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         14
      Closed Communion
      James Foley
       
      I Corinthians 11:17-34: "Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's Supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come."

      INTRODUCTION

      Historic Baptists, true Baptists, have believed in and still believe in closed communion. Baptists impose upon themselves the same restrictions that they impose on others concerning the Lord’s Supper. Baptists have always insisted that it is the Lord’s Table, not theirs; and He alone has the right to say who shall sit at His table. No amount of so called brotherly love, or ecumenical spirit, should cause us to invite to His table those who have not complied with the requirements laid down plainly in His inspired Word. With respect to Bible doctrines we must always use the scripture as our guide and practice. For Baptists, two of the most important doctrines are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper. These are the only two doctrines we recognize as Church Ordinances. The Bible is very clear in teaching how these doctrines are to be practiced and by whom.

      We only have two ordinances that we must never compromise or we risk our very existence, they are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper.

      The moment we deviate from the precise method God has prescribed we have started down the slippery slope of error. True Baptists have held fast to the original doctrine of The Lord’s Supper from the time of Christ and the Apostles.

      Unfortunately, in this day of what the Bible describes as the age of luke warmness, Baptists are becoming careless in regard to strictly following the pattern laid out for us in Scripture. Many of our Bible colleges are graduating otherwise sincere, Godly and dedicated pastors and teachers who have not been taught the very strict, biblical requirements that surround the Lord’s Supper. Any Bible college that neglects to teach its students the differences surrounding Closed Communion, Close Communion and Open Communion is not simply short changing its students; it is also not equipping their students to carry on sound Bible traditions. The result is men of God and churches that fall into error. And as we will see, this is serious error.

      Should we as Baptists ignore the restrictions made by our Lord and Master? NO! When we hold to the restrictions placed upon the Lord’s Supper by our Master, we are defending the "faith which was once delivered to the saints" Jude 3.

      The Lord’s Supper is rigidly restricted and I will show this in the following facts:

      IT IS RESTRICTED AS TO PLACE

      A. I Corinthians 11:18 says, "When ye come together in the church." This does not mean the church building; they had none. In other words, when the church assembles. The supper is to be observed by the church, in church capacity. Again this does not mean the church house. Ekklesia, the Greek word for church, means assembly. "When ye come together in the church," is when the church assembles.

      B. When we say church we mean an assembly of properly baptized believers. Acts 2:41-42: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."

      The church is made up of saved people who are baptized by immersion. In the Bible, belief precedes baptism. That’s the Bible way.

      Acts 8:12-13, "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done."

      When we say properly baptized, we mean immersed. No unbeliever should take the Lord’s supper, and no non-immersed believer should take the supper. Those who are sprinkled are not baptized and cannot receive the supper. The Greek word for baptize is baptizo, and it always means to immerse.

      "In every case where communion is referred to, or where it may possibly have been administered, the believers had been baptized Acts 2:42; 8:12; 8:38; 10:47; 6:14-15; 18:8; 20:7. Baptism comes before communion, just as repentance and faith precede baptism".

      C. The Lord’s Supper is for baptized believers in church capacity: "When ye come together in the church," again not a building, but the assembly of the properly baptized believers.

      D. The fact that the Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, to be observed in church capacity, is pointed out by the fact that it is for those who have been immersed and added to the fellowship of the church.

      E. The Lord’s Supper is never spoken of in connection with individuals. When it is referred to, it is only referred to in reference to baptized believers in local church capacity I Cor. 11:20-26).

      I want to quote Dr. W.W. Hamilton,

      "The individual administration of the ordinance has no Bible warrant and is a relic of Romanism. The Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, and anything which goes beyond or comes short of this fails for want of scriptural example or command".

      “The practice of taking a little communion kit to hospitals, nursing homes, etc. is unscriptural and does not follow the scriptural example.”

      IT IS RESTRICTED TO A UNITED CHURCH

      A. The Bible in I Cor. 11:18 is very strong in condemning divisions around the Lord’s table. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
      19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
      20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.

      There were no less than four divisions in the Corinthian church.
      I Cor. 1:12: "Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ."

      Because of these divisions, it was impossible for them to scripturally eat the Lord’s Supper. Division in the local church is reason to hold off observing the Lord’s Supper. But there are also other reasons to forego taking the Lord’s Supper. If there is gross sin in the membership we do not take it. Here is scriptural evidence for this: 1Co 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:
      8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
      10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

      B. At this point, I want to ask these questions: Are there not doctrinal divisions among the many denominations? Is it not our doctrinal differences that cause us to be separate religious bodies?

      IT IS RESTRICTED BY DOCTRINE

      A. Those in the early church at Jerusalem who partook "continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine" Acts 2:42. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

      B. Those that do not hold to apostolic truth are not to partake. This means there is to be discipline in the local body. How can you discipline those who do not belong to the local body? You can’t. The clear command of scripture is to withdraw fellowship from those who are not doctrinally sound.

      II Thes 3:6: "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us."
      Rom. 16:17: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."
      To commune together means to have the same doctrine.
      II Thes. 2:15: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."
      II John 10-11: "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."

      C. Some Baptists in our day have watered down this doctrine by practicing what they call “Close Communion.” By this they mean that they believe that members of another Baptist church may take communion with us because they are of the same beliefs. Once again, this is unscriptural.

