Monday, July 6, 2009

Scripture Sleuthing

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

I love Bible study, and one of the forms of Bible study I enjoy the most is what I call "Scripture sleuthing."

This is when I search the Scriptures diligently and in-depth to try to locate every verse related to a particular topic or question, usually one that is very controversial, like, "Will people who have heard the Gospel before the Rapture still be able to respond to the Gospel after the Rapture?"

You may not agree with my conclusion, but that's okay, as long as your conclusion is also based on the Scriptures. The fact of the matter is that it is not possible to find definitive answers in the Bible to all the questions we have. And often the verses we may be able to find about a particular topic can be interpreted in different ways.

1 Corinthians 13:12 says, "For now we see in a mirror dimly. But then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully..." What is this verse talking about? I think it is referring to when we will be standing face to face with Jesus Christ. But then, others may interpret it differently.

One thing is certain. When I do stand face to face with Jesus, I have a long list of Bible questions already prepared that I hope He will provide answers to. For example, "Who are the mysterious people living in the flesh who are pictured as dwelling on the New Earth outside the New Jerusalem in the eternal state?" (Rev. 21:24-27 and 22:2).

I also have a lot of questions for the Apostle Paul. Even the Apostle Peter was mystified by some of Paul's writings (2 Pet. 3:16)!

God's plan of salvation — grace through faith in His Son Jesus — is clearly spelled out in the Bible. But for understanding beyond that, there are two essentials. One is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, a gift each person receives at the moment of salvation. The second essential is what a former colleague of mine, Dennis Pollock, always called "the dirty five-letter word." It is STUDY.

I once had a person ask me, "Why didn't God just give us a clear and precise list of all future prophecies in their proper order? And, in like manner, why didn't He provide us with a 1, 2, 3 type list of how a church is to be organized and governed and how we are to conduct a worship service?"

The best answer to this question I have ever run across is one that I pasted in the front of my Bible many years ago. It was penned by Jimmy Swaggart:

"Strange as it may seem, I believe the latitude within Scripture is a circumstance deliberately set up by God to allow us more scope with which to work out the precise direction our lives are to take within God's plan. Certainly the Father could have, in His perfection, foreseen the controversy arising from the sometimes less than explicit language of the Bible. He could have written a cold, lifeless manual precisely spelling out every conceivable theological question, along with specific explanation on any particular subject. But He didn't do this. He left us room to grow, develop, and learn through our need to search the Scripture."

In short, as we spend time in God's Word seeking to better understand it, we are drawn into an ever deeper relationship with Him.

28 comments:

Byron Ridlen said...

Sherlock what is your conclusion to "Will people who have heard the Gospel before the Rapture still be able to respond to the Gospel after the Rapture?" You give us the teaser and then no answer? Don't leave us hanging!?!?!?

Billy said...

Byron,

The way I read that is that question was an example of the type of question he may ask. He wasn't really asking that specific question.

Then his "conculsion" meant any conclusion to any question he may pose.

I don't think the question was meant to be answered.

Nathan Jones said...

Right-o, Billy! Dr. Reagan would answer that question, though, with:

There is no doubt that there will be a great harvest of souls after the Rapture (Revelation 7:9-14). Some will be convicted by the Rapture itself. Others will be converted by the preaching of either the Two Witnesses in Jerusalem (Revelation 11) or the 144,000 Jewish disciples who will proclaim the Gospel (Revelation 7). Some will repent in response to the judgments of God (Isaiah 26:9). Others will respond to an angel of God who will preach the "eternal gospel" to all the world at the end of the Tribulation, right before the final pouring out of God's wrath (Revelation 14:6).

The controversial issue is whether or not those who have heard the Gospel before the Rapture and have rejected it will be allowed to respond and be saved after the Rapture. Some take the position that such people will be able to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior after the Rapture. I hope they are right about this. But not all prophecy teachers would agree. The reason for the controversy is a passage in 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 which seems to indicate that such people will continue to reject the Gospel after the Rapture. Here's the passage. Read it for yourself and draw your own conclusion:

"And then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness."

This passage seems to teach that people who have rejected the truth before the Rapture will continue to do so. Because of this passage, I cannot say with absolute confidence that those who have rejected the Gospel before the Rapture will have the possibility of accepting it afterwards. I hope they are right, but I would not want to give such people any false hope.

Junbuggg said...

Nathan, I, like you hope that people that did not accept Jesus before the rapture, will be able to afterwards. The scripture you quoted is one that I have often wondered about myself. I have come in to contact with people that do believe in God, but that have truly not accepted Him yet (I was one of those at one point in my life) and then there are those that absolutely DENY. It is my hope that this scripture has a few clauses that we don't know about....if you see what I mean.

