Part 3-Second Coming Predictions (7 Years of Tribulation?)

“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.”

Daniel 12: 1

“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”

Matthew 24:21

No doubt, there is predicted a “time of trouble” by Daniel and Jesus in these two verses, but how long is it?  Is it 7 years as surmised by Hal Lindsey and his followers?  What passages of scripture does he use to support this length of time?

There is no verse in the Bible that has the phrase “7 years of tribulation”, or “trouble.”,  The length of the time of trouble in the verses above is not specific.  It is just a “time of trouble.” The attempt to make it 7 years  comes from a fanciful interpretation of  Daniel 9: 24-27  prophecy.  Despite this, the Daniel 9 prophecy is powerful when interpreted in its setting.  It has helped  many believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah.

Nevertheless, Hal Lindsey and followers predict 7 years of tribulation before Jesus returns based on a part of this prophecy.  He states that since the church is “raptured” and the “saved” are spared from any uncomfortable situations i.e., time of trouble, Anti-Christ, etc.  But as we saw in the Bible in the previous post, there is no room for a 2nd Coming part (a) and part (b) (Invisible/Literal). Jesus will come back just one time.

  Let’s read the prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27 and compare it with actual history and Biblically documented historical dates to see if there is a 7-year tribulation hidden somewhere in it.  In the process, we will discover the power of this prophecy written almost 500 years before Jesus!

Please follow closely.  When we are finished, I recommend you verify the dates at your local library or other resources.  Beware of the confusion of the internet.  Also, I have included a chart at the end in the “Appendix” to make these dates easier to see and follow.  There are also other helpful references.

Ready? Here we go:

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks (7), and threescore (60) and two weeks (2): the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

 And after threescore (60) and two weeks (2) shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week (1): and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the 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.”

Daniel 9: 24-27

If you count up the number is parenthesis, you will have the 70 years mentioned at the start.  There is a reason why they are split up that way.  I will not go into those historical reasons in this writing.

The setting for these verses is important in understanding the prophecy.  Daniel and his people (The Jews) had been taken captive by Babylon and the city of Jerusalem was destroyed and lay desolate as prophesied by Jeremiah.  It was predicted by Jeremiah that they would be in captivity for 70 years!

“In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.”

Daniel 9:2

As the 70 years drew near to the end, Daniel began to pray and confess his sins and the sins of the people (Verses 4-20). Then Gabriel (an angel) came and informed Daniel that he had come to

“give thee skill and understanding.” 

Daniel 9:22

Then Gabriel gives the vision as stated in Verses 24:27 above.  This is the skill and understanding Daniel needed other than simply knowing the Jews would soon be freed after 70 years of captivity.

From Daniel 9: 24-27 above, we observe the following:

70 weeks was given to Daniels people (Israelites) and the city of Jerusalem to:

  1. Finish the transgression
  2. Make an end of sins
  3. Make reconciliation for iniquity
  4. Bring in everlasting righteousness
  5. Seal up the vision and prophecy
  6. Anoint the most Holy
So God was giving the Jewish people 70 weeks or 490 days to do all those  things; ending with anointing the most Holy.  We shall see that the anointing of the most Holy is not in regards to the apartment in the sanctuary necessarily, but the Holy One of God-Jesus
The  70 weeks given to the Jews are are calculated in the verses in sections:
three score (60) and
two weeks (2)
7 weeks (7) and
1 week (1)
Quick addition shows this is 70 weeks or 490 days (7 X 70).  But in Bible prophecy the day = year principle should be used to unlock the timelines for history.  The verses that supports this principal can be found in the passages below:
 “After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.”
Numbers 14:34
  “And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.”
Ezekiel 4:6
So God was giving the Jewish people 490 years for their assignment.  During this time, he sent prophets and others to inspire and help keep them close to him.  But as one reads their story, it is quickly seen that they often went after other gods and forsook the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob…the one and only true Creator God!
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city…”
Daniel 9: 24
If we can determine where the 490 years begins (with certainty) we can understand the other parts of the prophecy.
The time lines starts here:
“….from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem”
Daniel 9: 25
This command to restore and build Jerusalem can be found in Ezra Chapter 7 when Artaxerxes gave the commandment in 457 BC (See the **notes at the end).
So, now that we have a starting date, let’s see where it takes us:  The first stop is the coming of the Messiah the Prince
“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince….
Daniel 9: 25
The Messiah the Prince can refer only to Jesus himself.  He is both the Messiah and a Prince
He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.
John 1:41
Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
John 1:45
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6
So we know that from the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Jesus would be a certain length of time.  How long?
Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks (7), and threescore (60) and two weeks (2): the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
From 457 to Jesus is 69 weeks or 483 days or 483 prophetical years.  Lets do some math:
Starting at 457 BC and moving through history 483 years brings us to the fall of 27 AD
This is the date Jesus was baptized by John (anointed) and he began his ministry as the prophecy predicted. Here is an important verse in connection with Jesus’ baptism:
“When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
Matthew  3:16
A dove  represents anointing.
Another interesting passage that makes sense in the light of Jesus beginning his ministry exactly on time according to Daniel’s prophecy some 500 years before Jesus is this one:
“But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son…”
Galatians 4:4
The time was “full.” In other words, Jesus came to this earth and began his ministry right on time.  It may be possible that this quote is in reference to this particular prophecy.  Whatever the case, we know that God knows the future  and will not do anything unless he reveals it by his prophets:
“Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”
Amos 3:7
69 weeks or 483 years of the 70 weeks or 490 years has been explained.  Isn’t it comforting to know that God, through the prophet Daniel let the world know when Jesus would come on the scene?
 Now let’s look at the last week or 7 years.  This is where Hal Lindsey and his followers use the 7 years as a period of tribulation.  They disconnect it from this time line and attempt to run it down to the end of time after Jesus “raptures the church.”  But we are going to  let the verses speak for themselves.  We will keep the last week on the timeline as intended.  If we do, we learn the most interesting part of this prophecy.
Daniel tells us after Jesus began his ministry that Jesus would be cut off:
“Messiah be cut off, but not for himself:….”
Daniel 9: 26
But before He is cutoff he would do the following:
“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,
Daniel 9:27″
Jesus was to “confirm the covenant with many for 1 week or 7 days which is 7 years in prophecy. But He is “cut off” in the middle of the week or 3 1/2 days or 3 1/2 years
Jesus ministry was exactly that long (3 1/2 years) before He was “cut off” or crucified on a Roman cross in 31 AD.  He ministered from 27 AD to 31 AD.
As Daniel 9:27 stated, the sacrifices and oblations also ended at the time of Jesus’ death.  The law of ceremonies had served their purpose of teaching the Jewish nation about the price of sin, the sacrifice for it, and the plan of salvation.  Those ceremonial laws were the School Master to bring people to Jesus and help them understand the lesson of sin, forgiveness, and grace.  The School Master died forever the day Jesus died on the cross as the true Lamb of God.

