a complete revelation of Jesus Christ and need no additions or reinterpretation by people.

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life (1 John 5:13).

 

US Supreme Court Defies God – Decision by Higher Court Coming

After the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on same-sex marriage, Franklin Graham made the following statement on his Facebook page:

The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled today that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. With all due respect to the court, it did not define marriage, and therefore is not entitled to re-define it.

Long before our government came into existence, marriage was created by the One who created man and woman—Almighty God—and His decisions are not subject to review or revision by any manmade court. God is clear about the definition of marriage in His Holy Word: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

I pray God will spare America from His judgment, though, by our actions as a nation, we give Him less and less reason to do so.

The book of Proverbs gives us this precise summary:

An unjust man is abominable to the righteous,
And he who is upright in the way is abominable to the wicked
(29:27).

The movements behind so-called same-sex “marriage” have been very demanding that they be given all the rights and privileges of traditional marriages. They want people to be tolerant of them yet when they are opposed in any way, they themselves are extremely intolerant.

One cannot support same-sex unions while hearing God’s voice and walking with Him. The Word of God speaks very plainly about such lifestyles and pronounces judgment on those who participate. God sometimes chooses to execute judgment very quickly on the living, and at other times He delays judgment giving people an opportunity to repent and live according to His instructions. However, judgment on sin is absolutely certain.

As Jonah warned the people of Nineveh many years ago: repent for judgment is coming. The final decision by a higher court is coming.

When an Angry God Laughs

The earth shook and people died. Officials blamed some young people for angering the mountain gods by stripping naked at the top. It seems most people who heard the news assumed that the earthquake was nothing more than a coincidence, and that associating it with the reaction of a god was nothing more than mythology.

However, mankind seems intent on angering the true and living God of all creation. The warning has already been declared in writing for all to read – if people continue to disobey the instructions and commands, if they rebel against His right to rule, and if they deny that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the only way to eternal life, God will speak to them in His anger (Psalm 2:5).

It doesn’t matter if all the nations of the world take their stand to defy God, the day is coming when He will laugh at them, He will scoff, and He will terrify them. His patience has limits. When the line has been crossed, the defiant will perish (Psalm 2:12).

The days are coming when people will say to the mountains, “Fall on us,” and the hills, “Cover us” (Luke 23:30). This is what they will say when an angry God laughs at them. If the words of Jesus are not enough, the warning is repeated in the Book of Revelation, chapter 6: 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 16 and they were saying to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?

Those who turn from their sinful deeds before that great day, and repent, confessing their rebellion, and commit to serve God, the King of kings and Lord of all, will be forgiven their sin and will live in the presence of God forever. Those who remain unrepentant to death or until Christ appears again will be judged according to their deeds. The judgment will not be about weighing the good deeds against the bad, but the judgment will be based upon whether the salvation Christ offers was accepted. All of us have sinned at least once, and all of us since Adam have been born with a sin-nature. Therefore the judgment will rest solely on whether your sins have been forgiven by Christ and the subsequent transaction whereby you entered the Kingdom of God.

If you are not living in the Kingdom of God, you have been warned to make the transaction before it is too late. Judgment is definitely coming, and the more people rebel against His instructions for life, the closer that judgment is. Please be ready.

Calvin Ball

The cartoon strip, Calvin and Hobbes, introduced a game played by the boy called Calvin Ball. It sounds a lot like the games adults play when they don’t like the way things seem to be going for them. In Calvin’s version, if it seems he is about to lose a game, he merely changes the rules to favor himself so as to win. In this version, the rules can be changed any time he chooses but his opponent is never allowed a similar option. Needless to say, such games usually end prematurely by the opponent who is furious over the unfair rule changes.

It seems a lot of people are playing Calvin Ball and have deluded themselves to think that they will win. They have decided that they don’t like the rules of the game of life and think that they can change any rule that conflicts with their desires. They play the games as though their rules now apply and will be accepted when the outcome of the game is judged. It’s amazing that they think they can persuade the judge to rule in their favor and that he will accept the rule changes even though those changes are contrary to the standard set for the game.

Some players have decided that one way to get the judge to rule in their favor is by gathering many other people together to demonstrate against the old rules and to demand that the government support them. So we see parades in support of change and news reporters questioning the value of the old rules. By democratic vote, the people change the rules of the land declaring the old rules as obsolete and not relevant for this time and culture.

