January 20, 2011 II Thessalonians 2:3-12; Revelation 7:9-14
Will God offer a second chance at salvation, during the Tribulation, to those who have heard the Gospel of Grace at one time but rejected it?
I intended to write a Bible lesson concerning the Rapture of the saints; instead I have it in mind to address a teaching point I came across recently which disturbed me after reading it. I was reading ahead, in book twelve, lesson one, part one at the time.
This is what Mr. Feldick wrote:
Revelation 7:9, 10
"After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, `Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb,'" In other words they had been martyred almost as fast as they had been converted throughout the Tribulation. Now verses 13 and 14. …And after John sees this multitude of converted people.
Revelation 7:13, 14
"And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, `What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?' And I said unto him, `Sir, thou knowest.' And he said to me, `These are they which came out of (the) great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.'"
Go back to II Thessalonians, because I think the following thought should immediately come to any student of Scripture: If people have missed being saved during this Age of Grace or Church Age, are they going to get a second chance? No. Here we see Paul (inspired by the Holy Spirit in II Thessalonians Chapter 2) identify those who cannot be saved with the message of the 144,000 during the Tribulation. Paul is not associated with prophecy per se. He's associated with the doctrines of Grace and with mysteries. Nevertheless he connects the end of the Church Age with the Tribulation by a description of what will take place as the Anti-Christ comes on the scene here in II Thessalonians Chapter 2:
II Thessalonians 2:3
"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first (the Church being raptured), and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;”
II Thessalonians 2:7,8
"For the mystery of iniquity doth already work (that goes back to the tower of Babel): only he who now letteth (hindereth) will let, (continue to hinder) until he be taken out of the way." I always teach it's the Holy Spirit who is the hindering force in the person of the believer, until he's taken out of the way, which would be in the departure when the Church is removed in verse 3:
"And then (when the Church is gone, and the Holy Spirit in His role as indwelling the believer has ended. Of course the Holy Spirit will be back on the earth as the Omnipresence of God) shall that Wicked (one) be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth (at the end of the seven years), and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming;"
II Thessalonians 2:9, 10
"Even him (Anti-Christ), whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish (unbelievers); because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved."
Now get the picture. Those who will be ready to accept the coming of the Anti-Christ will be those who had the opportunity to hear the Gospel, the truth of the Word of God, but they loved their unrighteousness and they spurned God's offer of salvation. Now verse 11:
II Thessalonians 2:11a
"And for this cause..."
As we are entering into the Tribulation in this verse, we are entering in with God dealing in the supernatural. Today, we are fairly unaccustomed to that. God still works in miraculous ways, but we're not living where the supernatural takes place commonly.
II Thessalonians 2:1 "And for this cause (because this group of people have heard the Gospel and rejected it and so it is for that cause) God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a (and again I like to use the article `the') lie:"
There has been one lie all through Scripture. And I call it `the' lie. That is when Satan tells a person, "You can be God." They are going to believe it. God is going to send these people "strong delusion" who have heard the Gospel and rejected it. And these will be the very first people who will proclaim the Anti-Christ as the god of this world, the one they have been looking for. But the ones who have never heard the True Gospel will have a chance in the Tribulation by the preaching of the 144,000. And now verse 12:
II Thessalonians 2:12
"That they all might be damned (or condemned) who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
Go back to the Book of Ephesians Chapter 1, because we have almost the same kind of language (so that you will know what the Apostle Paul is talking about). As we come down to the appearance of the Anti-Christ and the Church has been removed, what should they, the unrighteous that were left behind, believe?
"In whom ye also trusted (Paul writes to believers only), after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise."
Les Feldick Ministry
Now I know that was lengthy, but please bear with me. This is important. Mr. Feldick, whom you know I respect, says if you hear the Gospel of Grace and reject it, then the Rapture occurs, after that event you will not get a second chance.
If you consider all of Scripture, and I do, I believe you will discover that this is not true. Our God is ALL ABOUT REDEMPTION! Wouldn’t you agree?
2 Peter 3
9: The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is (What’s the next word?) patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
Why did God give us the Bible? Because He loves us, He wants us to know Him, and understand that we are in rebellion, lost in our unbelief, and therefore need salvation.
I Timothy 2 – (This is the apostle Paul writing to Timothy.)
3: This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
4: who desires all men (And women) to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
5: For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
6: who gave Himself as a ransom for (How many?) all, the testimony given at the proper time.
7: For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
These two passages from Scripture inform us that God desires everyone to believe in the Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection for their salvation.
Will this truth change because the Church Age Believers have been raptured? I don’t believe it will. Why? Because this means God changed.