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

Galatians 3:24, 25

All the festivals, drink and meat offerings and special Sabbath days (Not the weekly Sabbath) were shadows pointing to  the body of Jesus.   All those had served their purpose and were fulfilled in Christ:

“Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”

Colossians 2:17

On the other side of the cross, the people looked forward in faith to Jesus (the Messiah) and what He would do for them.  All of us on this side of the cross look back in faith at what Jesus has done for us.

 Something extraordinary occurred at the crucifixion of Christ to demonstrate the truthfulness of the two verses above:

Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

Matthew 27: 50, 51
Thus ended the rounds of ceremonies and the laws put in place by Moses to teach about Jesus.  Please note:  These laws did not include the 10 commandments as some would assert.  A study for another time.
Jesus told His disciples this:
 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Matthew 15: 24
Jesus was “confirming the covenant” with the children of Israel during His ministry.  With them he spent most of His time.  His plea of the coming Kingdom of God was a message primarily to the Jews.
He also told His disciples to do the same:

“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:

 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew 10: 5, 6

This the disciples did for 3 1/2 more years after Jesus was “cut off” or crucified in 31 AD.

This takes us 3  1/2 years forward to the end of the 70 weeks or 490 years.

In the year 34 AD some interesting things happen to mark the end of the 490 years “determined” or given unto the Jewish nation:

In this year Stephen was martyred and Paul was converted to be the teacher to the Gentiles

“I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.” 

2 Timothy 1:11

A very interested passage of scripture also marks the end of 70 weeks given to the Jews to do all those things of the covenant listed in Daniel 9.  It is a point where the burden of carrying the gospel to the entire world is taken off the shoulders of the Jews and given to the Gentiles. It is the point where God determines who is a real Jew or seed of Abraham.

Paul and Barnabas were preaching to a large group, but were interrupted by the Jews because of the large following of the two disciples.  Those religious leaders who were interrupting contradicted Paul and Barnabas  and actually blasphemed God!  But it is what Paul and Barnabas say that marks the transition from Jew to Gentile or Spiritual Jew:

 “But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.

Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.

Acts 13:  45, 46

The appointed people of God had failed to keep the covenant (agreement) and God turned to the Gentiles and made them heir to the promises of God:

And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Galatians 3:29

No longer was there a distinction between literal Jew and the God’s chosen people simply identified as belonging to Christ:

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28

 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:

But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

Romans 2:28, 29

Thus the 70 week prophecy came to an end! There is no room or context in the prophecy for 7 years of tribulation or the Anti Christ. It is simply not there.  To try to force it takes away from a beautiful and important part of the ministry of Christ.

While Hal Lindsey has everyone looking at Jerusalem for the rebuilding of the temple to mark the soon return of Jesus, the Anti Christ is at work elsewhere in the world.  this we will see in future studies.  This is so deceptive that almost the whole world is taken in.  What a great diversion by the enemy of mankind!

In conclusion, the 70 week prophecy of Daniel 9 is mishandled to try and support 7 years of tribulation at the end of time and the work of the Anti Christ.  If the prophecy is kept in its context, it becomes a prophecy to support Jesus as the Messiah, his crucifixion, the spread of the gospel, and God’s long suffering with the lost sheep of the house of Israel!