      The welcome to the Lord's Table should not be extended beyond the discipline of the local church. When we take the Lord’s Supper there is supposed to be no gross sin among us and no divisions among us. We have no idea of the spiritual condition of another church’s members. If there is sin or division in the case of this other church’s members, we have no way of knowing it. We cannot discipline them because they are not members of our church. This is why we practice “Closed” communion, meaning it is restricted solely to our church membership. 
      So then, in closing I would like to reiterate the three different ideas concerning the Lord’s Supper and who is to take it. 
      Closed Communion = Only members of a single local church. 
      Close Communion = Members of like faith and order may partake. 
      Open Communion = If you claim to be a Christian, or simply attending the service, you may partake. 
      It is no small thing to attempt to change that which was implemented by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
      Mt. 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 
      Many of our Baptist churches have a real need to consider the gravity of the act of observing The Lord’s Supper. It is not a light thing that is to be taken casually or without regard to the spiritual condition of ourselves or our church.
      1Co. 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

       28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

       29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

       30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

Does the Rapture of the Church happen Pre-Trib, Mid-Trib, or Post Tribulation?


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When I was in Bible college at Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown, WI back in 1983, there were several of us preacher boys who were studying the rapture of the church. Some held to what seems to be the prevailing view of the pre-tribulation rapture. There were some, however, that held to the view of the mid-tribulation/pre-wrath rapture. This was an interesting viewpoint, and I studied it further. There was a third group, and they held to the position that the rapture occured post-tribulation/pre-millenial Kingdom of Christ. It has always made me wonder why people hold the positions they hold on this subject. What position do you hold, and why? Please use Scriptures as much as possible. Thank you in advance.

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I hold to the pre-trib view.

The pre-wrath rapture view is a result of confusing the body of Christ with the nation of Israel. One group, the Church, will be raptured before the tribulation and the other, Israel, before God's final wrath.

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I believe the rapture will occur shortly after the beast/antichrist comes to power, but before the trib begins, so, I'm a "pre-tribber".

  Why do I believe it'll be after the beast is revealed? Because Jesus tells us his signs & assigns him the # 666.

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I see a marked difference between the tribulation and the falling of God's wrath, so I see the rapture taking place in Rev 14:14, just prior to God's wrath beginning. "So post-trib/pre-wrath". I believe there is a lot of assumption given that lends toward a pre-trib position, that is not to be backed by scripture, but by reading into scripture.

For instance, in 1thes 4, the chapter ends by saying, "Wherefore comfort one another with these words.", and they say, 'How can there be comfort in knowing we have to endure the great tribulation?' and I say, 'The comfort doesn't come from anything about the tribulation, but the fact that we will see our loved ones who have died in Christ.' They ignore the context. As well, 1Thes 4 has nothing to do with the timing of the rapture, but with the fact of, and hope in the rapture.

as well, just because Israel is in focus during the tribulation doesn't mean the church must be gone from the earth-for 2000 years the church has been the focus in God's eyes, but Israelites have continued to exist, and for 73 years the actual nation of Israel has been present on earth. For prophecy to focus on one group over the other doesn't mean one must disappear from earth, just from prophecy.

That's just a couple reasons.

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1 hour ago, Ukulelemike said:

I see a marked difference between the tribulation and the falling of God's wrath, so I see the rapture taking place in Rev 14:14, just prior to God's wrath beginning. "So post-trib/pre-wrath". I believe there is a lot of assumption given that lends toward a pre-trib position, that is not to be backed by scripture, but by reading into scripture.

For instance, in 1thes 4, the chapter ends by saying, "Wherefore comfort one another with these words.", and they say, 'How can there be comfort in knowing we have to endure the great tribulation?' and I say, 'The comfort doesn't come from anything about the tribulation, but the fact that we will see our loved ones who have died in Christ.' They ignore the context. As well, 1Thes 4 has nothing to do with the timing of the rapture, but with the fact of, and hope in the rapture.

as well, just because Israel is in focus during the tribulation doesn't mean the church must be gone from the earth-for 2000 years the church has been the focus in God's eyes, but Israelites have continued to exist, and for 73 years the actual nation of Israel has been present on earth. For prophecy to focus on one group over the other doesn't mean one must disappear from earth, just from prophecy.

That's just a couple reasons.

Brother Mike,

As I assume you are aware, I would disagree with your position on this matter.  Indeed, as I presented earlier in this very thread discussion, I hold my position based primarily on my understanding of the grammatical and contextual flow of thought in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12.  On the other hand, I would view the reasons that you have presented above, by which it seems others have argued for the pre-tribulational rapture, as nothing but human rhetoric.  You are correct - 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 does not state anything about the timing of the rapture, but only about the reality thereof.  In fact, although I would not agree with the position of your posting above, I would indeed agree with sentiment of your posting - human logic is a poor foundation for doctrine.  Only precise Biblical truth and teaching is a solid foundation for doctrine.

