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Ask Your Preacher

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Up In The Air

Sunday, December 05, 2010
At what point in The Great Tribulation are we, the church, raptured?  I struggle to understand who this "multitude" mentioned in Revelation chapter 7 is and at what time they arrived.  Is there any information from the Bible that gives us any idea of when we will be raptured?  Do we suffer through the tribulation with the unsaved?  Do we all die as martyrs?  Do we get "caught up" before the Tribulation begins?

Sincerely,
Looking Ahead

Dear Looking Ahead,

The word ‘rapture’ means ‘caught up’ in Latin.  The term ‘rapture’ is used to describe an event that many think will take place right before the days of tribulation in Revelation.  The problem with this theory is that it is wrong.  There will be a time when all christians will be caught up into the air to be with Christ – the end of time (1 Thess 4:14-18).  The book of Revelation doesn’t describe events in the future; it describes events in the past.  The book of Revelation deals with problems that the church was to “shortly” see come to pass (Rev 1:1).

Furthermore, the tribulation taught by many denominations is based off of a misinterpretation of Matthew chapter twenty-four.  Matt 24 is dealing with the fall of Jerusalem and destruction of the Jewish temple that would happen in 70 AD.  If we carefully pay attention to the context, Jesus is talking about the Jewish temple’s destruction, not a worldwide trial thousands of years in the future (Matt 24:1-2).  Jesus specifically said that the tribulation would occur within that generation’s lifetime (Matt 24:34).

There will be a day when all the faithful are caught up to meet Christ in the heavens.  The day He returns (Acts 1:11), all mankind will be judged at the same time (Jhn 5:28-29).  In that great day (Jude 1:6), the whole world will be burned up with fire (2 Pet 3:10-12).  There will be no post-tribulation, pre-tribulation, semi-tribulation, etc.; there will only be the great Day of Judgment (2 Pet 3:7, 1 Jn 4:17). If you would like a more in-depth look at the book of Revelation, we have a series of classes on the book that can be found at sermons.mvchurchofchrist.org.

Home Alone

Saturday, December 04, 2010
Hi.  I have this issue of feeling alone.  I'm twenty-six and male, and never have I once had a relationship with a woman.  I'm extremely lonely to the point where I would throw myself in a bad experience just to validate my existence.  I pray every night to God for help.  I usually get so lonely I end up committing sins like porn, masturbation, etc.  It's not because I want to; it’s because I do it out of habit from being alone for so long.  The longer I wait, the more I think my soul mate doesn't exist.  Every time I think I have a chance with someone, I always find out they’re in a relationship, etc.  I love God, and even with my flaws, God is with me.  It's just that I feel deep loneliness and a longing for companionship.

Sincerely,
Alone

Dear Alone,

You have eloquently articulated what is the root of your problem – loneliness.  Now it is time to take charge of your life and remove that loneliness.  When we desperately want a spouse, we can sometimes become myopic and forget that dating isn’t the only way to fill our lives with friendship.  The problem is loneliness; the solution is to get involved in peoples’ lives.  God tells us to replace bad habits with good ones (Lk 11:24-26).  By your own admission, you have the habit of being alone.  Get involved in the lives of others – go to church (we can help you find a faithful one in your area), socialize with people your age, hang out in public places like Starbucks instead of lingering alone at home, volunteer at local non-profit organizations like the food bank or the animal shelter.  In short, get out and get active.  You have no control over whether or not you are in a romantic relationship, but you have a great deal of control over how active your life is.

Best Tent Ever

Friday, December 03, 2010
Could you please explain what Exodus 40 is talking about?

Sincerely,
Out Of Egypt

Dear Out Of Egypt,

Exodus 40 is discussing the completion of the tabernacle.  The tabernacle was a structure that God designed and told the Israelites to build (Ex 25:9).  It was a large tent structure that could be put together and broken down whenever necessary, so the Israelites could take it with them as they traveled in the wilderness.  The tabernacle was where the priests made the sacrifices, burned the incense, and asked for forgiveness of sins for the people.  Exodus 40 explains that after all the individual pieces were created, Moses had the Israelites put the tabernacle together for the first time.  God was pleased with them because they had followed the pattern He had given them.  He showed His approval by filling the tabernacle (Ex 40:34).

Wine Ain't Fine

Thursday, December 02, 2010
Is it a sin to drink wine?

Sincerely,
Just A Sip

Dear Just A Sip,

God never specifically condemns drinking wine, but He does condemn ‘strong drink’ (Pr 20:1), drinking parties (1 Pet 4:3), and drunkenness (Rom 13:13).  Almost all alcohol that is consumed today would fall into the category of ‘strong drink’ because our alcoholic beverages are artificially fermented to increase their alcoholic content (unlike the wine of Jesus’ day – read “That’s Just Grape” for further details on the wine Jesus drank).  We would all do well to heed the words of Pr 23:31-32 and avoid alcohol as much as is possible.

All My Children Pt. 3

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

(This question is a follow-up to “All My Children Pt. 2”)

Thanks for the explanation about Bible versions.  I still have another follow-up regarding the sons of God topic.  There are some people who believe that these sons of God are fallen angels, not men.  Then comes Matthew 22:30, stating angels don't marry, but some argue that Matthew was referring only to angels in heaven, like it says in the verse, not fallen angels, so this does not apply to fallen angels.  Two questions: How would you counter this argument about sons of God being angels, and what does Matthew 22:30 really say about angels whether in heaven or fallen?

Sincerely,
Text Perplexed

Dear Text Perplexed,

The viewpoint that the “sons of God” in Gen 6:2 are fallen angels is best argued by reminding them that if you are going to say that there are people on this planet that are genetically part angelic being… you’d better be able to back it up!  The responsibility is theirs to prove they are right – not ours to disprove it.  Gen 6:2 is only one verse that can be taken either way (as we mentioned in the previous post “All My Children”).  If angels really did intermarry with humans, there would have to be other, clearer verses that specifically state that humans are related to angels.  The fact is there are verses that talk about angels and people… Heb 2:9-18 clearly states that humans and angels aren’t made the same, and they aren’t related to one another.

Which also answers your second question – Matt 22:30 simply says that angels don’t marry – simple as that.

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