Below is a summary chart of the dates we have discussed above:

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APPENDIX

Below is information if you want more detail otherwise I hope this prophecy helped you see how God is in control.

*Notes about the dates described above:

Ezra has three decrees with different dates that could be used.  Nehemiah has a date also.  But the decision as to which one to use, you must keep in mind the key words of the prophecy: “the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.”

The four decrees are :
The decree of Cyrus (Ezra 1:1-4)
The decree of Darius I (Ezra 6:1-12)
The decree of Artaxerxes I (Longimanuus) (Ezra 7: 12-26)
The decree of Artaxerxes (Nehemiah Chapters 1 and 2)
Let’s eliminate some of the dates  based on the guiding verse of Daniel 9:25
Ezra 1-gave instruction only for the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. Said nothing about the whole city.  We can eliminate this date.
Ezra 6-simply the endorsement by Darius of the decree of Cyrus.  Only mentions the building of the “house of God.” We can eliminate this date.
Ezra 7 makes provision for complete restoration of the Jewish state, including the right to appoint magistrates and judges, hold trials, and pass and execute sentence upon violators of the own national laws. This is the date that fits the idea of “restoring and rebuilding Jerusalem.” 
Nehemiah 2-Wording has not been preserved, but was simply a reinstatement of Artaxerxes original authorization to Ezra recorded in Ezra chapter 7.
Determination of the date of the decree: It was in the seventh year of Artaxerxes’ reign (Ezra 7:7,8)
Biblical evidence for the 457 BC start date:
The dates for Artaxerxes reign are well documented in the ancient sources: Greek historians, Ptolemy’s Canon
The Babylonian business tablets
Elephantine papyri from Egypt
From the above documents, we know that Xerxes was killed in late December of 465 B.C. and the reign of Artaxerxes began at the time.

Artaxerxes Reign

Fall to Fall

First year 464/463 B.C.
Second year 463/462 B.C.
Third year 462/461 B.C.
Fourth year 461/460 B.C.
Fifth year 460/459 B.C.
Sixth year 459/458 B.C.
Seventh year 458/457 B.C.

 

Therefore, the seventh year of Artaxerxes, according to Jewish reckoning, extended from the fall of 458 to the fall of 457 B. C.

Note: the references in this prophecy to destruction of the city and temple and desolations:

“….the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined… for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate”

Daniel 9:27

This is not reference to a small historical character called Antiochus or a future Anti-Christ, but to the total destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD as predicted by Jesus himself when he told the disciples.  There has never been a temple since then and never will be!

“Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

Matthew 24:2 

“Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains,.  Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes.  But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not e in the winter or on the Sabbath.   For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”

Matthew 24: 15-22

The total destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman soldiers was horrible.  Many who tried to escape were crucified outside the city.  At one time, the number of crosses outside the city almost made it look like a forest of trees.  Those who heeded the advice of Jesus escaped the city and remained alive.

Part 2-Second Coming Predictions – (Taken? Left? Switched?)

Jesus compared His 2nd coming with two destructive events: The flood and the destruction of Sodom.  Is the 2nd coming destructive also?  What can we learn from this comparison?

“And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.  Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built  but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.”

Luke 17: 26-30

As disclosed in an previous post, there is no room for the idea that the believers are secretly and quickly “snatched” away.  The ear, the eye, and the emotions (good or bad) are part of Jesus’ return.  There is no support for it being secret.  No driver-less cars or a spouse wondering why their mate suddenly disappeared.

Hal Lindsey and followers attempt to break up the 2nd coming into two parts:  The invisible snatching away and the visible return after the 7 years of tribulation.  But many passages of the Bible have to be ignored and misapplied to create  a two part scenario.   It is made complicated  when it is actually plain and simple in scripture.  The word of God should be allowed to describe the event without any private interpretation:

“…knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation”

2 Peter 1: 19-21

Further, the more passages on the topic the better. This approach will allow for clarity on a topic.  I have discovered,  the Occam Razor’s approach works well for competing Bible  ideas.  This idea used primarily by scientists states that usually the idea (hypothesis) with the least amount of assumptions or the one that is most simple is the better one.  In a Biblical sense,  we must add another guideline as well:  The teaching with the preponderance of verses must be considered as the most valid. So with that in mind, lets see if the following conclusion are fair.

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In the 1980′s, another more sophisticated group of predictions caught fire in the main line churches and has pretty much taken over concerning the 2nd coming.  Mr. Camping (mentioned in previous post) believed it.  It is the 2nd coming  predictions by Hal Lindsey  from the book The Late Great Planet Earth.  He asserts  the following:

1.)    The return of Jesus is in two parts:

a.       The secret rapture – The church is snatched out and taken to heaven before the “tribulation.”  Christians, therefore, have no need to worry about the time of trouble.

b.      The literal visible return – This is for those that survived the 7 years of tribulation and the Mark of the Beast on the earth and for the Jews who finally accept Jesus as their Messiah!

