Can't I wait until the Great Tribulation before I take God seriously? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Well, hi, I'm Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. This is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. Of course, you can always leave us a voicemail 24 hours a day on that number.
You can post your question on one of our social media sites, and you can always email us your question at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to Eric, who's calling in from St. Charles, Missouri. Eric, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Hey, how you doing? Doing well, Eric. How are you doing?
Doing great, doing great. Well, I wanted to ask the question in regards to the rapture being pre-trib. One thing, several things that I think it makes it pre-trib is, first, if it was after the seventh of tribulation, of course, it would be no surprise that we would know exactly when it would happen. Being Christians and studious of the word, we would know when it would happen. And also, as far as it being a new type of teaching, Revelation chapter 6, of course, is a new teaching as well. Because if you read like Matthew Henry and say Adam Clark, they had a very different view of, say, the white horse, they thought it was Jesus Christ. You know, of course, in the last days knowledge has increased. And then also, going into the millennial reign in natural bodies, it's pretty clear to me, at least in scripture, that no one that will go into the millennial reign will be sinful people that didn't accept Jesus Christ. And that's just a few other things that really kind of puzzled me because there'd be, we wouldn't know absolutely the exact time when Jesus would come back and things of that nature.
That's why I believe that when we read, say, 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians and, of course, other books in the Bible, Matthew 24 and others, I just think it attests to more strongly to a pre-trib than a post-trib. Mm-hmm. Hey, Eric, thank you for that question. And I appreciate it, man. I appreciate just all the thought that you put into that, that digging into the Scriptures.
And I got to say, you know, it sounds to me like this is something you spent quite a bit of time studying and thinking through. And you brought up a lot of different things there related to the millennial reign of Christ, related to, it seemed to me like one of the issues that you brought up. Like, here's a reason why you think that the rapture has to be, that there has to be a rapture, right, but prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ. And one of the issues you seemed to bring up was just the imminency of Christ's return. This idea that, you know, if Jesus comes after a seven-year tribulation, then we'll know, right?
Like, the seven years are up, we know Jesus is coming back, so the idea of, you know, not knowing the day or the hour wouldn't make any sense. But part of, I would say, the issue with that approach is it assumes that when Scripture talks about this tribulation for seven years or this period of tribulation, that it's talking about this set period of time, and it's not speaking prophetically or symbolically. And the thing is, throughout the book of Revelation specifically, when we're talking about the millennial reign of Christ, oftentimes John will use symbols, even numbers, symbolically. For example, in Revelation chapter 1, I believe it's verse 4, he talks about the seven spirits of God. And then later in chapter 4, verse 5, he talks about the seven torches of fire before the throne of God, which are the seven spirits of God. Probably they're a reference to the Holy Spirit, but we know that there aren't seven Holy Spirits. The number seven in Scripture so often symbolizes fullness or wholeness.
Why? Because, you know, the seven was the culmination of God's creation, Sabbath day, finality, fullness, rest, so on and so forth. And so it's really important that we interpret these various passages, and specifically when we're thinking about numbers and eschatology, end times, according to the genre that we're looking at in Scripture. And so I understand, the way I think about it, when I'm looking at the book of Revelation, and it describes, you know, periods of suffering, tribulation, three and a half years here and there, various places, a time, time, and half a times, John says throughout the book of Revelation.
I think that he's sort of piggybacking off of or echoing this idea of Jesus's three-year earthly ministry, a period of suffering and trial that culminated in his crucifixion and death. And in reality, throughout the Gospels, we see the church walking in the footsteps of Jesus. We're called as Christians to take up the cross and follow Jesus.
We are, in this world, going to experience tribulation. Jesus made it absolutely clear. And the sense that I get as I read the book of Revelation is that that actually confirmed that the saints throughout the book of Revelation are victorious and conquering, but that they're victorious and conquering in the exact same way that Jesus was victorious and conquered.