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On 8/5/2021 at 2:50 PM, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Brother Mike,

As I assume you are aware, I would disagree with your position on this matter.  Indeed, as I presented earlier in this very thread discussion, I hold my position based primarily on my understanding of the grammatical and contextual flow of thought in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12.  On the other hand, I would view the reasons that you have presented above, by which it seems others have argued for the pre-tribulational rapture, as nothing but human rhetoric.  You are correct - 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 does not state anything about the timing of the rapture, but only about the reality thereof.  In fact, although I would not agree with the position of your posting above, I would indeed agree with sentiment of your posting - human logic is a poor foundation for doctrine.  Only precise Biblical truth and teaching is a solid foundation for doctrine.

Thank for your kind and measured response. I do have a question: What is the event mentioned in Rev 14:14-16 referring to?  

"And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.  And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.

As well, contextually, it would appear that the "day of Christ" mentioned in 1Thes 2:2, to which Paul is referring, is not the rapture, but the second coming, with Christ and His angels in flaming fire coming to execute judgment on those who know not God  and don't obey the commandment. (2Thes 1:7-9). We remember, of course, that the Bile originally was without verses and chapters, so the thought flows from chapter 1 through chapter two, making the return of Christ to earth the "day of Christ" mentioned in chapter 2. Or so it would seem to me.

 

 

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I wish I could find the sermon again so that I could post it, but I listened to a sermon by a preacher who stated that there was no rapture of the church, and then proceeded to talk about how there would be no millineum...that both were the product of blinded minds inside the Baptist Churches. At first, I was shocked, but after a few minutes I could recall some of the preachers in Bible college espousing similiar views, but not on both subjects.

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9 minutes ago, BrotherTony said:

I wish I could find the sermon again so that I could post it, but I listened to a sermon by a preacher who stated that there was no rapture of the church, and then proceeded to talk about how there would be no millineum...that both were the product of blinded minds inside the Baptist Churches. At first, I was shocked, but after a few minutes I could recall some of the preachers in Bible college espousing similiar views, but not on both subjects.

Yes, they do that by allegorizing everything. Its all allegory or symbolism or something. Usually they're preterists, trying to justify how Jesus returned in 70AD.

 

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15 minutes ago, Ukulelemike said:

Yes, they do that by allegorizing everything. Its all allegory or symbolism or something. Usually they're preterists, trying to justify how Jesus returned in 70AD.

 

That was their position exactly from what I could gather from the sermon....can't believe a seminary graduate could be so confused.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/9/2021 at 4:40 PM, Ukulelemike said:

Thank for your kind and measured response. I do have a question: What is the event mentioned in Rev 14:14-16 referring to?  

"And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.  And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.

As well, contextually, it would appear that the "day of Christ" mentioned in 1Thes 2:2, to which Paul is referring, is not the rapture, but the second coming, with Christ and His angels in flaming fire coming to execute judgment on those who know not God  and don't obey the commandment. (2Thes 1:7-9). We remember, of course, that the Bile originally was without verses and chapters, so the thought flows from chapter 1 through chapter two, making the return of Christ to earth the "day of Christ" mentioned in chapter 2. Or so it would seem to me.

Brother Mike,

In your posting above, you asked a question concerning Revelation 14:14-16.  In addition, you implied a second question concerning "the Day of Christ" in 2 Thessalonians 2:2 and its relationship to the context of 2 Thessalonians 1 - 2.  As I answer those questions, I wish to begin with the context of 2 Thessalonians 1 - 2, since that context is foundational to my position on a pre-tribulational rapture.  And in this posting I wish to begin with the flow of thought in 2 Thessalonians 1 --

1.  In 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4 the apostle Paul expresses his thanks unto God for the faith, charity, and patience of the believers at Thessalonica, especially in the face of the persecutions and tribulations that they were experiencing.

2.  In 2 Thessalonians 1:5-7 the apostle Paul seeks to encourage the believers at Thessalonica is relation to the persecutions and tribulations that they were experiencing by focusing their attention upon "the righteous judgment of God."  

2.a  First, the encouragement of God's righteous judgment is that these believers "may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God," for which they were suffering.

2.b  Second, the encouragement of God's righteous judgment is that God would (in due time) "recompense tribulation" to those who were persecuting them.

2.c  Third, the encouragement of God's righteous judgment is that God would (in due time) recompense rest to those who are being persecuted for His name's sake.

3.  In 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 the apostle Paul reveals the time wherein God's will bring about this righteous judgment and recompense - at our Lord Jesus Christ's "Second Coming."

3.a  This is the time of Christ's REVELATION in power and glory - "When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels."  (This would seem to correspond with Revelation 1:7 & Revelation 19:11-16)

3.b  This is a time of Christ's VENGEANCE upon unbelievers - "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not god, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power."  (This would seem to correspond with Revelation 14:9-11 & Revelation 19:17-21.)

3.c  This is a time of Christ's GLORIFICATION among believers - "When he shall come to be glorified in his saints,a nd to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day."  (This would seem to correspond with Revelation 14:12-13 & Revelation 20:4-6)

4.  In 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 the apostle Paul prays for the believes at Thessalonica concerning their faithfulness and spiritual growth, all that the name of Christ might be glorified in them.

_________________________________________

It does indeed seem clear that 2 Thessalonians 1 is talking about the "Second Coming" of Christ.

