What Happens Next in the Word's History

A Bible Perspective from Thessalonians

Current: Church Age – Waiting for the Return of Yeshua the Messiah – Jesus Christ

For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.
And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.
For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything.
For they themselves declare [report] concerning us what manner of entry [reception you gave us] we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. 1 Thessalonians 1:5-10

For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? 1 Thessalonians 2:19

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23

But we ought to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, that God has chosen you from the beginning to salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 2 Thessalonians 2:13

Christians are taken to heaven – known to Christians as the ‘rapture’

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus [have died as believers].
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.
And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

The Church is not for Judgement

Paul’s prayer for the Church at Thessalonica:

And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints. 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

Called to Holiness

For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. 1 Thessalonians 4:7

People of the light [truth] But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God." John 3:21

 

But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 1 Thessalonians 5:4-5

Our sin has been forgiven – there is no need for further judgement

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. 1 John 1:8-10

Christian Believers are taken to heaven before the judgement known as the Tribulation

For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.
For when they [non-Christians] say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labour pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.
But you [Christians], brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You [Christians] are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.
Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.

But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.

For God did not appoint us [Christians] to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

The Day of Tribulation is God’s Judgement on those that hate him or don’t know him    

When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed. 2 Thessalonians 1:7b-10

The Second Coming of Christ occurs after the Tribulation as judge

And to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10

David L Simon
Updated: 11 Aug 2017

 

Is the Church taken to heaven before the Tribulation as JN Darby stated?

The rapture of the Church pre-tribulation

Response

Hold on! We need to deconstruct this question as it makes some assertions in amongst a couple of questions. The assertions I see are:

  1. J.N. Darby created the doctrine of the rapture of the church (the technical term for the church being taken to heaven), and he created the doctrine of pre-tribulation removal of the church.
  2. There is some doubt in the questioner’s mind as to whether or not the Church will go through the seven year period of tribulation, coming shortly, which ends with the Battle of Armageddon

The questions are:

  1. Is the Church taken to Heaven?
  2. When does this occur?
  3. One could also answer whether Darby found these answers.

A supplementary question

  1. What is the purpose of the tribulation – referred to as Armageddon in this question – and is the Church part of this.

Interpretation of the question

The question asks whether current believers in Jesus Christ (the Church) are taken to heaven prior to the Battle of Armageddon, which occurs in the seven year period prophesied by Daniel, and other Old Testament prophets, and whose timetable is spelt out in the Book of Revelation. The question asserts this interpretation is not true because it was ‘invented’ by J.N. Darby a Christian who was born in 1800.

Short answer

J.N. Darby did not ‘invent’ or ‘create’ any new doctrine in relation to the transfer of believers from the earth to heaven prior to the End Days of this world, called the Days of Tribulation. The early believers wrote about this nearly 1700 years before Darby! Darby resurrected this doctrine, lost by the reformers and forgotten by the Church who were more concerned with form than substance. The 1800’s ushered in a period of frank re-examination of the Scriptures, and these lost doctrines, lost due to the introduction of allegorisation of Scripture (see below) by Augustine and embedded in law by Constantine and others in A.D. 313. This method of  interpretation lingers today and is the basis of much apostasy in the modern church.

The events to come are:

Believers those that that make up the Church, who are saved by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ - will be taken to heaven by Jesus Christ himself – immediately after the resurrection of Christians that have died (i.e. the dead rise first, followed by those living Christians). This is called the rapture.

Sometime later, and perhaps within months or years, a seven reign of terror will fill the earth with two notable events: 1) believing Jews will evangelise the world and many millions will come to the saving knowledge of Christ – they will be severely persecuted, 2) the period will be dominated by an imposture of the Messiah, called the Antichrist, who inflicts wrath on all peoples, ending in a war against Israel, at which point God physically takes control and defeats the world, leaving the remnant of believing Israel to usher in the Millennial Kingdom of 1000 years (the Messianic Reign or Millennial Reign).

