Are We Obedient to Christ?

Is There a Strong Biblical Basis for the Pre-Millennial, Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church?

Concise answer:  Absolutely yes! There is one key verse Rev 3:10 in conjunction with three main passages: 1 Thess. 4:13-18, John 14.1-4, and 1 Cor. 15:50-58, which all proclaim the rapture of the Church.  Moreover, the driving result of the belief in the imminent Rapture of the Church is the need to fulfill the Great Commission.  Those who hold this teaching make the snatching of the lost and dying from the very flames of hell their life’s quest.  A church, which does not maintain this belief quickly, substitutes the pursuit of “good works” for the necessity of saving the lost.

Detailed answer:  Belief in the Pre-Millennial, Pre-Tribulation Rapture accomplishes two things: one, it drives the church to maintain an expectancy for the Lord’s soon return for His Church; and two, it drives the church to fulfill the Great Commission that it was given. This eager expectancy on the part of the church for the imminent return of Christ is taught in many verses:

John 14.2-3 “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”

Acts 1.11 “They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

1 Cor. 1.7 “so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ”

1 Cor. 15.51-52 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed”

Phil. 3.20 “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ”

Col. 3.4 “When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”

1 Thess. 1.10 “and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.”

1 Tim. 6.14 “that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,”

Titus 2.13 “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,”

Heb. 9.28 “so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.”

James 5.8 “You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.”

While these verses address this blessed hope, the following arguments strengthen this position.  First, the Bible mentions no needed sign to take place before the rapture.  Second, meaning of immanency has the idea of certainty but not immediacy (i.e., soon but that it must happen).

Before we turn our attention to the three main passages which teach the Pre-Millennial, Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the church: 1 Thess. 4:13-18, John 14.1-4, and 1 Cor. 15:50-58, we will examine Rev. 3:10:

Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”

To begin with the word church (ekklesia) occurs only one time after the first three chapters of Revelation (Rev. 22:16).  It occurs nineteen times within the first three chapters.  In chapter 4:1 we have a beautiful picture of the church being raptured is illustrated by John being called to heaven.  The church is never pictured as on earth but only as being in heaven in chapters 4-18.  The absolute silence of those chapters regarding the church is deafening. In Revelation 19.7 she is referred to as the Bride of Christ and then in 22:16 she is then for the last time called the church.

Next the promise “I also will keep you from the hour of testing” uses the words “ tereo ek” for to keep, preserve, protect out of– the hour of testing. Furthermore, the Lord promises to keep them from the very time of the testing which is to come upon the whole world.  The way in which He will do this is by the rapture of the church. Also the article “the” occurs before both the hour and from the testing; therefore, this confirms a specific test coming upon the whole world.

Now we will turn our attention upon the three clear passages.

1. 1 Thess. 4:13-18:

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we, who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 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 we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

1 Thess. 1:10 states: “and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.” All believers are rescued from the wrath to come.  This is echoed in 1 Thess. 5:9 as well: “For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  So the church is not destined for the wrath to come, “the Great Tribulation” to come.  In 1 Cor. 15:50-58, Paul is endeavoring to comfort those who have lost believing friends and family to physical death (.13).  The encouragement he gives is based on the fact of the resurrection of Christ (.14). The first to join Christ in the air at His coming are the dead in Christ and then we who are alive (.15).  The Lord Himself gave this to Paul (this mystery according to 1 Cor. 15.50-51) (.16). The Lord Himself will descend from heaven (.16a).  If one considers John 14.3, he realizes that the place, where Jesus Himself was going to and the place He would take the church, was to heaven.  And according to 1 Cor. 15: 53: “For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality (translated).” The living must have their earthly bodies changed. Once this occurs then they will be  “caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air;” the word s “caught up” is the word “harpazo” to be snatched or seized suddenly.  It is this word through the Latin that the word rapture is derived.

It is this event: going with any who have died in Christ to meet the Lord in the air and to always be with Him that produces comfort (.18).

