John Bradshaw - Baptism, the Rapture and Time of Trouble
John Bradshaw: Thanks for joining us. This is "Line Upon Line" brought to you by "It Is Written" with Eric Flickinger. I'm John Bradshaw. We have a great program for you today. We're gonna be talking about the spirit world, and death, and fear, and the rapture, and more. And we're gonna dive into it right after I tell you how you can get your questions to us. Email them, [email protected] LineUponLine, one word of course, @iiw.org. Eric Flickinger, thanks very much for being here.
Eric Flickinger: Great to be here again, John.
John Bradshaw: I'm glad it is. We got a good question here to start off. I mean, they're all good. I don't need to tell you every time it's a good question. I'm not gonna start and say, "Well, here's a terrible question". But here's a question from Mary. "Is the great time of trouble at the second resurrection where the wicked attack the New Jerusalem city"? I'm gonna say it again. "Is the great time of trouble at the second resurrection where the wicked attack the New Jerusalem city?
Eric Flickinger: All right. So Mary, we have an idea of what you're talking about over in Daniel 12:1, a very fascinating passage. Here's what Daniel writes. He says, "At that time, Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over this sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book". So what is that terrible time of trouble, that great time of trouble? That is the time that precedes very shortly before Jesus returns. It will be a time where God's people's faith is tested. Everything around them will be going in different directions, but they're gonna have to grab ahold of Jesus with everything that they've got and hold onto him in order to make it through. Very shortly after that, Jesus will indeed return, and this whole mess that we are involved in right now is going to come to an end. So if you are blessed enough to be among that people who gets to see Jesus come in the clouds of heaven, you will also get to go through this time of trouble. But that's good news because Jesus is coming back to end it.
— Eric, I'm gonna add to that Revelation 13, speaking about the time of the mark of the beast, it says in verse 15, "He had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed". Now, quick question for you. Should we fear?
— I don't think we should fear because what we should do is have faith.
— We need to learn to trust in Jesus. If we don't have him, we're not gonna make it through. No amount of gritting our teeth and bearing down and trying hard is gonna get us through that time. But if we cling to Jesus, he can and will get us through.
— There've been difficult times in Christian history. During the Reformation, so many people were martyred. Going way back before the Reformation, those 10 days or 10 years under the emperor Diocletian, you read about, I think it's Revelation 2, awful, awful, awful time. I think I mentioned the Protestant Reformation a moment ago. Yet the word of God says, "All who live godly in Christ shall suffer persecution".
Eric Flickinger: Right.
John Bradshaw: "In this world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world". So we are looking forward to a really serious time.
— We are, it's nothing that we should sneeze at. But it's serious that Jesus will also get us through.
— Hey, so what do you say to that person who's just kind of playing church?
— It's about time to wake up. You look at the world and what's going on around us right now. If this doesn't tell you it's time to wake up, I'm not quite sure how much more it's going to take. Now in truth, more is coming. This is just the tip of the iceberg what we're seeing right now.
— The reason I talk about that person who's playing church is in Revelation 3, Jesus speaks to the end time church. And he says, "I wish you were cold or hot, but you're not, your lukewarm. And because you're lukewarm, I'll spew you outta my mouth. You think you're rich and increased with goods, but you don't know that your wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked". There's a real need for revival isn't there? And I don't wanna say that as one sounding holier than thou. The parable of the 10 virgins, five were wise, five were foolish, but hey, all 10 were asleep. So I wanna encourage you, I don't know where your faith in God is right now, but I wanna encourage you to take God very, very seriously. Be sure that your relationship with Jesus goes way beyond watching a TV program with Bible questions and answers, watching a documentary or reading a book. Christianity is about a moment-by-moment relationship with the God of heaven through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus was real, Israel. He lived, he died, he died for your sins. He wants to give you a new heart, wants to give you a life that measures with the life of God, wants you to live throughout eternity and you can enjoy that here on this earth as God washes away your sin and gives you assurance. But let's take it seriously. Jesus is coming back soon. And the question speaks right to that. There's coming a real time of trouble. And if you're not ready, what'd Jeremiah say? "If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how will you contend with the horses? If in the land of peace, wherein you trusted they wearied thee, then how will you be in the swelling of the Jordan"? Jeremiah was saying, "If you're not doing well in a time of ease, how are you gonna do in a time of difficulty"? So let me encourage you to make sure that your heart is right with God. Yield to him, invite Jesus to be your Lord and Savior. To make it real, not just what you do out of culture, or habit, or because it's the morally right thing to do. All right. Very good. Let me ask you the second question that we have. Question comes from Tracy and it is four words. "Explain the rapture, please".