Edited by Pastor Scott Markle
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I'm on board with all that brother Scott has said, so I won't repeat it. The OP just brought back memories of my Bible Doctrines class while I was in college. Very small class as it was a very small college, so we all knew each other and our beliefs well. We were all (including the professor) in agreement on a pre-Trib rapture. 

But one day, in the course of study, it was time to study the rapture. At this college, the church pastor and much of the staff were very good friends with Ian Paisley, although they disagreed on eschatology (and baptism, among a few other things). The professor decided to use Paisley's mid-Trib  beliefs to prove a pre-Trib. After class, as we were walking out, we agreed that, had we not already been convince of a pre-Trib position, the way the professor presented Paisley's eschatological errors would have convinced to a mid-Trib position. Not his intent at all. LOL

IMO, it proved that folks can use scripture to "prove" anything. Rightly dividing is so vital - on any topic.

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Posted (edited)

Brother Mike,

As I continue - Although there is some similar subject matter between 2 Thessalonians 1 and 2 Thessalonians 2, I believe that the apostle Paul's primary focus in 2 Thessalonians 1 was completed with verse 12.  The apostle's primary focus in 2 Thessalonians 1 was to express encouragement in the face of persecution.  However, in 2 Thessalonians 2 his primary focus is to express correction in the face of misinformation.  This is revealed by his opening statements in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 - "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.  Let no man deceive you by any means . . . ."  Apparently some had been attempted to deceive the believers at Thessalonica concerning the timing for "the day of Christ."   In fact, it even appears that someone had sent them a letter containing this misinformation and had "forged" the apostle Paul's name to it.  Thus throughout chapter 2 the apostle seeks to correct this deception and misinformation.  Yet because this matter of misinformation concerns the timing for "the day of Christ" and because the apostle had employed Christ's future coming as the focus for encouragement in 2 Thessalonians 1, we encounter some similar subject matter in both chapter 1 and chapter 2.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:1 the apostle Paul begins with a reference to "the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" and to "our gathering together unto him."  It should be noted that grammatically within this verse the preposition "by" is used twice, but that the second usage is in italics (indicating that it is not directly found within the original Greek).  I would contend that grammatically the singular usage of the preposition "by" which encompasses the compound objects of the preposition ("the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" AND "our gathering together unto him") indicates that the two objects of the preposition are describing the same event.  I would contend that whatever coming of our Lord is described in this verse, "our gathering together unto him" occurs at the same time.  Furthermore, I would contend that this "gathering together" unto Christ is that event which is described in 1 Thessalonians 1:13-18 (wherein we are "caught up together" to meet our Lord in the air) and which we commonly call the Rapture.  Indeed, I would contend that 2 Thessalonians 2:1 is referencing the "Rapture-Coming of Christ."  

Yet this now raises the first major question concerning our understanding of the teaching in 2 Thessalonians 2 - Is this "Rapture-Coming of Christ" (2 Thessalonians 2:1) to be understood as the same coming which is described in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10?  2 Thessalonians 1:10 does state, "When he shall come."  However, 2 Thessalonians 1:7 seems to place greater emphasis upon this event as that wherein "the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven."  Thus I shall refer to the event described in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 as the "Revelation-Coming of Christ."  This is the question - Is the "Rapture-Coming of Christ" the same event as the "Revelation-Coming of Christ"?  If the answer is yes, then we have the timing for the rapture at the same time as the timing of our Lord's coming in power and great glory - at the end of the seven year Tribulation Period and the beginning of the thousand year reign of Christ.  On the other hand, if the answer is no, then since 2 Thessalonians 2 seems to be concerned with timing for various prophetic events, I would expect that we should find within this chapter some actual indicator of the different timing between the "Rapture-Coming of Christ" and the "Revelation-Coming of Christ."

Now, those who hold to a pre-tribulational rapture (as I do), those who hold to a mid-tribulational rapture, and even those who hold to a pre-wrath rapture, all present the "Rapture-Coming of Christ" and the "Revelation-Coming of Christ" as having a different timing.  Thus it would seem to me that all of us within those groups are compelled to demonstrate some indicator for that different timing somewhere throughout the context of 2 Thessalonians 2.  If we cannot demonstrate such an indicator for that different timing throughout this context, then it would seem to me that we should acknowledge from the joined contexts of 2 Thessalonians 1 and 2 Thessalonians 2 that the "Rapture-Coming of Christ" and the "Revelation-Coming of Christ" are one and the same event.

Do we have some indicator throughout the context of 2 Thessalonians 2 for viewing the "Rapture-Coming of Christ" as occurring at a different time than the "Revelation-Coming of Christ"?

Edited by Pastor Scott Markle
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On 8/14/2021 at 7:07 PM, Pastor Scott Markle said:

This is the question - Is the "Rapture-Coming of Christ" the same event as the "Revelation-Coming of Christ"? 

Do we have some indicator throughout the context of 2 Thessalonians 2 for viewing the "Rapture-Coming of Christ" as occurring at a different time than the "Revelation-Coming of Christ"?

In my previous posting I presented a two-fold question for us to consider.  Let us now proceed with the teaching of 2 Thessalonians 2 -

2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 - "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand."  In verse 1, as I have noted above, the apostle Paul made reference to the "Rapture-Coming of Christ."  Furthermore, at the end of verse 2 the apostle made reference to "the day of Christ."  Thus the question could be raised - Is the "Rapture-Coming of Christ" the same as "the day of Christ," or are these two different events?  Finally, the apostle indicated that "the day of Christ" was not yet "at hand."   

