Is a New Wave of Worldwide Terror at Hand?/Program 5
|By: Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, Dr. Renald Showers; ©2004|
|Is the Second Coming under attack inside the Christian church here in America? What some of our Christian leaders have to say about “Are Christians are not going to be raptured before the Tribulation starts or are they’re going to have to go through some of the tough times.”|
Announcer: In the last few months, terrorist bombings are increasing. How far will they reach? Is America at risk?
- Dr. Jimmy DeYoung: Well, that’s exactly what we’re seeing. And we see a non-tangible nation, a group of peoples—militant Islam, basically—rising up, involved in a war against those who are opposed to their philosophy of life, opposed to an Islamic rule that would control the entire world.
Announcer: One year has passed since the war in Iraq began. Is the Middle East a safer place?
- Dr. Renald Showers: I think what a lot of people don’t realize, at least in the Western World, is what Islamic theology teaches—that once an area of the world has been ruled over by Muslim rulers, if some non-Muslim power drives out those Muslim rulers and confiscates that land, that’s a smack in the face, that’s a dishonor to their Muslim god, Allah, and so for the sake of their Muslim god and his honor, they’ve got to eliminate that non-Muslim power that’s occupying that land.
- DeYoung: I live in that part of the world. Before this program is over, everything could start to happen. I mean, the stage is set. Every nation we’ve talked about—Syria, Egypt, Iran, Sudan, Russia, Libya, Turkey—they’re all in position to make their moves.
Announcer: Clashes also continue to erupt in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. World leaders understand this conflict must be solved or it could pull the whole world into war. Will a new Palestinian state bring peace, or set the basis for an even greater conflict?
- Showers: If there is a separate, sovereign Palestinian state there, side by side with Israel, once that becomes a sovereign state, then Israel is going to have another problem. If the Palestinians are developing weapons to use against Israel, the world will say it’s a sovereign state; Israel has no right to invade a sovereign state to try to put a stop to what they’re doing or take those weapons away from them.
Announcer: Today on The John Ankerberg Show, my guests are news correspondent Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, who has lived in Jerusalem, Israel since 1991, and has personally met and interviewed Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, and many other international leaders; and respected Bible scholar, Dr. Renald Showers, who has taught at Moody Bible Institute and Philadelphia College of Bible. We will examine worldwide terrorism, Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in light of the Bible, and answer the question, “Is a New Wave of Worldwide Terror at Hand? Is America at Risk?”
- Ankerberg: Welcome. We’re talking about world events and biblical prophecy, and our guests are Dr. Jimmy DeYoung and Dr. Renald Showers. And our topics this week, inside that umbrella of world events and biblical prophecy, are the coming of Jesus Christ, the Apostasy, and the signs of the times. We won’t be able to get to all of this material, but we’re going to try.
- Guys, I am concerned that people need a scorecard; they need the definitions of biblical prophecy and some of the words that are being used in the Bible. And it may be simple for some folks, but I think for a lot of other people, it’ll be the first time around. So we need good definitions, good illustrations, and good textual support for this.
- Let’s start off with—they’ve all heard about this thing called “the Rapture.” When you hear it for the first time, it sounds strange. Dr. Showers, define the Rapture and give us a biblical starting point.
- Showers: The Rapture is a future event that is foretold specifically in the New Testament where God’s Son, Jesus Christ, will leave the Father’s house in Heaven, come partway down to Planet Earth, stop in the air, and then He will resurrect the dead bodies of Christians who have already died—He brought with Him from Heaven the departed souls of those dead Christians. He reunites their returning souls with their resurrection bodies. He will transform the bodies of Christians alive on the earth at that time into immortal-type bodies, and then together, He will catch up the resurrected and living Christians to meet Him in the air and then return with Him from above the earth back to the Father’s house in Heaven.
- Two key passages that specifically give us information on that. The first one is in John 14:2,3 where Jesus told the Apostles in the Upper Room the night before He went to the cross, “In my Father’s house are many mansions [or dwelling places], if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.”