What the early believers believed

The early believers knew the Bible was to be read literally (see The Five Solas of Christianity) so that the times and places must be read as given, unless the context said otherwise. Thus the events of Revelation occur in the order they are given and in the exact time as indicated – down to the day). That is, the early church used a literal historical interpretation of the Bible, which included understanding the world was created in six days, and would end over a period of seven years.

The understanding that believers in the Church would be resurrected in bodily form was known in the first century, and that following this, the Messianic Kingdom would be established for a thousand years (e.g. Justin Martyr A.D. 80). That a Messianic Kingdom would be established was known millennia before Christ came by the Jews, and indeed, was what the Jews were hoping Jesus would usher in (e.g. Luke 7:19). Today some Jews still wait for the Messiah to come and return Israel to its former glory – but the Jews need to believe in Yeshua first. Various texts from the first century clearly articulate that there would be a resurrection of believers before the judgement and establishment of the Messianic Kingdom. References quote Barnabas, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Lactantius, Methodius, Papiasa and Tertullian as writing about the visible resurrection of the Church and the coming thousand year reign. They also believed that God created the earth in six days etc., showing their literal interpretation of scripture.

Why is this doctrine not spoken of in the Middle (Dark) Ages?

As the early apostles predicted, wicked and evil men entered the church and destroyed the truth being taught. Most notably the grace of God was made of no-effect initially by stating that the Bible was a series of allegories, which could only be interpreted by those with special knowledge (read: those in power), and later to ensure no-one could check against Scripture what was being taught, the Bible was only made available in a foreign language (Latin, which the common person did not learn). Indeed it became a capital offence to own and read the Bible during periods of the Dark Ages – which was the age of illiteracy.

I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Acts 20:29-30

The truth was rendered impotent by the church of the day – the Roman Catholic Church – who usurped Jesus Christ and the authority of the Bible by giving herself the power to forgive sins (only God can forgive), and to make laws, rules and dogmas that originated from the Church and not God (We are under grace not the law). This enabled a rich, ruling class to develop with absolute power even unto salvation, whose ideology was underpinned by superstition and fear for nearly 1400 years.

[T]hus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do. Mark 7:13

It was not until Luther and others read the Holy Scriptures was the evil promulgated by the Catholic Church revealed. However, even these reformers were trapped by the ideology of the Catholic Church, and in particular the allegorisation of prophecy, and therefore did not reform the lies promulgated concerning the coming judgement of all who reject Christ. Other evil doctrines were also not reformed such as celibacy of the priesthood which contributes to the sexual abuse seen today in churches.

What’s wrong with allegorisation[1]

  1. Allegorisation takes the true meaning of the Canon and turns it into the imagination of a human, rending false doctrine.
  2. The text is not being interpreted at all. Indeed the simple and common meaning of the words and displaced entirely by the imagination of the interpreter.
  3. The interpreter becomes the authority, rather than the Cannon (Bible) – indeed the interpreter become supreme, for no-one else knows how to interpret the words other than the interpreter, and there is no method to convey how this is done.
  4. Since the interpreter does not work by a set of testable rules (as exegesis does), but rather it uses mysticism, often of other heathen religions, nothing the interpreter says can be tested.
  5. Further, since the common meaning of the words are circumvented, the output is governed solely by the imagination of the interpreter.

The evil behind this is self-evident, but also warned about in the Bible. Paul speaking to the Colossian Church states:

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8

What about John Nelson Darby

J.N. Darby who was a lawyer and Anglican clergyman observed the apostasy in the church which had replaced Scripture for Dogma and fallen into utter desolation – with no guidance from the Holy Spirit who was unheard and un-valued. He did not accept the Augustine method of interpretation and thus relied upon Scripture alone – resurrecting what the earlier church had found. Thus, he promulgated the truth that the church would be taken to heaven before the tribulation which precedes a 1000 year Millennial Reign by the Messiah a teaching of the first century.

