NOT LIKE HIS NAMESAKE

October 20th, 2014 | By admin

by Tim Hall

Burglaries happen all the time. In the small city where I live it’s common to see daily reports in the newspaper of break-ins and thefts. I often scan that part of the paper quickly, but rarely take time to read the reports. It’s hardly news (though for those who are victims it’s worthy of front page headlines!).

An arrest in Newport, Vermont caught my interest. The man arrested for breaking in to a jewelry store and making off with $110,000 worth of goods is – Perry Mason. His attorney claims the arrest was made using weak evidence. Still, Perry Mason has five burglary convictions on his record, along with a conviction for escaping prison!

Those young readers among us may not get the point. “Perry Mason” was the name of a famous TV attorney (he never lost a case!), a series which aired from 1957- 1966 and was hugely popular. His name was as well known as Marshall Dillon of “Gunsmoke” or Dr. Marcus Welby, even though all were fictional characters.

The Perry Mason arrested in Vermont is 46 years old; it’s likely his parents named him with the popular TV program in mind. But if they dreamed of having an attorney for a son, the dream took a wrong turn somewhere!

A group of people were given a new name, Luke reported, in Acts 11:26: “… And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” Prior to this time, they were known simply as “disciples” (learners), or sometimes as “the way” (Acts 9:2). Some argue that the name “Christian” was first used as an insult – like referring to the disciples as “little imitations of Christ”. Even if that be true, the name seems to have caught on quickly, and Peter used it years later in an honorable way: “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter” (1 Peter 4:16).

There is only one other occurrence of “Christian” in the New Testament – Acts 26:28. But for nearly the entire history of the Lord’s church, followers of Jesus have gladly chosen to wear the name of their Savior. In accepting the name “Christian”, we seek to honor the Son of God.

The story of this latter-day Perry Mason, however, reminds us that we must sincerely seek to honor the name of our Savior. That was clearly Peter’s point in the passage above – “… let him glorify God in this matter”. Do I honor the name I wear, or does my lifestyle, my words, my actions lead others to mock the holy faith?

I don’t wear a T-shirt identifying me as a follower of Jesus of Nazareth. But when I claim to be a “Christian”, I absolutely am pointing to the Lord as the One for whom I’ve been named. May I wear His life as genuinely as I wear His name!

Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
Copyright, 2013, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).

“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “Tim@GraceMine.org” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.

Permission to reproduce and/or use the messages for noncommercial purposes is freely granted provided the messages are not altered.

Visit my web site — http://joycaster.com/

 

Timothy Hall, Minister
Central Church of Christ

DARWIN’S DOUBT

October 14th, 2014 | By admin

by Paul Holland 

    The “Cambrian” Period of earth history is defined as the period between 590-505 million years ago “during which sediments deposited include the first organisms with mineralized skeletons” (The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Zoology, edited by Michael Allaby). The Cambrian period is a tremendous headache for evolutionists today, even as it was for Charles Darwin.

    Darwin’s Doubt, written by Discovery Institute scientist Stephen Meyer, begins by discussing how a contemporary of Darwin, a Harvard paleontologist named Louis Agassiz, could not accept Darwin’s theory. The reason he could not accept his theory was, in part, because paleontology did not support the idea of gradualevolution. It was a conundrum that perplexed Darwin himself.

    The rest of Darwin’s Doubt is dedicated to recent efforts to explain, from an evolutionist’s perspective, how the Cambrian explosion happened. But, there is not reasonable, credible, logical explanation for the Cambrian explosion if we are limited to only naturalistic causes.

    Here’s the problem… In the Cambrian period of rocks, we have a sudden appearance of complex animals. These animals have no forms in the “pre-Cambrian” layer that could have evolved into the animals in the Cambrian layer. So, where did they come from? Vertebrate fish are present. Where are the missing links?

    Many land plants are present. Where did they come from? Major, complex animal forms show up, out of the blue – fish, reptiles, birds, mammals. It is also not just in the Cambrian layer that the enigma persists. Primates appear in the fossil record, out of “nowhere.” Mankind appears “out of nowhere.”