- Notice, He says He will come again. That means He is leaving the Father’s house in Heaven, down toward the earth, but He would receive His believers to Himself, which means they’re going to be leaving from where they are on the earth to meet Him. And then He told the purpose of this future coming of His—“so that where I am, there you may be also.” Notice, it’s not so that He could be where they are, namely, on the earth; but so they can be where He is, namely, in the Father’s house in Heaven.
- The other key passage is 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, which again says the time is coming when Christ will come out of heaven down to the air. He will bring with Him the souls of those Christians who have already died, resurrect their dead bodies, reunite those bodies with their returning souls, transform the bodies of living Christians, catch them up to meet Him in the air and take them back to Heaven. And Paul concludes the statement about that by saying, “And so shall we ever be with the Lord,” which means once we meet Christ in the air at this event, where He goes, we go with Him. We never are separated from Him again.
- What’s important to see about this is that the New Testament teaches that that coming of Christ is imminent, which means “it could happen at any moment.” Many things may happen, but biblically, there is nothing that must happen before He steps out of the door of Heaven and comes and snatches up His Bride, the Church, and therefore, we should be ready whenever He comes—at any moment.
- Ankerberg: Yes. Biblical scholars that have written about Christianity, I find it interesting that they all, right to the man, would say that those early Christians were expecting Jesus Christ to come back, even in their lifetime, expecting Him to come back at any moment.
- Showers: Yes.
- Ankerberg: Alright, Jimmy, what struck you when you heard this thing about the Rapture for the first time? What Scripture undergirded it for you?
- DeYoung: Well, 1 Thessalonians 4, and in fact, in that passage of Scripture, what you’ve just said is correct. Paul said, “And we shall be caught up to be with Him.” Now, they were believing in Paul’s day, and Paul in particular said, “I’m going to go in the Rapture of the Church.” Man, that was exciting!
- But then I looked at 1 Corinthians 15, the last part of that, in addition to the passages there found in John 14, and knowing that wasn’t the Second Coming. He’d been talking to His disciples about the Second Coming, when He comes back to earth, but He said, “I will gather you up to be with Me at that point in time.” Not coming back with them but coming to get them to be with Him. So that was exciting.
- And then I started to study in the book of Acts those first Christians. What motivated them? What turned them on? Acts 17:6 said they went out and turned the world upside down. Well, that should be translated “right-side up.” It’s already upside down! But, they went out to do it, and what was it? They anticipated the coming of the Lord. The Bible says in Acts 1, “As He ascended into the heavenlies,” the Bible says, “they were steadfastly looking towards heaven.” I always wondered why that word “steadfastly” was there. That means they had their eyes focused on the heavenlies, waiting for Him to come back. Paul concludes 30 years of ministry by saying, “Laid up for me is a crown of righteousness, and not for me only, but for all of us who eagerly anticipate and live lives in light of the soon coming of Jesus Christ.” So, all of those Scriptures just got me excited. I haven’t been able to come down from that excitement from all of that that I learned at the beginning!
- Ankerberg: Dr. Showers, are there two comings of Christ? What’s the Second Coming as compared to the Rapture?
- Showers: They are distinct events, John, and taking place at two separate distinct points of time. The Rapture, we just explained, is where Jesus comes just to the air and catches His Bride the Church up from the earth and returns with His Bride back to the Father’s house in Heaven. It’s our understanding that will take place before the seven-year Tribulation. But after the end of the seven-year Tribulation, Jesus will come out of Heaven in His Second Coming the whole way down to Planet Earth to take over the rule of the whole world on behalf of God. And one of the major things that indicates these are two totally separate, distinct events is that they have opposite orders of each other. The order at the Rapture is that all the believers at the Rapture are taken from the earth in blessing and all the unsaved people at the time of the Rapture are left on the earth to go into the next period of world history. Whereas, Jesus taught in the Parable of the Tares and the Parable of the Dragnet, Olivet Discourse and Matthew 24, that at His Second Coming after the Tribulation, all the unsaved who are alive on the earth will be taken from the earth at that time in judgment, and all the saved people who are alive on the earth at His Second Coming after the Tribulation will be left on the earth to go into the next period of world history, namely, the Millennial Kingdom.
