Does God’s Grace Blot Out the Law?

Does God’s Grace Blot Out the Law?

by Joe Crews
Copyright © 1990
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Chapter One
The Authority of God’s Law

     The devil, through sin, has just about wrecked this world of ours. We live in an age of rebellion against all restraint and law. Our nation stands aghast at the big-city gang defiance of social order and property rights, including the right to live. Murder, robbery, and personal assaults have become the trademark of both urban and suburban 20th-century life.
     Each day as we read the newspaper it seems that the quality of life has edged downward a little bit further. At times we are tempted to believe that things can get no worse, and that conditions have hit rock bottom. Yet, the next day, even more violent, bizarre crimes are reported, and we simply shake our heads in disbelief. It is difficult to comprehend how a nation like America with its rich Christian heritage could ever depart so far from its founding principles. Even the non-Christian countries are not plagued with as much crime and overall violence as this so-called Christian nation. More crime is reported in Washington, D.C., in 24 hours than Moscow reports in a full year. No doubt the reporting methods are not the same, but it still presents an alarming picture.
     The problem becomes more serious when we realize that lawlessness also reaches into the area of religion and affects millions who would never think of killing or raping. It is probable that the great majority of church members in America today carry few convictions against breaking at least one of the Ten Commandments. A very insidious doctrine has been developed in both Catholic and Protestant theology, which has tended to minimize the authority of God’s great moral law. It has led many to look lightly upon transgression and has made sin to appear unobjectionable. In fact, sin has lost its horror for multitudes and has become an acceptable mode of life for both youth and adults. Witness the current trends in lifestyle that support this view. 
     How many young men and women are living together without benefit of marriage! Yet they do not believe such living arrangements should be designated as sin. A large portion of shoplifters are professing Christians, and most of those who belong to churches believe that there is no sin whatsoever involved in violating the seventh-day Sabbath of the fourth commandment.
     How can we explain this paradoxical situation among those who profess such high regard for the Bible, and such love for Christ This question becomes more significant when we consider the historical position of Christianity toward the Ten-Commandment law. Almost all of the great denominations have officially placed themselves on record as supporting the authority of that law. Yet very subtle errors of interpretation have crept into the modern church, leading to the present state of confused loyalty toward the Ten Commandments. How earnestly we need to look at that law and study its relation to God’s grace and to salvation itself. Itis so easy to accept the popular clichés concerning law and grace without searching out the biblical facts by which we will finally be judged. We must find authoritative scriptural answers to questions like these: In what sense are Christians free from the law What does it mean to be under the law Does God’s grace nullify the Ten Commandments Is a Christian justified in breaking any of the Ten Commandments because he is under grace These are the questions we shall address ourselves to in this important study.


Chapter Two
Condemned to Die

     Let us push aside the rubbish of confusion that has obscured the truth about how men are saved. Multitudes have heard emotional discourses on sin and salvation, but they still do not understand the logic and reason that require a blood sacrifice.
     Can you imagine the horror of standing before a judge and hearing the sentence of death pronounced against you Probably not. But you have felt the driving guilt and fear when God’s Word stabs you with this sentence: “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Why fear and guilt Because “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
     The words are there and the meaning cannot be mistaken. The word “all” might just as well be spelled John Smith or Mary Jones or whatever your name happens to be. The shocking fact is that you are under the sentence of death! You have been found guilty before the law, and there is no court of appeal in the world that can reverse the sentence and find you not guilty. The fact is that you are guilty, just as guilty as sin. According to 1 John 3:4, “sin is the transgression of the law,” and you must plead guilty to breaking the law. Whose law did you break Paul answers quickly, “I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet” (Ro-mans 7:7). There it is! The great Ten-Commandment law is the one that was broken, and it demands death for the transgressor. 
     In desperation the sinner searches for a way to be justified in the sight of that broken law. How can the sentence of death be turned aside Can man atone for his sins by obeying the commandments of God for the rest of his life Back comes the answer in language that no one can misinterpret: “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight” (Romans 3:20).
     Listen; there is a reason why works will not justify a soul. If a man is found guilty of stealing and is sentenced to ten years in jail, he may indeed justify himself by works. By serving the time of his sentence, the man may satisfy the claims of the law. He is considered perfectly justified and innocent because he has worked out his deliverance by fulfilling the sentence. In the same manner, a murderer may be justified by works if he serves the fifty years of his sentence. But suppose the sentence is death instead of fifty years Can the prisoner then justify himself by works Never! Even if he should work for one hundred years at hard labor, the law would still demanddeath. The truth is that “without shedding of blood is no remission. … So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:22–28).
     This is why works can never save the sinner. The penalty for sin is not ten years in prison or fifty years at hard labor. The sentence is death, and the law cannot be satisfied except by the shedding of blood. That unchangeable law with its unrelenting death sentence could no more be removed than the throne of God could be toppled. The guilt of the past cannot be erased by resolutions of good behavior in the future. The sinner finally is forced to confess that he owes something that he cannot pay. The law demands death and he cannot satisfy it without forfeiting his own life for eternity.