— All right Tracy, what is the rapture? Let's start with the word "rapture" itself. Where does that come from? You can search the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. You're not gonna find the word "rapture" in there, but the concept is, the biblical concept. So let's go over to 1 Thessalonians 4. We're gonna look at verses 15 through 17. Here's where the concept of the rapture comes from. Paul says, "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". In other words, who have died. "For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout". Now notice these verses here. "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". So wrap your mind around that scene and then look at the next sentence. "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". So those words there, "Being caught up together with the righteous in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air". The words "caught up," that's where the word "rapture" come from.
— Comes from the word. Rapture means catching up. So what is the rapture? The rapture is the catching up of the saints from the earth to the clouds to meet Jesus in the air.
— When does it happen?
— Rapture occurs, takes place, the catching up of the saints takes place when Jesus comes back. We call it the "Second Coming of Christ," which is in the near future.
— Yeah, sure.
— How near? Soon. We don't know exactly, but soon.
John Bradshaw: Maybe even very soon.
Eric Flickinger: Very soon.
John Bradshaw: Over in Revelation 22, "He who is unjust, let him be unjust still. He who is filthy, let him be filthy still. He who is righteous, let him be righteous still. He who is holy, let him be holy still". And then Jesus says, "Behold, I come quickly". So everybody's case is settled here on earth, and Jesus comes back.
— He says, "Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me".
— Yeah. Right. Now we've spoken about the truth. Let's just deal with the error for about that long. We'll major in the truth and minor in the error. It is commonly taught in some circles that when Jesus comes back, what he's gonna do is come back secretly and take the saved in what some refer to as a secret rapture.
— So the saved are just kind of taken right out, and the unsaved go right on, and then at some stage, whether it's three and a half years later, or seven years later, or whatever years later, there's a time of trouble, there's a tribulation period. Eric, I don't see it in the Bible.
— It a fanciful idea. And one of the reasons I think it's popular is because in that series of events, if you're not ready when Jesus comes back, you get another shot at it.
John Bradshaw: Right.
— You get a second chance. The truth is when Jesus comes back, as we just read in Revelation 22, when he comes back, his reward is with him. You're either ready when he comes back, or you're not ready when he comes back, and if you're not ready, it's a whole lot worse than a seven-year tribulation.
— Yeah. Amen. And we would encourage you simply to be ready. Don't fear, be ready, yield to Jesus, accept him as your Lord and savior. There's nothing in the Bible, it just isn't there, about a secret rapture. But there's a lot in the Bible about Jesus coming back and taking the saints home.
— You know, if somebody wants to dig more deeply into this subject longer than a three-minute Bible answer, where can they go to find more on the return of Christ?
— Oh yeah, "Revelation Today," sorry, itiswritten.tv. Scroll down, go to "Revelation Today," and you'll find the subject there dealing with the second coming of Jesus. So in the "Revelation Today" series at itiswritten.tv, that's where you'll find an in-depth study. Now another place to go, too, itiswritten.study for the online study on this subject. It's a great study. You'll love it. So go to itiswritten.study. You get a whole slew of Bible texts that deal with this subject. It'll be just as clear as clear can be.
— All right, we've got another question. This one comes from Candacy, and Candacy asks, "Job 28:28 says that wisdom is 'the fear of the Lord.' What does it mean to fear God"?