    Where did these complex fossils originate? Meyer documents a number of efforts of modern scientists to explain where these forms originated but the lab work always comes back, “no explanation.

    Meyer’s explanation, which is the only credible explanation there is, is that these animals were intelligently designed. They were created. Indeed, that is the only explanation for the incredible variety of animals we enjoy in our world today. Not only do scientists have to explain where the animals originated, but they also have to explain where the information came from that generated the first lungs, heart, kidneys, legs, arms, fingernails, etc. 

    “Yet we do know of a cause that has demonstrated the causal power to produce digital code. That cause is intelligent agency. Since intelligent agency is the only cause known to be capable of generating information (at least starting from nonliving chemicals), intelligent design offers the best explanation for the origin of the information necessary to produce the first organism” (pg. 359).

    It is unscientific, irrational, illogical and blind faith to believe in evolution. Thursday, I’ll review a book by Jeff Miller, Science vs. Evolution.

WHERE DO YOU GROW?

October 14th, 2014 | By admin

by Aunt Mary

Each person is different. We all have different personalities. In fact, no two people are alike. In reality, each of us are clean slates when we are born, but the difference comes with our environment and the opportunities we are given. That’s what makes the Parable of the Sower so interesting.

In Matthew 13:3-9, we read this, 3 And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil and *yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.He who has ears, let him hear.”

Jesus is telling his followers some good ole farmer technology and it’s the same in our life today. Some of us are born into a family that maybe doesn’t love us as they should. This happens a lot in families where drugs and alcohol are widely used. The child doesn’t have the opportunity to know about God’s love. Today a lot of parents don’t care about God and the children are never given a chance to see how good life can be when we have a God-centered life. These children don’t grow spiritually. They simply do not care.

Then others are given the opportunity and their parents bring them to church, but that’s where the teaching stops. As a teacher in our church Bible study system, it takes more than Sunday morning and Wednesday night to grow a child spiritually. If parents are not teaching their children about God at home, the child will probably grow up and not be a viable Christian. It’s like the seed sown in rocky places, they don’t have a strong foundation to learn God’s Word. They don’t have the example they should at home.

Teens will be convicted at a Youth Rally to walk in Christ, but when they get back to their home and friends, Christianity doesn’t seem that important. They lose interest and go back to their previous life. Young people are influenced by so many other things, television, peers, family and teachers. They don’t stay focused on Christ, they are like the seed that is sown among thorns. The evilness of this world chokes the good out.

The last part of this is the best. If we truly want to do good, we will seek out people who are willing to help us. With the love of Christ and other Christians, we will grow and become strong Christians. We will not be easily led away by our friends who feel we are not having any fun. They are eager to attend services and learn more of God’s Word. They have good strong values given to them like good vitamins. They grow strong.

So, which are you? I hope your sown in good ground. We need more young people like that.

 

STRIVING FOR PERFECTION

October 8th, 2014 | By admin

by Katt Anderson

Most of us try to be perfect in one way or another. Even thieves want to commit the “perfect” crime and not get caught. We all try to gain perfection in the eyes of our parents, teachers and peers. Everyone wants to be perfect.

Will everyone gain perfection? Probably not. No matter how hard we try, it’s almost impossible to be perfect. The only thing we can do is try, and it’s an ongoing thing. Each day brings us a new slate and we should try to improve ourselves from the day before. Christ made that perfection possible. When He died on the cross, He wiped away the sins of the Jews, but He also made it possible for us to have forgiveness of our sins. You might say through His death, He gave us perfection. Hebrews 10:14 says, “ For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” If we obey what Jesus has instructed us, we can be perfect.

Today many people do not believe in the Bible. It’s taught in schools that God didn’t create the universe, but it was formed by something else. I’m not really up-to-date on what they are teaching today in schools, but I do know they don’t teach God’s creation. Many people do not believe what is taught in the Bible. The Bible is our rule book. We all have to have rules to live by, even the laws of the land have rules.