The role of the judge is now questioned and it has been decided by the people that he has no power or authority to rule against the new rules. The judge is attacked and it is suggested that he doesn’t even exist. If there is no judge, then each person should live and do as they please with no worries about a judge. The old rules are disregarded and new rules are taught as though it is a simple matter to make the game more relevant to the majority of players.

Players who still play by the old rules are mocked and threatened and some even killed because they do not conform to the new rules. The people who promote the new rules say that there should be tolerance and acceptance of all who play by the new rules yet they show no tolerance or acceptance of people still playing by the old rules.

You likely understand this analogy but for those who missed it, here are the definitions: The judge is God. He has set His rules for us to live by in the Scriptures, also called the Bible. The Judge is eternal, without beginning or end, and He is unchanging. The rules He has established for people on earth are not changed to suit the evil desires of mankind. God sent Jesus Christ to earth to be born into a physical body, to teach and demonstrate the rules of the Kingdom of God, and to die on a cross and be resurrected to redeem people under the curse of Satan. Jesus Christ has been granted all rule and authority over the earth and he will judge all people at the end of time by the rules God established long ago. Mankind’s attempts to change the rules are futile and only lead to certain failure before the Judge.

The new rules are changes to the instructions in the Bible. Some have tried to reinterpret the rules to a new cultural relevance but in doing so, many of the changes are actually diametrically opposed to God’s clear instruction. What God has called evil, some call good. Even local churches which have the appearance of representing God to man have been deceived and try to cater to a declining audience by adjusting their theology to make it pleasing to our current culture of sin.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life (Galatians 6:7-8).

Therefore, at the end of your life on earth when you stand before the Judge, will you stand as member of the Kingdom of God having obeyed God’s rules, or will you stand with the rebellious and arrogant who allowed no place for God in their lives? Those who subjected themselves to God’s rule will enjoy eternal life; those who disregarded God’s rules and lived by their own will face eternal separation and punishment. Playing by your own rules will be deadly.

Created to Multiply

God said that mankind is to be fruitful, to multiply and to fill the earth. However some people say that mankind must limit births and prevent over-population on the earth. What should one believe?

Our actions are controlled by those things that we hang onto as foundational. If we believe that there is no Creator-God, then we likely believe that we arrived here on earth through an evolutionary process that began with a single living cell that somehow developed into all the diversity of life we now see – not only birds and animals, but trees and vegetation. From simplicity to complexity, in spite of the laws of thermodynamics, humanistic thinking believes that we are constantly improving and getting better in every regard.

Having developed tools to analyze and measure the world around us, we have suddenly become alarmed that we may run out of resources, especially food, and that we are polluting the environment through greed, and that the future of the earth is finite and we must find ways to protect the species. Even with all the tools that let us see the stars and planets as never before and the tools that examine substance to the sub-atomic level, it seems that humanists refuse to acknowledge a Designer.

However, if we believe that there is a Creator-God, then we believe that we were created and placed here for a purpose. We were told how to live and interact with each other and how to enjoy an abundant fruitful life knowing that God is always in control. We are told that there will be people in rebellion against God who refuse to obey His instructions for life, and that it is the pollution of sin that will eventually destroy this earth. God, who knows all things yet to come, has prepared for that time when the sinners will be judged and the faithful will enter the very presence of God in a new earth created for our existence.

These are two very different viewpoint, and obviously, they are mutually exclusive – only one reality can be true. The evidence of a Creator-God is all around us. The evidence of a spiritual realm, though unseen, is also affirmed by every religion, is portrayed in movies and culture, and is experienced by people who have chosen to submit to God..

All of us have sinned and all are born with a propensity to sin. The Bible makes it clear that the result of sin is death – not just a physical death that is inevitable for all living things, but a spiritual death that is a result of disobeying the One who created all living things. But God, in His great love for the ones He created, has provided a means of redemption through Jesus Christ so that sinners could be forgiven and granted eternal life.

