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"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is both helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible often doesn't tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

May I Be Saved During the Tribulation, Even if I rejected the Gospel before?


II Thessalonians 2:3-12


If you heard the Gospel of Grace, during your lifetime, but rejected it, will God allow you a second chance at salvation during the Tribulation Period?

Part II


My, that’s a long title.  It will have to do, I suppose.

To begin, I must reiterate the reason for this letter from the apostle Paul to the Believers in Thessalonica.  This small church was under such persecution that they thought they were living in the Tribulation period.  And some had misunderstood Paul’s first letter.                      They thought it indicated that the end was near and the Lord Jesus Christ would return soon.  Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians intended to correct this error in judgment and also to calm their fears.

If you’ll remember, Mr. Feldick’s commentary on this subject is what prompted me to write this lesson.  Les’s explanation is based upon His (and other Bible scholars) interpretation of II Thessalonians 2:3-4.  As I explained in Part I of this series, many others who teach the Bible, including me, have a different point of view.

I (along with many others) will have to wait until the Lord comes before I can ask Him which one of us is right.  However, there is absolutely nothing wrong with healthy discussion about such things.  I believe much good can come from such a disagreement. 

For instance, I have spent hours poring over Bible texts, commentaries, Bible dictionaries, and other source material, in order to confirm my understanding of this Biblical point of view.  Honestly, I have learned much from this activity and I know the knowledge I have gained will serve me (and others) well.   Like Les, I am not a casual Bible teacher.  We both take our calling seriously.  Always remember this, it is not about what I say, but rather what does the Bible say.

Lastly, and as to whether or not you rest on Les’s teaching on this subject, or mine, will this affect your place in eternity?  Will it alter your salvation in the least?  The answer is no.                  As a Believer, you are safe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Rest on that.

    
Let’s look at these verses again.

II Thessalonians 2

3: Let no one in any way deceive you, (Paul gives them this warning; and he did not want them to be troubled by what they had heard from false teachers.)
for it (The Tribulation period) will not come unless the apostasy comes first (By this apostasy is meant spiritual or religious matters, from sound Grace-Age doctrine, instituted worship, and a holy life.), and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

4: who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God
************************************************************************
Les Feldick teaches the word “apostasy” found here refers to the Rapture of the Church-Age Saints.  In the previous lesson, I showed you, from Scripture, that this word has an entirely different meaning.  The word apostasy comes from the Greek word apostasia which means “a falling away or a turning away.”  

To articulate this I guided you to the book of I Thessalonians 4:17.

I Thessalonians 4

17: …Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we always be with the Lord.

This is just one of the verses where we believers find the mystery of the rapture introduced by the apostle Paul.  Now there are some who say the word rapture is not found in the Bible.  They are correct.  The word “Rapture” is not found anywhere in Scripture.  
But the word “Bible” isn’t found in Scripture either…

When the Greek Bible text was translated into Latin, the word harpazo was translated into the word rapturo from which we, at some point, adopted an English version of the Latin words and came up with the word rapture as a term descriptive of the Lord's catching up of the saints.

The word “caught” in Greek is harpazo and means “to be taken out of the way” or “to be taken from the ground.”  I pray you see the difference.   

God’s church will neither go into nor through the time of God’s wrath which is called the Tribulation.  Therefore, it must be “taken out of the way.”

Ask yourself this question.  Why would God allow all those who have professed faith (belief) in Paul’s gospel to endure those seven years of wrath and vexation?    
The answer is:  He won’t.  The Scriptures are quite clear on this point.

The only people left after the Rapture of God’s Church will be those who:
a)     lack faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ
b)      and those who have never heard the gospel.  

This lot will include both Jew and Gentile.


What do these verses in II Thessalonians 2: 3-9 say?  

If you take verses two and three, and read them in context with verses four thru nine, which is exactly what you are to do, it is quite obvious that the time period in which these things are going to happen is after the Rapture and not before.  

The events spoken of in II Thessalonians 2: 3-4 actually take place during the Tribulation period.  This “Man of lawlessness” makes himself known first by initiating a peace treaty with the nation of Israel and their enemies.  Think.  Peace is what Israel has been pursuing for centuries.  This peace will be realized, finally, by this man of lawlessness.  Once he signs his name to this peace document, God’s time-clock will commence and run right through these LAST SEVEN YEARS.

I always have to consider this truth when it comes to negotiations.  You don’t “get something” without first “giving up something.”  What will Israel surrender in order to achieve the peace they desire so badly?  There’s a discussion question…

Some time later the “apostasy” or the “falling away” from Truth will come about.  
Please note the Bible does not reveal the timing on this.  
It could be hours, days, weeks, or months after the Rapture Event. 

It is my opinion that the apostasy will not be long in coming. 
I think this will be a “natural event” and it will occur soon after the rapture.
Why do I think it will occur “naturally?”


II Thessalonians 2

7: For this mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.

The Bible is silent as to who “he who now restrains” is. 

In my opinion, the “he” is the Holy Spirit.  I could be wrong on this; but it fits.

The Bible teaches that once you believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and was then resurrected on the third day, according to the Scriptures, you immediately receive the Holy Spirit as a gift or a “down payment” of things to come. 

II Corinthians 5

5: Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.

AND:

I Timothy 1

14: Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

AND:

I Corinthians 6

19: Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

That being the case, once the Grace-Age Church is raptured out of here, the Holy Spirit, which dwells in each Believer, departs along with them.  Think. 

Without the Believers interacting with the “world” and standing firm for the cause of Christ Jesus, what do you think this earth will be like? 

I can remember an incident, when I was a young lad, when my parents left us kids alone at home, for a short time, while they ran an errand.  Believe me, there were “house rules” and my parents expected us to follow them.  After they left, we ignored the rules and behaved like, what was the expression my mother used when she returned, oh yeah, we behaved like “wild Indians!”  There were negative consequences…   

There will come a “falling away” from Truth after the Rapture.

What is the Truth?  Better yet who is the Truth?

John 14

6: Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

John 3

19: “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.”

Who will be saved during the Tribulation?


(To Be Continued)

In His Service,
Gary Heitzman
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