The illogical notion of the Church in the Tribulation

One can ponder the logic of espousing that the Church will enter the Tribulation. That the tribulation will take place is un-deniable. All news-broadcasts these days point to the coming end of this age – along with the formation of Israel, and Jerusalem being a cup of trembling[2]. The modern church however fails to understand that the seven years of tribulation, described in Revelation and Old Testament prophecy, is a judgement, exercised by God on those that have rejected him – first the Jews (of whom a remnant will return to Christ and evangelise the world; Romans 9-12, Revelation 7 etc.) and secondly of the nations who did not accept Christ.[3]

And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:14

What is illogical, is a believer, saved by the grace of God, and whose sins have been propitiated by the blood of Christ, being punished for that sin again – for God cannot see it (since it has been propitiated!) For this is what would happen if church believers entered the Tribulation. If a believer needs further punishment, it means that the blood of Christ is not efficacious, and logically it means no believer knows he or she is saved. This is false doctrine and an evil that has been promulgated in our churches. John writes that: He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). Christ’s blood is either the propitiation or it is not – it cannot be half one thing and half another. The Scripture is adamant, and the Holy Spirit testifies of the efficacy of the Christ’s blood – we are saved unto the uttermost – meaning we are indeed saved and have no need to be punished, because God cannot see our sins which have been done away with!

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25

Furthermore, sin has been put away – it does not need to be judged again; only the evil one needs to be judged.

He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Hebrews 9:26

Furthermore, the Church is told it will not be punished – we have been kept from this trial:

Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Revelation 3:10

Where does the Bible speak about the Church being taken to heaven?

Paul writes to the Church at Thessalonica because it was ravished by false teachers, teaching in error about the second coming of Christ, thus it is a very useful book to understand about when Christ will return. Believers will be taken to heaven (in Latin this is called the ‘rapture’, and in Greek harpazo, meaning “to be caught up”), at the end of the Church age and before the Tribulation. Note that we do not use the teaching of Jesus from Matthew to find this – Matthew concerns the Jews and much is about the coming Messianic Kingdom, and not the Church. One of course could use the teaching of Jesus from John 14:1-4, but better still, teaching by Paul to those that needed to clearly understand the events to come:

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

That Believers are to be taken to heaven in bodily form is also found in Scripture:

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. Philippians 3:20-21

Summary

The Church will be taken to heaven before the Battle of Armageddon, and indeed before the commencement of the Tribulation – a doctrine understood nearly two millennia before J.N Darby, who promulgate this view after it had been obliterated by evil that wrought abject havoc in the Church through, in part, the allegorisation of Scripture along with dispensing with the authority of Christ and the Canon of Scripture. Darby simply went back to Scripture and read it!

Some of this answer has been given in very short form, for example, evidence from Scripture of the rapture – authors such as Arnold Fruchtenbaum provide an excellent detailed response to the question.[4]

 

 

[1] This was lifted from a Sermon of Andy Wood (Sugarland Bible Church) – Protestant Reformation Series 01 (2017) which quotes from Things to Come: A Study of Biblical Eschatology by J Dwight Pentecost. pp 4-5) see http://slbc.org/media/sermon-archives/ (Accessed 6 August 2017)

[2] Zechariah 12:2

[3] One purpose of the Tribulation is to evangelise the world – God in his grace provides a means – the repentant Jews will go out, under heavy persecution, and bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations. The other purpose of the Tribulation is to punish Israel, or rather, bring them back to Jehovah by breaking their will and bringing national regeneration:

"As I live, declares the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out I will be king over you. I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face. As I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you, declares the Lord GOD. I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant. I will purge out the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against me. I will bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD. Ezekiel 20:33-38

[4] For example; Arnold Fruchtenbaum (1983, 2005) The Rapture of the Church, Ariel Ministries < http://www.arielm.org/dcs/pdf/mbs039m.pdf > else < http://www.arielm.org > (Accessed 6 August 2017)

David L Simon (Aug 2017)
\Questions\Is the Church taken to heaven before the Tribulation?