2 Thessalonians 2:3 - "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [contextually "the day of Christ"] shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition."  Having taught at the end of verse 2 that "the day of Christ" was not yet "at hand," the apostle explained in verse 3 that two things must happen FIRST before "the day of Christ" can occur.  First, there must be a "falling away."  Second, there must be the revelation of "that man of sin," "the son of perdition."  

Thus we now have the beginning of an order of some prophetic events, as follows:

1.  A "falling away."
2.  The revelation of the "man of sin," "the son of perdition."
3.  The "day of Christ."

2 Thessalonians 2:4 - "Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God."  Herein the sentence from verse 3 continues with a description concerning the ungodly, anti-God character of this man of sin.  He will oppose and exalt himself above any and all that is called God, including against the one true and living God.  Furthermore, he will do so while sitting himself "in the temple of God," claiming that he himself is very God.  I would contend that according to the teaching in the book of the Revelation, this blasphemy by the man of sin will occur at the middle of the seven year Tribulation period, as per Revelation 12 - 13.  Yet this does raise a question - Is the revelation-event of the man of sin the same as this blasphemy-event by the man of sin, or are they two different events in the prophetic time-line?

Thus we can add an element to our order of prophetic events, but with some uncertainty, as follows:

1.  A "falling away."
2.  The revelation of the "man of sin," "the son of perdition."
?.  The blasphemy by the "man of sin," "the son of perdition."
3.  The "day of Christ."

2 Thessalonians 2:5-6 - "Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?  And now ye know what withholdeth that he [the man of sin] might be revealed in his time."  Herein the apostle Paul revealed that there is some power which is holding back (withholding) the man of sin from being revealed until his set time.  This then raises the question - What or who is this withholding power which holds back the revelation of the man of sin?

2 Thessalonians 2:7-8a - "For the mystery of iniquity doeth already work: only he who now letteth [withholdeth - the same Greek word as is translated "withholdeth" in verse 6] will let [withhold, hold back], until he be taken out of the wayAnd then shall that Wicked [the man of sin] be revealed . . . ."  Herein the apostle Paul added further explanation to the teaching of verse 6.  Herein the apostle revealed that "the mystery of iniquity" (the spirit and power of antichrist, as per 1 John 2:18 & 4:3) is already working hard in the world around us from the first century of the church unto the present time.  Furthermore, the apostle revealed that the power which holds back the revelation of the man of sin is actually a singular "he" (who has been holding back from the first century of the church unto the present time).  Finally, the apostle revealed that this "withholder" will continue to hold back the growing and pressing spirit and power of iniquity and antichrist until that very moment wherein he the "withholder" is "taken out of the way."  Yet when he the "withholder" is "taken out of the way," then the wicked man of sin, "the son of perdition," will be revealed.  So then, this narrows our question from verse 6 - Who is this "he" which holds back (withholds) the revelation of the man of sin?

Thus we can now add an element to our order of prophetic events, as follows:

1.  A "falling away."
2.  The "withholder" himself is "taken out of the way."
3.  The revelation of the "man of sin," "the son of perdition."
?.  The blasphemy by the "man of sin," "the son of perdition."
4.  The "day of Christ."

2 Thessalonians 2:8 - "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming."  Herein the apostle Paul reveals the end and destruction for the man of sin.  The man of sin will be "consumed" and "destroyed" with "the spirit" of the Lord's "mount" and with "the brightness" of the Lord's "coming."  Indeed, this seems to be clear reference unto our Lord's coming "in power and great glory," that is - to "the Revelation-Coming of Christ" as presented in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10, Revelation 1:7; Revelation 19:11-16, etc.  Indeed, it seems likely that this is the event which is referenced contextually in 2 Thessalonians 2:2 as "the day of Christ."

Thus we can now add further explanation to our order of prophetic events, as follows:

1.  A "falling away."
2.  The "withholder" himself is "taken out of the way."
3.  The revelation of the "man of sin," "the son of perdition."
?.  The blasphemy by the "man of sin," "the son of perdition."
4.  The "day of Christ," "the Revelation-Coming of Christ" - The destruction of the "man of sin," "the son of perdition."

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 - "Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."  Herein we find further description of the man of sin, concerning the source of his power and the extent of his influence (which corresponds with Revelation 12 - 13).  In addition, verses 11-12 reveal why God Himself will allow the man of sin to have so much power and influence over the spiritually lost of this world.

_____________________________________

Now, I would contend on the foundation of the presentation and time sequence above, that if we can sufficiently answer the questions that have been raised, we can come to some solid conclusions concerning the timing for "the Rapture-Coming of Christ."

1.  A "falling away."
2.  The "withholder" himself is "taken out of the way."
3.  The revelation of the "man of sin," "the son of perdition."
?.  The blasphemy by the "man of sin," "the son of perdition."
4.  The "day of Christ," "the Revelation-Coming of Christ" - The destruction of the "man of sin," "the son of perdition."

Is the "Rapture-Coming of Christ" the same event as the "Revelation-Coming of Christ"? 

