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Living in exile

If you have become a Christian by putting your faith in Jesus Christ you are an exile and not living in your native country.  When you became a Christian you acquired a new citizenship.

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  (Philippians 3:20)

Because of this our present status in this world is that of exile.

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.  (1 Peter 1:10)

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The church and Daniel’s 70 week prophecy

Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.  (1 Peter 1:10,11)

The Old Testament prophets tell us of the suffering Christ experienced when he was crucified; they tell us of the glory associeated with his rule over the earth during the Millennium.  But what do they say about the time between these two events, the time in which we are living now?  The answer is: not much.  In fact they say nothing about the most important aspect of this era, the formation of the church.  The apostle Paul was given the task of revealing this truth to us.

When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.  (Ephesians 3:4-6)

The Old Testament teaches that Gentiles will be saved; it never tells of the formation of a new body composed of both Jews and Gentiles.  Paul not only teaches us about this body but he also tells how it will be removed from the earth through the event known as the rapture. Read the rest of this entry

Seeing the kingdom of God

Jesus made an astounding prediction.

But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.
Luke 9:27

Aside from Jesus himself everyone who was there is now dead, so this prophecy must have been fulfilled.  But just when did its fulfillment take place?  The prophecy appears in three gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and in all three is immediately followed by the event known as the Transfiguration.

Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.

Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said.

As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.
Luke 9:28-36

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The connecting link

Chapters 38 and 39 of Ezekiel describe an invasion of Israel which is stopped by divine intervention. There is disagreement among Bible students about when this invasion will take place. Some think it is a description of the final battle at Armageddon; some think it will take place earlier, perhaps before the beginning of the tribulation. In the Left Behind series it takes place even before the rapture of the church.

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The resurrections and the rapture

In the Old Testament it is clearly taught that there will be a resurrection of both the good and the bad.

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Daniel 12:2

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