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Free will, God’s will, and the importance of the Lord’s Prayer

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Free will Gods will and the importance of the Lords Prayer

Arguably the most challenging concepts for true believers in the Bible to reconcile in our minds is the seeming contradiction between God’s Will and the free will of humans. Some frame the debate as one between predestination and acceptance of salvation through our actions. Others believe that free will is an illusion. Still others believe in predestination through a prescient view. All of these concepts can take a diligent believer on a journey of the mind that spins around in our conscience like a roller coaster that never ends.

The problem is that we’re incapable of fully understanding it because of our physical constraints within the universe. Time is a physical property that is impossible for us to avoid. Even those who have studied and are able to see things theoretically from perspectives outside our dimensional constraints are incapable of acquiring real understanding. In short, it’s truly beyond our grasp.

Thankfully (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective), it’s a concept that compels many to strive to comprehend. Ephesians draws this question in with four very potent verses:

Ephesians 1:3-6 (KJV)

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

When Christians see that we were “chosen in him before the foundation of the world” and that He “predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself,” it poses a question within many who wonder how free will comes into play for our salvation if we were chosen ahead of time. This is reiterated briefly in Revelation in reference to those worshiping the first beast.

And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. – Revelation 13:8 (KJV)

A good number of churches and pastors take the prescient view and draw from Arminianism. In essence, this perspective believes that the saved, through inspiration of the Holy Spirit, believed in Yeshua as Lord and Savior and had their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life because God saw that they would choose to believe. It’s a powerful teaching because it reconciles the idea of predestination and free will into a convenient package that people can understand. It does not take away from our responsibility to accept Grace while maintaining that we were chosen beforehand based upon this acceptance.

The premise was created for the right reasons. It points us in the direction that allows for free will to coexist with God’s Will. The result in the minds of those striving to embrace the Word of God is mostly righteous because it attempts to prevent the concept of predestination from lulling people into a sense of hopelessness or impotence. It calls for us to remain diligent and is justified in the minds of those preaching it because otherwise people could fall away by believing that they have no say in their own salvation. If predestination exists without free will, Arminians would argue, then there’s no reason to live a life guided by the Holy Spirit because our fate is sealed regardless of our actions.

It’s a compelling argument, but it’s flawed. The prescient view unintentionally takes away from the sovereignty of God. It diminishes the power of His Will by declaring that predestination was actually precognition. In other words, the prescient view declares that God looked ahead to see which one of us would believe in Him and His Son and would follow the Holy Spirit, then He wrote the names of the people who believed in the Lamb’s Book of Life. That’s not predestination.

It isn’t just for the sake of free will that this concept is believed. It also has to do with our human perspective of fairness. If God chose who He would save and who He would not before they ever existed, it seems unfair to our human sensibilities. This is where things can be very confusing for believers because we cannot fathom a state outside of time. Time itself is a creation of God. Therefore, He exists outside of a physical rule that is unavoidably embedded within out conscience: the rule of cause and effect.

We are persistently constrained to the concept of cause and effect. It is impossible to comprehend the consistent state of God to the point that I hesitate to write about it. As he told Moses, the way that He was to be identified to the Hebrews was as “I Am.” Yeshua reiterated this in John.

John 5:56-58 (KJV)

56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?
58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

It’s with this concept of existing that our understanding fails. We see the world as cause and effect: we’re born, we do things, we face challenges, we are born again, we do things differently, we die. Our perspective within the framework of a world constrained by time does not allow us to understand the state of simply being. This is most confounding unless we’re able to at least partially grasp that our names were written in the Book of Life before the foundations of the world because our names are written there. For the sake of comprehension it is worded in the Bible as being before, but that is only done for convenience to allow comprehension of a Book that exists outside of the time-space continuum within which we currently exist.

The imperfect way of looking at it is to know that our names weren’t written because of our actions but that our actions are guided by the writing of our names in the Book of Life. It’s imperfect because it once again forces a constraint within our own comprehension, but it’s as close as we can come to understanding it at this point of our existence.

This is why we must always pray the Lord’s Prayer as Yeshua instructed us. The key is within the portion of the Lord’s Prayer when we are to pray that our Father’s Will be done in Earth as it is in Heaven. The Lord’s Prayer is extremely precise. It is a constant reminder of how we must live our lives. It is also a plea for our prayers to call for the Will of God to act on this world.