Does God change His mind? Nope.
What God says He will do He will carry it out.
19: “God is not man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
Here’s one more Bible verse which says the same thing.
6: “For I, the LORD, do not change;
There are plenty of other Bible verses that teach us that God is the same today and forever. I chose these simply because they report this truth so clearly.
It saddened me when I read what Mr. Feldick was teaching because I have been praying for those I love (and hold dear) to respond to God’s Gospel of Grace. I want all of my loved ones with me and the Lord for eternity. I don’t want any of them to face the coming wrath of God and then stand before Him at the Great White Throne Judgment.
This is where ALL those who chose not to believe will stand before the Lord Jesus Christ and answer for their choice. They will not spend eternity in the Lake of Fire because of their sins. All sin was wiped away at the cross.
They will spend eternity suffering because of their UNBELIEF.
To be fair, there are many theologians who agree with Mr. Feldick. And so this is what they teach. If I’m going to be fair, then I must also report to you that there are many who do not believe this is the message the Bible intends to send; and I am numbered with them.
Let me show you why.
First, I am not saying that the need for salvation should be put off because there is time aplenty. Absolutely not… I can understand why someone would put off something bad like a Tax Audit for instance; but why put off something good?
Picture someone who has won millions of dollars in the lottery. Yet they never collect the money…
God offers everyone something far more valuable than lottery winnings.
5: …even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
6: and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
7: so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
8: For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
Have you ever witnessed a gift, freely given, left unopened? Millions do so every day.
Only God the Father knows when the “Time of the Gentiles” is going to end. It could be today, tomorrow, or in a hundred years. Today is a good day to ensure your salvation. What does this book say?
II Corinthians 6
1: And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain –
2: For He says, “AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU, AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU.” Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION.”
Mr. Feldick ties the Revelation, chapter seven, verses nine through fourteen with II Thessalonians, chapter two, verses three through fourteen. We will also look at these verses along with others from the Bible to prove my point of view.
Let’s begin with II Thessalonians chapter two at verse three.
II Thessalonians 2
3: Let no one in any way deceive you, for it (The Tribulation) will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction (Some translations say the son of perdition.)
Now Les teaches the word “apostasy” means, “The rapture.”
The Greek word for “apostasy” is Apostasia.
This word only has one meaning and that is - a falling away, or a defection.
Today we are witnessing this “defection” from the Lord Jesus Christ and Biblical truths. As time goes on, more of this will be added. However, I do not believe this verse is speaking about the rapture event. Instead, I believe this verse is warning us that the day will surely come when the majority will be anti-God.
Les’ usage of the word apostasy here does not link up with what would then be its companion verse found in I Thessalonians, chapter four, verse seventeen.
I Thessalonians 4
17: Then we who are alive and remain (The “dead in Christ” will rise first.) will be caught up (Raptured) together with them (The dead in Christ.) to meet the Lord in the air;
The Greek translation for the word “caught” is harpazo which means: to carry off, or snatch out of the way. And this is God’s intention. Not one believer will face the coming wrath of God. Therefore, each one of us has to be removed from the scene. Those who remain on the earth, after the rapture, will be unbelievers whether they have been introduced to the Gospel of Grace or not.
Now to be “Caught up” or “To be snatched out of the way” is certainly different from Les’ definition of the word “apostasy.” Apostasy means to “fall away.”
It is this difference in word usage that prompted me to search the Scriptures for an answer, since this didn’t sit right with me. I cannot believe that God would reject an individual’s sincere desire to be saved until (You ought to know by now that the word “until” is a time-related word.) a certain point in time, during the Tribulation, is reached. Scripture is quite clear on this point. Follow me.
15: And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.
16: And he (Satan) causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves (I believe this includes everyone.) to be given a mark on their right hand or forehead,
17: and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.
The Scriptures make it quite clear; for anyone who accepts the mark of the beast will be cut off! They are doomed for eternity.
9: Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand,
10: he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.
11: “And the smoke of their torment goes on forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” (Note: When something in Scripture is repeated within a few verses, or more, from its introduction in Scripture, it is there for emphasis. We need to pay attention.)
From this we know that a person must make a choice. Receiving the mark of the beast is not an automatic process. Therefore, free will still exists even in the Tribulation!
Free will is a God given gift; and if it is still present, at this time, then it stands to reason that salvation is also possible. Is it not? I believe it is safe to say the Holy Spirit is still on the scene helping all those too choose the Lord instead of the Beast.
What about all those who choose not to take the Mark of the Beast?
Will people be saved during the Tribulation?
(To Be Continued)
In His Service