- Ankerberg: Okay, go to the next point, though, that period in between is called what?
- Showers: You have the seven-year Tribulation in between the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ.
- Ankerberg: Give some other names and give a little reference in Scripture.
- Showers: For the Tribulation? Well, it talks about birth pangs. Jewish rabbis in ancient times described that seven-year period as the birth pangs of the Messiah. The idea is that just as a woman has to go through a period of suffering birth pangs to bring a new life into the world, so Planet Earth is going to have to go through a seven-year period of intense birth-pang suffering before the new Millennial Age rule of God is born or brought into the world.
- It’s also the first phase of what the Bible calls “the Day of the Lord.” The first phase of “the Day of the Lord” involves God’s wrath being poured out upon Planet Earth and that’s what is going to transpire during that seven-year period through different series of judgments. And so those are some of the other terms that are applied to that period as well.
- DeYoung: The “time of Jacob’s trouble”—Jeremiah 30, when the Jews are going to be under real persecution. It’ll be a great time of evangelism for the Jews. Many of them will turn to Messiah, Jesus, as their Lord and Savior. But in the process many of them will be killed. Zechariah, the ancient Jewish prophet, said, two out of every three Jews is going to be killed during this terrible time of judgment, this seven-year Tribulation Period, described very effectively in the book of Revelation.
- I see pictured in Chapter 4, verses 1 and 2 the Rapture of the Church, when John is transferred into a heavenly location to see the future; and then in Revelation 19:11 where Jesus Christ gets on His white horse and comes back to the earth. So between those two—the Rapture of the Church and the Revelation of Christ back to the earth—those fifteen chapters of Revelation—4 through 19—describe in minute detail that Tribulation Period with the 21 progressively worse judgments: seven seals, seven trumpets, seven bowl or vial judgments, and all that’s going to take place to do three things, I think: to bring the Jew to Jesus Christ, to bring an end to Gentile world powers, and to bring an end to the Satanic trinity, put them in a position of imprisonment in the lake of fire forever and ever.
- Ankerberg: Sounds tough, when people hear this the first time. You’ve got the Rapture of the Church; you’ve got this time period of Tribulation where people are going to die and woe is going to come upon the world, and at the end of that time, Christ is going to come back at His Second Coming. What is the purpose of those seven years in between? What’s the purpose? Why would God do that?
- Showers: Throughout history, at least since the Fall of man, there has been a tremendous spiritual war going on in the world between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. When Satan persuaded the first man, Adam, to defect from God, Satan was thereby able to usurp the rule of the world system away from God and the Scriptures reveal that Satan and his forces have been dominating and controlling the world system ever since. And God has foretold that in order to accomplish His purpose for history, He must crush Satan and rid his rule of the world system, and then for God to restore His own theocratic kingdom rule back to Planet Earth again.
- And so, the purpose of the seven-year Tribulation Period is for God, through His Son, the Lord Jesus, to begin systematically bombarding, attacking, tearing down Satan’s kingdom rule here upon Planet Earth. And so as these three series of judgments are being poured out upon Satan’s domain, that’s exactly what’s happening.
- And then, the final end of all that judgment, ending Satan’s rule, then, is at the Second Coming, when Christ comes out of Heaven; He gets rid of Satan’s ultimate political ruler, the Antichrist, his false spiritual leader, the False Prophet; He destroys all the political rulers and armed forces of the whole Gentile world that have been under Satan’s domain. And then He removes all the unsaved members of Satan’s kingdom that are alive on the earth at that time, removes them from the earth into a place of judgment. And then He gets rid of Satan himself, has him bound and imprisoned in the abyss where he is held as God’s prisoner for the next thousand years while Jesus rules the earth on behalf of God.