To support the secret rapture, it proponents will say that the “Lord comes as a thief in the night!”  It is   true that he comes as a thief in the night, but the rest of the verse reveals more:

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night…”

Many stop here, but the “thief” does more as described in the very next words:

“…in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,

2 Peter 3:10, 11

From the verses above, we can see:

  • When the Lord comes as a “thief” He brings destruction
  • The elements and the earth and the works (the things man has created)  are “burned up”
  • Since we know it is going to end this way, we need to be prepared now.  There is no second chances during the 7 years of tribulation.

A companion verse written by Paul adds more understanding of this idea of the Lord coming like a thief:

“For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night…”

Again, many stop reading here to support the secret snatch idea, but the remainder of the verse confirms what Peter wrote concerning destruction.  But, Paul adds : 1.) the lost are destroyed and 2.)  the believers are “not in darkness.” So, the 2nd coming does not come to them like a thief in the night because they are prepared.

 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.

1 Thessalonians. 5: 2-4

From the Verses above, we can see:

  • The Lord does come as a thief, but only to those who are in darkness (lost).  They are unprepared and not looking for his return!
  • The Lord does not come as a thief to those who are not in darkness (redeemed). They are prepared and were looking for his return!
  • Notice that those who are in darkness, are destroyed  when Jesus returns!  We will see additional support below that when Jesus returns the lost will be destroyed or die.

Those who are looking for Jesus to come do not know the day nor the hour, but they know it is near and they are prepared as shown my the teaching of Jesus:

 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.  But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.  So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

Matthew 24:42-44

With this in mind, let’s find out who is “taken” and who is “left behind” when Jesus returns.  Again, it is the assertion of Hal Lindsey and his followers that the church is “taken” (snatched up) and the lost (or those not prepared) are “left behind” to experience the tribulation.  In effect, there is a 2nd chance for those “left behind.”

A quick note:  The term “left behind” does not appear anywhere in the New Testament. It is used two times in the Old Testament and is not a reference to the second coming:

Exodus 10:26-“Not a hoof left behind”

1 Samuel 30:9-Soldiers left behind at a brook

To further push this idea of the secret rapture and the concept of being “left behind,” a series of movies based on the “Left Behind” books were created. But, there are several misinterpretations of verses, particularly like the main one shown below and its companion verses found in Luke. Let’s read it slowly and follow our idea of comparing Bible writers to get a better understanding.

“But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 

For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 

Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 

But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 

Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man comes.”

Matthew 24: 37-44

From the Verses above, we can see:

Flood Victims:

  • The coming of Jesus is compared with the days of Noah.
  • Unprepared-Not looking-Surprised!
  • Every day life was going on right up to the end: eating, drinking, marrying, etc.  Will be the same way when Jesus returns? Yes!
  • There was no clue to the lost until the day of their death.  Will it be the same way with Jesus’ coming?  Yes! He will come to them as a thief in the night.  If they had watched, they would be prepared.
  • What happen to the lost?  The flood came and “took them all away.”  Where did it take them? No where!  They were destroyed!

Now let’s look at the companion description given by Luke that adds clarity to this event:

“And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.

They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.

Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;

But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.

Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed

Luke 17: 26-30

Luke describes the same event, but he adds clarity.  Those  in Noah’s day and Lot’s day were destroyed !  They were destroyed by the flood during Noah’s day and fire in Lot’s Day (Sodom) and will be destroyed by fire when Jesus returns.

Peter used the comparison of the destruction of Sodom mentioned above in Luke 17 to described the fate of those who live ungodly.  It is their destruction through fire turning them to ashes:

And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly

2 Peter 2:6

As we summarize here, we discover that Hal Lindsey has the fate of the “taken” and the “left behind” switched.

Since Jesus compared the people in Noah’s day with those when He returns, we must read the verses in their context.  Here is a simple chart to help us understand the context:

Event

Unsaved

Saved

                Flood    Flood took them-died-        destroyed      Remained alive in Ark
         Return of Christ    Taken-Destroyed      Left or remained
 Two in field and roof                      top    Taken-Destroyed      Left or remained

From the Chart and Verses above, we can see:

Just as the flood victims were “taken” away in death, so will it be with the two in the field and the two women.  Those that are “left” are those that remain and did not die!  The following verse supports this idea and is in context of the 2nd coming.

“…then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord.”

I Thessalonians 4:17

So based on the context and the verses above, Christians  do not want to be taken (death)!  They want to remain alive or be left over!

Here is an example of understanding the concept of “left” means “not taken”

Suppose you have 2 pieces of candy in your hand.  If I “take” 1 of them, the other one is “left” or remains with you.  This is the idea in Matthew and Luke’s account and confirmed by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:17  when he states that those that are alive are those that are left.

Again notice that the word “left” does not have the word “behind” with it!  Hal misinterpreted it to read…those who are unsaved would be “left behind, “but that is not what the context or the many verses that state the unsaved are destroyed when Christ’s returns.  Those that are left are those that did not die at the return of Jesus!

The term “left behind” is never used in connection with the 2nd coming either directly or indirectly.  Despite this, there are movies and books with the same title!

