Friday, August 24, 2012

Revelation Panel: Salvation After the Rapture - Part 2

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Over the next few weeks we will continue to share with you the opinions of 13 Bible prophecy experts concerning various questions related to the book of Revelation. Some of the remaining members of our panel of Bible prophecy experts will continue to address:

#6. What about those who hear the Gospel before the Rapture and reject it, can they be saved during the Tribulation?

Don McGee, Crown and Sickle Ministries
That's an interesting question, and the answer that I have is, yes, they will have the opportunity to be saved after the Rapture. The way I see it is this, the passage in question that Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians has to do with the Tribulation period. That's when people will hear the Gospel and their hearts will be hardened against it and they simply will not want to have anything to do with it. If you look at this passage, you also see that what Paul said in Romans 1, which is basically the same thing. He said that there are people who simply don't want to believe. Their hearts are hardened, so God is going to give them their ultimate judgment, which is He is going to give them exactly what they asked for. If you look at this carefully you'll see that both Romans 1 and the passage in 2 Thessalonians are actually saying the same thing, just at two different times.

The hearts of men can be very wicked and evil, and there will be hatred of God and a hatred of God's Word. We see that today even, and the world will see it during the Tribulation period. At the same time, there are people whose hearts are permeable. I believe that there will be people during the Tribulation who have heard the Gospel earlier in their lives or they will see it maybe in a new light. Though they rejected the Gospel, yet their hearts were not so hardened as we see in Romans 1. They I believe will hear it again, and this time perhaps because of events that are happening around them will accept Jesus as their Savior.

Ed Hindson, World Prophetic Ministry
I think ultimately only the Lord knows that for sure. The debate there is really over how one interprets the passage in 2 Thessalonians 2. That they will all believe a lie and be condemned, does that mean everybody who rejects the Lord and continues to reject the Lord before the Rapture that after the Rapture tends to believe the lie and will not be converted? Or, does Paul mean if they had an opportunity to hear the truth but they willfully and deliberately rejected the truth?

Technically in the text of 2 Thessalonians 2 it doesn't say they heard the truth and willfully rejected it. It simply says they didn't believe it and instead they believed the lie. If they ever did hear it may be a matter of debate.

I was saved as a young person and grew up in a church that preached very strongly that if you don't get saved before the Rapture you will not have a chance after the Rapture. There are many good people who teach Bible prophecy that believe you will have another chance after the Rapture. They believe that it's almost impossible to think the grace of God has limited itself to only speaking to you once, and if you've made a rejection at one point you'll never have another opportunity.

For me, I believe that, yes, people will have an opportunity to be saved after the Rapture, but the tragedy is very few will. Most will not. Constantly through the book of Revelation it says, "And they did not repent. And they did not repent. And they did not repent." I remind people all the time, if you're not going to accept Christ in an age of peace and prosperity for the most part, why in the world do you think you would accept Him after the Rapture when you are going to get your head cut off for your faith in Christ? Why would you even take that chance? Plus, you don't even know if you are going to live until the Rapture comes. So, if you can't say "Yes" to Jesus and live for Him now, why do you think you are going to be willing to say "Yes" and die for Him later? You'd better not take any chances. You need to come to Christ right now.

Mark Hitchcock, Faith Bible Church
There is a question that often gets asked. These people who have heard the Gospel clearly before the Rapture and they reject it and then the Rapture comes, these are the people who are going to be doomed and not have an opportunity to be saved. This is based on 2 Thessalonians 2 where it talks about those who reject the love of God so as not to receive the truth and the therefore believe the lie.

Many say people who rejected the Gospel clearly are finished after the Rapture. They are done getting any more chances. The difficulty I have with that view is if one reads 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 in the context of that chapter, I believe it's talking about people during the Tribulation period who reject the truth of the Gospel and believe the lie, that is the lie that the Antichrist is God. So, in other words, they rejected the Gospel, they've not accepted Christ, and they've turned to worshipping the Antichrist. I think what Paul is saying is that the people who will accept the Antichrist during the Tribulation period God then is going to send upon them it says "strong delusion." That's kind of like once they've made their choice during the Tribulation for Antichrist, God is going to say they've made their choice now and He's going to drive them even further into that delusion.

Now, it's true, I think if someone doesn't accept Christ now in this time it's certainly not going to get any easier for them to accept Christ after the Rapture. So, it may be that many who reject Him now will continue to do so, but I wouldn't use 2 Thessalonians 2 to prove that point.

Ken Humphries, Treasured Truth Today Ministries
No. If my understanding of 2 Thessalonians 2 is correct, I don't think their acceptance of Christ after the Rapture can be the case. In 2 Thessalonians 2 we read in verse 8, "Then shall that wicked one be revealed whom the Lord consume with the spirit of his mouth and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming. Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause…" This is about those who have rejected Christ; those who have refused to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul writing to the church of Thessalonica says, "For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie," as it is in other translations.