One of the greatest encouragements that these believers have is that while they may face tribulation they will not go through “the tribulation,” “the Day of the Lord.” In the very next section 1 Thess. 5:1-10 Paul who introduces a new subject with “peri de” “now as” to the Day of the Lord.

Robert Dean Jr. provides the following fifteen differences between the Rapture and the Second Coming:

• At the Rapture Jesus comes for His own [church age believers], at the Second Coming Jesus comes with His own [church age believers].

• At the time of the Rapture Jesus comes only in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17), at the Second Coming Jesus comes to the earth (Revelation 19:11-18).

• At the Rapture, living saints receive resurrection bodies (1 Thessalonians 4:17), at the Second Coming, no living believers receive resurrection bodies.

• At the Rapture translated saints go to heaven, at the Second Coming translated saints go to earth.

• At the Rapture, Jesus comes in the air and returns to heaven (John 14:3), at the Second Coming Jesus establishes His kingdom on the earth.

• At the Rapture, there is no judgment on the unsaved upon the earth, the Second Coming Concludes God’s judgments on the earth dwellers.

• At the Rapture Christ claims His bride, at the Second Coming Christ comes with His Bride.

• The Rapture delivers the saints from the wrath to come, the Second Coming concludes the wrath to come (Daniel’s seventieth week).

• The Rapture is imminent and its proximity is not announced by any prophetic signs; the Second Coming is preceded by specific, recognizable signs.

• The Rapture involves only the saved of the church age, the Second Coming involves all on the earth. The saved of the Old Testament are resurrected after the Second Coming.

• The Rapture is not mentioned in the Old Testament, but the Second Coming is predicted often in the Old Testament.

• Satan is not mentioned in reference to the Rapture, but after the Second Coming, Satan is bound (Revelation 20:2–3).

• No prophecy must be fulfilled before the Rapture, many prophecies must be fulfilled before the Second Coming.

• At the Rapture only those who meet Him in the air will see Him, at the Second Coming every eye shall see Him.

• The Rapture is called the Day of Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:2; Philippians 1:10; 2:16), the Second Coming comes as part of the Day of the Lord (Joel 2:31–32; 1 Thessalonians

5:2). (Robert Dean Jr. “Three Foundational Rapture Passages,”

2.  John 14.1-4. 

We will examine the Upper Room Discourse significance (John 13-17), the congruity with the Jewish marriage analogy, and the parallels with 1 Thess. 4:13-18; each provide the necessary support for the Pre-Millennial, Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the church. Next we will examine the details of the passage.

To begin with the Upper Room Discourse provide in seed form the following New Testament truths:

The believers’ oneness in Christ (John 17:20-23; Eph 2:11-22), the Spirit’s permanent residence in the believer (John 14:16; Eph 4:30), the believer’s union with Christ (John 14:20; Gal 2:20;Rom 6:1-14), the believer’s opposition to the world (John 15:18-19; Jas 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17), the necessity for the believer to stay in fellowship with Christ (John13:10; 15:1-17; 1John 1:5-7, 9), abiding in Christ as a prerequisite for fruit bearing (John 15:1-7; Phil 4:13), the believer’s election (John 15:16; Eph 1:4); Christ as the ultimate model of sacrificial living and service (John 13:1-20; Phil 2:5-11), the necessity of divine discipline in the believer’s life (John 15:2; Heb 12:5-11), Satan as the god of this age (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2 Cor 4:4; Eph 2:2), the defeat of Satan at the cross (John 12:31; 16:11; Col 2:15; Heb 2:14), the Spirit as the inspirer of all Scripture (John 14:26; 16:13; 2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:20-21), the Spirit as the illuminator of all Scripture (John 14:26; 16:13; 1 Cor 2:14; 1 John 2:20, 27), Christ’s provision of peace in the midst of adversity (John 14:27; Phil 4:7), the necessity of the Spirit’s convicting ministry as a prerequisite for salvation (John 16:7-11; 1 Cor 2:14; 2 Cor 4:4), the normalcy of tribulations in the present age (John 16:33; Jas 1:2-4), the believer as the ultimate overcomer (John 16:33; 1 John 4:4; 5:4-5), Christ’s present session at the Father’s righthand (John 14:12-14; 17:5; Heb 8:1; 10:12-13), the power of prayer (John 14:12-14; Eph 6:18- 20; Jas 5:16), the inerrancy of Scripture (John 17:17; 2 Tim 3:16), and the disclosure of Eschatology (John 16:13; 2 Thess 2:1-12). (See Andy Woods paper  “Jesus and the Rapture,” Where he gives an exhaustive treatment to Jesus and the Rapture).