David L Simon
Updated: 06 Aug 2017

 

O Happy Day

O happy day, that fixed my choice
On Thee, my Saviour and my God!
Well may this glowing heart rejoice,
And tell its raptures all abroad.

Happy day, happy day,
When Jesus washed my sins away!
He taught me how to watch and pray,
And live rejoicing every day:
Happy day, happy day,
When Jesus washed my sins away!

O happy bond, that seals my vows
To Him Who merits all my love!
Let cheerful anthems fill His house,
While to that sacred shrine I move.

It’s done: the great transaction’s done!
I am the Lord’s and He is mine;
He drew me and I followed on;
Charmed to confess the voice divine.

Now rest, my long-divided heart,
Fixed on this blissful center, rest;
Here have I found a nobler part;
Here heav’nly pleasures fill my breast.

High heav’n, that heard the solemn vow,
That vow renewed shall daily hear,
Till in life’s latest hour I bow
And bless in death a bond so dear.

Philip Doddridge [1755] Reference
Updated: 02 Jul 2017

 

What is Baptsim and who it for?

Short Answer

Baptism is a symbol of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ who came to save the world from sin (1 Timothy 1:15), and baptism is a witness to the world that: 1) Christ died and was raised from the dead & 2) the person being baptised has been saved by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. In this baptism is also a symbol of the death of his old self and the re-birth of the new person. Therefore it is for the saved persons –the one who believes on Jesus Christ.

Background

Baptism is not new, nor did Jesus invent it. John the Baptist, who was about half a year older than Jesus and was his cousin, went about baptising (Mark 1:4, John 3:37). Indeed John the Baptist baptised Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17, John 1:30-34) in a manner that was very familiar with the people at the time.

What is Baptism?

Baptism is symbolic, and relies upon two actors: the baptiser and the one being baptised.

God enjoys role-plays, and has set out many role playing activities for his people to follow over the years. Every year the Children of Israel had seven feasts to attend, and each was role-play that set out the blessings of God. The most important was Passover, which emphasised that God had saved Israel out of Egypt and had given them the Land of Canaan. Indeed Jewish families the world over play out the Passover, removing all yeast from their homes and eating unleavened bread and lamb, just as happened in Egypt when the children of Israel left (Exodus 12). God also uses symbolism; indeed the ceremonial Law of Moses was all symbolic, as the Bible states in Hebrews 9:9.

Baptism is no different and indeed is linked to Passover. It is both symbolic and a role-play and has been commanded by God to be undertaken by all who believe on the name of Jesus.

Baptism is a symbol – it symbolises three things

  1. Baptism acts out in symbolic form what happed to the Lord Jesus Christ when he was crucified, buried and raised from the dead.

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.1 Corinthians 15:20, 22

  1. A person who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ is saved – that is he is justified by the grace of God, and that one is born again and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Jesus said to Nicodemus (John 3) that only by being born again can one enter the kingdom of heaven. Baptism symbolises that the old self has been buried and that person has be raised by Christ in newness of life.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:3,4

  1. Baptism presents a picture of the reality of the life of a saved person in that it sets out the reality of the baptism of the Holy Spirit of a person who has believed. That one will die (unless Christ returns before), and be buried but his soul will be raised to heaven because of the work wrought by Jesus Christ on the cross – in that Christ paid our debt in full and the believer has been justified.

Having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. Colossians 2:12

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:36

The role of the baptiser – the reality of grace

As Paul states in Ephesians, salvation is by grace alone. Grace is undeserved favour - it is a gift. In the baptism the person is placed into the water – and it is the baptiser that raises the person out again. There is no effort on the part of the one being baptised - it is the effort of the baptiser that creates the symbol.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7

This fits with the grace of God – there is nothing a person can do except believe on the Lord Jesus Christ because it was Christ who paid our debt in full by dying on the cross. In reality the symbolism demonstrates our justification.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus Romans 3:23-24

Likewise, a person being baptised has faith the baptiser will raise him back out of the water! This underscores that being saved is an act of faith upon God, and is not a result of one's own goodness, for we have none (see Ephesians 2).

