Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Wrath to Come

"And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come." - 1 Thessalonians 1:10


One of the common arguments used to support a pretribulational rapture is the belief that since the Bible says God's people are not appointed unto wrath (1 Thessalonians 1:10, 5:9) then the Church will therefore not go through the great tribulation, which, they claim, is characterized by the pouring out of the wrath of God (Revelation 15:1, 16:1). If God pours His wrath out upon the world during the final years of mankind, then the Church cannot be there. This reasoning has influenced many Christians into a false hope, for the argument is based upon a complete misunderstanding of the Greek language and the nature of the wrath of God.


TWO KINDS OF WRATH

It all sounds good until a more careful examination of the Greek word for 'wrath' is accomplished. In the New Testament, there are two distinct Greek words for our English word 'wrath': orge and thumos, just like there are different Greek words for our English word 'love'. Both words for 'wrath' have a very distinct meaning, and must not be confused with each other.

-Orge is defined as judiciary wrath, or retributive wrath, being punishment for crimes as implemented by a judge.

-Thumos is defined as passionate anger that flares up but after subsides.

An example of the word thumos can be found in Acts 19:28, "And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath [thumos], and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians." Notice that the wrath here spoken is not a justifiable wrath against transgression, but the flaring up of anger that comes from passionate emotion. When someone says they have a bad temper, they are talking about this thumos wrath, not the retributive wrath of calculated justice. The word thumos is only found 18 times in the New Testament and always describes this passionate type of wrath.

Orge wrath can be clearly seen in Romans 2:5-6, "But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath [orge] against the day of wrath [orge] and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds." Here the wrath of God is portrayed as judiciary righteous judgment against the ungodly. Orge wrath is directly connected to transgressing the law of God: "Because the law worketh wrath [orge]: for where no law is, there is no transgression." (Romans 4:15) Sin deserves punishment, and that punishment is the orge wrath of God. The word orge is used 36 times in the New Testament and virtually always refers to the righteous legal judgment of God.


WHICH WRATH?

Now let us return to our immediate question. The pretribulationists claim that since God's people are not appointed unto wrath, we shall not experience the wrath of God poured out upon the world during the great tribulation as described in Revelation 15:1 and 16:1. With our new knowledge of Greek terminology, let's examine the key passages of Scripture used in their argument:

1 Thessalonians 1:10 - "And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come." The word 'wrath' here is orge, the judiciary judgment of God against sin. Praise God that we are indeed saved through the Blood of Christ from the retributive wrath of God when His righteous judgments shall be revealed! "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath [orge] through him." (Romans 5:9) Hallelujah! We are justified in His sight!

1 Thessalonians 5:9 - "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." Again, the word used here is orge. Like in the verse above, Jesus has redeemed us from the punishment we deserved for our transgressions against the law of God! "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." (Galatians 3:13) Through our faith in what Christ has done we shall obtain salvation from the wages of sin. As John the Baptist said, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath [orge] of God abideth on him." (John 3:36)

Revelation 15:1 - "And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God." Proceeding from the beginning of chapter 15 to the end of chapter 16, the vials of wrath are poured out upon the earth by the seven angels of God. Since this takes place before Jesus returns and during the great tribulation, the pretribulationists assert that the Church cannot be present, for they are not appointed unto orge wrath. What they have failed to see is that the word 'wrath' used here and throughout these two chapters is not orge wrath at all, but thumos wrath, the hot anger of God being demonstrated against a wicked world PRIOR TO the revelation of Jesus Christ, when He at last comes to tread "the winepress of the fierceness and wrath [orge] of Almighty God." (Revelation 19:15) When Jesus comes He shall judge the earth for all it's wickedness, bringing with Him the righteous retributive judgment of God against His enemies. He shall separate the wheat and the tares, and cast all those who obeyed not the Gospel into the Lake of Fire which burns for ever and ever. That, my dear readers, is the true orge wrath of God, of which we are saved from, and of which we are not appointed to. The thumos wrath of God is something entirely different.


FURTHER ANALYSIS

God's wrath has been displayed all throughout history and will again be unleashed upon a wicked God-hating world in the last days; this is not surprising. But we are not to confuse God's thumos wrath with His orge wrath. When the Lord poured out the plagues upon Egypt in the days of Moses and Aaron, that was His thumos wrath; the passionate anger of the Lord expressed against that hardhearted and tyrannical nation, who oppressed His beloved people for 400 years. We must also remember that when God was pouring out the plagues upon Egypt, the children of Israel were preserved safely throughout it all. Likewise, during the great tribulation when the vials are poured out upon the earth, God's people will be protected safely throughout it all. When God closed the Red Sea over top of the pursuing Egyptian army, that was His thumos wrath bringing an end to the captivity of Israel. The Egyptians experienced God's thumos wrath when the waters toppled over them, but they experienced God's orge wrath when they lifted up their eyes in hell. In the same way, this sinful world will undergo God's thumos wrath against it during the great tribulation, and also when Jesus Christ physically destroys them at His coming, but this is nothing to be compared with the orge wrath men will experience when Jesus Christ sits upon the throne of eternal judgment. Oh Lord, God save us from that dreadful day!