The Upper Room Discourse provides eschatological setting.  It is sandwiched between the Christ promise of Matt. 26:29 (the promise of drinking from the fruit of the vine in the kingdom) and the Seder celebration of Psalm 118:26 (Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord).

The Jewish Marriage Analogy.  Woods gives seven aspects to this relationship:

  1. the groom travels to the home of the bride’s groom (Christ becoming flesh paying the betrothal price with His death on the Cross 1 Cor. 6:19-20);
  2. During the betrothal period, the groom is temporary separated from the bride (the preparing of temporary dwelling for the church, John 14:2);
  3. At an unknown time the groom returns to the bride’s home 1 Thess. 4.16-17;
  4. The bridal party returns to the groom’s father’s home (equivalent to the raptured church being taken to heaven the home of God;
  5. The consummation of the marriage where the Bride is now formally married to Him;
  6. The groom emerges from the marital chamber announcing to the wedding party the reality of this new physical union (this step is equivalent of the church being with Christ during the seven year tribulation period (Dan. 9:27);
  7. The groom and the bride emerge from the marital chamber unveiled (this is equivalent to the Second Coming of Christ with the church).

Textual Details of John 14.1-4

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.”

Jesus has returned to heaven to prepare temporary dwelling places for the believer (14:2).  He then adds that He will come again.  The word “again” (palin) signifies that He will come back in the same manner.  Acts 1:9-11 provides that manner.  The word “to” (and receive you to Myself) is the word (pros) with the accusative denotes movement towards something; here, movement towards heaven. Next, in the phrase that where I am, there you may be also the word “where” refers to a specific location in the present and gives the designation of place (i.e. heaven). Lastly, the phrase where I am going has been used constantly throughout the gospel as the return of Jesus to the Father.  In summary Woods adds:

What all of these textual details reveal is that Christ would return through His

Ascension to His Father’s heavenly abode. While there, He would prepare temporary dwellings for His disciples. However, He would also return for His disciples at a future time. His return would be just as personal as was His First Coming and Ascension. Upon His return He would physically take believers to be with Him by spatially drawing them to Himself. The ultimate purpose of this event is so that believers could dwell in their prepared, temporal, heavenly places as well as be with Christ in the specific heavenly place where He is. All of this information would serve as a tremendous comfort to the disciples who were greatly troubled over the announcement over His soon departure (John 13:1). In fact, John 14:1 makes it clear that Christ unfolded the reality of this glorious event for the specific purpose of comforting His distressed disciples. Of course, such revelation of this phase of Christ’s return represents mystery truth never before disclosed. Its description is out of harmony with any past revelation

concerning the Messiah’s Second Advent. (Woods also furnishes sthe following early Ante-nicene church fathers who gave evidence of eschatological interpretation of John 14.1-4—Papias (ca 110), Irenaeus (ca. 130-202), Tertullian (ca. 196-212); Origen (ca. 182-251), and Cyprian (ca. 258)).

3.  1 Cor. 15:50-58

Paul in this chapter makes the following points:

  • in verses 1-22, he gives evidence for the physical bodily resurrection of Jesus;
  • in verses 12-34, he exclaims that without the physical resurrection of Christ believers are without hope;
  • in verses 35-49, he answers two questions: “How are the dead raised?” and “What kind of body do they have?”

“Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. “O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”

In verse 51 Paul explains a mystery. The word “Mystery” is used by Paul to disclose a divine revelation never before revealed.  While Daniel 12:2 presented key information about a future resurrection, never before has the Old Testament given any details about the rapture of the church.  Both 1 Cor. 15:52 and 1 Thess. 4:16 give the details of the rapture.  The trumpet blast signals the end of the Church Age while simultaneously translates the Church, the Body of Christ, in the twinkling of an eye.  Then Jesus takes His Bride into heaven for the duration of the tribulation period.

The resurrection of the Tribulation saints occurs only after the return of Christ and His victory over the Antichrist and False Prophet signified by His casting them into the Lake of Fire; at this time, He imprisons the Devil, Satan of old, in the Abyss.

At the outset, it was pointed out that only the Pre-Millennial, Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the church allows the imminent Return of Christ to drive the church to be obedient to the Great Commission.  But only the Pre-Millennial, Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the church allows for the Scriptures to be interpreted in a literal manner.  This view then teaches that Jesus could return any second and at His Return He will take the translated Church into heaven where He has prepared a temporary place for her protecting her from the tribulation, taking place on earth.  Following the purification of the bride at the judgment seat of Christ, Jesus will take the sealed Book that no one except for He was worthy to open.  After the horrors inflicted on the unbelievers leading to countless tribulation saints accept Christ as their Messiah, Jesus will return with his bride and defeat the armies of the anti-Christ.  He then begins the millennial rule of Christ upon the earth fulfilling God’s promise to David.

Is There A Literal, Future Second Coming of Jesus?

Is There A Literal, Future Second Coming of Jesus 

Jesus promised His disciples He would come again. It’s in the Bible, John 14:1-3, TLB. “Let not your heart be troubled. You are trusting God, now trust in Me. There are many homes up there where my Father lives, and I am going to prepare them for your coming. When everything is ready, then I will come and get you, so that you can always be with Me where I am. If this weren’t so, I would tell you plainly. And you know where I am going and how to get there.”Christ’s return will be literal and real. It’s in the Bible, Acts 1:10-11, TLB. “It was not long afterwards that He rose into the sky and disappeared into a cloud, leaving them staring after Him. As they were straining their eyes for another glimpse, suddenly two white-robed men were standing there among them, and said, ‘Men of Galilee, why are you standing here staring at the sky? Jesus has gone away to heaven, and some day, just as He went, He will return!'”
To read more, please visit this link .   Editor Note:  We do realize this is from a Seventh Day Adventist website and although we may not agree with all their doctrines, we do believe they did give an acceptable but “safe” overview of the literal, future second coming of Jesus Christ.

For additional teaching and more solid food about Rapture, Tribulation, Millennium (1000 year Reign) and 2nd Coming, Dr. David Hocking isn’t afraid to take this topic head on and explained this well in his famous, expository style of teaching.  He broke this down into two parts:  (1)  The Second Coming of Christ Part One.  (2) The Second Coming of Christ Part Two.  On this website, we hold to the views that Dr. David Hocking teaches although we discuss other views if requested.

Will All Men Be Saved?

John 3:15-18 addresses the two-fold split in mankind: Those who believe and those who have not believed in the Son of God.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

This two-fold split between those who believe and those who have not believed is further reinforced by the assignment of their eternal destiny.  To those who believe (trust) in Jesus’ atoning work and have received the free gift of God (Rom 6:23), are currently in possession of eternal life (John 3:15); and those who do not believe are condemned already (John 3:18) because they have not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

The clarity of Scriptures on this issue is without question.  So how could man believe that all will be save?  It seems to be that they value their own thoughts about God above His revealed Word.  They muse: “how could a loving God send people to hell?” In their thoughts a loving god could not. Why? Because, the bottom line is that all men know that they are sinners (Rom 3:23) and because of their offense they cannot stand before a Holy God. This intuitive knowledge that the creation possesses (Rom 1:20) drives men to reinterpret God in their own image.  On the off chance that a just god exits they want that god not to hold man accountable for their denial of available knowledge.  As Romans 1:18-20 states: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