Matthew 6:9-13 (KJV)

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

We are told in the Bible how to live our lives. It isn’t for us to understand how we were chosen or to debate the fairness of predestination. Rather, we are here for His pleasure and the fact that He gave His Son for our salvation is enough for us to be humbled and grateful. He isn’t compelled by anything we do. His Love alone for those who deserve nothing is the most wonderful gift that supersedes any sense of fairness we might try to inject.

 


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Culture and Religion

2 Thessalonians 3:5 – ‘patient waiting for Christ’

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2 Thessalonians 3:5 patient waiting for Christ

And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. – 2 Thessalonians 3:5 (KJV)

This is a very straightforward verse, but with a subtle undertone that must be understood. We are flawed creatures who cannot do well nor even have faith in God without God’s intervention. In verse 2 and 3, it is clear that men have no faith but the Lord is faithful. That is why He directs our hearts to love Him and gives us patience to carry on until Christ’s return. Even faith requires what God has put in our hearts.

This should be comforting, especially to those who are unsure whether or not they truly have faith. The faith we have is not our own but given to us by God. If it is given to us by Him, we can be certain it will be true.

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The biggest threat to Christians is the teaching of a pre-tribulation rapture

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The biggest threat to Christians is the teaching of a pre-tribulation rapture

In many scriptures of the Bible, there is a “falling away” or discussion of great deceptions that are coming to the world. It has been hard for believers in Christ to comprehend the possibility of the masses falling away from Christianity because faith has been a powerful part of society for nearly two millenniums, but we are seeing it today. Moreover, we are seeing the spreading of a seed that will cause further apostasy among believers in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior: the myth of a pre-tribulation rapture.

Most who have gone to church in the last hundred years have likely considered the possibility at the very least that the rapture of the church will occur before the tribulation that is spoken of in many books of the Bible, including the Book of Revelation. Some estimates put it at 90% of the Christian church believes in a pre-tribulation rapture. The vast majority of popular churches teach that believers will be called up to Heaven before the tribulation. Simply stated, the Bible does not support this claim.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-3

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

Jesus will come in the clouds and call up those who are believers. This will not happen prior to the tribulation. The sun and moon will be darkened, and then He shall return. The majority of churches that teach Imminency, the concept that Jesus will return at any moment and His people will be raptured at that time, point to one verse to counter the argument of signs that will precede His second coming:

Matthew 24:36

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

This is obviously a true statement. It is also one that is completely misunderstood. The fact that we nor anyone else can know the day or the hour does not mean that He can come at any time. Throughout the Gospels and the writings of Paul, we hear of things that must happen before His return. It is not for us to know the day or the hour, but the season will make itself very evident. We will see certain events occur. One of those series of events are known as the Great Tribulation.

Why it is believed

The simply answer when asking why so many people, even “educated” church leaders, is that we want to believe it. It’s human nature to want to avoid persecution, war, sickness, and beheadings, all of which are spoken of as parts of the tribulation. If someone of authority tells us that we will not have to go through these things as long as we believe, it’s a message that can resonate. Those who hear the truth, that we may be living in the end times and that as a result many of us will go through great suffering due to our faith – it’s just not as positive of a message.

The not-so-simple answer is that Satan is pushing this as part of his agenda. It is Satan that rules the earth. His goal is to pull as many people away from the faith as possible, which is why he and his minions began deceiving Christians at their core starting in the early 19th century with the doctrine of a pre-tribulation rapture. He has brought about and continues to bring about waves of deceptions to pull people away from even considering the Word of the Bible, but this particular deception is to attack those who are wanting to be strong in their faith. It’s designed to shake the spirits of the believers to the point of non-belief.

Think about it. If you make people believe that they are not going to face suffering, that they are “special” and will avoid all of the troubles that will engulf the world, then they are weakened as a result. They will not be ready. When the tribulation does begin and they’re still on this planet going through it, they will begin to question their own faith. They will not be prepared to fight against persecution. They will be more willing to be deceived in order to save their lives. They will be more open to deceptions of the Anti-Christ. They will be more likely to worship the false messiah to take his mark in order to buy and sell. They will see the formation of the one world government, the one world economy, and the single world leader and they will do so more willingly than those who have their eyes open.

This is arguably the greatest deception that Satan has pulled off thus far.

Why churches teach it

Building a church is not as black and white for most as it is for others. It’s much easier to build one with a happy message than to try to build one through promises of fire and brimstone, persecution and suffering. There are those sitting in the seats of church leadership who realize that a pre-tribulation rapture is not correct but they continue to preach it in fear that their congregation will shrink or disappear altogether if they go against the grain.