People will say the Bible is old and we don’t need it anymore, but I disagree. We love old things. We visit old places and are awed by the age of what we are seeing. The Bible is perfect. It has everything in it we need. 2 Timothy 3:16,17 tells us that, “16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Many people today do not believe in Christ. They think Jesus was just a man, but that’s not so. Christ was God’s son and He was perfect. He did not sin, and He taught us how to live our lives through His word. I’m sure it was hard for people to understand all this when Christ was on earth. It’s hard for people to wrap their mind around Christ today. We are a people wanting proof. 1 Timothy 3:16 gives us that proof. “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness. God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit (John 1:14, Matt 3>16), Seen by angels (Matt. 28:2), Preached among the Gentiles (Rom. 10:18), Believed on in the world (Col. 1:6, 23), Received up in glory (Luke 24:51). All of this shows the glory and perfection of Christ.

How am I going to be perfect today? It is possible because through Christ all things are possible. First, you have to hear the word. I’ve been in contact with someone that read the Bible and knew he was wrong in his beliefs. You can read and not actually hear someone speak. In Bible times, I’m sure more was heard than read. Read Romans 10:17. You have to believe that what you are reading is true, Acts 8:37. After that, you must repent of your sins, Luke 13:3. You must realize what you have believed in the past and how you have behaved in the past is wrong. The next step is to confess your sins, Matt 10:32, 33. That’s saying the words that you have sinned. There is no Sinner’s Prayer, but you can know you have sinned and either affirmed that or said, “I have sinned.” The next step is to be baptized or immersed in water. Another way to put it is to be buried in water and your sins are forgiven, Romans 6:9, Acts 2:38. After that you must live a faithful life, Revelations 2:10. Yes, we will falter on our life’s journey, but we have prayer to forgive us of our sins. The perfect love of Christ will forgive us and blot those sins from the Book of Life. That’s perfection!

 

 

CHANGE IN THE AIR

October 6th, 2014 | By admin

by Tim Hall

The one thing that doesn’t change is that things change – ponder that for a minute! It may not be absolutely true (God, for example, doesn’t change – Malachi 3:6), but as a general observation of life, few will argue with the proposition.

Fall is in the air. The past several months have been warm, sometimes even hot. In a couple of days, weather forecasters are telling us, cold temperatures will arrive in our area, even if only for a couple of days. The weather is one of the most changeable facts of our existence.

Today another change in my life was observed: The home place where my siblings and I were reared officially changed ownership. The community where I could once number dozens (literally) of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc., is now almost entirely devoid of members of that family. Some have passed from this life; others have relocated. Change is now a stark reality for me when I visit Harlan County, Kentucky.

“Time is filled with swift transition” go the opening words of an old hymn I’ve often sung. “Naught of earth unmoved can stand,” it goes on. The older I get, the more sincerely I say “Amen” to those words.

The Bible affirms this fact which is so obvious to the honest: “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). Just a page or two beyond that in your Bible is this statement: “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away” (1 Peter 1:24). Lovely flowers in the garden will be but a memory in a few weeks. That’s the essence of life – change. For many, that thought causes great despair.

But read on in Peter’s message: “But the word of the Lord endures forever” (1 Peter 1:25). Just as we noted earlier in this essay, God does not change. And would this be a good place to remind ourselves that we are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27)?

The good news of Jesus Christ includes the promise that a wonderful change awaits those who commit their lives to God. Hear what Paul wrote on this topic: “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed … For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:51,53). Yes, you read that right: We who are mortal will one day be immortal!

Do you enjoy your present station of life? Brace yourself: you’ll someday have to move on to another station that may not be as enjoyable. Change is a constant – in this life. That’s one more reason to cast your lot with Christ. The changes He offers are nothing but wonderful!

Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
Copyright, 2013, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).

HOW CAN I LIVE A COMMITTED LIFE?

October 3rd, 2014 | By admin

by Paul Holland

    Commitment is defined as “the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.” The word “commitment” is not used in the English Bible very often with the idea of “dedication.” But certainly, the idea of dedication, commitment, or loyalty is presented frequently in the Bible.

    The account of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s loyalty in Daniel 3 ought to inspire us to greater heights of courage, conviction, commitment, and loyalty.

