Ask Your Preacher
We recently had a man from the congregation preach for us, and as he talked, he told the unfortunate story of how his son's life was not in accordance with God's will and how he wished so much that he could even share a meal with him, but because of his sinful state, he could not be around him. Is this the kind of separation the Bible teaches we are to have from those outside Christ? How can we be a light to those not in Christ if we can't speak a word to them?
Dear Seems Harsh,
It sounds like this man’s son became a Christian and then fell away. When that happens, the church is told to show tough love and separate themselves from the wayward brother or sister. We are commanded to “withdraw from” and “have no company with” an ungodly Christian (2 Thess 3:6, 1 Cor 5:1-13). We are to do this for the sinner’s own good, hoping it will bring shame on them, and they will repent (2 Thess 3:14). This is really a loving thing to do even though it is a hurtful and sorrowful act for all people involved. The church is given strict orders to withdraw and not associate with a wayward brother or sister (1 Cor 5:13).
However, the immediate family doesn’t have the same “black and white” guidelines. In fact, we see that in some scenarios, the family is commanded to do the opposite – as in the case of an unbelieving spouse (1 Cor 7:13). Sometimes the family has a greater influence by still associating with the wayward Christian… in other cases, the family finds the best way to help the sinning loved one is to separate themselves. When dealing with immediate family, there are wisdom and judgment calls involved.
It is important to note that when a Christian turns back to a life of sin, the church is supposed to separate themselves from them… but that command only applies to wayward Christians. The apostle Paul specifically tells us that we should try to draw near and affect the lives of sinners that haven’t ever obeyed the gospel (1 Cor 5:9-10). Christians should seek to be lights in the world and examples to those who have never known Christ.
How do we tell if we are ready to be killed for our faith in God and automatically know that we will go to heaven?
Martyr In Training
Dear Martyr In Training,
Though some Christians are placed in a position where they are killed for their faith, God doesn't command all Christians to die for Him – instead, He tells us to be living sacrifices (Rom 12:1). We need to live our lives in a way that is faithful until death... not faithfully seeking death (Rev 2:10). We are even told to pray for a quiet life of godliness if at all possible (1 Tim 2:2). If we must forfeit our lives for Christ, so be it. But we don't go seeking violence.
I have an enormous fear of the Rapture and the return of Jesus. It all started when I was, like, five years old. My grandfather was an Assemblies of God pastor, and they showed a film about the Rapture (meant for adults) one Sunday night. It was shot in the 70's. This was, like, in 1988 or so... but I have had nightmares and feared it since then. Now I find myself watching the news constantly and cherishing my time with my family. I am seriously tortured. I try to live a good life. I pray everyday. I am not much of a reader, but I try to read God’s word; I recently bought a devotional Bible to ignite my reading more. I try and tithe 10%. My only hang-up is that I cuss sometimes, but I am convicted of that. I just want to make sure all my ducks are in a row, so I can make it to heaven, and I want to share with my family. It's so hard to talk about these things with others. It seems they don't understand. Hopefully, someone can help me onto the right path.
You don’t need to worry about the Rapture or some sort of apocalyptic tribulation following it because those events aren’t in the Bible. They may make for a riveting movie to scare people, but it isn’t from the Bible. On the other hand, you are right to want to prepare for heaven! We’ll talk a little bit about preparing for the Judgment Day after explaining the Rapture.
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). There are five things the Bible says you must do to be saved and prepare for that great day. Read “Five Steps To Salvation” and then email us back if we can help you find a faithful church that will teach the truth and help you get to heaven.
Am I awesome?
An awesome God made you in His image and that is some awe-inspiring news. Here is some more:
God says that Christians are His people, an elect race, and a royal priesthood (1 Pet 2:9). Christians have a hope of heaven as their anchor (Heb 6:19). You don’t get much more awesome than being on your way to heaven and a chosen child of God!
When people die, do they go to the Hadean world? Is Hades separated into two parts: paradise and torment?
Where To Next?
Dear Where To Next,
The Day of Judgment will only happen once, and then all of mankind will be divided between heaven and hell (Rev 20:12-15). However, until that time, all the dead will wait in Hades. Hades (also known as Sheol) is the place of the dead, both the good dead and the bad dead. The word ‘Hades’ literally means ‘the unseen place’. Within Hades, there are two areas where people wait for the final judgment. All of the faithful who die wait in the good part of Hades called ‘Paradise’ (2 Cor 12:4, Lk 23:43). All of the wicked who die wait in a part of Hades known only as ‘torments’ (Lk 16:23).