Below are passages from many different biblical writers describing the death and destruction of the unsaved at the return of Jesus.  These are the ones “taken” by death:

And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. (As it was in the days of Noah….so shall also the Coming of the Son of Man be) 

Genesis 6:13

They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.

Luke 17:27

“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:”

II Thessalonians 2:8

“For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch..And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.” Malachi 4: 1 

“And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”

Revelation 20:9

For behold, the Lord will come with fire.  And with His chariots, like a whirlwind,  To render His anger with fury, And His rebuke with flames of fire.  For by fire and by His sword The Lord will judge all flesh; And the slain of the Lord shall be many.

 Isaiah 66: 15, 16 

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.Seeing then that  all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,” 

II Peter 3:11

 “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;  And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an example unto those that after should live ungodly; ”

II Peter 2: 5, 6

“The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.” 

Psalm 145-20

 “For our God is a consuming fire!”

 Hebrews 12:29

 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?  II Peter 3:12 

In conclusion:  When the Lord returns,  “Every eye will see Him.” (Revelation 1:7).  Some will mourn and some will rejoice.  Those who are unprepared will be destroyed in the fires of destruction.  Those remaining will meet with the resurrected saved to meet the Lord in the air.

There is not a secret snatching away and then 7 years before the Lord returns visibly.  He returns visibly to everyone.  You might be wondering where the 7 years of tribulation came from.  We will take up this topic in the next post.

You might also be asking, about Hell and Judgment?  Those topics to come also.

Part 1-Second Coming Predictions-No Secret

The secular community, including Christians, pretentiously poked fun at Harold Camping’s prediction of the “Rapture.”  He said it would occur on May 21, 2011.  The day came and went as usual.  Christians all over the world knew from the words of Jesus himself that Mr. Camping’s prediction was in error.

“But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”

Matthew 24:36 

Here is just one verse in scripture  for anyone who would attempt to narrow down the 2nd coming to a particular day or hour.  Most Christians can quote it by heart!  We can trust in Jesus’ word on this.  But it was just one verse among many others He had to say about His 2nd coming !

There are a host of other shams thrown at us  by the enemy  more complicated and tougher to unravel.   Many have used their own homespun logic to attempt to explain good, bad,  truth, and error.

“Only good guys wear white hats.”

 “I won’t believe anything unless I can see it.”

“If my grandmother believed it, that is good enough for me.”

“If it is on the internet, it must be right. “

“CNN or Fox News,  reported it so it must be right.”

“The nice preacher on the TV is telling the truth.  Look at his big church!”

But, the enemy is at work with trickery  that is so deceptive that even the best of Christians could be deceived.

“For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”

Matthew 24:24

This warning by Jesus tells those who will listen that false christs (Messiahs), and false prophets (teachers, forecasters) will use the platform of religion to promote falsehoods that could deceive the “elect.”  The word for “elect” as translated from the Greek is the word, “eklektos.”  It means those “chosen by God”

These events and teachings are strong delusion, but the implication is that the “elect” are not deceived.  What makes this group different?  Very simply, they listen to the voice of Jesus and His word.  Their guiding principle is Sola Scriptura.  The Bible alone.  Scripture comes first before the words of any person, book, movie, or institution.

“To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”

Isaiah 8:20

The situation in the last days is very profound when the  magnitude of the deception is revealed through God’s word.

Paul gave an important warning when He wrote to the Corinthians,  He stated plainly that evil appears to be good!  The bad guy is in a white hat!

 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.  It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.  

II Corinthians 11:14. 

This verse tells us that Satan and his servants can look like an angel of light!  Could Satan even use scripture to lead people down the wrong path?  He certainly tried with Jesus during the days of temptation in the wilderness.  But, Jesus knew His Father and He knew the word of God.

As Christians were quoting Matthew 24:36 when Camping made his prognostication, it would have been well for all of us to read the entire chapter and listened closely the answer Christ gave his disciples when they asked,

“…what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 

Matthew 24:3. 

His answer? 

“Take heed that no man deceive you. Matthew 24:4

The very first words out of Jesus mouth regarding the sign of His coming and the end of the world is a warning to LISTEN that no man deceive you! 

 As we have seen from Matthew 24:36, Jesus himself does not know when he will return, but He knows there will be deception involved.   But the deception is not just only the timing, but the way He comes back to earth.

The whole of Matthew  24 and the companion chapters in the other Gospels  tell of  Jesus describing to the disciples how He returns because this is the object of the enemy’s falsehood.  We will use primarily Mathew 24 for this study.   It is not so much about the “when” but the “how.”  But, rest assured, the “elect” will know that his coming is near by the signs he left us.

So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.

Matthew 24: 33

There was a time when Christians knew how Jesus would come and many of the  events of His coming by simply reading the portions of scripture that plainly tell of His coming.  In the last several years, there  are books, movies, radio programs,  preachers and teachers with a different story that is not based plain scripture but rather on a script from Hollywood or a book.

In the study of Jesus’ 2nd coming there is no need for any fanciful interpretation or any deep study.  It is plain and simple; written for all men, women, and children not just university theologians or popular TV preachers.

