Posts filed under ‘Pretribulational Rapture’
If you’ve never had to deal with someone who firmly believes that God “told” them or “sent” them to do something, consider yourself fortunate. Too often, these people believe they have a “word of knowledge” and if you don’t accept that word, then you’ve rejected God. It’s really a very unfortunate, ambiguous, and even conceited way of living life, but these people don’t see it like that at all. Instead, they see themselves as a modern day John the Baptist or some other godly prophet who – as a watchman on the wall – has the responsibility of viewing the landscape of Christendom and pointing out the flaws they see. In this case, the “flaw” was Dr. MacArthur’s opposition to Charismatic gifts, like speaking in tongues.
It is clear then that God took the Sabbatical Year seriously…for the nation of Israel. If we are going to say that America is part of that (which it is not), then we would have to agree that since the founding of this nation, at the end of every 7th year, all debts should have been forgiven, the land was to lie fallow, and creditors would essentially do a “reset.” It has not been that way at all, yet Jonathan Cahn has come along to try to make us believe that whether we knew it or not, America was in “covenant” with God right from the beginning.
She says that the word for “clouds” should be taken to mean “large groups of people.” The actual word used in the Greek text in the Thessalonians passage is nephelais and it literally means actual “clouds” in the sky. The usage of it in Hebrews is a different word completely. It is nephos, which can mean a mass of clouds as in a “great multitude.” When used figuratively (as the writer in Hebrews clearly does), it then can mean a great multitude of people, but only when used figuratively. There is no reason to take the word figuratively every time it is used in Scripture as it depends mainly on context.
The mere fact that Christians live on this earth goes much further in keeping God’s judgment at bay than the fact that righteous Lot lived in Sodom and Gomorrah. In spite of how evil this world is becoming (and will become), the fact of the Church’s presence acts as a wall of sorts that keeps evil in check. It is not the Church itself that has that power, but the Holy Spirit who resides within the Church. It is He who stands up to Satan and even though Christians are persecuted and even martyred for their faith almost daily throughout the world, this does not mean that the Holy Spirit is somehow weak or losing His grip. The Holy Spirit – through the Church – restrains evil, keeping the world from what it will one day become.
Paul implies that the Thessalonian readers already knew who the restrainer was because Paul had already told them (“you know what restrains him”). With reference to evil – the lawless one, defined also as the “mystery of lawlessness” – that is defined with a personal pronoun as well. Evil resides in Satan. He is thoroughly evil and one day, he will have a “spiritual” son who will do his bidding. That son will be the Antichrist and he will be completely indwelt by Satan. In fact, this “indwelling” will mimic the way the Holy Spirit indwells each believer.
How does one come away from a verse like that and determine that it was not God Himself who restrained Satan? It can only be done through exceedingly poor and sloppy exegesis of His Word. God spoke a warning to Satan, telling him he could do anything he wanted to Job except touch him on his person. Later, we know that God modified this to allow Satan to do what he wanted with Job except take his life. Why did Satan obey? Because it was God who gave him his marching orders, not some impersonal barrier or “restraint” that has no mind or power of its own. The restraint was literally God’s Word, which is God Himself (John 1:1).
It is the Rapture that is expectantly waited on by the powers of darkness. They know that once it occurs, the Holy Spirit will no longer have the invisible Church through which to work, to convict the world of sin and to call them to righteousness. At that point, Satan and his minions will have far greater leeway to work. They will not hesitate to use every dark art to their advantage as they race toward the culmination of human history in Armageddon. Satan actually believes he has a chance of “besting” God, but we know that Satan (via Antichrist) will be destroyed by a word from the mouth of our returning Jesus, during His Second Advent (2 Thessalonians 2:8).