— Huh. Yeah. It's a great question. There's several ways you could go at this. We say, "Well, it doesn't mean really be afraid of God or be terrified". But the fact is, at least when you get over in the New Testament, the word often used is a Greek word "phobos". That's where we get phobia from. It doesn't mean be phobic, but it does mean fear after a certain sense. It would be inappropriate not to have some certain amount of legitimate fear about God. And what I mean by that is God is mighty, in him is life and death, he's all powerful. My word, I get a little fearful when I see the weather turning bad and I wonder if a tornado is coming, and God is so much larger and more vast. But the Bible says to us, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding". I'll read from the Psalms, "Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in his commandments". So that's a more comprehensive, a fuller idea. You don't wanna be afraid. Don't cower. "Perfect love casts out fear". You shouldn't think about God and worry as though he's a tyrannical task master. He's not. Think about God as love. I just wanna double back in case you misunderstand me. To have a little healthy fear about the things of eternity is okay, but let be a little, and let it be healthy. How would you add to that?
— Think of what Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14. Here's what Solomon says. He says, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is man's all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil". A healthy amount of respect is important when we come to God. So you might equate to some extent, fear with respect...
John Bradshaw: And admiration.
— Perhaps is a good word, awe. So we ought to be in awe of God because of his grandiose majesty and what he is able to do. Fear is respect. Fear is a little bit of fear.
— John and Eric Flickinger: Yeah.
— But don't run around being afraid of God. God is love, and you're not going to be running in fear from someone is defined by the word love.
— I know I run the risk of muddying the waters, but the reason that I mention a little holy fear is okay, is because I think it is.
— You know, God is great and vast and grand, but we're not talking about terror and afraidedness. Revelation 14:7, "Fear God and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come". That's in the everlasting gospel that you read in Revelation 14:17, and that by definition is good news. Respect, reverence, or love, living your life with reference to God, yielding your life supremely to him, all that's in that idea of fearing God. More questions in a moment. This is "Line Upon Line" from "It is Written".
— Welcome back to "Line Upon Line" brought to you by "It is Written". We are here answering the questions that you send in. And we've got another question here. This one comes from Harrison. Harrison says, "Why should we believe the prophets in the Bible"? And a second part of the question, "Are there other prophets not mentioned in the Bible"? So what makes a prophet a prophet and why should we believe them if they are supposedly a prophet in the Bible?
— Harrison, I have a message for you. Don't believe the prophets in the Bible. Don't believe 'em. I'm not done yet. Don't believe the prophets in the Bible, if they can't be believed. "Well, okay, that was my question, John. How can I believe 'em"? You go look at what they wrote, and verify what they wrote. The prophets are largely verifiable. Now I'm saying some of what you're read in Zechariah, Ezekiel, that's not like verifiable with history. But when you go to Daniel and Daniel says, "Okay, Nebuchadnezzar, I'm gonna interpret your dream. You saw a great big image with the head of gold, and chest and arms of silver, and midsection of brass, and legs of iron, and feet of iron and clay," and then you start comparing with history and you start comparing with scripture and you realize he's saying "Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, Rome divides, then Jesus returns. That's right through the book of Daniel. You have to say, "Well, my word, that's absolutely accurate. It's verifiable with history, and within scripture where the writers don't contradict".
— He's either ridiculously lucky...
— And just great at guessing. Or God inspired him what to say and what to write. And as you look at at Daniel's accuracy through the book of Daniel and other places, he was really lucky, an awful lot.
— An awful lot. How many predictions in the Bible, prophetic utterances, later on came to pass? So many, things that Moses said, things written in the book of 1 and 2 Samuel, things you read in the book of Malachi. Micah 5:2 said that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. In the Proverbs, or not Proverbs, in the Psalms. Psalm 22, "My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me"? It's messianic, speaking about Jesus on the cross. I mean again and again and again and again and again, what the prophet said came to pass. The question for you, Harrison would not be, "Why should you believe them"? But, "How in the world could you possibly not believe the prophets of the Bible when again and again, what they wrote, what they predicted, what they said". I mean, it was, they predicted the name of a man who'd conquer a city 150 years before he was born.