Staying in Matthew, Jesus goes on to describe his 2nd coming in verse 27-31:

For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Matthew 24: 27-31

What do you see in the words of Jesus regarding his coming?  Is it secret?  Are only a few affected by it?  Is it in two parts or just one?  From the verses above, we can plainly see:

  • His coming is bright like lightning!  While lightning is quick, the comparison here is  not the speed but by the brightness! The reference to shining involves sight.  Is there anything quiet or secret about lightning that lights up the whole sky from east to west?
  • There is a tribulation before he comes and the sun is darkened and the moon does not give her light and the stars fall from heaven (massive meteorite shower?) and the powers of the heavens are shaken!  Can anyone miss this?  Is the tribulation before or after he comes.  It is before he comes!
  • Those who are lost see the sign of the Son of man in heaven and the people of the earth mourn!  They see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
  • He sends his angels with a great sound!  You can hear it!  The angels gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other!  Will this gathering be secret?  No! There is no indication here that this will be at the speed of lightning.  The process of gathering is for both the alive and those who died in Christ.

The clearest picture of the 2nd Coming is found in the letter to the Thessalonians by Paul. Here he provides more detail to the canvas of this event.

 “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

1 Thessalonians 4: 16-18.

From this verse, we can plainly see:

  • Jesus comes down from heaven (where he went to prepare a place for us-John 14: 2, 3) and there is sound in the form of a shout, a voice, and a trumpet. So can we conclude there is sound involved with the 2nd coming?
  • Those that died in Christ are resurrected. Resurrection of the saved to start eternal life is the reward Jesus brings with him (Revelation 22:12).
  • Those who are alive when Jesus comes will begin to ascend up into the heavens and meet both Jesus and those who were resurrected.  Here is the “rapture.”  It means to be caught up, but there are two groups that meet the Lord in the heaven.  Those who were in their graves asleep in Christ (1 Thessalonians 4: 13, 14) and those who did not experience death.
  • This is where immortality is given and eternity with Jesus starts (Notice it is not at death).

Paul”s further explanation of these events are found in his letter to the Corinthians.

 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump(et): for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

1 Corinthians 15: 52, 53

 Notice that when Jesus returns, immortality is given then and not at death. As mentioned above, this is the reward Jesus brings with Him.. It is out of context and in error to use the following verse at a funeral, because the saying can only come to pass when Jesus returns and gives us immortality.

“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”

1 Corinthians 15: 55

The context of this quote is found in the verse just before (v. 54)

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed….

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”

1 Corinthians 15:54

There is a lot going on in these verses to let us know there is nothing secret and it is not in two parts.  Other verses from the other writers further describe the glory of his coming, Here are just a few:

Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

Mark 8:38

Jesus does not come in his glory alone, but the glory of his Father  and with the holy angels!  Don’t think this is secret  for sure!

 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;

 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

Revelation 6: 15-16:

The unsaved will hide themselves in the darkest places of the dens and rocks of mountains and pray for them to fall on them to hide them from the face of Jesus!  No secret coming here!  This was also foretold by Isaiah:

“Go into the rocks, hide in the ground from dread of the LORD and the splendor of his majesty!”

Isaiah 2:10

 “Behold, he comes with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so,  Amen.”

Revelation 1:7

From the verses above, we can see:

  • When he comes, he comes in his own glory and the glory of the father and the holy angels.  It only took the glory of one angel to make the soldiers at the tomb of Jesus drop to the ground like dead men (Matthew 28: 2-4).  Imagine the whole sky full of the glory of millions of angels and the glory of the Father!
  • Those that are lost cannot bear to look upon the sight of Jesus’ coming and try to hide from the face of Jesus by call for the rocks and mountains to fall on them.
  • Every eye sees him coming!  Much like every eye can see the sun as the earth turns.  It is possible that his coming is seen up to as long as a 24 hour period!

Nothing secret about this!

Notice the contrast of the words of those that are saved.

 “And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

Isaiah 25:9

In the next writing, we will study out where Hal Lindsey and others came up with the idea of a sudden snatching away of the church and the 7 year tribulation.

Another topic we will study is the fate of the lost.  The reason for the Lord’s apparent delay in coming is because when he comes, there will be those who perish in he destruction of the earth:

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

2 Peter 3: 9, 10

It is true that the Lord comes as a thief in the night, but not to those who are watching for his return.  The rest of the verse says that this event of coming like a thief also involves the destruction of the heavens and earth.

But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.

1 Thessalonians 5:4

In conclusion, the Lord taught his disciples about the deception regarding the manner his second coming.  This deception would be very tricky and inspired by the enemy himself.

 It is important that the follower of Christ know what Jesus and the writers of the Bible have to say about this grand event when all the saved will meet the Lord in the air and begin eternity with each other never to experience sin and death ever again.  What a day that will be!  We shall Behold Him!