Buggg

hartdawg said...

people who reject christ whether they can be saved i believe depends on WHY they rejct christ. people reject christ cuz 1.they only heard it once or twice 2. the simply havent grasped it 3. they simply procracinated 4. they simply love their sin too much and have hardened their hearts. it is these who wont be saved after the rapture (or before) in fact the passage even says "they perish cuz they DID NOT LOVE THE TRUTH" i know people in all categories as i imagine most of you do. make sense?

hartdawg said...

concerning the topic at hand, its o.k to come to different conclusions like "can one lose their salvation" or "are the gifts for today including speaking in toungues". the 2 things that tick me off are 1. people who make a secondary issue a primary issue and fight, argue, divide and bash anyone who disagreee 2. people who say its secondary therefore not important and wont discuss, teach, or anything.

Anonymous said...

Hartdawg at 12:36 - I like the points you made.

RG

Billy said...

My take: Perhaps the Rapture will be an eye opener to some. This event may be the catalyst to bring them to Christ.

Remember, Saul knew about Christ and was persecuting Christians. Yet his heart was opened to the Lord and He became Paul, etc. It wasn't too late for him though he was against the Lord.

So, from that example I'd say yes, you still could turn to the Lord after the Rapture.

I told one of my Jewish friends about the Rapture and a concise end times lesson. I told her if Christians disappear it's because the Lord took us to be with Him. She said if that happens she would be open to belief in Jesus. I hope she meant it and has the opportunity after the Rapture (though I wish she would come to know Jesus NOW).

And I almost forgot...from what I see on Lamb & Lion's home page this website itself is a tool for those left behind after the Rapture to come to know the Lord.

(I don't claim to be 100% right on this issue - it's only my speculation).

son of thunder said...

I would assume that, since there will be people who come to Messiah during Jacob's Trouble, that people who had previously rejected the Gospel will be able to accept it.

It seems to me that 2 Thess. 2:8-12 is about a certain group of people who are absolutely so hardened that there is no chance of warming their cold hearts. People who refuse to look at what's right in front of them and see it for what it is. An example would be people who look at the judgments on the earth during the Trib. and credit it to "climate change."

Billy said...

After re-reading the Bible passages in Nathan's post...I'm not so sure about the fate of those people. Looks like they may be lost.

hartdawg said...

again, the issue is WHY they rejected christ

Byron said...

I would like to do some more sleuthing... why does God give them a second chance? Romans 1:20 says that we are with our excuse if we reject God! I don't know one way or the other, this is why I am so interested in the answers. Thank you for responding!

Byron said...

Ooops should be 'Romans 1:20 says that we are without excuse if we reject God!

20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Junbuggg said...

Byron,

Are you refering to "second chance" as in going thru the tribulation and accepting Christ during that time? If you are, I believe, and I could be wrong of course, but I believe that as long as we have a breath of life still in us, we have the ability to accept Christ as our savior. It is after we have taken that last breath, that choices are over.

As for Romans 1:20, and I think you need to back it up a bit to verse 18, and then proceed.....I think the message here is that God has revealed Himself in everything, nature and people. But some, those that truly reject, do so because they have made a "mental challenge" out of it, so to speak. They have chosen things or ways, of this world, that are not in alignment with God, and love it, and won't give it up for anyone, not even God. They "choose" in their mind, and it absolutely is a mental choice, to say there is no God (REJECT) and I belive that the phrase "so that men are without excuse" is the situation that will exist as one is standing before Christ at judgement.

Now, if you read on down to verse 24, about how God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts....I look at that like this...you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink it, and therefore you just have to let him stand there. He has been shown the way to the water, and it is totally up to him to drink it or not....if you see what I mean.

That's just my pennies worth, and I look forward to reading everyone elses ~ always looking for insite.

Buggg

Nathan Jones said...

Romans 1 looks back to "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'" (Ps. 14:1; 53:1). The person knows in their mind that there is a God from the general revelation of the complexity of nature needing a Creator, but because of their desire to stay in rebellion and sin against God choose not to accept the evidence. They therefore are foolish, because they're choosing the penny's worth of sin rather than the priceless spiritual riches of God.

The humanist philospher Aldous Huxley once said, "I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning... The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do... For myself, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political."

son of thunder said...

My reading tells me that there is a second chance until that last breath OR taking AC's number. There is no chance if you're still alive during the Tribulation and you willingly choose to reject God's one last offer and take that number. Taking that number also means choosing sides. After taking his number there's no going back.

A famous evolutionist said once that they don't want there to be a God. If there is a God, then they are ultimately answerable to Him. And that's something human pride just doesn't want.

They are without excuse.