To me, the following verse says it all in verse 12, "That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." So, those who have come through this period of grace, these days of grace, and having heard the Gospel preached to them very powerfully and very forcefully and rejected and rebelled the call of God, when that day of grace is over and when the Rapture comes and the Church is taken home, they will be left to face this amazing punishment. They will receive this delusion that will come even from God and it will bring permanent damnation to their souls.

In the next part of this series on reading and understanding Revelation, the members of our panel of Bible prophecy experts will answer the seventh question, "If the Church is not going to be present on this earth during the Tribulation, will people be able to be saved, and if so, how?"


Barry said...

If very few people get saved during the Tribulation as Ed Hindson proclaims then what do we do with Rev.6:9;7:9;20:4? Also look at the wording "the lie". It is a definite article. I believe the lie that those will believe is that the Antichrist is God.

Barry said...

With all do respect after reading all of these points of view, my mind has become confused on what it takes to be a Bible prophecy expert. As Ken Humphries states grace is over after the rapture. According to my Bible grace will never be over. Salvation will be the same after the rapture as it was before the rapture by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. There are only 3 qualifications in the Bible of points of no return regarding salvation.1)Dying lost.Heb.9:27, 2)Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.Mat.12:31, and 3)Taking the mark of the beast and worshiping him. Rev.14:9-11. All though I don't recommend waiting until someone is on their death bed to repent, I believe there is going to be death bed salvation even at this time. God Bless

Anonymous said...

The Bible states that the Antichrist will go after the believers. So there have to be saved people during the tribulations.. The Angels fly through the air preaching and also the 2 prophets that live for 3 years also preach.. That is what it might mean.

I do wonder if you accept the mark, If you can change your mind, but I guess the delusion has taken place and no one will listen. Speaking of the delusion, sometimes I think if is already happening. Obama seems to have a lot of them in a trance and unable to see exactly what he is doing, when it is as plain as the nose on your face.

Anonymous said...

I believe that when they take the Mark of the devil, they will have the chance to decide if they want it. I have heard a lot of people try to use some examples of things being done that maybe the mark of the beast. I personally believe that we will have a choice. I don't believe that we will be fooled or forced to take the mark without knowing exactly what it is. What do some of you think?

Anonymous said...

Acts 2:19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
acts 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
] Act 2:21 And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Do you think this has anything to do with the tribulations?

Barry said...

Anon., Exactly,It has everything to do with the Tribulation. Good scriptural point! God Bless

Anonymous said...

Thanks, I also think this will be after the rapture, seems a lot of people would have taken the Mark by the last or in the middle. I think those verses mean that after the rapture, people who have heard of it. will realize that is it true, Although, it will be too late to escape the wrath. I just hope the people will be able to be brave enough to die for Jesus. I myself have been praying every night that is the time comes in USA that we have to choose Jesus or Islamic god, I will be able to withstand. The way things are going now in America, we just might have to fight for our beliefs,before the tribulations. Have a blessed day.

Billy said...

If no one is saved after the Rapture then why bother with the two witnesses and the angel preaching the Gospel, etc.?

Billy said...

Barry said "With all do respect after reading all of these points of view, my mind has become confused on what it takes to be a Bible prophecy expert."

Perhaps "prophecy expert" should be considered an oxymoron.

Nathan Jones said...

A Bible prophecy expert is a long-time student of God's prophetic word who is the first to admit they don't have all the answers. That would be in constrast to a Bible prophecy commentor who believes they have all the answers and the experts don't know what they're talking about. ;)

Barry said...

Nathan, I guess that makes me a Bible Prophecy Expert, because I am a long-time student of God's prophetic word and I definitely don't have all the answers. As far as the so called experts goes they are the ones that are not being consistent with their answers, thus making them look like they don't know what they are talking about. Just Saying. God Bless

Nathan Jones said...

Barry, not at all. They are addressing a question that has no biblically definitive answer and giving their opinion based on the pros and cons. That's the mark of an expert.

I'm sorry if the term "expert" offends you, for in this day and age we all feel we are experts in everything. No prob, I can use "teacher" (as long as that doesn't offend you either?).

Barry said...

Nathan, I'm not offended at all, just a little confused on some of the answers, not questions, that does have a biblical definite answer that is not being exercised here. I'm sorry that I seem like a thorn, but I consider us all Bible students that will never know it all until we get to glory. But there are some things that are crystal clear. God Bless

Nathan Jones said...

Hardly "crystal clear," Barry, hence the speculation and disagreement among men who combined have 400 years of teaching Bible prophecy.

Billy said...

Barry said "...but I consider us all Bible students that will never know it all until we get to glory."

Very true, couldn't agree more.

As for the "commentators" good natured poke in the ribs from Nathan, I've only heard of one "commentator" claiming to be 100% correct...hmmm...whatever happened to him?

Tori said...

Question? How is someone an expert in something they don't have a definite answer to? I always assume some one who teaches a subject knows that subject.
The saved or not saved situation after the rapture to me has a Prodigal Son parable flavor. The lost son and the son that has always been there. The lost son found and the jealous son reminded he has lacked for nothing. Just saying let us as the Raptured church not fall into jealousy when The Lord finds his lost son. God Bless.