Into what is a person baptised?

A person is not baptised into an organisation or even a church – on being saved a person is automatically ‘church’ – a part of the House or the Body of God of which Christ is the foundation and head, respectively. A person on being saved is baptised by the Holy Spirit, into Christ; water baptism symbolises this aspect as well.

For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:13

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Romans 6:3

Therefore, as stated emphatically in the document, baptism is a symbol only, and represents what the Holy Spirit has done when a person who repented by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Why be baptized?

A person who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ is encouraged to be baptised because:

  • The Bible commands believers to be baptised – it is an act of obedience to God. Christians delight in pleasing God, and therefore, will want to be baptised.
  • It is an act of witness of the power of the Gospel to:
    • The world – it displays publically you have been saved, and are a child of God, demonstrating the reality of the gospel.
    • The church – which demonstrates your willingness to obey God

Some facts about Baptism

Qualification

A person needs to be qualified to be baptised. The Bible states:

 “Repent, and let every one of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38

Repent means ‘to change your mind’. That is, before you were saved, you were going in a direction away from God (and straight to hell); on repenting you turned around and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. Baptism requires that you have repented.

Baptism shows that:

  1. You profess to be dead with Christ (For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3).
  2. You believe the living Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved Acts 16:31) – which means you believe he rose from the dead, and
  3. You have confessed Jesus Christ, the Son of God as you Lord and Saviour (that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9).

How is baptism carried out?

Baptism is done in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18-20) by immersing the person in water.

Baptism is about dipping someone into water and drawing them out again. The word baptism comes from one of five Greek words. Bapto means to dip and baptizo means to baptise or make fully wet. The other words include the baptiser – baptisteris, baptism – baptisma, and the word baptismos which is translated baptism or washing. We conclude from this that baptism has something to do with water and getting wet. We believe it is carried out publicly by another person who simply dips the person fully in a body of water and raises them out again.

Controversies

You may have heard of some controversies about Baptism. These we will look at briefly in one of the studies.

Mark 16:16

He who believes and is baptised will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

Some hold these verses are not in the original Canon. Notwithstanding, in the days of the Apostles a person accepting Jesus as his saviour was baptised immediately, as the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:27) in Acts did. The understanding in those days was much clearer, as shown by the attitude of the people to John the Baptist. Baptism identified a person with an idea, message, person or group. The act of baptism it self does not and cannot save.

John 3:5

Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

This has nothing to do with baptism, but being born again. Water represents action of the Holy Spirit here and in other parts of Scripture. Paul writes; not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5). Being born of water is a Jewish expression of physical birth.

Acts 2:38

Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The word of issue is ‘for’, which has been used to connect baptise with remission of sins – this is not true. Baptism cannot remove your sin. The same word occurs in Matthew 12:41, and means “on account of”. Darby’s New Translation puts it:  Repent, and be baptised, each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for remission of sins, and ye will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit; note the commas.

Acts 22:16

And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptised, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.'

Does this mean baptism washes away sins? In the Greek there is no “and” between “baptised” and “wash”. Overall the verse has multiple parts:

  1. Arise – is not an imperative, but rather a participle, that is, a word that modifies the verb, and means ‘arising’.
  2. Be baptised – is an imperative, that is, a command.
  3. Wash away your sins – is an imperative, that is, a commend
  4. Calling on the name of the Lord – is a participle and means: “having called” – that is, the action has already occurred, before the “arise and be baptised” is pronounced. It could be translated “having called on his name”, being an aorist participle (The action takes place before the action of the main verb – be baptised).

So this means, a person being saved by calling upon His name, should arise and be baptised, which is an act of obedience.