    Observe the three things to which these men were committed and it will help us stay committed in our uncommitted world (Dan. 3:16-18):

    To the word of God – verse 16. This tells me that God had already spoken on the matter. If God has spoken, there is nothing else to say. Psalm 119:89 – “Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.” Jesus said in John 10:35, “The Scripture cannot be broken.” The immutability of the word of God – it cannot be changed or set aside.  Some 80x in the Scriptures the phrase “it is written” is found (16x in OT). In particular, in the NT, the verb is perfect tense, carrying the idea that it is “presently and permanently written.”

    Secondly, these Jewish men were dedicated to thenature of God – verse 17. First, they mention God’spower.  “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might!” (Eph. 6:10). One other aspect of the nature of God which encouraged these men to remain committed to the God of heaven was His goodness. They go on, “He willdeliver us out of your hand, O King.” This reflects on God’s will, His good will (cf. Rom. 8:28). God is good. God will never do anything that is not in our best interests if we are His children. Anything that happens to us, God will see to it that it comes out for our betterment, our improvement, our growth into the image and likeness of Christ.

    Third, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stayed committed by remaining true to their convictions, their integrity – verse 18. “But even if He does not,” that is, they recognized that God did not exist to serve them. He was not a puppet on a string; He was not in their back pocket to pull out when they needed Him. God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts than our thoughts (Isa. 55:8). “But if not, we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” That’s integrity. 

    Integrity is staying true to your convictions. It comes from the same word as “integer” which means a “whole number.” So, integrity means being “whole.” It means that your outward behavior reflects your inner convictions. Integrity is the opposite of hypocrisy.

    Be committed to God’s word, to God’s nature, to your integrity. The rewards are out of this world.

THE DISTINCTIVENESS OF CHRISTIANS

October 1st, 2014 | By admin

by Paul Holland

    The distinctiveness of Christians in a world that tries to mold us into its pattern of conformity is that we walk by a different rule. We do not walk by the rule that might makes right.” We do not walk by the rule Me first.” We do not walk by the ruleDog eat dog.” We walk by the rule of the Spirit (Gal. 5:25). 

     When a Christian is baptized into Christ, Paul writes in Romans 6:6, our old self is crucified with Christ, our body of sin is done away with. Using that same imagery, in Galatians 5:24, Paul says those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. We belong to the chosenof God, the church of Jesus Christ. We are holy.” We aresaints” (61x in NT). We are now, Paul writes in Philippians 1:10, blameless.” Not by our own works but by our union with Christ.

     The NT writers use a variety of expressions from the OT to illustrate our holy standing in the world today: Romans 15:16 – offering, sanctified by the Holy Spirit; 1 Peter 2:5, 9 – holy priesthood” and holy nation; Hebrews 12:10 – we share His holiness.

     All this means that we look at the world differently. When we were still in the world, in our trespasses and sins, walking according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2), the god of this age (2 Cor. 4:4), we served sin. Sin was our master. Sin called and we answered. But now that we are sanctified in Christ, holy relative to the God of heaven, we have a new Master, Jesus Christ. We now serve righteousness. Jesus calls and we answer (Rom. 6:12-23). Jesus calls us to be holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16) and we answer. Jesus calls us to maintain a moral, spiritual distance from the world (Heb. 12:14) and we answer. To the degree that we, ourselves, choose to follow Jesus on a daily basis, to that degree, we cleanse ourselves (2 Tim. 2:21; 2 Cor. 7:1).

     Thus, our whole view of the world is different. We live a life of daily sacrifice to God, offering our bodies as holy, acceptable to God – an offering that is our reasonable act of service (Rom. 12:1). We conduct ourselves in holiness (2 Cor. 1:12). When we were immersed into Christ, we put on a new creature, created in the holiness of the truth (Eph. 4:24) and this new man looks different. He talks differently. He behaves differently. This is a daily walk, an hourly walk, a minute-by-minute walk with God. So, sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, alwaysbeing ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15).

     Be ready in season and out of season to give a response to those who ask about your different lifestyle. Always conduct yourself in a holy manner, reflecting the nature of your heavenly Father (2 Peter 3:11).

     How can we make holy decisions then? We look at the world through the lens of the word of God. What has He said? What is important to Him? How does He view affairs on this earth? We trust what His word says because He is trustworthy and we obey with a complete heart, fully expecting God to keep His promises.