The search for immortality consumes people who believe that there must be more to life than approximately 70 years. Solomon wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes that God has set eternity in the heart. The eternal God has created people to live with Him forever, however people who reject His plan to save us and to give us eternal life will only know a future of eternal separation from God in great loneliness and suffering. The time for each person to make a choice is now. Do you want to live out your years on this earth believing that there is no God and that you can do anything that feels good, or do you want to recognize God as the Creator and willingly submit to His rule and authority?

God created mankind to rule the earth under His authority. When we rule according to the teachings of the Bible and by the power that God gives to live in harmony with His will, we will prosper and so will the entire earth. But when people deny God and assume that they are in control of earth by their own power, terrible things happen.

Drought is one of the signs of God’s judgment. Many times in the Bible we read that when people chose to displease God, drought was a tool God used to cause people to return to Him. When a community worshiped God as Lord, they often saw incredible harvests and blessings. In our world today, we see several areas experiencing tremendous drought. It is a message from God calling us to acknowledge Him as the One we ought to honor and obey.

In a world that lives according to God’s laws, there will always be enough food and resources. Obeying the command to be fruitful and multiply will never put the world at risk of not having enough food for everyone.

Francis Chan is quoted as saying “We don’t get to decide who God is.” Yet there are many people in this world who feel they can redefine who God is and what He meant when He spoke. From churches that redefine God’s Word to actually mean the opposite of what is actually written, to people who believe that they can be god, a lot effort is spent trying to say that the God of Abraham is obsolete and not relevant to our current world. Well I’ve got news for you – we have not out-grown our need for God. By His power, the entire universe is held together and He deserves all our worship and adoration.

If you want a fruitful and productive life, serve God in every aspect of your life. Then your life on this earth becomes the entrance to an eternal life with God. Choose very carefully – your final answer will last for eternity.

The Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail

Christ affirmed the truth that He would build His Church on the rock solid truth that He is the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16). While the truth has never changed, men have tried to reinterpret it. The reinterpretation has led to a host of errors.

The revelation of the truth to the apostle Peter came from God the Father, not by earthly wisdom. So when Peter declared that Jesus was the Son of the living God, it was truth. Jesus recognized that the Father had revealed this truth to Peter and blessed Peter.

Jesus then declared that He would build His Church and hell would have no power over it. In spite of Christ’s declaration, some people through the years that followed decided to build an organization which they called “the Church” but is not the Church to which Jesus referred. Any organization that says they are the Church and that they have the power to determine who can go to heaven has completely missed the truth. It seems they have a form of godliness but are actually denying the power of God (2 Timothy 3:2-5).

Jesus makes it clear that He is the builder and those who transfer their allegiance from the path of our sinful nature to the Kingdom of God are members of the Church built by Christ. Those who accept Christ’s salvation provided by His sacrifice and resurrection are those who become members of His Body, the Church. Salvation is by Christ alone – no amount of works or keeping of the sacraments is able to save.

The keys of the Kingdom are given to those in the Church – not the earthly organization that calls themselves “the Church” – the keys are given to those who have been redeemed by Christ alone. The keys are not to be used to prevent someone from entering heaven, as though any organization was granted this right to be a gatekeeper. No! The keys refer to the spiritual authority granted to the redeemed in the Church to bind the works of Satan as he interferes with the Church and to loose the blessings of God in the lives of those who are bound by Satan (Matthew 16:19).

I’ve heard someone say that a local church organization could never fail because Jesus has said Hades will not overpower the Church. False! If a local church disobeys the Lord, Christ said He will remove the church if they do not repent (Revelation 2:5). A church that has been removed by the Lord may continue to exist as a man-made organization, but it no longer declares truth, and obeys and loves the Lord. The last book of the Bible is a letter written to seven churches to warn them of the danger of being removed. Chapters 2 and 3 give the specifics.

It is true that hell and all its host can never overpower the Church built by Christ. Don’t confuse the real Church with human imitations that have rituals that seem godly but are useless empty shells. Any church not built by Christ and obedient to Him will fail.

Are you a member of the living Church built by Christ?

Pay Attention to the Revelation

A familiar text can be read so quickly that the message no longer reaches our consciousness. Such is the case with the introduction to the Revelation of Jesus Christ as recorded by the apostle John. We may even give mental acknowledgement to the words but miss their importance.