So man suppresses the truth which God mad self-evident within them; so he stands without excuse or as John said condemned already.  For Paul goes on and adds in Rom 1:28-32: “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

Verse 32 is clear that man knows the ordinance of God; but more than that, they also know that those who practice such things are worthy of death. Hebrews 9:27 states: “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” So man will die and face judgment.  But in the next verse the confidence of the Christian hope is also stated: “so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.” So His death counts only to those who trust Him alone for their salvation, to those who eagerly await Him. Peter at Pentecost lays this out clearly as he explains God’s wonderful solution which He supplied to a lost and dying mankind (Acts 2:22-38): “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know—this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power…This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear…”Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ” Brethren, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

But it is verses 40-41 which demonstrate that man must have a Savior and that when he does, he is added to the body of Christ: “And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, ” Be saved from this perverse generation!” So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.”

The following verses also lead to this same inescapable conclusion: that Jesus death on the cross and His resultant resurrection demonstrates that it is through Jesus and He alone that salvation is bestowed.  But it is only bestowed on those who receive Christ through faith, those who have the Son, those whose names are found in the Book of Life.

John 14 :6 “Jesus  said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

John 3.36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

1 Tim 2:5-6 “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.”

1 John 5:11-12 “And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”

Revelation 20:15 “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

Copyright 2012 by Watchmen of Grace. (Permission provided to to display article in its entirety.)

Who is the Christian’s final authority, the senior pastor? The elders? The Word of God?

Who is the Christian’s ultimate authority, the senior pastor? The Elders? The Word of God?

The ultimate authority that all Christians are to follow is the Word of God! Carl F. H. Henry states: “Without an authoritative Scripture, the church is powerless to overcome not only human unregeneracy but also satanic deception. Where the church no longer lives by the Word of God it is left to its own devices and soon is overtaken by the temptations of Satan and the misery of sin and death (Carl F. H. Henry, “The Authority and Inspiration of the Bible, “ in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol 1). So if Christians merely acquiesces to a pastor or even a group of elders without going to God’s Word as did the Bereans in Acts 17.11: “Now  these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” he then opens himself up to either human unregeneracy or demonic deception.

Let’s review some pertinent passages:

John 17.17 ”Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

2 Tim 3.16-17 ”All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

Hebrews 4.12 ”For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

God’s Word comes out of God Himself and therefore has the authority of the one and only living God. From Him it is derived, from Him it is protected, and from Him through the Holy Spirit the Word will guide all Christians into all truth.

John 16.13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”

Now as to accepting without question what one is told by a pastor or by elders, the Bible clearly warns against this. Paul, before his arrest in Jerusalem, gathers the Elders from Ephesus to him at Miletus reminds them of the example that he set before them states: “And when they had come to him, he said to them, “You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house, solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 20.18-21).

He then warns them of the great dangers that the church of Christ will face:

“For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears” (Acts 20.27-31).

Notice he says from “ among your own selves men will arise” since he is speaking to the Elders it is probable that he means from among the Elders themselves!

Peter himself warns of this very problem. In 2 Peter 2, Peter lays out that this problem that faces the church is not new but in a lengthy argument arrives at the bottom line that God will “knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment” (2 Pet 2.9).

So God know how to both rescue the godly and keep the unrighteous for punishment. But it is in verse 1 that we see the very problem which Peter is addressing: “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves”  (2 Pet 2.1)

In 1 Tim 5.17-21: “The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning. I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality.”

Paul gives us two principles, which must be followed “without bias.” First, we are to give double honor to “those who work hard at preaching and teaching.” But second, “those who continue to sin rebuke in the presence of all

In summary then because of Satan’s attacks and man’s sin, All Christians are to obey God rather than man (Acts 5.29); they are to search the Scriptures to see if these things are true. (Acts 17.11). In other words, the ultimate authority for the Christian is the Word of God.