It's through the word of their testimony and through the blood of the lamb, through death, through suffering. And so, you know, those are a number of things I think that you have to factor in as we're thinking about these questions. And one of the other things you mentioned is, you know, as we're studying the scriptures, we do get more information. Over time, we study and we, you know, maybe have better interpretations. I would just say, I'm open to this, but what I would say is, look, this goes for so much in the Bible, as we're approaching scripture, friends, be weary of things that people discover that no one else has ever discovered in the last 2,000 years of church history. If somebody comes along and says, look, I got a new take on this passage of scripture, I got the special insight, I have the, you know, the special knowledge, you know, because I've studied, you know, this, that or the other, I would just say, look, be cautious of that.
Be weary of that. We believe that the Spirit of God has been working with and through the word for the last 2,000 years and that the scriptures are clear. Sometimes the word that we use there is the perspicuity of scripture, the clarity of scripture, so that anyone who comes along and says, you know, I got a new interpretation, a new take here, that really the church hasn't discovered yet, I would just say be cautious there. I'm not saying that's exactly what the theology of the rapture is, I'm just saying it really, you know, in terms of church history, this is something that is more novel in many respects.
I mean, historically, Christians believe that there was one second coming of Jesus, one final second coming of Jesus, and again, that doesn't mean we can't disagree and search the scriptures and have charitable dialogue, and that's what I love about this. That's what I love, Eric, even about your approach as you ask your question. We always want to go back to the word of God, and I appreciate that that's what you've done, but I've given you some reasons why, you know, maybe I take a different view there, and I just want to encourage you to continue to dig into the scriptures, and I'll do the same as well.
God bless. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We'd love hearing from you if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day. You can leave us a voicemail anytime at 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. By the way, we'd like to invite you to consider joining something we call our inner core. These are folks that support this program on a regular basis because they really believe strongly in what we do, talking about the core doctrines of the Christian faith five days a week and helping people to understand their faith more clearly. Yeah, and Bill, I love the way that you put it there because, look, in the body of Christ, we can have differences on a number of issues, maybe that we would say don't strike at the vitals of the Christian faith. We can talk about the rapture, the second coming, different views of eschatology, but what we're about here at Core Christianity more than anything else is those core doctrines that we know all of us agree on when it comes to the Christian faith. We're talking about the Trinity, the deity of Jesus Christ, salvation by grace through faith. That's what we want to partner together with, and we want you to partner with us to get that word out.
Because that's the word that people desperately need to hear. They need to hear about Jesus Christ and what he's done for them and what he calls them to do in response to his wonderful gospel. If you've been blessed by this program, maybe you don't even always agree with everything we say, but you know you're going to get pointed to the scriptures and encouraged in the gospel.
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We'd love to have you prayerfully consider joining that very special group of people. Let's go back to the phones. Margaret is on the line from Terre Haute, Indiana. Margaret, what's your question for Adriel? Margaret, are you there? Hello. Yes, I am. I wanted to know where in the Bible does it talk about the Jubilee, and does it specify more on that subject?
Yeah. Well, in the book of Leviticus, it talks about the year of Jubilee, which was this huge thing, releasing captives, pardoning debts. You read about it in Leviticus chapter 25 in verse 8, and here's what Moses said. Then he continues.
He continues. For I am the Lord. This year of Jubilee, this is like a pinnacle Sabbath moment, a time of rest for the land, a time of restoration. Again, oftentimes you hear us on the program, Margaret, talk about how these festivals, these times of celebration under the old covenant, served as pictures for what God was going to do later in his son Jesus for the world. This idea of Jubilee, of release from captivity, is something that we do believe is central to the work of Jesus Christ. In fact, Daniel the prophet in Daniel chapter 9 seems to tie together this idea of Jubilee and ultimate release with the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. So if you want more information about that, I would say just look at that text that I read most of it to there in Leviticus chapter 25, but looking at that in its context and then realizing that this is ultimately pointing us forward to a greater reality through the work of Jesus Christ. Thank you, Margaret, for your question. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.