The introduction to the letter could be outlined this way:

Author: God

Purpose: to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place

Messenger: His angel

Scribe: John

To: the seven churches in Asia

Greetings from:

  •      the eternal God and Father,
  •      the seven Spirits before His throne,
  •      Jesus Christ
  •           the faithful witness,
  •           the firstborn of the dead,
  •           the ruler of the kings of the earth
  •           who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood
  •           who has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father
  •           who will return and every eye will see Him

The letter is written with all the authority and importance of God Himself – there is nothing higher or greater. The scribe was exiled to the island of Patmos because of His witness and testimony of Jesus. He describes himself as a brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus (Revelation 1:9, NASB).

The date of the writing of this letter is generally accepted to be about 90 AD, or about 20 years after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. The Jews had rebelled against Rome and the rebellion was fully suppressed concluding with the burning and destruction of the temple. Thousands were brutally killed by a Roman army that was out of control as recorded by eyewitness Josephus Flavius. Those who escaped the flaming temple mount were enslaved and sent to work in mines in Egypt.

Luke recorded that when Jesus walked in Israel before his crucifixion, he wept over the destruction that was soon to come on Jerusalem and the temple. The victory of their enemies was rooted in the Jew’s failure to recognize that Jesus is the Messiah.

Who is this Jesus? The rest of chapter 1 of Revelation paints a picture of what John saw. The first thing he saw were seven golden lampstands. The lampstands were symbolic of the seven churches to whom this letter is written. In the middle of the lampstands was someone who was identified at the risen glorified Christ. In His right hand he held seven stars which represent the angels of the seven churches.

The description of His appearance helps us understand that He is eternal, powerful and righteous. The picture of the sharp two-edged sword reminds us that He will judge the world. The writer of Hebrews wrote that “the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12, NASB). Jesus Christ is a power and authority to be reckoned with and those who do not make their peace with Him now will face an all-mighty judge and ruler who cannot be bribed or tricked.

The last book in the Bible is all about Jesus – don’t miss that fact!

The Cost of Not Warning

The one who warns another of impending injury or death is not always appreciated. There are many examples of people rescuing others from certain death by fire or drowning and they are often decorated as heroes, however there are situations when people do not want to be rescued from their dangerous activities. Often those practicing activities that are harmful and lead to death do not want intervention, in fact, in the case of a drug addict, that person wants resources to enable them to continue their practice “safely” even if there is no possibility of a positive outcome.

The one who warns another may be accused of being judgmental. “Who are you to tell me that what I’m doing is wrong or dangerous?” This is especially true if the one who warns is also practicing a sinful lifestyle.

The Church has warned many people that if they continue in sin and disobedience to God, they will be judged and are in real danger of eternal damnation. Of course the Church is composed of redeemed sinners who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and obeying Christ sets them on a different path, not to hell but to heaven. It seems that the voice of warning from the Church is being increasingly muffled or modified to make it less judgmental. As a result, we now see practices in some local churches that are forbidden as sin.

In spite of the backlash against those who warn, we all have a responsibility to warn others of danger. Take the case of Ezekiel who received this word from the Lord:

Ezekiel 3: 17b whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me. 18 When I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 Yet if you have warned the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered yourself. 20 Again, when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I place an obstacle before him, he will die; since you have not warned him, he shall die in his sin, and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. 21 However, if you have warned the righteous man that the righteous should not sin and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; and you have delivered yourself.”

When God speaks a warning to us for others and we do not share the warning, we share in the responsibility of the iniquity. The cost of not warning others is very high. When you see someone living an ungodly lifestyle, practicing sin and disregard for God, are you able to warn them?

The disregard for God is all around us. Some want to believe that everything evolved rather than believe in the existence of a Creator God who designed everything we see. The belief that life evolved on earth fuels the frantic search through the universe looking for some evidence that life evolved elsewhere else so as to prove that God did not create life on earth.

If you believe that there is no God then the Ten Commandments have no force except as guidelines that can be modified by our wisdom and desires. “Thou shalt not kill” no longer is an absolute. Abortion has become a right for women who want to deal with the consequences of sexual relations outside marriage. The talk of euthanasia becomes acceptable because it gives an individual the right to determine when they want to die, a right that is completely detached from God’s commandments. God is aware of our suffering and is able to carry us through with the promise that the suffering will never exceed His ability to care for us. Yet for those who don’t believe God exists, there is no hope that there will be a limit to their suffering.