— That's Isaiah 45:1, Cyrus.
— You know, coming and taking over Babylon and how it would fall with the gates being left open.
John Bradshaw: Yeah.
— And it just, it came to pass exactly the way that it said. So biblical prophets are gonna be accurate. You figure, if they speak for God, they're gonna have God's accuracy record, which is, you know, around about 100%.
— So they're gonna be accurate. They're gonna point people to, well, they're gonna agree with other biblical prophets. You're not gonna have one Bible prophet saying this, and another contradicting them over there. So they're gonna be consistent, one with another. They're gonna be consistent with the rest of scripture.
— Yes they are.
— And we're also gonna find that they're going to point people toward God, not themselves. Think about Daniel. When he gave his prophecy, or prophecies, he never expected to get anything out of it himself. You know, a lot of so-called prophets today, these 900 numbers that you can call, if you watch television too late, they pop up in 1-900 dial-a-prophet, or dial-a-psychic. That's all about making money. Daniel wasn't there to make money. Could you see him giving a bill to Nebuchadnezzar?
— I can't imagine.
— As you say, "I take gold, I take silver, I take cards". I don't see that.
— He even said to Nebuchadnezzar's grandson, "Hey, you can keep your rewards. I don't want that".
— That's right.
— "I'm just here serving God".
— That's right. But what about prophets beyond the Bible?
— Well, there are very many prophets in the Bible who just kind of come and go. I don't mean the minor prophets who... I mean like Haggai and Habakkuk. I mean, but like Gad and folks like that who were verifiably prophets. My expectation is there were others who didn't make the Bible. They served God back then. There were many, many prophets. I think there are prophets down in the end of time.
— I think so. You know, you look back at God's history of working with prophets, working through prophets maybe is a better way to say it. Before great events in history, God would send a prophet. He sent Noah before the flood. He sent Isaiah and Jeremiah, Daniel. You can make, the list goes on and on. You can expect that before the biggest event of the age, which is the Second Coming of Christ, he's going to send prophets as well.
— Yeah, absolutely. Now I would encourage you to go to itiswritten.tv. I got a presentation that deals with this. Go to "Hope Awakens," our "Hope Awaken" series, and look at "A Place of Safety". And in there there's gonna be a section dealing with prophets in earth's last days. God said in the Old Testament that there would be prophets in the end of time. And Jesus spoke to this phenomenon as well. He said, "Beware of false prophets," which one might take to mean that he opens the possibility to there being genuine prophets. So we've been told in the Bible that there will be prophets in the end of time. It says of God's end time church, "Here are they that keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ". And in 19:10 it says, "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy". So we are told you can expect prophets down in the end of time. I don't know if there'll be thousands of them. I doubt it somehow. But you would expect that God would restore the gift of prophecy in the end of time. We're for it.
— Yeah. Excellent question. Here's another one. This one comes from Kim. Kim, thank you for sending this question in. She says, "Please explain 1 Corinthians 15:29". It says, "Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead"? So let me ask the question a little bit differently. There's some people who believe that you can be baptized for someone else, on someone else's behalf, and then your baptism gets credited to them.
— To some dead person.
— To some dead person. Can someone's salvation be determined by someone else?