Chapter Three
The Law Still Binding

     Now we are brought to the question that has created confusion for multitudes of Christians: If the works of the law cannot save a person, is it therefore necessary to keep the law Apparently this was a burning issue in the early church, because Paul asked the same question in Romans 6:1. “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound” In other words, does grace give us a license to disobey the law of God His answer is: “God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein” (verse 2).
     How interesting it is that Christians in this age of relativism can invent their own definitions that condone lawbreaking. The Bible says sin is violating the Ten Commandments—the law which has been described as irrelevant and old-fashioned by many modern theologians. Don’t be deceived. Every one of those great moral precepts is just as timely and needful today as they were when God wrote them on the imperishable tables of stone. And nothing has ever happened to make them less binding than they were when God gave them. In fact, we are going to discover that Jesus came to magnify the law and to open up its spiritual application, making it more comprehensive than the legalistic Pharisees ever imagined. Under the distilling influence of Christ’s perfect life of obedience, we can see the spiritual details of law-keeping which are neither recognized nor made possible apart from Him.


Chapter Four
God’s Law—A Mirror

     At this point we must be very careful to designate also what the law cannot do. Even though it points out sin, it has no power to save from sin. There is no justifying, cleansing grace in it. All the works of all the laws would not be sufficient to save a single soul. Why For the simple reason that we are saved by grace through faith, as a free gift. “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20).
     Do not stumble over this crucial point. We cannot earn forgiveness by working hard to obey. No sinner can gain favor and acceptance with God because he keeps the law. The law was not made for the purpose of saving or justifying. It was made to show us our need of cleansing and to point us to the great source of cleansing, Jesus Christ, our Lord. The Bible speaks of the law as a mirror to show us what kind of persons we really are. “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:23–25).
     It is obvious to all that a mirror cannot remove a spot from the face. Looking into the mirror all day, and even rubbing it over the face, will not provide any cleansing. Its work is to reveal the spot and to point the dirty one to the sink for actual cleansing. The law, in like manner, can only condemn the sinner by giving him knowledge of his condition and then pointing him to the cross for true cleansing. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Paul further emphasizes this point in Galatians 2:16: “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ … for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
     Right here we must consider one of the most fallacious propositions ever set forth relating to the law. Countless sincere Christians have accepted the idea that the Old Testament encompasses the dispensation of works and that the New Testament provides for a dispensation of grace. Under this garbled plan people were saved by works in the Old Testament and by grace in the New Testament. This is simply not true. The Bible holds forth only one beautiful, perfect plan for anybody to be saved, and that is by grace through faith. Heaven will not be divided between those who got there by works and those who got there by faith. Every single soul among the redeemed will be a sinner saved by grace. 
     Those who entered into salvation in the Old Testament were those who trusted the merits of the blood of Jesus Christ, and they demonstrated their faith by bringing a lamb and slaying it. They looked forward in faith to the atoning death of Jesus. We look back in faith to the same death and are saved in exactly the same way. Be very certain that the entire redeemed host throughout eternity will be singing the same song of deliverance, exalting the Lamb slain from the foundations of the world.