FLEE FROM THE WRATH TO COME

Compare: When John the Baptist cried out at the river Jordan, "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?", he wasn't referring to the great tribulation at the end of the age! How could he have been? For he was speaking to his own generation and pointing them to Christ. Likewise, when Paul wrote to the Thessalonians to "wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come", neither was he speaking of the great tribulation, for they have all now fallen asleep, yet their deliverance in Christ's still remains the same. This promise is for all believers of all times. Jesus, through His death, has delivered us from the wrath to come; the wrath that shall come upon the whole world from Adam to Antichrist, "and whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20:15) Glory to the Lamb of God who delivers us from the wrath to come!

"For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day." (2 Timothy 1:12)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Victoria Update

Dear saints,

Greetings once again from the west coast. I just wanted to write and share an update on how things are going over here in Victoria with the work of the Lord. As you can see from the above picture, Greg and I have experienced a little bit of police trouble at the Parliament building for our preaching. Every day during the week we preach a short 10-15 sermon at the steps of the building to the people gathered there. So far things have gone smoothly, and we ask for your prayers that the door would remain open for Gospel to go forth, and that the devil would not be allowed to shut it. Believe me, he has been trying... the spiritual darkness here is intense.

Here is Greg and I on the streets of Victoria. After Parliament, we spend a few hours witnessing and handing out tracts downtown. Thousands and thousands of tracts have already gone out: the Word is spreading throughout the city! Already many people recognize us as the Christians who preach downtown, and we pray this familiarity will help open doors to share Christ with them. Please pray for us as this is a difficult and dangerous time of battle right in the enemies territory. Even today Greg and I were threatened to be beaten up by some drug dealers who didn't like what we were doing, and last week a busker actually took a swing at me unexpectedly for offering him a Gospel tract!

Every Sunday evening the church I attend holds a service at the Bishop Cridge Senior Center here in Victoria and I've been helping out at that as well, ministering music and preaching. It's exciting to see what God is doing in that place. The Gospel is boldly being proclaimed and God has given us some fresh strategies as to what we should be doing there for the elderly. Please pray for this outreach at the Senior Center and that the whole place would be radically impacted by the Gospel.

Tomorrow is actually the 120th anniversary of the Salvation Army beginning it's activities in Victoria in 1887, as shown by this plaque. We preach at this very spot downtown every day.

"Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of... the LORD." (1 Chronicles 28:20)

God bless you dear saints. Thank you so much for all your prayers and loving support toward this ministry. Our precious Lord Jesus bless you and keep you all your days. Until we meet again,

Your brother and fellow labourer in Christ,
-Eli

Friday, June 22, 2007

22 New Campus Entries!

Dear friends,

While on the road, because of the slight internet time available to me, I wasn't able to write a report on every single campus that we visited throughout our tour, but recently I took the time to update the website with pretty much all the excluded campuses that were previously unknown. The total of them being 22! I truly hope you will be blessed by these late reports. Along with the new posts, new videos and pictures have been uploaded as well.

NEW CAMPUS REPORTS:

2006
University of North Texas
University of Texas, El Paso
Pima Community College
Glendale Community College
Mesa Community College
University of California, Riverside
University of California, Los Angeles

2007
California State University, Bakersfield
Sonoma State University
San Francisco State University
San Jose State University
University of Missouri, Kansas City
Mizzou, Columbia
Indiana University, Bloomington
Ball State University
Michigan State University
University of Cincinnati
Kutztown University
East Stroudsburg University
Ramapo College
Montclair State University
SUNY Oswego


NEW VIDEOS:

Ramapo College, New Jersey
San Jose State University
The Invalidity of Empiricism
Kutztown University Riot


All posts can be found on the Itinerary page, under the heading, "Explore Past Outreaches". Click here to go to the Itinerary page, or click one of the links below to go directly to the Campus Ministry sections, with the complete listings of all the universities we traveled to across the United States this last school year:

Campus Ministry '07
Campus Ministry '06

May God bless you, brothers and sisters,
Your brother and fellow laborer in Christ,
-Eli

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Condition or Fulfillment?

"The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." (Psalm 110:1)

There is a lot of confusion surrounding this passage because certain people interpret it incorrectly, saying the Lord will not return until all His enemies are subdued beforehand. Another verse that is similarly misinterpreted is Matthew 23:39, "For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." They would have us to believe that Jesus will not return until the Jewish nation first acknowledges Him as their Messiah. We will consider these Scriptures in the following article.