     How can I be holy in an unholy world? By living washed by the blood of Christ, walking in step with the Spirit.

 

THE NATION OF ISRAEL TODAY

September 26th, 2014 | By admin

by Paul Holland 

    Many people believe the Jews will one day convert in mass to Jesus Christ and such will be a sign of the second coming of Christ. So, let’s take a look at what the Scriptures teach about Israel, especially on this side of the cross.

     Matthew wrote his gospel for a Jewish audience. Consider these passages: 3:7-10; 8:5-13; 21:18-22; and 21:33-44. What each of these passages show is that since Israel would not repent in their behavior toward God and believe in Jesus Christ, Whom He sent, they would be cast out of the vineyard of God’s people and that vineyard would be given to a nation producing fruit. There is no hope held out in Matthew – short of repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ – for the nation of Israel to be saved.

     The letter of Romans shows clearly that Israel, in mass, refused to accept Jesus and His righteousness as the goal of the Law. Yet, in writing to Christians who were (partly) Jewish, Paul uses their own Scriptures (the Old Testament) to show them that Christ/the Gospel/Christianity/ the Church were the fulfillment of the Old Testament Law of Moses.

     In 2:28-29, Paul writes that it is not physical circumcision (anymore) that matters to God. It is spiritualcircumcision (which happens when we are baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of sins – Colossians 2:11-12) that matters to God, now.

     In 4:10-12, 16 (really, all of chapter 4), Paul shows that Abraham was justified (forgiven of his sins) based on his faithful response to God (recorded in Genesis 15) before (and without) circumcision (which happened in Genesis 17). Thus, we will be saved as Abraham was saved, if we respond to God faithfully (and without physical circumcision).

     So what does this mean for JewsIsraelites?Descendants of Abraham? Romans 9-11 is a trilogy on the relationship of Israel (on this side of the cross) with the God of heaven. Chapter 9 is focused on how God worked through Israel, through His sovereignty, to bring Jesus into the world.

    Chapter 10 is focused on the historical fact that Israel rejected God.  The stubbornness and unrepentant heart of Israel was predicted in the OT. All Israel heard God’s message (10:18, quoting Psa. 19:4). All Israel knewGod’s message (10:19, quoting Deut. 32:21 and 10:20, quoting Isa. 65:1). But what was lacking in Israel but prevalent among the Gentiles was a response of faithful obedience (10:16-17).

    So, chapter 11 is about the fact that everyone must submit to God. God has not universally saved the Israelite nation nor has He universally condemned the Israelite nation. Just because one is an Israelite or Jew does not mean he is automatically condemned. It also means that the Gentiles ought not to be proud and boastful over against the Jew because the Gentile Christian can be cut off just like the Jewish nation was cut off.

    Finally, there are a number of passages which teach that the church of Jesus Christ is the “Israel of God” today: Romans 2:28-29; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 3; Galatians 3:28-29; 6:16; Ephesians 2:14; Philippians 3:3; Colossians 2:9-12; James 1:1, 2:2, 5:14; 1 Peter 2:9.

    The nation of Israel living in Palestine today is notGod’s chosen people anymore. Israel served its purpose when it brought Jesus into the world. I seriously question if any “Jew” today can even prove that he/she is a descendant of Abraham!

    As God’s elect in Christ, let us continue in our faith and share His news with the lost.

FRIENDS WHO DECEIVE

September 24th, 2014 | By admin

by Katt Anderson

How many times have you thought you had a good friend and then find out the friend deceived you? Maybe they stabbed you in the back. You may have told them a secret and they told everyone what you said. This happens all the time and on every social level. It still hurts both the deceived and the deceiver.

In the book of Esther, you read how Haman wanted to hurt the Jews. In order to do that, he had to deceive the king. It wasn’t hard for him because the king trusted him. He trusted him and took his advice without question.

Haman was angry because one Jew, Mordecai, Queen Esther’s uncle, would not bow down to him. Of course, Haman didn’t know Queen Esther was a Jew. In order to hurt Mordecai, he had the king command all Jews to be killed. The king believed the Jews needed to be annihilated. He gave the command to do what Haman wanted. He trusted Haman. In the end, Haman was the one killed and not the Jews, but that’s another story.