- And so the purpose of the Tribulation Period, plus the Second Coming, is for God to bring a complete end to Satan’s spiritual kingdom rule over the world system in which we live and then restore God’s theocratic kingdom rule to Planet Earth for the last thousand years of its history.
- Ankerberg: When is all this going to happen?
- Showers: Well, certainly in the future, but the Rapture could happen at any moment. And once the Rapture takes place, then things are just going to go very quickly. I mean, the world is going to be catapulted into that seven-year Tribulation Period. That will go for seven years, and then shortly after the end of that seven-year period is when Christ comes out and then sets up God’s kingdom rule upon the earth.
- Ankerberg: You know, every fall, when you start hearing about Thanksgiving coming, you know that if Thanksgiving is coming, then right behind it is Christmas. Okay? Are there any signs that are like “Thanksgiving” to this time of Tribulation? In other words, are there any precursors that kind of have to be in place here before we get to that Tribulation? Is there a “set up” that we can start to see that these things are going to materialize?
- DeYoung: How long do you have on this program? [laughter]
- Showers: Well, one thing, John—and we’ve already discussed it in some of the earlier sessions—just the set up of the specific nations that are opposed to Israel right now. And we looked at Ezekiel 38 and chapter 11, those events, those nations come against Israel in the future Tribulation Period.
- Ankerberg: For people that missed that program, what are those six nations?
- Showers: Well, you’re going to have Iran, Sudan, Libya, Turkey, Syria and Egypt and Russia all coming against Israel in the future Tribulation Period. And so the fact that those nations are there now and all of them except Russia are Islamic nations, interestingly right now, and the fact that Russia has allied itself very frequently with not just with the Arab nations, but with Islamic nations, including Iran—which is not Arabic but is Islamic—all seems to indicate that the stage is beginning to be set for these kind of events that are going to take place.
- DeYoung: I’ve got to say…excuse me for breaking in, but I think the greatest indicator that this is all about to happen has to be the preparations to build the next Temple in the city of Jerusalem on that Temple Mount. Because there are going to be two temples in the future: a Temple that the Antichrist will desecrate, and then a Millennial Temple that Jesus Christ will rule and reign from that He Himself will build. Preparations for that Tribulation Temple have been completed. Everything is set for that to happen. I think that’s the greatest indicator of how close we are to this time.
- Ankerberg: Alright, what is the “Millennium,” then?
- Showers: The Millennium is, obviously, a one-thousand-year period of time when Jesus Christ, when He returns to the earth at His Second Coming after that seven-year Tribulation, takes over the rule of the whole world system on behalf of God. And as God’s last Adam, administers God’s rule for a thousand years over this earthly province of God’s Universal Kingdom.
- What’s interesting is this: When you look at Genesis chapter 1, when God created the first man and woman, we’re told that God gave man dominion over everything here upon Planet Earth. The fact that God did that says that God set up a theocracy as the original form of government for our planet. A theocracy is a form of government in which God’s rule is administered by a representative. God appointed Adam to be His representative to administer God’s rule over Planet Earth. But when Satan persuaded Adam to defect from God and rebel against God, the theocracy was lost, and Satan thereby usurped the rule of the world system away from God.