Note that if baptism was done by sprinkling of water on the person there would have been no need to arise – emphasizing the emersion attribute of baptism.

Some have used this verse to mean one can baptise one’s self. The Greek does not allow this interpretation; however, it is hard to translate into English the exact meaning.

1 Peter 3:20, 21

Who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. There is also an antitype which now saves us baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

These verses do not speak of salvation but the deals with the conscience. When one believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit baptises him or her – removing the guilt of sin. Water baptism is carried out in obedience to God – to demonstrate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The one who is not baptised is disobeying God, and therefore will have the guilt of disobedience.

Baptism is certainly a sign of cleansing, but in and of itself it cannot cleanse.

A study for people wishing to be baptised

Baptism - A study for Individuals preparing to be baptised

 

David L Simon (June 2017)
\Questions\What is Baptism and who is it for?

David L Simon
Updated: 04 Jun 2017

 

Come, ye that love the Lord

Come, ye that love the Lord,
And let your joys be known,
Join in a song with sweet accord
While ye surround his throne.

The sorrows of the mind
Be banished from this place!
Religion never was designed
To make our pleasures less.

Let those refuse to sing
That never knew our God:
But servants of the heavenly King
May speak their joys abroad.

The God that rules on high,
That all the earth surveys,
That rides upon the stormy sky
And calms the roaring seas.

This awful God is ours,
Our Father and our love:
He will send down thy heavenly powers
To carry us above.

There we shall see thy face
And never, never sin!
There, from the rivers of thy grace
Drink endless pleasures in.

Yea, and before we rise
To that immortal state,
The thoughts of such amazing bliss,
Should constant joys create.

The men of grace have found
Glory begun below:
Celestial fruits on earthly ground
From faith and hope may grow.

Then let our songs abound
And every tear be dry:
We’re marching thro’ Emmanuel’s ground
To fairer worlds on high.

Possible refrain

We’re marching to Zion,
Beautiful, beautiful Zion;
We’re marching upward to Zion,
The beautiful city of God.

Notes: There appears to be many different versions of this hymn including additional stanzas and alternative words. eHymnBook.org appear to have a very long list of additional stanzas (http://ehymnbook.org/CMMS/hymnSong.php?id=pd14488), accessed 18 June 2017;

Isaac Watts [1707] Hymns and Spiritual Songs, 1707; refrain by Robert Lowry
Updated: 18 Jun 2017

 

Some thoughts on Preaching - it should only be from the Bible

Main Idea

Sermons should be:

  • About extracting truth from the Bible in order that it can be applied to people’s lives
  • Exegetical or expository preaching; where bible truth is presented accurately
  • About God, so people may know God
  • About the doctrine of God, for doctrine provides the truth of God, his Son, the Gospel and indeed, reality.

Preaching is not about

Experience; anyone can provide an experience, and the Devil can provide a well disguised even clever experience that mocks God, misleads Christians and prevents people receiving the gospel, being utterly false. Church apostasy arises because truth is substituted for experience.

Passion: The Prophets of Baal were extremely passionate – injuring themselves in their passion, yet failed. Elijah, in faith merely prays to the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and fire comes and consumes the entire alter and offering (1 Kings 18).

Behaviour, but about belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. To be sure, our behaviour will be modified by truth (Love you neighbours as our self), but the truth that sets the framework for behaviour is from Scripture. Behaviour is determined by believe; believe in evolution and one will allow abortion or sexual intercourse with anyone etc. Preaching must be about knowledge of God not activity.

Activity, but knowledge and action. Busy churches are not necessarily, or even, holy yet alone pleasing to God. Business never equates to holiness.

"Jesus" but the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Yeshua the Messiah, and no other, the one who says;

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6

Devotion, although useful, is not preaching. For devotion to occur one needs to know which Jesus one is speaking about – the Jesus of the Mormon, or New Age, or the Son of God. Devotion to God only comes from knowledge of God, thus requires the preaching of the Word of God.

