Tag Archives: rapture

Secret Treasures

Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

Some people in North Carolina have just rediscovered some interesting gems in a creek that use to be used for mining gold. They have found that there is still gold in “them thar creeks.” They are not sure where the source of the gold is, but they know there is definitely a fair amount of gold in the small stream.

The area was one of the first areas in the United States to have discovered gold in quantities large enough to set off the initial North American gold rush and commercial gold mining enterprises. But about the time of the Civil war gold mining in the area stopped. With the increase in the price of gold a renewed interest has sprung up in the gold that remains hidden in the streams of the Carolina region.

As one panning for gold should know how to interpret the clues of nature and use the tools for shifting river bed materials one interested in discovering God’s precious treasures should be familiar with the methods of interpretation.

Those who have studied the Biblical passages of prophetic writing have come up with a variety of methods of interpreting scripture. They have used some form of the basic methods to filter through the sparkling little nuggets God provided to enlighten his children with regards to his plans for the end of time and the start of eternity.

The first thing a conservative Bible student must distinguish is the difference between the rapture and the second coming of Christ. A conservative student is one who accepts the teachings of God’s Word as literal, and does not try to spiritualize textual interpretations to make them conform to his theories, but takes scripture and establishes his beliefs and interpretations on the context and complete counsel of God’s Word.

The rapture is a term used to describe the catching away of the redeemed. The redeemed being those who have received the gift of God, those who believe that Jesus is the Messiah, that he came the first time to redeem his fallen creation and that he will come a second time to rule and reign as the everlasting King of Kings.

Scripture teaches that this catching away will come quickly and unexpectedly, as a thief in the night. The believers who have died will have their bodies caught out of the grave first reuniting with their souls, and those that are living when the rapture takes place will be caught up with them; meeting them in the air. This catching away or rapture is a calling out of the New Testament Church. Those believers who have been redeemed between the time of Christ and the time the catching away takes place.

The second coming is when Christ returns to earth and reestablishes the throne of David in Jerusalem and rules the world for a thousand years. When Christ returns to establish this renewed kingdom those who have been caught away in the rapture will return with him to serve him in the millennial kingdom he establishes at his second appearing.  The catching away pertains to the believers of the church age and the second coming is
specifically for the Nation of Israel.

The basic methods of interpretation relate to these two events. The issues related to the rapture, or catching away, breakdown into four  categories: pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, pre-wrath, and post tribulation. The issues related to the second coming breakdown into three basic categories: pre-millennial, au-millennial, and post millennial.

How are you doing at panning the gold of God’s treasures?

We will look at the rapture related methods of interpretation in the next blog.

Do you have a position on this subject?

What is your position?

Why do you hold to that position?

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Revelation: Expanded Introduction

When a master artist paints a masterpiece they work hard to establish a focal point. This is the area of the painting where the painter wants the observer to focus. The artist will often place this point at a strategic location on the canvas and make the strongest contrast between light and dark part of this space. The artist will also create other composition features to direct the eye of the onlooker to the focal point of the painting. The focal point is the artist’s purpose for creating the painting.

Rembrandt had a special way of lighting his portraits in order to create a dramatic feel and enhance the features of the person he was painting. Cecil B. DeMille in his movie, The Warren’s of Virginia filmed in 1915, experimented with lighting in order to make the shadows in his movies appear as they would in nature. When one of his partners saw that only half of the actor’s face was able to be seen he protested that the patrons would only pay half of the admission cost. DeMille told him it was “Rembrandt lighting” and his partner became ecstatic believing now they would pay double to see the movie.

For a writer the introduction casts a guiding light that will define his purpose and create the desired focus point. As God led the hand of John the Beloved, through the work of the Holy Spirit, he directs our attention to the revelation he desired to make, the unveiling of the Messiah. His purpose is summarized in the first few words of the opening sentence, “The revelation of Jesus Christ,” Revelation as defined by Webster’s Dictionary: “The act of disclosing or discovering to others what was before unknown to them; appropriately, the disclosure or communication of truth to men by God himself, or by his authorized agents, the prophets and apostles.” Christ is being unveiled, revealed, made manifest more completely.

In verse two we find Christ referenced twice, once with the title John used to introduce him in his gospel, the Word of God, John 1:1. Paul expands this truth about Christ as the Word with his instruction in Hebrews 1:1-2  God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;  Hebrews 2:3-4  How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

Christ communicates to us today as a merciful loving savior. He is shown in the gospels to be the light, the bread of life, the way, the living water. He is the one who came as a humble servant, as the sacrificial lamb to communicate salvation to his lost love destined for certain destruction. Paul tells us that if the message of the prophets and the angels were validated by God how much more certain is the message of his son, the Word of God, going to be validated by its fulfillment?

Christ is God’s communication to man, to his loved, but disobedient, fallen, lost creation. In the gospels Jesus told those who followed him that he was the manifestation or communication of the heavenly Father to man. John 1:18  No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. John 14:9-10  Jesus saith unto him, … he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. John 8:19  Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.

Beginning in verse five and running through verse eight we see an in-depth description of Jesus the Christ. He is presented as: the faithful witness, the first begotten of the dead, the prince of the kings of the earth, (who loved us and washed us, from our sins, in his own blood), and the one who commissioned us as priests in his kingdom (a kingdom of priests), the one who comes in the clouds, the one who all the tribes of the earth will bewail, the Alpha and the Omega, the almighty.

Helen Howarth Lemmel in a hymn she composed titled Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, reflects Johns focal point when she penned the chorus. “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face; And the things of earth will grow strangely dim In the light of His glory and grace.” 

John shines a light on Jesus to illuminate his features and direct our attention to him. All he presents in the book is meant to define him and reveal the fullness of his being to those who read it. The focal point, whether reflected on the churches of Asia minor, or diffused through the judgment of the tribulation, or gloriously radiated from his eternal throne, is Jesus the Christ.

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