- When Jesus comes back in His Second Coming—now remember, He is already a man because He became incarnated human flesh in His first coming—He’s coming back, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:45 as “the last Adam,” to restore that original theocratic rule of God to Planet Earth, and as God’s “last Adam,” God’s Representative, to administer God’s rule for the last thousand years of our present Planet Earth’s history.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re going to take a break and when we come back, we’re going to talk about the Second Coming under attack by Christians in the Church right here in America. And we’re also going to talk about some of our fellow Christians, they’re saved, born again, know the Lord, and the fact is, they disagree on the time of the Rapture. They think that, sadly, some of us as Christians are going to have to go through parts of the Tribulation. We’re going to look at those views and try to critique them when we come right back.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re back, and we’re talking with Dr. Jimmy DeYoung and Dr. Renald Showers. We’re talking about world events and biblical prophecy and kind of defining terms. And gentlemen, inside the Christian church here in America right now, the Second Coming is under attack. We have some folks who say it’s not even going to take place! Alright? Talk about those who are holding to the Preterist view. Now, there are different positions of the Preterist view, but kind of define what it is and why we believe that it’s not correct.
- Showers: Most who hold to the Preterist view say that prophetic events, particularly relating to the Second Coming like foretold in the Book of Revelation, have already been fulfilled, and it happened in 70 A.D. when the Romans leveled the city of Jerusalem to the ground. And they say that that’s when Christ came back in His Second Coming to judge. And therefore, they indicate we’re not to be emphasizing the things in Revelation that talk about future things whatsoever.
- Now, in order to do that, they have to go against what has been the primary accepted view as to when the Book of Revelation was written. They say it was written before 70 A.D. and therefore it is foretelling what would happen in 70 A.D., whereas, historically, the major view has been that the Book of Revelation was written in the mid-90s A.D., maybe 95 or 96 A.D.—at least a quarter of a century after the 70 A.D. event, and in light of that, therefore, it’s talking about a Second Coming of Christ beyond the time of the destruction of the city of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 A.D.
- Ankerberg: Yeah. Alright, there’s so much that could be said about that, but I just want to get it on the table. And the second thing is the fact there are some Christians who say, you know, instead of the wonderful hope that Christ could come back at any moment, there are certain things that have to take place, namely, events in the Tribulation. Okay? We’ve got to go through either the first 3-1/2 years, or we have to go up through the sixth seal, past the mid-point of the Tribulation into the second part of the Tribulation, or we’ve got to go through all seven years of the Tribulation! Dr. Showers, explain what those views are quickly and then we’ll give some biblical support why we disagree.
- Showers: Well, one of those views is called “The Mid-Tribulation Rapture View,” which says that Christ will not rapture the Church out of the world until the middle of the seven-year Tribulation, so the Church will go through the first 3-1/2 years of it.
- The next view is called “The Pre-Wrath Rapture View,” which says that Christ will not rapture the Church out of the world until about three-fourths of the way through the Tribulation; so therefore, the Church would have to go through maybe 5 or 5-1/2 years of that period of time.
- The final view is called “The Post-Tribulation Rapture View,” which says that Christ will not rapture the Church until after the end of the seven-year Tribulation, and therefore the Church will have to go through all seven years of that period of tribulation.
- Now, there are a number of things that militate against that, and one of the main things, again, is the New Testament teaching of the “imminency” of Christ’s return. And as I’ve researched in-depth what all different kinds of scholars say with regard to this, I have found that New Testament scholars, almost to a man—even those who don’t hold to a Pre-Tribulation Rapture view—do claim the New Testament teaches the imminency of Christ’s return. In fact, some say as many as sixteen passages in the New Testament teach the imminency of Christ’s return. And again, the concept of imminency is, Christ could come at any moment.
- Ankerberg: Give is one biblical support. I think of 1 Thessalonians 1. Define that for us.
- Showers: In 1 Thessalonians 1:10, Paul talks about the attitude of the Thessalonian Christians of the first century—that they’ve been “waiting for God’s Son to come from heaven.” And the verb form translated “to wait” there, the word literally means “to wait up for.” The idea is, people don’t go to bed at their normal time; they wait up beyond their normal time for going to bed. And the reason is, they anticipate that an expected guest could arrive at any moment. And so therefore, they “wait up” even beyond their normal time for going to bed for him to arrive. If they knew he couldn’t arrive, say, for another five hours, they wouldn’t wait up beyond their normal time. They’d go to bed at their normal time and set their alarm to wake them up five hours later when they knew he would come.