Nature speaks of a Creator: it's way too organized and complex to be otherwise. A recent episode of the History Channel's "Monster Quest" was about possible pterodactyls in Papua New Guinea. One of the evolutionists on the episode (they actually allowed a creationist on, too) says they have no transitional fossils for these creatures (they have none for anything, but that's a different story), they just appear complete and whole in the fossil record and THEY CAN'T EXPLAIN IT! One Book does explain it, but they won't look.

They are without excuse.

Anonymous said...

It is my opinion, and I am just a regular ole bible studier, that before Jesus, God's focus was on Israel. The Gentiles were never part of salvation. But when Israel rejected Jesus, God turned the Kingdom over to the Gentiles "until the fullness of Gentiles come in". When The Church Age is over at the Rapture, Jacobs trouble begins. God turns His focus back on Israel. It is my opinion that those who rejected the Gospel will be given the delusion. They are lost. In my opinion

SteveM

Junbuggg said...

Steve,
Thanks for that post, and for reminding me of something I have always been puzzled about, but that never made it on the blogg to inquire about.
Before Jesus, God's focus was on Israel......"the gentiles were never part of salvation"

Someone, anyone, please help me to understand this. What if the Jews had not rejected......would we (the gentiles) have just been here along for the ride, so to speak, until we were sent to hell???

I hope that didn't sound awful....but I just don't get it.

Buggg

Anonymous said...

God's focus was on the Jews first you say? Well, were Adam and Eve Jewish? I don't believe they were. God's focus was on MANKIND as a whole. He chose the Jews as the instrument that would bring the Answer to our problem of sin and separation--Jesus.

Answer this, does God love Jews more than Gentiles? Did He in the past?

If He loves both equally today, then He loved both equally in the past. That is an unchanging quality of God.

No, the Bible says this, "God so loved the world." Not just Jews, but ALL the people in the world.

Laura

Anonymous said...

Romans 11:11 says "through their (the Jews) fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the gentiles". If it "has come" to them, then it had to have been not with them to begin with.

Israel is the natural branch of the olive tree. The gentiles were grafted in when the Jews rejected Jesus. If the gentiles had to be grafted in, they had to not be a part of the tree to begin with.


SteveM

Byron said...

Can you give me your references to why you believe people will get a second chance? Rom 1:20-25 says that 'For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen'. Who are the ones that have not heard the Gospel? I think people are in two categories saved & lost. You are with Christ or against him. Who are the 144,000 preaching to? Who are the martyred souls in heaven? What happens to the 144,000? What if you don't get a second chance and the 144000 are the martyrs? They are marked but are they protected? just thoughts i would throw out. ?????

Anonymous said...

The 144,000 are Jews from every tribe. They are preaching to the whole world. But the delusion has the Gentiles believing the lie of the Anitchrist. So, in essence, they are really preaching to the Jews. In Revealtion 14 we see the 144,000 standing on Mt Zion. They are in Heaven. YEA them!! The martyred souls, in my very unprofessional opinion, are Jews that are converted during the Tribulation. The remark about the 144,000 being the martyred is a very good point. I never thought of it that way.

Another reason I believe that the Gentiles are not saved in the Tribulation is that after the rapture, we see the Church at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. The Church, which is the gentiles saved during the Age of Grace, is the Bride. If the Bride is with Jesus at the Marriage, then where would the other gentiles go when they are saved? Like I said, this is my very unprofessional opinion on things. I don't mean to start any trouble or offend anyone.

SteveM

Anonymous said...

Steve, long before Romans was written, the OT says that Christ would be salvation to the Gentiles. I believe God planned it that way from the very beginning. He does not just love one group of people. He loves all people and He sent His son to die for all. And ALL who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (whether Jew or Gentile).

Laura

Junbuggg said...

Now I am really confused ~

Anonymous said...

I totally agree that Jesus is the Savior of the Gentiles. And I agree that the Old Testament spoke of it. God knows everything. He knew that the Jews would reject Jesus and that as Romans says "salvation has come to the gentiles". We can agree to disagree on this. :)

SteveM

Nathan Jones said...

Israel's original mission was to show God to the world through the Temple sacrifices and the Law. Gentiles would be drawn to God because of the Jew and could become Jews themselves (example Ex. 12:48). For many reasons, this didn't work and few Gentiles were drawn to become Jews during the OT.

In the NT Church Age, we are also a light to the world, but instead of drawing in we go out into the world (Acts 1:8) to reach both Jew and Gentile alike.

Two different methods of evangelism for all the peoples of the Earth, but one purpose - to draw people to a saving faith in God.

Anonymous said...

I stand corrected. Thanks Nathan

SteveM

Junbuggg said...

Thanks Nathan, for helping me to understand, finally. :-)