Want to listen to a voicemail from one of our callers that came in earlier this week. I have a friend who believes in Jesus Christ, believed he died for his sins, was raised from the dead, but does not walk a very good Christ-like life. Used to, but now knowingly sinning, not reading the Bible, not doing most of any of the things that he used to do. His mother and I have confronted him and we have tried to tell him, we don't know when Jesus Christ is coming back, we don't think you're really walking right, you know, is God truly in your heart if you're doing these sins? And his reply is, well, I think I'm good, but if I don't make it to the rapture, then I'll make sure I make it through the tribulation and make it to heaven. And then he also says, you know, maybe God wants me in the tribulation because my daughters aren't quite believers and if they get left behind, then I can help them through the tribulation. What are your thoughts about people who think this way?
Thank you. I mean, I'll just be totally honest with you. I think that that is a very foolish way to think. It's very presumptuous. I think in some ways it even mocks God. Now let me just say, this kind of thinking is not foreign to me because I remember before I came to Christ really and started walking with the Lord, I remember thinking, I just want to do my thing, I want to have my fun, live my life. And then after I've done that, maybe when I'm on my deathbed or something like that, or after I really have had my fill, then I'll have my come to Jesus moment and turn to God. I remember actually, I don't know how I heard it, but in Revelation chapter one, it talks about Jesus coming with the clouds.
And it's just so silly. I remember thinking back then, if I go outside and it wasn't a cloudy day, I'd think, oh, Jesus probably isn't coming today. I'm good to go. Of course, didn't have really any skills in Bible interpretation at the time, but it was just really foolish because you don't know what tomorrow holds. We don't know what today holds. And today is the day of repentance. Today is the day of salvation.
Today, God calls you to turn from your sins and to turn to Christ and to receive His grace, His mercy, His love, His forgiveness. Not to harden your heart, because when you turn away from that, when the Spirit of God is convicting us about our sin, we're doing things, we know this is wrong. And we say, I'm not going to listen to that. What we're doing is we're hardening our hearts. We're searing our conscience so that the voice of God calling us to repentance, if you will, through the word, through loving friends and family members becomes quieter and quieter and quieter until our ears are just clogged.
And we can't hear anything anymore. And we're descending deeper and deeper into a pit, if you will. God is not mocked. And here's the beautiful thing is we believe that God is sovereign and able even for an individual who's in that position, who after denying Christ and rejecting the gospel for years, for decades, can only by the grace of the Holy Spirit, come to faith and receive forgiveness. But don't bank on that. Don't bank on, hey, later on I'll come to Jesus, because the reality is later on you might be so blinded by your sin and drunk with iniquity that the last thing on your mind is Jesus. And you don't know what tomorrow holds. I think of what the author of the Hebrews says in Hebrews chapter three, verse seven. Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, the author of the Hebrews wrote this, but he's saying this is God's word to you. This is what the Holy Spirit says. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion. On the day of testing in the wilderness where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years, therefore I was provoked with that generation and said they always go astray in their heart. They have not known my ways, as I swore in my wrath they shall not enter my rest.
Friends, I'm speaking to somebody right now. You're listening to the broadcast and you know you've been hardening your heart against the Lord. And you're thinking, later on, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year on my deathbed, that's when I'll turn to Jesus.
No, right now, Jesus calls you to turn to him. And here's the beautiful thing. We think, I want to just do my own thing because that's going to be the most fun, that's going to be the greatest, and then I can come to Jesus later on. But what you don't realize is there is nothing greater, more precious, more wonderful, more joyous than knowing the true and the living God. It doesn't mean it's always going to be easy.
It's certainly not. In this world we will have tribulation. We still suffer as Christians. We still experience sickness, weakness, indwelling sin, so on and so forth. But to know Jesus, to know the love of God, to know that your sins, as heavy as they are, can be forgiven, that you don't have to bear that weight anymore.