— 100% no, and by the way, salvation isn't determined by baptism. Saved people should be baptized, but baptism doesn't turn a lost person into a saved person. You understand what I mean? The act of being baptized is an expression of your faith in Jesus. It's not like, "Wow, we got you under the water, and now you're saved by the water". You're only ever saved by Jesus. And there are people who believe that, you know, grandpa who's been dead for 20 years can be baptized when you are baptized. You are baptized for grandpa, or great-grandfather, or for Genghis Khan, or George Washington, or whoever it might have been. So we're gonna read 1 Corinthians 15, the entire chapter. Well, I wish we could because it's the resurrection chapter, but we're gonna zoom in on that passage. The whole chapter deals with the resurrection. And when we read in verse, mm, we'll just go to verse 29. "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead"? Now, this has been interpreted literally in dozens of ways. So if we say something and they go, "Hmm"? You're just gonna have to bear with us because we could do that 25 times and it might be new to you. A lot of discussion about this subject. But the idea is that if there's no resurrection then all of whatever it is they're doing is pointless. It's futile. So Paul's case is there is definitely a resurrection, and without one, certain things just fall apart. Now, I've read something recently that I thought was quite insightful. Baptized for the dead, being baptized in preparation for death, baptized before you die.
— What would be the point of someone being baptized before they die, if there's no resurrection.
— No resurrection. All you've done is taken an extra bath that day.
— That's all it is.
— It doesn't do you any good in the light of eternity. But if there is a resurrection and if you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and savior, and if you love him, and if you wanna dedicate your life to him, then all of a sudden baptism is something very, very significant.
— Yeah. Amen. We are glad and grateful that there is a resurrection. You know, when Jesus died on the cross, there was a resurrection. Numerous people came outta the graves. Matthew 27, I think it's right around verse 56. Yes, we believe as Christian believers, that there is a resurrection. In fact, when Jesus comes back there'll be a resurrection. And then after the millennium, there'll be another resurrection. John 5:28-29 speaks about that. Good stuff. Okay, I've got one for you from Delrose. "Does 1 Peter 4:6 say that the dead go to a spirit world".
— All right, let's take a look at 1 Peter 4:6 here. 1 Peter 4:6 says, "For this reason, the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit". Now, if you just read that and you don't read anything else in the Bible, what it might sound like is that here, Peter is saying that the gospel can be preached to dead people.
— Yeah. Yeah, sounds like that.
— And if you can preach it to dead people, then maybe when you're dead, it's not really the end. Maybe you got another opportunity. You got a second chance or a third chance, depending on your view on reincarnation and so forth. But that would be wrong. So let's kind of unpack this and look at the tenses just a little bit. He says, "For this reason, the gospel was preached," in the past, way back then. "It was preached also to those who are," today, "dead". So today they're dead. But back in the past, they were alive. And when they were alive, the gospel was preached to them.
— Very clear, I think.
— Pretty straightforward.
— Yeah. What about death? Do people know anything after they're dead? Bible says, "The living know that they will die, but the dead know..".
— Not anything.
— Not anything. The dead know nothing. Nothing is pretty easy to understand. Nothing is nothing.
John Bradshaw: Yeah.
— So no point in preaching to them. They're dead. That verse six again, "That they might be judged according to man in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit". What is it to live in the spirit? Are we talking about a spirit world?
— No, to live in the spirit is to walk with God, to have Jesus abiding in your heart, to have him in your life, to have him guiding your directions and your decisions, so that my life is not my own. It belongs to Christ. He's the one who owns me. He's the one who leads me.
— I do wanna say this just before we wrap up here, you wanna be careful about dabbling with the spirit world. You know, there are demons, there are evil spirits, they are real, and you wanna stay away, as far away from the occult as you possibly can. Stay away from anything that opens you up to the occult. Stay away from occult paraphernalia. I'm not even gonna refer to what that might be, but just stay away from it. Stay away from the scary movies that deal with occult themes. Just stay away. We are involved in a real spiritual battle. We gotta remember that.
— "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers". Absolutely.
— Outstanding. All right Eric, many thanks for that. If somebody has a question they would like to get to us for "Line Upon Line," what do they do?
— It's pretty simple. Just send a message to [email protected], [email protected] It will come to us and you may very well see it on an upcoming program.
— Fantastic, thank you very much for being here...
— Thanks John.
— With Eric Flickinger. I'm John Bradshaw, and we are saying thank you to you for being part of "Line Upon Line". We look forward to seeing you again another time. Get your questions to us. We'll do our best to answer them. This is "Line Upon Line" brought to you by "It is Written".