All Scripture remains harmonious if you interpret these correctly, but because of such misunderstandings the Bible becomes confusing and the prophetic pieces will not fit in agreement with one another. We then run into serious problems when other Scriptures contradict our fallacious interpretations.

In the verses we are examining, it all comes down to how you understand this word, "UNTIL". There are two different ways you can interpret it, though only one is correct:

A. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. = The Jewish nation will not see Jesus again until they meet the condition of saying "Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord."

B. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. = The Jewish nation will say "Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord" when they see Jesus again.

Interpretation B is correct. Consider Matthew 26:29, "But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." The day when Christ drinks it anew with His disciples in the Kingdom is not the condition of Him drinking wine again, it is the fulfillment! Otherwise it would sound irrational, like this: "I will not drink wine again until I meet the condition of drinking wine with you in the Kingdom. After that I will drink wine again." That doesn't make sense! No, the act of drinking with them in the Kingdom is the fulfillment of the first part of the verse.

Likewise, their saying "Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord" is not the condition of them seeing Him again, but the fulfillment! When Israel shall SEE Jesus coming again on the clouds of heaven then shall they say "Blessed is He who comes [is currently coming] in the Name of the Lord." (Zechariah 12:9-10)

So it is with Psalm 110:1. The interpretation of "UNTIL" makes all the difference. We could look at it and say "Christ will sit at the Father's right hand until this condition is met: all His enemies are put under His feet... then He will come." However, this does not comport with the prophetic Scriptures, which say that Jesus Himself returns to earth to DESTROY the enemies... He doesn't wait until after they are destroyed. (ex. 2 Thessalonians 2:8)

The verse and interpretation then goes like this: "The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." The Father is telling Christ to sit at His right hand until that day when His enemies are made His footstool: when He sends Christ from heaven to earth "in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel." It's not the condition for His coming but the fulfillment of His coming. And to further settle the issue, the rest of the Psalm confirms this very fact:

Psa 110:1 A Psalm of David. The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
Psa 110:2 The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.
Psa 110:3 Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.
Psa 110:4 The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
Psa 110:5 The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.
Psa 110:6 He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries.
Psa 110:7 He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.


The Holy Spirit couldn't be more clear. Psalm 110 is speaking of the day when Jesus Christ, "the Lord at thy right hand", comes and makes His enemies His footstool.

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Death, and Christ's Answer


This sermon was preached at the Bishop Cridge Senior Center in Victoria B.C. There were many elderly people who came to the service that evening who were not believers, so it was wonderful to preach Christ to those who did not know Him. We had prayed that God would bring many people to hear the Gospel and that night the room was practically full. Preaching to the elderly is like running a rescue mission at the gates of Hell, since they are so near to eternity. Praise God for His witness in these places.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Preaching at Legislature


This message was delivered at the famous Legislature building downtown Victoria. Lots of tourists are streaming through the area, and there are many guards and politicians that linger on the front steps. Brother Greg and I preach a sermon here every day.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Ministry in Victoria

Well dear saints,

I arrived in Victoria just three days ago and only now have had time to sit down and access the internet. Victoria is a beautiful place! The trees and the ocean and the mountains are truly a stunning visual reminder of God's awesome creative power. Not five minutes from the home I am staying is a hilltop with an incredible view of the landscape in every direction; perfect for prayer. The Lord has blessed His people!

On the other hand, Victoria is actually quite spiritually oppressive. Just in the few days being here you can sense the clash of darkness and light over this city of wealth, pleasure and indifference. I also found out that Victoria is one of the major hubs of Satanism in the entire world. A few days ago brother Greg and I were downtown witnessing to a group of strange eastern mystics meditating on the lawn of parliament. There is also a strong religious Native American presence in the city, with an almost cult like sentimentalism. On the lawn of parliament also stood great totem poles built upon the backs of large wooden frogs, the Biblical imagery of unclean spirits.

The greatest need of this city is prayer. Greg and I will be preaching the Gospel unashamedly downtown which will no doubt cause a great reaction from these citizens who may never have seen or heard the Word preached like this before. Please lift us up to the throne of God for protection and boldness and for open doors to share Jesus with these poor lost Victorians. As Greg and I were saying yesterday, your prayers are more valuable than gold. There is also a Seniors home I'll be preaching at this Sunday so please pray for these dear old souls to hear clearly the Gospel of salvation. Many of them are on the brink of eternity and it feels like we are running a rescue mission at the gates of hell! One thing is for certain: the Gospel standard must be raised in Victoria B.C.

"Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ." (Ephesians 3:8-9)

Your prayers are coveted this summer. The cost is great, the need is greater, the Lord is greatest. Blessed be the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ! He shall have dominion from sea (New Brunswick) to sea (British Columbia). Amen.

Your brother and fellow laborer in Christ,
-Eli