Do we have some indicator throughout the context of 2 Thessalonians 2 for viewing the "Rapture-Coming of Christ" as occurring at a different time than the "Revelation-Coming of Christ"?

Is the "Rapture-Coming of Christ" the same as "the day of Christ," or are these two different events?

Is the revelation-event of the man of sin the same as this blasphemy-event by the man of sin, or are they two different events in the prophetic time-line?

Who is this "he" which holds back (withholds) the revelation of the man of sin?

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Posted (edited)
On 8/17/2021 at 11:38 AM, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Is the "Rapture-Coming of Christ" the same event as the "Revelation-Coming of Christ"? 

Do we have some indicator throughout the context of 2 Thessalonians 2 for viewing the "Rapture-Coming of Christ" as occurring at a different time than the "Revelation-Coming of Christ"?

Is the "Rapture-Coming of Christ" the same as "the day of Christ," or are these two different events?

Is the revelation-event of the man of sin the same as this blasphemy-event by the man of sin, or are they two different events in the prophetic time-line?

Who is this "he" which holds back (withholds) the revelation of the man of sin?

In my previous posting, I concluded with the above questions for consideration.  In this posting I wish to engage the fourth of these questions - Is the revelation-event of the man of sin the same as the blasphemy-event of the man of sin?

According to my understanding of Revelation 12 - 13, I would hold that the blasphemy-event of the man of sin will occur at the middle point of the seven year Tribulation Period.

On the other hand, I would contend that the revelation-event of the man of sin is to be located on the prophetic timeline at the begging point of the seven year Tribulation Period.  I would base this position on the teaching of Daniel 9:27 - "And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."  I would hold that the "week" in this verse is a sequence of seven, particularly seven years.  Thus I would hold that this "week" is the seven year Tribulation Period.  In accord with this I would hold that the consummation of this seven year period will be the "Revelation-Coming of Christ as per Revelation 19:11-16 and the destruction-event of the man of sin as per Revelation 19:20.  Furthermore, I would hold that middle of this seven year period, wherein this one will "cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease" and will make desolate the covenant "for the overspreading of abomination," is the blasphemy-event by the man of sin, wherein he will set in God's own temple in Jerusalem, claiming himself to be God.  Finally, I would hold that the beginning of this seven year period, wherein this one will "confirm the covenant with many for one week," is to be viewed as the revelation-event of the man of sin.  I would contend that he is brought to revelation specifically by confirming "the covenant" with the Jews for one "week" (a seven year period), thus allowing the Jews to initiate the sacrifices and oblations of God's covenant.  Indeed, I would contend that this event will be the specific beginning for the seven year Tribulation Period.  Even so, I would hold that the first horseman of Revelation 6, as presented in Revelation 6:1-2, is the man of sin, the antichrist, himself.

With this understanding I can now present the ordering of prophetic events from 2 Thessalonians 2 more clearly, as follows:

1.  A "falling away."
2.  The "withholder" himself is "taken out of the way."
3.  The revelation of the "man of sin," "the son of perdition" - The beginning of the seven year Tribulation Period.
4.  The blasphemy by the "man of sin," "the son of perdition" - The middle of the seven year Tribulation Period.
5.  The "day of Christ," "the Revelation-Coming of Christ" - The destruction of the "man of sin," "the son of perdition" - The conclusion of the seven year Tribulation Period.

Edited by Pastor Scott Markle
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On 8/17/2021 at 11:38 AM, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Is the "Rapture-Coming of Christ" the same event as the "Revelation-Coming of Christ"? 

Do we have some indicator throughout the context of 2 Thessalonians 2 for viewing the "Rapture-Coming of Christ" as occurring at a different time than the "Revelation-Coming of Christ"?

Is the "Rapture-Coming of Christ" the same as "the day of Christ," or are these two different events?

Is the revelation-event of the man of sin the same as this blasphemy-event by the man of sin, or are they two different events in the prophetic time-line?

Who is this "he" which holds back (withholds) the revelation of the man of sin?

Hmmm. I am starting to wonder if I am talking into the air to myself here lately.

Nevertheless, in my previous posting I handled the fourth of the above questions.  In this posting I wish to engage the fifth of the above questions - Who is this "he" which holds back (withholds) the revelation of the man of sin?

2 Thessalonians 2:6-8a states, "And now ye know what withholdeth that he [the "man of sin" from verse 3] might be revealed in his time.  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [withholdeth] will let [withhold], until he be taken out of the way.  And then shall that Wicked be revealed . . . ."  Herein we learn a number of truths concerning the "Withholder" in relation to the "man of sin" -

1.  The "Withholder," who is a singular "he," is holding back the revelation of the "man of sin" until "his time."
2.  "The mystery of iniquity" is involved in the bringing forth the "man of sin."
3.  "The mystery of iniquity" was already at work in the first century of the church age, and has continued at work since the first century of the church age unto the present.
4.  The one reason that "the mystery of iniquity" has not yet brought forth the "man of sin" is because the "Withholder" is still holding back his revelation.
5.  The "Withholder" shall continue to oppose the "mystery of iniquity" and hold back the revelation of the "man of sin" until "he be taken out of the way."
6.  As soon as the "Withholder" is taken out the way, "then shall the Wicked [man of sin] be revealed."