Chapter Five
The “New” Law of Christ

     Some try to dispose of the Ten Commandments on the basis of the “new” commandments of love that Christ introduced. It is certainly true that Jesus laid down two great laws of love as a summary of all the law, but did He give the idea that these were new in point of time The fact is that He was quoting directly from the Old Testament when He gave those newcommandments. “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6:5). “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Leviticus 19:18). Certainly, those penetrating spiritual principles had been forgotten by the legalists of Christ’s day, and they were new to them in relation to their life and practice. But they were not intended by Jesus to take the place of the Ten Commandments.
     When the lawyer asked Jesus which was the greatest commandment in the law, he received the answer: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37–40).
     Notice that these two love commandments simply summed up “all the law and the prophets.” They all hang upon these two principles of love. Christ was saying that love is the fulfilling of the law just as Paul repeated it later in Romans 13:10. If one loves Christ supremely with heart, soul, and mind, he will obey the first four commandments that have to do with our duty to God. He will not take God’s name in vain, worship other gods, etc. If one loves his neighbor as himself, he will obey the last six commandments that relate to our duty to our fellow men. He will not be able to steal from his neighbor, lie about him, etc. Love will lead to obeying or fulfilling all the law.


Chapter Six
Not Under the Law

     Often we hear this argument in an effort to belittle the law of God: “Well, since we are not under the law but under grace, we do not need to keep the Ten Commandments any longer.” Is this a valid point The Bible certainly does say that we are not under the law, but does that imply that we are free from the obligation to obey it The text is found in Romans 6:14, 15. “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace God forbid.”
     How easily we could prevent confusion if we accepted exactly what the Bible says. Paul gives his own explanation of his statement. After stating that we are not under the law but under grace, he asks, “What then” This simply means, “How are we to understand this” Then notice his answer. In anticipation that some will construe his words to mean that you can break the law because you are under grace, he says, “Shall we sin (break the law) because we are not under the law but under grace God forbid.” In the strongest possible language Paul states that being under grace does not give a license to break the law. Yet this is exactly what millions believe today, and they totally ignore Paul’s specific warning.
     If being under grace does not exempt us from keeping the law, then what does Paul mean by saying that Christians are not under the law He gives that answer in Romans 3:19. “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” Here Paul equates being under the law with “being guilty before God.” In other words, those who are under the law are guilty of breaking it and are under the condemnation of it. This is why Christians are not under it. They are not breaking it—not guilty and condemned by it. Therefore, they are not under it, but are under the power of grace instead. Later in his argument, Paul points out that the power of grace is greater than the power of sin. This is why he states so emphatically, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Grace overrules the authority of sin, giving power to obey God’s law. This is the effective reason that we are not under the law’s guilt and condemnation and also why Paul states that we will not continue to sin.
     Suppose a murderer has been sentenced to death in the electric chair. Waiting for the execution the man would truly be under the law in every sense of the word—under the guilt, under the condemnation, under the sentence of death, etc. Just before the execution date the governor reviews the condemned man’s case and decides to pardon him. In the light of extenuating circumstances the governor exercises his prerogative and sends a full pardon to the prisoner. Now he is no longer under the law but under grace. The law no longer condemns him. He is considered totally justified as far as the charges of the law are concerned. He is free to walk out of the prison and no policeman can lay hands upon him. But now that he is under grace and no longer under the law, can we say that he is free to break the law Indeed not! In fact, that pardoned man will be doubly obligated to obey the law because he has found grace from the governor. In gratitude and love he will be very careful to honor the law of that state which granted him grace. Is that what the Bible says about pardoned sinners “Do we then make void the law through faith God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Romans 3:31). Here is the most explicit answer to the entire problem. Paul asks if the law is nullified for us just because we have had faith in Christ’s saving grace. His answer is that the law is established and reinforced in the life of a grace-saved Christian.
     The truth of this is so simple and obvious that it should require no repetition, but the devious reasoning of those who try to avoid obedience makes it necessary to press this point a bit further. Have you ever been stopped by a policeman for exceeding the speed limit It is an embarrassing experience, especially if you know you are guilty. But suppose you really were hurrying to meet a valid emergency, and you pour out your convincing explanation to the police-man as he writes your ticket. Slowly he folds the ticket and tears it up. Then he says, “All right, I’m going to pardon you this time, but …” Now what do you think he means by that word “but” Surely he means, “but I don’t want to ever catch you speeding again.” Does this pardon (grace) open the way for you to disobey the law On the contrary, it adds compelling urgency to your decision not to disobey the law again. Why, then, should any true Christian try to rationalize his way out of obeying the law of God “If ye love me,” Jesus said, “keep my commandments” (John 14:15).


