Senior Pastor & Radio Host
Calvary Chapel Aventura
The Church will not experience the wrath of God?
Vic Batista: Nathan, you mentioned something that I thought was very cool regarding the Church will not experience the wrath of God. The way you said it was so cool. You said, "We would not beat up our bride and then marry her." Was it something like that Nathan? Can you share with us about that?
Nathan Jones: Sure! Some get the general idea, and they are called Post-Tribulationist, they believe that the Rapture will happen post or after the Tribulation. That would mean then that the wrath of God shows no distinction between those He loves and those He hates.
Now, certainly, on earth there is lots of suffering. You and I and everyone of us have gone through something, but that has been at the hands of man or the hands of Satan. The wrath of God is something totally different. It is God's anger for rebellion and sin. Well, if it is anger for rebellion and sin and believers in Christ are considered pure and holy before God because He sees Jesus in front of us, then our wrath it isn't. Would God beat up His Son? Well, in truth one time He allowed it. He did allow Him to be put on the cross, but God allowed that sacrifice that one time for Jesus' victory and our salvation. So, no, we are not destined for God's wrath whatsoever.
I just couldn't picture myself beating up my wife and thinking afterwards she would love me. Why would I feel the same way towards God if all the time He is tormenting me and torturing me? If that is His love, then no way would we choose a God like that!
So, no, to me the Rapture is happening before the Tribulation. To me it is a no brainer, and I think a Pre-Trib Rapture is very biblical.
Vic Batista: Thank you so much, Nathan! Would you also agree that maybe it is a lack of understanding of what grace is?
Don Perkins: I would say that, too.
Another point I want to add to what he was saying is in regards to this: I always go back to the purpose of the Tribulation. If we fully understand what God is doing in that event, we will understand that the Church has no part of it. It is a different dispensation. It is a different time. The Tribulation is designed as I shared in my message to bring national Israel to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. They will literally accept Christ. You know Jesus prophesied, God prophesied through His Word, that Israel would go through a season when they will receive a false Christ. Today, obviously, the majority of Israel does not honor Christ. God is repopulating the land now and what is going to happen in the Tribulation is He is basically preparing them now for that time of tribulation. So, for me, when we understand the purpose of the Tribulation, it removes the confusion of it. It takes all of the confusion away from it.
Vic Batista: Thank you so much, Don, that was awesome! Also the term "escapist," I don't know about anybody else, but I'm fine with that.
Nathan Jones: Amen!
Vic Batista: I mean, really, when you think about it, why would as one of you mentioned with the illustration of that guy who was willing to have his head cut off, be so excited to be willing to serve God like that? But, we can thank Jesus that His Word is true and that we won't even have to go through the Tribulation period. We can thank Him for His grace and His goodness.
I also believe it is just a lack of understanding of the true biblical teachings of the Word of God.
Will there be games and animals and work in Heaven?
Vic Batista: You guys have done such an excellent job in clarifying so many issues for us. For instance, Heaven it is not a boring place, but it's an awesome place. But, Nathan, I wanted to ask you, will there be gaming in Heaven?
Nathan Jones: I will turn you over to our resident expert on sports — Steve Howell.
Steve Howell: If there is a Heaven then it must include hockey. I can see no other way that God could not have this. No, I am going to stop before I get in trouble!
Don Perkins: I think again that we need to understand that eternity is practical. Everything we experience here I believe we will experience in the eternal world, but without sin. You know hockey is not sin. Hockey is a sport. It is not sin.
Animals, too, aren't sin. We will have animals in the eternal world. I get this question all the time, "Brother Perkins, will there be animals in Heaven? Will there be animals in eternity?" I answer that God made animals in the beginning before the Fall.
We make Heaven so spiritual that we miss the practicality of eternity, in that everything we experience today we will have in the New World, yet without sin.
I believe that we will have technology and I believe that we will have jobs, which was always the will of God. When God made Adam, he told Adam to till the ground, and that was before the Fall. When I make that statement that we will have jobs in eternity, people go, "Whoa!" No, it has always been the will of God that we work. Heaven will not be a place full of lazy people.
So, we've got to keep it practical, and the things we experience today we'll have those things in Heaven, yet without sin.
Vic Batista: I love that! Excellently practical! It's so true, we aren't just going to be floating around on clouds doing nothing.
How amazing will Heaven be?
Vic Batista: Nathan, you made a great point about how vast the universe is out there. And, concerning work and responsibility, the opportunities to serve the Almighty God will be just incredible! I loved it when you mention that, because too often we look at the Scriptures and we read just a few verses and we think that it is we'll be put in charge of just a few cities. For me, I'm thinking the town of Aventura where I am pastoring. But, no, there is a whole vast universe out there that we don't even have a clue about, and over that is going to be what we are going to be serving our God. I want for you to just share a little more regarding that, Nathan.
Nathan Jones: I think we are all victims of our limited imaginations. What I mean by that really is what we perceive is what we think Heaven is going to be like. Our limited imaginations see only what we would like and dislike, and we end up not being very creative about it.
The Bible does give us hints and things about the scope of the universe, but as 1 Corinthians 2:9 says our minds cannot conceive it all. Physically we are incapable of conceiving what God has planned for us and has prepared for us. What ends up suffering is the wonder of it all.
The hints the Bible gives us about Heaven reminds me of Christmas time. With Christmas when you are a kid there's always the wonder of what is waiting down there at the Christmas tree. You just don't know. You know there are pretty boxes and their shapes might be shaped to kind of give you a hint if it is a bike or something like that, but overall we really don't know what the actual item is. Like a wrapped box, the Bible can and does tell us a lot of things about what's in the Heaven box. We can trust that with God's infinitely creative mind, Heaven is more incredible than the details our imaginations will ever give us.
How smart will we be in Heaven?
Vic Batista: Nathan hit on something important in that right now we are really only using a limited capacity of our brain, say 10%. Imagine how smart we'll be as we develop our understanding while in our glorified bodies. The things we'll learn are going to be just incredible. What do you think, Don?
Don Perkins: I think we will have the fullness of everything that we lost with Adam. Think about Adam, when God made Adam he was a brilliant man. Think about it, he named all the animals the Scripture says. What a mind that can name the animals!
So, I believe we will be restored to that kind of mind and we will use the brain fully in what God has given. We have examples of this when we see certain people that are geniuses. They have the ability to calculate and do certain amazing mental things. They can use a little more of their brain than the average individual. I believe in the eternal world we will have the full 100% use of that brain, and so I think it will be awesome for us.
Vic Batista: I can't wait! I think that is awesome.