Nathan Jones said...

Tori, an expert will know all the facets of the subject including the pros and cons of each argument.

Really, folks, this subject isn't as cut and dry as some of you make it out to be. There's a whole other dispensation going on during the Tribulation, so we have to take our Church-colored glasses off when studying this topic.

tori said...

That makes sense Nathan. I guess our church hearts still have us wishing for all to come to Christ. That is a good thing because it means we have the love for others that Jesus wants for us to have. I am no expert in the very least, just am hoping for the best outcome and don't want us to be thinking we are more in Christ because we will be saved out of the trib. I don't know other dispensations that have bearings on the trib. Hope everyone has time to repent and come to Christ. Time is almost up if I can see the worldly things correctly. The birth pangs are getting closer and harsher. I pity all they will believe the deseption of the antichrist. God Bless.

Barry said...

Nathan, The Bible mentions seven dispensations, and right now we are in the dispensation of grace, # 6. The next dispensation after grace is divine government # 7, and that begins during the beginning of the millennium. So what dispensation then is the Tribulation Period in? It would have to be grace. So what dispensation are you talking about? God Bless

Nathan Jones said...

Barry, the Bible doesn't mention Dispensations, theologians do. They hover between 4-8 depending on the argument. I'm a Dispensationalist and believe all 8 makes the most sense, with the sixth being the Tribulation.

The general premise behind Dispensationalism is that God has set up different systems of authority during different time periods in history. Each dispensation God reveals more about Himself to man, and each brings man back closer to the one-on-one relationship God had with Adam before the Fall. For example, the current dispensation is the Dispensation of Grace, where the authority is by the grace of God and our knowledge of Him is by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.

The Tribulation would be a different dispensation because the Restrainer is removed and the Church as God's messenger is absent, plus God allows Satan more authority.

Barry said...

I should of worded that differently. I too am a Dispensationalist and 7 makes more sense to me because 7 is the number of completion. 1. Innocence(Gen. 2:15-3:21), 2. Conscience(Gen. 3:22-8:14), 3. Human Government(Gen. 8:15-11:32), 4. Promise(Gen. 12:1-Exod.12:37, 5. Law(Exod. 12:38; Mat.2:23;11:10-13;Luke 16:16), 6. Grace(Mat.3:1-Rev.19:10), 7. Divine Government(Rev. 19:11-20:15. The Restrainer is the Church. If it is The Holy Spirit as some teach then there would be no salvation at all during the Tribulation Period. It takes the Holy Spirit to draw men to God. Men will still be saved by grace during the Tribulation Period.God Bless

Nathan Jones said...

Mankind has always been saved by God's grace through faith (see Hebrews), no matter the dispensation. How they receive that knowledge and how much of that knowledge they are given is what makes for a dispensation.

At the Tribulation, though the Holy Spirit is still working in salvation, the Church who is the Restrainer is not. God's agents become the Two Witnesses, the 144,000 and the Gospel Angel. God has also revealed Himself to the nations due to the Gog-Magog Battle, something He hasn't done during the Church Age. And, people during the Tribulation are forced into a clear choice for God or not, something not evident in today's dispensation. Also, there is a limit to one's ability to be saved, in that recieving the Mark of the Beast ends all chances, not something seen in the Church dispensation. No, the Tribulation is a very different time in God's order of government and revelation.

Billy said...

Nathan said "God has also revealed Himself to the nations due to the Gog-Magog Battle, something He hasn't done during the Church Age. And, people during the Tribulation are forced into a clear choice for God or not, something not evident in today's dispensation."

The "God has also revealed Himself to the nations due to the Gog-Magog Battle, something He hasn't done during the Church Age." is something I personally find EXTREMELY EXCITING! I've always thought the best time ever to live must've been when God had a more direct and obvious hand in the affairs of men on Earth. To actually to have witnessed the parting of the Red Sea or Jesus preaching just to name two examples...WOW! That is incredible.

Now, we will not be here when God starts His direct interventions again (such as the two witnesses having the power to do amazing things, etc.). I think we will be Raptured. BUT the COOLEST part is WE will get to BE PART OF the action when WE return WITH JESUS in the sky at the end of the Tribulation. The evil ones on Earth will see US coming down with Jesus! INCREDIBLE!!!! CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!

The "And, people during the Tribulation are forced into a clear choice for God or not, something not evident in today's dispensation." part was something I was curious about. Will Gog/Magog REALLY be a clear sign to those left behind or just to Israel. I always thought Israel would know God destroys Russia, etc. but never thought all the rest of the population would "get it".

Tori said...

I think the eight dispensations sound right as Nathan said. I don't know dispensations but I do know that the number Seven can mean "all that is Holy "and the number Eight can mean "what is full in every way" and I also know that 'Trumpets' can mean "Truth" which of course is "all that is Holy" So thank you Nathan for confirmation of the 'time' that is upon us. God Bless!