Thus we observe a relationship between three elements - between "the mystery of iniquity," the "man of sin," and the "Witholder" who opposes "they mystery of iniquity" and the revelation of the "man of sin."  So, do we have any other passages of Scripture that present a similar relationship?  I believe that we have two - 1 John 2:18-ff and 1 John 4:1-4.

1 John 2:18 states, "Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist [singular] shall come, even now are there many antichrists [plural]; whereby we know that it is the last time."  I would contend that the singular antichrist from 1 John 2:18 , who shall come some time in the future, is Biblically the same as the "man of sin, the son of perdition," who shall be "revealed in his time," from 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12.  Even so also, I would contend that the many plural antichrists from 1 John 2:18, who are "even now" already among us, are Biblically equivalent to "the mystery of iniquity" from 2 Thessalonians 2:7, which "doth already work" among us.

1 John 4:3 states, "And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world."  I would contend that the "spirit of antichrist" that "should come" in the future is a reference to the coming of the singular antichrist, as per 1 John 2:18, and the revelation of the "man of sin," as per 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12.  Even so also, I would contend that the "spirit of antichrist" that is "even now already . . . in the world" is Biblically equivalent to the many plural antichrists who are "even now" among us, as per 1 John 2:18, and to "the mystery of iniquity" that "doth already work" among us, as per 2 Thessalonians 2:7.

Thus I would contend for the following Biblical equivalencies from the three passages:

1.  The antichrist = the man of sin = the son of perdition -- who shall come/be revealed in the future.
2.  The many antichrists = the spirit of antichrist = the mystery of iniquity -- which is even now already at work.

Yet why is this of significance?  2 Thessalonians teaches us that there is a "Withholder" who is presently opposing and holding back "the mystery of iniquity" from bringing in the "man of sin" at the present time, until that "Withholder" is "taken out of the way."  Thus we may ask if 1 John 2:18-ff and/or 1 John 4:1-4 reveals who this singular "Withholder" might be.  Do either of these passages reveal anything about anyone who stands in opposition to the many antichrists of the spirit of antichrist that is even now already working?  I would contend that the answer is "yes."

1 John 2:18-20 states, "Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.  They [the antichrists] went out from us, but they [the antichrists] were not of us; for if they [the antichrists] had been of us, they [the antichrists] would no doubt have continued with us: but they [the antichrists] went out, that they [the antichrists] might be made manifest that they [the antichrists] were not all of us.  But [in contrast to the many antichrists] ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things."  Even so, we learn that the spiritual power which stands in opposition to the spirit of antichrist, "the mystery of iniquity," is the "unction" that we have received "from the Holy One."  So then, what is this "unction?"  In 1 John 2:26-27 some answer is given, "These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.  But the anointing [the same Greek word as is translated "unction" in 1 John 2:20] which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him."  Even so, this "unction" that we have received "from the Holy One" abides within us believers, is our teacher of all truth, is itself truth and no lie, and specifically teaches us how to abide in the Holy One, our Lord Jesus Christ.  To me this sound like the indwelling Holy Spirit of God.

Furthermore, 1 John 4:1- states, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets [many antichrists] are gone out into the world.  Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.  Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them [the false prophets/antichrists]: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."  Even so, we learn that He who opposes the spirit of antichrist which is "even now already" at work "in the world" is "the Spirit of God."  Furthermore, we learn that we believers at present are able to overcome this "spirit of antichrist" specifically because the Holy Spirit of God who dwells in us is greater than the spirit of antichrist that dwells in the world.

Thus I would contend for the following addition to the Biblical equivalencies of these passages:

1.  The antichrist = the man of sin = the son of perdition -- who shall come/be revealed in the future.
2.  The many antichrists = the spirit of antichrist = the mystery of iniquity -- which is even now already at work.
3.  The unction/anointing that we have received from the Holy One = the indwelling Spirit of God = the Withholder.

Yet I would emphasize a particular aspect of this point.  The "Withholder" is NOT simply the Holy Spirit of God in general, but is specifically the Holy Spirit of God as our "Anointing," as the "Indweller" of New Testament believers.  Both 1 John 2:20-ff and 1 John 4:4 emphasize this characteristic of the Holy Spirit as the Anointing who dwells IN US.  (Note: This point will be a significance when we come to the other three questions concerning 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12.)

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What is the "falling away"? It seems to be a mass, sudden departure from the Lord not a slow descent into apostasy. I could be wrong about that but that's the sense I get.

I think of John 6:66 where a large swath of disciples departed from the Lord and then Satan possessed the type of the son of Perdition, i.e. Judas Iscariot. Interestingly, it was what the Lord himself said about eating his flesh and drinking his blood, something they couldn't grasp spiritually, that caused the apostasy.

I know that Christian will no longer endure sound doctrine but I wonder if there's something else to it.

 

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Brother Scott, please rest assured that you are not talking into the air on this subject and as I read your thoughtful comments on this subject, I have to say that I agree with them in total. And this is not in agreement just because you brought it out, this has been my understanding for many years.

Though I say this has been my understanding, I have to say that you have laid it out in a much easier manner to understand than I ever could. I have always believed the underlying point that The Holy Spirit is the "witholder", but lacked the expertise to elaborate on it in the manner in which you have.