Chapter Seven
Obedience—The Test of Love

     Someone may bring up the objection that after the law has accomplished its purpose of pointing the sinner to Christ for cleansing, it will no longer be needed in the experience of the believer. Is that true No, indeed. The Christian will always need the watchdog of the law to reveal any deviation from the true path and to point him back to the cleansing cross of Jesus. There will never be a time when that mirror of correction will not be needed in the progressive growth experience of the Christian.
     Law and grace do not work in competition with each other but in perfect cooperation. The law points out sin, and grace saves from sin. The law is the will of God, and grace is the power to do the will of God. We do not obey the law in order to be saved but because we are saved. A beautiful text which combines the two in their true relationship is Revelation 14:12. “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” What a perfect description of faith and works! And the combination is found in those who are “saints.”
     The works of obedience are the real test of love. This is why they are so necessary in the experience of a true believer. “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:20). No man ever won a fair maiden’s heart by words alone. Had there been no flowers, no acts of devotion, no gifts of love, most men would still be searching for a companion. Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
     Words and profession are not enough. The true evidence is obedience. Today’s bumper stickers reflect a shallow concept of love. They say, “Smile if you love Jesus,” “Honk if you love Jesus”; but what did the Master Himself say He said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). And that is exactly what most people don’t want to do. If love makes no demands beyond a smile or wave, then it is welcome; but if the lifestyle must be disturbed, the majority will reject it. Unfortunately, most people today are not looking for truth. They are looking for a smooth, easy, comfortable religion that will allow them to live the way they please and still give assurance of salvation. There is indeed no true religion that can do that for them.
     One of the strongest texts in the Bible on this subject is found in 1 John 2:4. “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” John could write that with such assurance because it is one of the most deeply established truths in the Bible. Jesus spoke of those who said, “Lord, Lord,” but did not do the will of the Father. Then He described many who would seek entrance to the kingdom claiming to be workers of miracles in the name of Christ. But He would sorrowfully have to say, “I never knew you: depart from me” (Matthew 7:21–23). You see, to know Christ is to love Him, and to love Him is to obey Him. The valid assumption of the Bible writers is very clear and simple: If one is not obeying Christ, he does not love Christ. And if he doesn’t love the Master, then he doesn’t know Him. John assured us, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). Thus, we can see how knowing and loving and obeying are all tied closely together and are absolutely inseparable in the life of God’s faithful people. The beloved John summed it up in these words: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3).


Chapter Eight
Is It Possible to Obey the Law

     Countless Christians have been taught that since the law is spiritual and we are carnal, no human being will ever be able in this life to meet the requirements of the perfect law. Is this true Has it been given by God as a great idealistic, impossible goal toward which converted souls should struggle but never expect to attain Is there some hidden reservation or secret meaning in the many commands to obey the ten great rules God wrote on stone Did God mean what He said and say what He meant
     Many believe that only Christ could have obeyed that law and only because He had special powers that have not been made available to us. Certainly it is true that Jesus is the only One who lived without committing a single act of disobedience. His reason for living that perfect, victorious life is laid out in Romans 8:3, 4: “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.”
     Do not miss the point that Jesus came to condemn sin by His perfect life in the flesh in order that “the righteousness of the law” might be fulfilled in us. What is that righteousness The Greek word dikaima is used here, which means, literally, “the just requirement” of the law. This can only mean that Christ won His perfect victory in order to make the same victory available to us. Having conquered the devil, showing that in the flesh the law can be obeyed, Christ now offers to come into our hearts and share the victory with us. Only by His strength and indwelling power can the requirements of the law be fulfilled by anyone. Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).
     Not one soul can ever keep one of those Ten Commandments in human power alone, but all of them may be kept through the enabling strength of Jesus. He imputes His righteousness for cleansing and imparts His righteousness for victorious living. Christ came in a body of flesh like our own and depended wholly upon His Father in living His life to demonstrate the kind of victory which is possible for every soul who will likewise draw upon the Father’s grace.