 Listen to the correct theology of Christ’s second coming in Sandi Patty’s version of “We Shall Behold Him.”  May the Lord bless you as you listen.

http://youtu.be/3uXUm8-pS0M

The Least of the Commandments

It is hoped that the previous posts called “Is Obedience Only for the Legalistic? (Parts 1-3),” demonstrated from scripture that the law of God (10 Commandment law) is immutable. Immutable is defined simply as: “ not capable of or susceptible to change,”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

We looked at many passages and examples that demonstrated transgression of God’s moral law (10 Commandments) is the fundamental definition of sin.  It is sin which brought death upon all men and is the reason for the death of Jesus i.e., payment for the penalty of sin.

If God’s 10 commandment law could simply be changed, there would be no reason for Jesus to die on a cross for our sins against God described in the 1st 4 commandments and sins against our neighbors (Last 6 commandments).  These laws are grouped under two great principles:  “loving God with all your soul and mind” and “loving your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39

On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 22:40

The most compelling argument for the immutability of God’s 10 Commandment law comes from Jesus Himself when He said,

Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:17-19

Jesus fulfilled them by obeying them and set the example for us to do the same.  It is obvious we still have heaven and earth, so we still have God’s law and it is outside God’s will to teach or break even the least of the commandments.

James, the brother of Jesus confirms this years after Jesus had ascended to heaven when he said,

“For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.”

James 2:10

James goes on to encourage us to be obedient to God’s 10 commandments because we will be judged on “the perfect law of liberty” James 2:12

Strangely, obedience is not a popular topic with many modern ministers because the topic insinuates salvation by works if not properly understood.  But, the writers of the Bible, including Jesus, conclude that grace and faith does not exclude obedience.  Paul, the major proponent of God’s grace asks a powerful conclusive rhetorical question just to make sure no one thinks the law is minimized or voided by grace and faith:

“Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.”

Romans 3:31

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Many fail to connect the dots between grace, faith, and obedience to the established law .  But, the connection is made simple by this statement:

We do not obey to be saved, we obey because we are saved and because God creates a new heart in us.  This is the born again experience. All things have become new in Christ and it includes a change of heart regarding the will of God.

Under the new covenant, the law is not diminished, but written by God on the  mind and heart (Hebrews 8;10).  If it is written on the mind and heart, do you think obedience will be for the right reasons?

 With your new heart, you will automatically want to avoid sin and obey God’s 10 commandment law that demonstrate God’s will in your life.  Both to God and your neighbor. You will find the power to obey through Christ.  To attempt to obey without his power is both legalistic and futile.  Obedience comes through the power of God:

“…for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

Philippians 2:13

We have all seen the work of God’s spirit on a person when Jesus writes the law their heart.  The thief stops stealing, the liar stops his lying.  The unfaithful spouse becomes faithful. The things the sinner once loved they now hate and vice-versa.  A born again person wants to obey his Lord.

To say you love God and do not obey means you are not a follower, but are going through some hypocritical religious motion for reasons other than serving God and neighbor:

He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

1 John 2:4

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Also, in the previous posts, we saw there were some laws that God gave Moses for the Children of Israel that had a purpose and those laws ended when Jesus died on the cross.  These were the ceremonial and sacrificial laws.  We no longer need to sacrifice a spotless lamb on the altar when we go to church.

Their purpose was to provide graphic teachings to those looking forward to the Messiah on the power of sin and upon the innocent.  Those laws, contained in ordinances, demonstrated the grace of God and His willingness to make a way out of the death penalty by sending his only begotten son.  Once Jesus died, the School Master was no longer needed.  We had the life, death, resurrection, mediator work of Jesus to clearly and simply demonstrate the plan of salvation:

“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”

But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”

Galatians 3: 24, 25

Thankfully we are no longer under the penalty of the 10 Commandment law (i.e., death) or the burdensome requirements of the sacrificial and ceremonial laws.  It is by the grace of our Lord and the faith He gives us to become free of eternal death and may have right to the tree of life.  Those who obey demonstrate they have been redeemed and are free from the penalty of the law.

“Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.”

Revelations 22:14

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Let’s shift gears here and talk about “the least of the commandments.”  Take a look at the 10 commandments (Exodus 20) and try to determine which one is the least.

We would all agree our relationship with God would be in jeopardy if we had other gods, made idols patterned after things on the earth or in heaven and then bowed ourselves before them.  We would also be kidding ourselves to say we have love for God and have salvation, but use his name in a disrespectful manner often and regularly.

Also, how can someone claim salvation when they practice adultery, lie, murder, disrespect their parents and their neighbors?

So which one can we take out and change?  Has any of them been demonstrated by Jesus that they were anything other than immutable?

Can we think to change the 10 Commandment Law of God to only 9 or 8 Commandments because a couple doesn’t fit with our life style or the rest of the world’s philosophy?  Is there one jot, one tittle that we can change or modify so we are more comfortable with it?