Thank you for clarity of mind and explanation.

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On 8/17/2021 at 11:38 AM, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Is the "Rapture-Coming of Christ" the same event as the "Revelation-Coming of Christ"? 

Do we have some indicator throughout the context of 2 Thessalonians 2 for viewing the "Rapture-Coming of Christ" as occurring at a different time than the "Revelation-Coming of Christ"?

Is the "Rapture-Coming of Christ" the same as "the day of Christ," or are these two different events?

Is the revelation-event of the man of sin the same as this blasphemy-event by the man of sin, or are they two different events in the prophetic time-line?

Who is this "he" which holds back (withholds) the revelation of the man of sin?

In my previous two postings, I have handled to last two questions on this list.  In this posting I wish to engage the first three questions on this list.  Since I have indicated my position in an earlier posting that the "Revelation-Coming of Christ" and "the day of Christ" are the same event, I can merge the first and third questions above - Is the "Rapture-Coming of Christ" the same as the "Revelation-Coming of Christ"/"the day of Christ," or are these two different events?  In order to answer this question, we really need to answer the second question above - Do we have some indicator throughout the context of 2 Thessalonians 2 for viewing the "Rapture-Coming of Christ" as occurring at a different time than the "Revelation-Coming of Christ"/"the day of Christ"?  (Note: If we do not, then I would be compelled to concede that the "Rapture-Coming of Christ" and the "Revelation-Coming of Christ"/"the day of Christ" are one and the same, and that they occur at the end of the seven year Tribulation Period.)

In answer, I believe that we do have such an indicator.  As we have noted, according to the teaching of 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8 the "Withholder" must be "taken out of the way" first in order for the "man of sin" to be "revealed in his time."  Even so, in my previous posting I have presented the reasons why I hold that the "Withholder" is specifically the Holy Spirit of God as our "Anointing," as the "Indweller" of New Testament believers.  Thus for this "Withholder" to be "taken out of the way," at that event the Holy Spirit would cease to be the continual "Indweller"/"Anointing" for all believers.  This would NOT necessitate that the Holy Spirit would cease to exist and work among mankind upon the earth.  Rather, it would mean that He would cease to indwell believers from the moment of conversion unto the moment of death.  From that moment the working of the Holy Spirit among mankind would be like that of the Old Testament time period, rather than that of the New Testament church age.

Now, there seem to be two ways in which this "taken out of the way" might occur.  On the one hand, the first possibility is that the Holy Spirit would be removed from New Testament believers as their Indweller, but the New Testament believers would remain on the earth.  However, this possibility would seem to stand in contradiction with the teaching of the New Testament concerning the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit for New Testament believers, as per John 14:16-17, Ephesians 1:13-14, etc.  On the other hand, the second possibility is that the Holy Spirit as the Indweller of New Testament believers would be removed from the earth specifically because all New Testament believers would themselves be removed from the earth.  So then, is there any event presented in God's Word wherein all New Testament believers are removed from the earth?  Yes, for it would seem that the "Rapture-Coming of Christ" would fulfill this occurrence.  Even so, if this is a correct thought process and understanding, then the event wherein the "Withholder" (the Holy Spirit of God as the Anointing/Indweller of New Testament believers) is "taken out of the way" is Biblically equivalent to the "Rapture-Coming of Christ." 

As such, the ordering of prophetic events from 2 Thessalonians 2 would now be as follows:

1.  A "falling away."
2.  The "withholder" himself is "taken out of the way" - "the Rapture-Coming of Christ."
3.  The revelation of the "man of sin," "the son of perdition" - The beginning of the seven year Tribulation Period.
4.  The blasphemy by the "man of sin," "the son of perdition" - The middle of the seven year Tribulation Period.
5.  The "day of Christ," "the Revelation-Coming of Christ" - The destruction of the "man of sin," "the son of perdition" - The conclusion of the seven year Tribulation Period.

According to this understanding, we do indeed have some indicator throughout the context of 2 Thessalonians 2 for viewing the "Rapture-Coming of Christ" as occurring at a different time than the "Revelation-Coming of Christ"/"the day of Christ."  Indeed, we have an indicator that the "Rapture-Coming of Christ" is equivalent to the event wherein the "Withholder" is "taken out of the way" such that the "man of sin," the antichrist, "might be revealed in his time."  Furthermore, if we accept that the revelation of the "man of sin" occurs at the beginning of the seven year Tribulation Period (as I have contended in an earlier posting), then the "Rapture-Coming of Christ" would occur immediately before that revelation and that beginning.

However, there are certain points of understanding that must be acknowledged in order for this conclusion to "fall into place."  First, the point that the "Withholder" is specifically the Holy Spirit of God as Indweller would need to be acknowledged.  If an individual does not agree with this point, then that individual would NOT come to the same conclusion concerning the placement for the "Rapture-Coming of Christ."  Second, the point that the revelation-event for the "man of sin" occurs with the beginning of the seven year Tribulation Period would need to be acknowledged.  Again, if an individual does not agree with this point, then that individual would not necessarily come to the same conclusion concerning the placement for the "Rapture-Coming of Christ."  (Note: This is the reason that I handled each of these two points with specific postings.)

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