Because when you go to Jesus and you say, Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner by faith, and you cast yourself upon him, he forgives you to know that. And don't wait to have that. Don't live your life loaded down by a weight of sin and continuing to add to that. You're just killing yourself. No, go to Christ now and receive the grace that he has for you today. What a great challenge for all of us. Thank you for that, Adriel. What a beautiful picture you painted of God's redemption and the fact that we can turn to him and should turn to him from our sins. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. And we do receive emails here. If you have a question for us, you'd like to send us by email.
Here's the address. It's questions at core Christianity dot com. And Adriel, here's a question from one of our listeners named Linda. She says, My pastor has now declared that he is going from pastor to end times prophet. I did not realize people could make themselves prophets. This is really not sitting well with me.
What do you think? Yeah, well, you didn't realize that, Linda, because they can't. People can't make themselves prophets. You don't get to just declare I'm a prophet. Actually, in the Bible, God is the one, and I'm thinking specifically of the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, God was the one who called the prophets, who brought them up, lifted them up into his presence, into his very counsel, if you will. You see this in Isaiah. You see this in Jeremiah. You see this in Ezekiel.
And he gave them a message, a word, and then he sent them out. And typically what they were doing was prosecuting the terms of his covenant, the old covenant, against the kings of Israel, the sinful kings of Israel. Prophets in the Old Testament were attached to, annexed to the theocracy in Israel. So when people come around and say, you know, I'm a prophet like Jeremiah, or I'm a prophet like Ezekiel, I just say, well, that's not even possible. We don't live in the time of the theocracy.
You're not prosecuting the terms of the old covenant. Those prophets were pointing forward to Jesus and to his work of redemption. Then maybe sometimes people say, well, I'm a prophet in the New Testament sense, 1 Corinthians chapter 14. But even there, we're not the ones who decide who's a prophet and who isn't.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12 that the Holy Spirit distributes to each one individually as he wills these various gifts within the church. And this also raises the other question of whether or not ordinarily God is working through raising up prophets and healers today, or if that was something that was more for the first century churches, the gospel was going out. But not getting into that, I would just say if someone, a minister of the gospel, says I've just been elevated, or I'm elevating myself to the status of prophet or apostle or something like that, I would say that should set off alarm bells in your mind.
That should raise red flags because we don't. Even when it comes to the ministry of the word, pastors, you don't call yourself into the ministry. You don't get to decide, I'm a pastor, I'm called to shepherd the flock of God. No, God is the one who calls pastors, and ordinarily he does it through the church.
He uses the church. There's this internal call, a sense that an individual would have that I'm called to be a pastor. Paul talks about this in 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, desiring the office of an overseer.
It's a good thing. But there's also the call of the church, the external call, so that that internal call is confirmed by the body of Christ. It's not just an individual who's assuming to themselves this position of authority, this position of ministry, whether it's as a pastor or a prophet. Let me just say, one of the issues in the church today is you have people who are doing this, who are calling themselves to the ministry, who are saying, I should be teaching the Bible. I've never really even studied the Bible, never studied church history, don't know much about theology, but I think I should be a pastor and I should have a church, and so I'm calling myself to the ministry. No, don't sit under that kind of ministry.
That's dangerous. That's not how it works ordinarily, and certainly with somebody who's saying, I've called myself to be a prophet. I'm now a prophet, an end times prophet.
I would just say, no, brother, that's not what you are, and you don't get to call yourself that. You know who the ultimate prophet is, friends? The one that we need to listen to, the one who declares to us the will of God for our salvation from heaven. It's Jesus Christ. He is the ultimate prophet, priest, and king. He's the one that we need to hear. This is what the book of Hebrews says, Hebrews chapter one, verses one through three. Christ is the ultimate prophet. Go to him. As we explore the truth of God's word together.
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