There are many other ways in which people act like there is no God. Sexual relationships between a man and women in marriage are a picture of God’s relationship with the Church. The Bible describes the Church as the Bride of Christ. It is a picture of the pure and perfect caring relationship God has with the Church. However, sexual sins and perversions damage our understanding of the illustration. Who warns our society that God is very displeased and will bring judgment for these sins?

May those of you who know the Truth have the courage to forward God’s warnings as He leads.

Christ’s Return: Fact and Myth

The Bible has never been more accessible to everyone than it is now yet so much of it is being disregarded, not only by the wisdom of this world, but also by some who consider themselves to be Bible scholars. Truth cannot be determined by opinion but by an examination of the facts. It is more important to see the facts than to hear someone’s opinion of the facts. Church-goers are becoming confused by the various opinions about what the Bible says on just about everything, but few of those people actually read the Bible to see for themselves what it actually says.

Is Christ going to return or has He already come?

Preterists believe that Christ’s death on a cross, the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in the 1st century has already fulfilled the prophecies of Christ’s second coming.

Some, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, believe that Christ’s return has begun, that it is spiritual rather than physical, and that it does not describe an event as a single point in time.

The Jews do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah. They still wait for the arrival of the Messiah and find no reference in the Torah of a second coming of the Messiah.

The millennium is considered by many to be an indeterminate period of time rather than a literal thousand year reign of Christ. Many are becoming amillennialists denying a literal thousand-year physical reign of Christ believing instead that Christ reigns now through the Church. Some hold the concept that conditions will gradually improve until world peace is achieved and then Christ will physically return.

The mention of a time of tribulation is described as a period of seven years associated with end-time events, but there are many opinions about whether this Tribulation occurs before Christ returns, after He returns or something else. For those who hold a Pre-Tribulation view, Christ raptures the Church at the beginning of the Tribulation and returns with the saints at the end of the Tribulation to begin His rule for a thousand years. Some believe that the time of tribulation has already occurred and isn’t a future event.

To sort out myth from fact, consider the what the Bible says. The Old Testament was affirmed by Jesus Christ as God’s Word on many occasions but especially after His resurrection as he explained the ministry of the Christ as recorded in Luke 24:26-27: “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

The writer of Hebrews makes it clear that this book is not like any ordinary book: For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). No other book could be described as living and actively interpreted by the Spirit of God.

The Psalmist makes it clear that the Word of God can be trusted: The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting (Psalm 119:160). Christ prayed to the Father, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth (John 17:17).

The Bible can be trusted. Then what does it say about the return of Christ?

No one knows when He will return.

Matthew 24:36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. 37 For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left.

42 “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. 43 But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. 44 For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.

Christ Himself declares that no one knows when He will return, only the Father knows.

Until He returns, there will be many deceivers saying that He has already come.

Matthew 24:4 “See to it that no one misleads you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.”

Jesus told His disciples that they would experience tribulation before He returns.

Matthew 24:9 “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10 At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 11 Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 12 Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. 14 This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

Unlike those who say we are living in the millennium already, Jesus says things will deteriorate and that endurance will be required of Christ-followers.

The period of tribulation will threaten life on earth – there has been nothing like it yet. In the midst of this period, there will be deceivers claiming that Christ has returned, but we are not to believe them.

Matthew 24:21 For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. 22 Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. 25 Behold, I have told you in advance. 26 So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them.

When Christ does return, everyone will know.

Matthew 24: 29 “But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 31 And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.

This is not a private, invisible return! At His return, His elect will be gathered together after the Tribulation. While this gathering is not called a rapture, clearly there is a gathering. Is it possible that this is different event than the one Paul described in his letters to the Thessalonians?

1 Thessalonians 1:10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.

This passage describes a rescue from the wrath to come. What is that wrath spoken of here? Is it the Tribulation or is it the Judgment that follows?

Paul goes on to clarify that some believers will be alive when Christ returns and the dead in Christ together with those who are alive at that time will be caught up together to always be with the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 4:15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

The return of our Lord has been declared in the trustworthy Word of God.