- And Paul goes on to say there that they were waiting up for Jesus to come from Heaven—“God’s Son, who delivers us from the wrath to come.” And it’s interesting, the Greek verb translated “delivers” there talks about “being saved through a mighty act of power from disaster.” And I believe that “mighty act of power” is Jesus rapturing the Church, catching the saints up from the earth and “the wrath to come.” It’s a definite article “the” referring to a specific, unusual, unique period of divine wrath being poured out upon the world. It’s our understanding that’s the “day of the Lord’s wrath” that will be poured out during the seven-year Tribulation. And so they believed that Jesus could come from Heaven at any moment, and they continuously had that attitude because the tense of the verb form for “wait up for” is a present tense—continuous attitude toward that coming of Jesus.
- Ankerberg: Jimmy, what strikes you?
- DeYoung: Well, when I think about the truths found in the Book of Revelation, chapters 4 to 19—fifteen chapters—I think that the word “Israel” is used many times in the Book of Revelation; the word “church” is used many times. In those fifteen chapters describing the Tribulation Period, the word “church” is used zero amount of times; the word “Israel” is used 86 percent of the time it’s used in those fifteen chapters. Either God forgot to put us in the Tribulation, or we weren’t supposed to be there. And prior even to that period, in Chapter 3, verse 10, “I will keep you from this time of testing to come,” referring to the Tribulation Period. He didn’t say, “I will take you out of,” [but He said], “I will keep you from” that period.
- In 1 Thessalonians, when he’s talking to the people of Thessalonika in Chapter 5, he makes a similar statement, “I will keep you from that terrible time to come.” And when we think about what the purpose of the Tribulation is, the Christians don’t need to be there. I mean, it’s our “blessed hope.” It’s “the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ” to take us up to be with Him. And that’s what’s so exciting to me. I am anticipating. I’m not looking for the antichrist, I’m looking for Jesus Christ to come and take me to be with Him.
- Ankerberg: We’re talking about world events and biblical prophecy. And we’ve talked about enough world events that are on the scene already that are leading up to these last days that the Bible talks about. And if what we’ve been saying strikes home to you, and you realize that Christ could come back at any moment, Jimmy, there are some people who aren’t prepared; they don’t know Christ in a personal way. They’ve got intellectual knowledge about Him. How do you have this personal relationship? How do you take advantage of the things Christ has provided? How do you get Him to save you and make you a Christian?
- DeYoung: You have to put your trust in Him. You have to realize you are in need of a Savior. He’s the Savior. He offered Himself. He proved Himself that He was—He resurrected from the dead to guarantee that He could be the One to take away sin. And so you have to acknowledge that. You have to say, “I realize Christ died for me. I accept what He has done for me because I am a sinner in need of a Savior.” And then, once you’ve done that, you put your trust in what the Word of God says. He said, “Whosoever should call upon Me shall be saved.” And that’s what He has promised to do—save us. We have to take Him at His Word. If we’re going to believe everything He is saying about prophecy, we must believe the part where He says, I will give you eternal life if you trust in my Son, Jesus Christ, and what He has done. Simply call upon Him, put your trust, ask Him to save you. I did it. He saved me. He saved Rennie. He saved you. And He’ll save anybody watching this program who puts their trust in Him.
- Ankerberg: This time, I don’t know where it goes. It just goes by so fast. We didn’t even get to the signs of the times. We’re going to save that until next week, but I also want to come in on one of the things you were saying and that is, there is an amazing thing that’s happening in Israel right now that’s also part of biblical prophecy, and that is the Jews’ desire to rebuild the third Temple. And when you hear, folks, of what is taking place and the preparation that is going on, and the turmoil that goes around it. Even all the surveys would show that if something like this starts to take place, this could cause World War III all by itself. When you hear that, it just tells us the Lord’s coming is near. I hope that you’ll join us. We’re going to talk about it next week.