As with any man-made organization, the Christian church world has a “club” among the leaders. There are those who are in the club and those who are not in the club. Those who are in the club are able to speak at events, sell books, build up an online following, and prosper as a church. Those who are not in the club have a much harder time finding relevance in this world. Today, the club is made up of pre-tribulation rapture teachers. If you’re not preaching a pre-tribulation rapture, you can’t be in the club.

It’s a catch-22 for many. Not all do it because of ignorance or greed. There are those who teach it because they feel that a message that can resonate with more people is better than a message that alienates many. In other words, they realize that they are not teaching this particular issue properly but if they can misinterpret this one little point, they’ll be able to get the other important messages out to more people. It’s a misguided attempt at an honorable sentiment that is actually more dangerous than not reaching the people at all. We believe there is a likelihood that many people will fall away in the last days, but others will open their eyes as well. If they open their eyes and start reading the Bible, they will see what they had missed their whole lives and will have an opportunity to head down the right path before it’s too late. If, however, they are weakened by expectations of a pre-tribulation rapture, it will be more difficult to bring them back to the truth.

Debating the Issue

It is sad when I read some of the assertions of those who continue to fight the truth of post-tribulation rapture. They are often excellent writers or orators fighting from a misguided perspective. For example, in the book Triumphant Return by Grant Jeffrey, he states:

Several incorrect premises have caused some to reject the pretribulation Rapture and accept the position called the “postribulation Rapture.” The first premise is an emotional contention that it would be unfair for the modern Church to escape to heaven scot free to escape the martyrdom that other believers have experienced.

In all of our studies of those promoting a post-tribulation rapture, I have never heard this premise before. It’s appalling that Jeffrey would lead with such a poor premise, as if trying to mislead the readers into believing that the post-tribulation doctrine is so weak that those who believe in it are emotional and ignorant simpletons.  Below, you will see videos of people who have formed their doctrine based solely on the Word of the Bible, who make it crystal clear that a post-tribulation rapture is without a doubt the reality, and that the theory of a pre-tribulation rapture is damaging to those to which it is taught.

The Words of Jesus Christ should be the resounding end of any debate that He will return before the tribulation:

Matthew 24:29-31

29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

There are other verses that also make it clear, but this is obviously the most specific. There are those who will say this is referring only to the Jews. There are those who will use charts and graphs to convince you of a pre-tribulation rapture. They will point to interpretations by Darby, Ephraem the Syrian, and Scofield as proof. Do not be misled.

Rather than point to the evidence or attempt to debate the concept, I will defer to a few people who have done more research on the subject than me. Please take the time to watch these videos and share this article. It’s important that believers are prepared for what’s to come. Whether it’s today or in a thousand years, we cannot allow people to be guided down a path that can lead them to be part of the falling away the Jesus spoke of in His ministry. We must open our eyes, see the truth, and spread it to all that we can.

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Liz Wheeler to Catholic girls: ‘Stop pretending you’re a victim because you broke the rules and rolled up your skirt’

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Liz Wheeler to Catholic girls Stop pretending youre a victim because you broke the rules and rolled

Students at Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego are protesting their dress code. This isn’t an uncommon occurrence; there have been plenty of protests over the years, especially by feminists, in opposition to school dress codes that require girls to wear skirts. But this protest is different. The students are protesting because girls are no longer allowed to wear skirts.

Principal Kevin Calkin, the principal at Cathedral Catholic High School, changed the dress code in the most recent iteration of policy. Now, it states: “The most significant change is that skirts will no longer be an option for girls. Dress code is a perennial challenge. The dress code exists for at least three good reasons: to foster unity, to encourage modesty, and to minimize pressure to conform to particular styles or clothing brands. Basically we hope to foster a faith-based environment where students are focused on learning and not on outward appearances.”

But students brought signs and demanded the old policy be put back in place. Signs had various messages from “My body, my choice” to “Even Jesus wore one.”

The policy was put into place after the principal and others on staff had handed out “hundreds of hours of detention” to girls who would break the knee-length minimum for skirts, especially by rolling up their skirts to reveal more of their lower bodies.

One America News host Liz Wheeler lambasted the students, who apparently can’t tell the difference between rights and privileges. Only in America can students feel so victimized because they can’t wear skirts to school.

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