Interesting enough the enemy of God does this very thing.  The little horn power of Daniel 7 that can be shown to be the Anti-Christ attempts to change God’s law and make war with God’s saints:

“And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: …”

Daniel 7:25

As shown before, the enemy a.k.a. Satan, and the devil is particularly angry at a group of people in the last days that are obedient and have a testimony regarding Jesus:

“And the dragon (Satan) was wroth (angry) with the woman (church), and went to make war with the remnant of her seed (those left over from the original), which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

Revelation 12:17

It is obvious that there is an attack and war on the law of God by the enemy to confuse and lead people away from the perfect will of God as expressed in these 10 great principles of love towards God and neighbor.

To demonstrate this, I have listed the 10 commandments (in summary) as described in the Catechism.  This is the official book of the Catholics to teach new converts:

  1. I am the LORD your God. You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.
  2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
  3. Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.
  4. Honor your father and your mother.
  5. You shall not kill.
  6. You shall not commit adultery.
  7. You shall not steal.
  8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
  10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.

Now, compare the 10 commandments as found in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5:

  1.  You shall have no other gods before Me.

  2. You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. 

  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

  5. Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

  6. You shall not murder.

  7. You shall not commit adultery.

  8. You shall not steal.

  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

  10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.

A careful comparative review will show that the Roman Catholic church leaders eliminated the 2nd commandment completely.  Why?

That leaves 9 commandments.  So to make it 10 commandments, the last commandment is split into two parts.

In addition, the Roman Catholic Church leaders changed the fourth commandment regarding the Sabbath.  They changed the holiness God proclaimed for the Sabbath (7th day) to Sunday (1st Day). There is no scriptural authority for this change and no examples of the early church to warrant a change in God’s immutable law.

From the Convert’s Catechism, page 50:

Q. Which is the Sabbath day?
A. Saturday is the Sabbath day.
Q. Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?
A. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church, in the Council of Laodicea, (AD 336) transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday….
Q. Why did the Catholic Church substitute Sunday for Saturday?
A. The Church substituted Sunday for Saturday, because Christ rose from the dead on a Sunday, and the Holy Ghost descended upon the Apostles on a Sunday.
Q. By what authority did the Church substitute Sunday for Saturday?
A. The Church substituted Sunday for Saturday by the plenitude of that divine power which Jesus Christ bestowed upon her!

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This mutilation of God’s immutable law by the Roman Catholic leadership flies in the face of Jesus’ clear statement:

I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5: 17-19

Is there any doubt that the Roman Catholic leadership teaches its converts to ignore the 2nd and 4th commandments?  Does it not demonstrate that tradition (according to them) is more powerful than God’s own written word?

He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.

Mark 7:9

“Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God . . .” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 97.

It is clear from God’s word that religious tradition is not equal to God’s word.  God’s word always trumps church tradition.

 He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?

Matthew 15:3

As prophesied by God through His servant Daniel, the attempt to change the law of God would occur by the opponent and enemy of God.  The one who places himself in the place of Christ as the vicar of Christ.  Vicar is a Latin word meaning “instead of”  Vicar of God is the title of the Pope.

“And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.”

Daniel 7:25

Who thought that the deception in the last day would be easily identified?  Those who study and live by the word of God can see the “angel of light” working to lead people away from the simple and plain words of God and towards false security in numbers, display, and tradition.

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So, which commandment is the least?  Even if it is the least, it cannot be changed according to Christ.

If all the protestant denominations were sitting around the table discussing the 10 commandments, we could all agree that it is God’s will to live by the 10 commandments (not to be saved, but because we are saved). We would all agree it would be outside God’s will to change even the smallest letter of God’s law.  However, all agreement would stop when the 4th commandment would come up.  While it is plain and simple, confusion and argument would ensue. The arguments against a Sabbath rest (7th Day) would be:

The law was eliminated.

The Sabbath was changed to Sunday when Christ arose

The disciples met on the first day of the week

Nobody knows which day is the 7th Day

It is legalistic to obey the law

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No doubt, there is a temptation and a propensity by many who want to follow God to become legalistic in their approach to the 4th commandment, but there is a blessing God has promised those who “Remember” it.  It is unlike any other commandment.  Here God invites us once a week on a day he blessed (7th Day-a.k.a. Saturday) to rest and enjoy the hours of the Sabbath with other worshipers and family.

It is not so much about which day one goes to church, but rather which day is honored because God instructed us.  Can we make any other day holy?  Only God Himself can make something holy.  The blessings promised Abraham are ours according to the word of God:

“And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

Galatians 3:29

Here is a promise we can claim as an heir:

 “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath,
From doing your pleasure on My holy day,
And call the Sabbath a delight,
The holy day of the Lord honorable,
And shall honor Him,…Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord;
And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth”

Isaiah 58: 13 and 14

This promise is not about legalism; it is about a blessing promised for following God.

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Next time, we will explore more about the 4th commandment and dispel error being taught regarding its unlawful change.  Did the disciples change it?  We will look at the objections to the 4th commandment and how to obey it without becoming legalistic.  Until then, blessings to you and your family.

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“The Sabbath … is God’s time, not ours; when we trespass upon it we are stealing from God…. God has given us the whole of six days in which to do our work, and has reserved only one to Himself. This should be a day of blessing to us—a day when we should lay aside all our secular matters and center our thoughts upon God and heaven.” In Heavenly Places, P. 152