Copyright 2012 by Watchmen of Grace. (Permission provided to to display article in its entirety.)

Is It Possible for A Christian Church To Teach False Doctrine?

In 2 Peter 2:1, Peter states; “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.”

Peter affirms that it is not a question of if false teachers will come in among you but the certainty that they will be among you. But Peter furnishes their modus operandi: they “will secretly introduce destructive heresies.” It should also be obvious that their goal is to introduce destructive heresies.” The church seems to recognize these false teachers as teachers even though their message was not in accordance with God’s revealed Word.   This then illuminates two central issues the church must guard against.

First, the church, the body of Christ, must be careful in whom they recognize to be teachers-they must know their character and their doctrine.

And second, the church, the body of Christ, must know and view God’s Word as absolutely authoritative.

Paul in reference to these same false teachers provides a vivid and accurate characterization: savage wolves not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29). It is important not to fixate upon the false teachers’ motivation. It really doesn’t matter whether they are merely deluded or are seeking to delude; what does matter, as Peter warns, is that they introduce destructive heresies.” The word introduce” (pareisaxousin) means to bring in along side of, or to bring in something new.” Heibert stresses: “the context suggests the picture of introducing in an underhanded way” (D. Edmond Hiebert, “Second Peter and Jude: an Expositional Commentary, p. 88) Lenski maintains that the full force of the verb means to bring in sneakingly, covertly, so that the unwary will not discern what these false teachers are really doing. The bottom line is that they “introduce destructive heresies.” These false teachings cause destruction. Their self-chosen views alter the foundational moorings of Christianity; and hence, threaten the church, which Jesus Christ purchased with His blood (Acts 20:28). They continually deny the Person and work of Christ; they deny His absolute authority over the lives of men. In this reference please remember that true Christians gladly proclaim that they “have been bought with a price” and that they “are not their own” (1 Cor 6:20,19).

We must note the result of this false teaching: “Many will follow” (2 Pet 2:2). The word “will follow” (exakolouthesousin) denotes that they will follow out, or obey these false teachers. However, many will not recognize, according to Luke 6:26, that they are dealing with false teachers or if they do they will speak well of them anyway. But it is the word, “many” which denotes the farreaching result of their teaching. They will amass many followers.

While the destruction of the false teachers is not in doubt (2 Pet 2:17-22), their ultimate error was that they “turned away from the holy commandment handed down to them” (2 Pet 2:21). But, in addition to building an increasing number of adherents leading them astray, they also accomplish that “because of them the way of the truth will be maligned” (2 Pet 2:2). The “way of the truth” designates the Christian life long goal of living in complete harmony with the truth as embodied in the Incarnate Word of God who’s way is truth and results in life (John 14:6). And yet, it is this pure way, which results in it being “maligned.” This word denotes “being reviled and defamed.”

If we turn our attention to several of the churches of Revelation, we will ascertain the resultant judgments that will fall upon churches that allow false teachers to go unimpeded. The Book of Revelation was written a mere twenty-five or thirty years after that of Second Peter. To the church at Pergamum, He writes: But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. ‘Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword ofMy mouth” (Rev 2:14-16).

To the church of Thyatira, He writes:

“But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality. Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. ‘And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds” (Rev 2:20-23).

To the church at Sardis, He writes:

“Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight ofMy God. ‘So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you” (Rev 3:2-3).

It should become obvious that Jesus wants His church to keep His Word and to remain pure from false teachers and their heresy. The Bible gives extensive warnings. Jesus, through Paul, provides to both Timothy and Titus, who were to prepare and appoint Elders in many churches, the following exhortations: 1 Tim 4:1-2 “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron.” 1 Tim 4:6 “In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following.” 1 Tim 4:16 “Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.”

1 Tim 6:3 “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness.”

2 Tim 3:13-16 “But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

Titus 1:9 “holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.”

Titus 2:1 “But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.”

Titus 2:15 “These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.” Copyright 2012 by Watchmen of Grace. (Permission provided to to display article in its entirety.)