Preaching is About the Study of the Bible

The only way to be set free is to know and practice the truth of the Bible. Liberation only comes from knowing divine truth, which is only found in the Bible.

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32

Paul states that we must daily renew our minds:

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

Bible study is the first thing we should be doing!

But He answered and said, "It is written, 'man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'" Matthew 4:4

All revivals in the Old Testament took place only after the truth was revealed, and practiced. In the time of Nehemiah (who rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, making it a safe place to live) the law was read to all the people, and from this, they returned to God. Ezra used expository preaching in its fullest form to convey the content and meaning of the Law to the Children of Israel.

So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading. Nehemiah 8:8

Josiah, who became king of Judah, read the law, understood it, and put it into practice, leading to wide spread, but not complete, return to the Lord (wickedness was too ingrained, and too few leaders returned to the Lord. If leaders of churches do not read the Bible, the church will be lost).

Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the LORD with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him. 2 Kings 23:25

In the New Testament, those that were saved after Peter preached the gospel, read, learnt and practiced the doctrine of the apostles. (Acts 2:42). It is the Bible the child of God wants to go first, yet the wolves in our churches take them to every other place but the Holy Scriptures of God.

Paul admonishes Timothy to read the Bible publically, and furthermore, Timothy was ordered to exhort (or preach) the doctrines of God (1 Timothy 4:13). This only comes from teaching verse by verse, line by line the Bible. Indeed Paul command pastors 8 times to minister from the Word of God – the complete opposite to church Pastors in 2016, who only want to appease the ears of superstitious people.

Without knowledge of God, one cannot please him – for a wife cannot please her husband except she comes to know him.

God expects His word to be preached

As rain contributes to germination, growth and fruit of the land, so does the Bible preached to Christians and non-believers. It behoves preachers to use God’s word and thoughts rather than man’s to change the hearts of people.

"For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void [empty], But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11

Isaiah knows the power of the Scripture and can confidently state that anyone preaching God’s word, that word will not return empty [or void]. Jeremiah puts it this way: “Is not My [Yahweh’s] word like a fire?” says the LORD, “And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29). To change the hearts of men and women, the Bible is required – nothing else will work.

David L Simon
Updated: 04 Sep 2016

 

Contact the author

If you find a grammatical error, spelling error, broken hyperlink or some other error on these pages please contact me mentioning the page title and location.


Updated: 08 Jun 2015

 

Using this website

The weakness of any Christian website is the failure of the author to truly know the mind of God - his weakness due to sin (and there will be weaknesses) can always be revealed if checked against the Bible. Therefore, it is urged that anyone using this web site must check the information against the Holy Scriptures - for the test of any such information, by any person, is against the Canon. For this reason the Canon is called simply that - deriving its name from 'cane' meaning measuring stick. Even the early Christians checked what the Apostle Paul had spoken against Scripture in order to test its veracity. You need to do the same.

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11 (NIV)

Furthermore, we must test all things:

Test [prove] all things; hold fast what is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:22


Updated: 11 Jan 2015

 

What's in the title of this website

The heading comes from John 3:16, perhaps the most famous verse in the Bible. It indicates that salvation is by faith and not by works. That is, one cannot ever achieve rightness before God by one's own effort. What one cannot forget is the rest of the text - John 3:16 does not stand alone:

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

And this is the condemnation, that light [Jesus Christ] is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.


Updated: 16 Apr 2011

 

Bibles used in this website

KJV = King James Version of the Bible
NIV = New International Version of the Bible original work copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
NKJV = New King James Version original work copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc

ESV = The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles

Others used

JND = New Translation by John Nelson Darby (1890)
Interlinear Greek-English New Testament (Literal, Textus Receptus, King James Version), Baker Books, Michigan, 1980
Strong's = Strong's Concordance, Hebrew and Greek Lexicon (either Riverside Book and Bible House, or an on-line version)


Updated: 16 Apr 2011