Deceit has been going along since the world was formed. In Genesis 3: 13, Eve was deceived by Satan to eat the forbidden fruit. In Joshua 9, we read about the kings of Gibeon deceiving Joshua. You may think that was hard to do, but these men took old sacks, old wineskins, old clothes and old sandals to make it look like they had come a long way. Their bread was even hard and moldy. It worked. Joshua believed them, but he did find out they had deceived him.

Deceiving is lying. It’s making something look like it isn’t. We see this today in every walk of life. It’s happened to all of us. We really trust someone only to find out they are hurting us behind our backs. In truth they are hurting themselves. In Romans 16:17, we are told to avoid people who cause this kind of thing. In other words, stay away from them. Isn’t it encouraging to know it happened even during Bible times. Sometimes it’s hard to avoid these people. It’s hard to not come in contact with people who say hurtful things about us, but it’s best if we try to keep our distance from them.

We have all had these things done to us and it will continue to happen. Be very careful who you call a friend. Make sure that person loves you and cares about you. Avoid those who are hateful and spiteful. Be careful who you trust.

LEFT BEHIND: THE RAPTURE

September 22nd, 2014 | By admin

by Paul Holland In the fall of 1991, after being inducted into the Alpha Chi National Honor Society while at Faulkner, I had the opportunity to attend the Alpha Chi regional conference in Atlanta, GA. At that conference, the attendees would present a paper they had prepared in their respective disciplines. After you presented your paper, you would open the floor to questions and discussion. I chose to write a paper on the book of Revelation and its use and abuse by those who believe in a literal thousand-year reign of Christ on earth. I specifically dealt with the Battle of Armageddon as it is presented in Revelation 16. After presenting that paper, I opened the floor for questions. One professor from another college asked me if I thought premillennialism was still an issue today (which was 23 years ago!). I told him that although it did not seem to be as widely spread as perhaps it once was, I did think it was still an issue. Twenty-three years later, a movie is coming to the box office, starring Nicholas Cage. The movie is titled, Left Behind. The movie is based on the book by the same title written by Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye. It is about the rapture and ensuing events as it is taught in the doctrine called premillennialism. The following comes from The Concise Evangelical Dictionary of Theology edited by Walter A. Elwell (page 313). The “millennial” part comes from the Latin word for 1,000, based on the 1,000 year reign found in Revelation 20:1-10. “Premillennialists” believe that the return of Christ will be preceded first by the rapture and then by certain signs – wars, famines, earthquakes, a great apostasy of Christians led by the AntiChrist, and the “great tribulation.” These events will culminate in the second coming of Christ which will result in a period of peace and righteousness when Christ and his saints control the world. THE RAPTURE: The Concise Evangelical Dictionary of Theology defines the rapture this way: “[A] phrase used by premillennialists to refer to the church being united with Christ at his second coming (from the Lat. rapio, “caught up”). The main biblical passage upon which the teaching is based is 1 Thess. 4:15-17.” Now, here are all the Bible passages that mention the “Rapture” in the NIV: (none); NKJV (none); RSV (none); ASV (none); NASV (none); KJV (none). You know what? That causes a very serious issue with the idea that the “rapture” is a biblical doctrine! As the dictionary points out, the primary text for the rapture is 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. Take a look at this passage… The word “rapture” comes from the Latin (rapio) of the verb translated “caught up” in verse 17. As you can see from the context, the idea of the “rapture” is not found in the context. There is no suggestion of what is going on with the people outside of Christ at this time. All Paul is concerned about at this point is what happens to Christians – both living and dead. There are some passages that do picture the resurrection of those outside of Christ but these passages portray this as happening at the same time as the resurrection of the Christians: John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15. The Bible teaches there is only one resurrection and it will involve both the righteous and the wicked and will include both the living and the dead. What we do need to emphasize here is that the second coming of Christ is going to happen and it will be unexpected (2 Peter 3:10). While the second coming will catch all of us unexpectedly, it will only catch some of us unprepared. You do not have to be unprepared!


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