Chapter Nine
Judged by the Law

     Now, a final question about the subject of the law: How many of the Ten Commandments does one have to break in order to be guilty of sin James says, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty” (James 2:10–12).
     Every individual will be judged at last by the mighty moral code of God’s law. To break one is to be guilty of sin. The Bible indicates that the Ten Commandments are like a chain with ten links. When one link is broken, the chain is broken. So it is with the law. Those who stand in the judgment will have to meet the acid test of the Ten Commandments. If a practicing thief should seek entrance into the kingdom, he would be rejected. This is why Paul says thieves will not inherit the heavenly city. Furthermore, the Bible specifically declares that liars, adulterers, idolaters, and covetous men will not be in the kingdom. Why Because the Ten Commandments forbid those things, and men will be judged finally by that law. Not one person will be admitted into heaven who is willfully violating any one of the Ten Commandments, because breaking one is breaking all.
     Someone might object that this is making works the basis of entering the kingdom. No. It is really making love the qualifying factor. Jesus said that the greatest commandment of all is to love God supremely. He also said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Those who practice any known sin are really confessing that they do not love God with all their heart, soul, and mind. So it is the lack of love that shuts them out—not the act of disobedience that exposes that lack. Only when love is motivating the obedience does it become acceptable to God. Any other work is man’s vain attempt to earn salvation and to deny the efficacy of Christ’s atoning sacrifice.


Chapter Ten
Ransomed for What

     A dramatic illustration of the law-grace doctrine is seen in the story of the slave auctions in old New Orleans long ago. Two planters were bidding for an old Negro slave who kept shouting his rebellion from the auction block. Finally, one of the planters won the bid and took the slave in his wagon back to the farm. Throughout the journey the defiant black man declared that he would not work for the new owner. When they arrived at the plantation, the planter dropped the shackles from the newly bought slave and said, “You are free to go. You are no longer a slave. I bought you in order to give you your liberty.”
     According to the story, the old man fell at the feet of the planter and said, “Master, I’ll serve you forever.” 
     In like manner, we were all held in the bondage of sin, condemnation, and death. Christ then paid the price to secure our freedom from that hopeless slavery. Lovingly He tells us that the reason He made the sacrifice was to set us free. What should our response be Every ransomed child of God should fall at His feet and say, “Master, I love you for what you did for me. I’ll serve you the rest of my life.”
     Think it through for a moment. Jesus had to die because the law had been broken. Sin demanded death. If the law could have been abrogated, the penalty of sin would have been set aside also. “For where no law is, there is no transgression” (Romans 4:15). So strong was the authority of that unchangeable law that God Himself could not abolish it—not even to save His own Son from death.
     The old, old story of the two brothers is almost a perfect illustration of both law and grace in operation. The older brother was a judge. His younger brother was brought before him as a transgressor of the law. From all the evidence it was clear to all thathe was guilty. The court was tense. Would the judge mete out justice in such a case The judge looked at his brother and sternly declared him guilty. Then he stunned the court by imposing the maximum fine. But immediately he left the bench and threw his arms around his brother and said, “I had to do it because you are guilty. I know you cannot pay the fine, but I will pay it for you.”
     The point of the story is dramatic in its impact. The brother was forgiven, but the penalty was not. It had to be paid. But by paying the maximum penalty, the judge not only did not abolish the law, but he greatly magnified it. He demonstrated that its binding claims could never be voided. In the same sense, God would not and could not abolish the law to save His beloved Son. It cost something to uphold the law and pay the maximum penalty. No one will ever know how much it cost the Son of God. But how thankful we should be that His love was as perfect as His justice. In His own body He bore the penalty, satisfied the law, and justified the transgressor. 
     Can’t you see that no greater demonstration could have been made to prove the permanence of the Ten Commandments In the entire universe God could not have displayed a more convincing and irrefutable argument in favor of His law. Yet, in the face of this tremendous exhibition, misguided millions of poor, feeble men belittle the government of God by belittling His law. They seem not to understand that the law is only a reflection of His holiness and righteousness. To speak of its abolition is to border on treason against the divine government of heaven.
     Look into that holy law right now for a divine revelation of what God wants your life to be. Confess that you have no strength to live up to that perfect standard. Then turn your eyes to the only One who has kept that law perfectly and who desires this very moment to enter your life with enabling power. He will fulfill the righteousness of the law—the just requirements of the law—in you, so that you can say with Paul, “Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith ofthe Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).


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Anything But Secret

Anything But Secret

by Doug Batchelor
Copyright © 2000
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Anything But Secret  

     In the early 1500s, the Aztec empire was one of the most powerful and sophisticated civilizations in the western hemisphere. However, within one year’s time this mighty nation of over two million people was conquered and enslaved by just 600 hundred men. How did it happen
     The Aztecs had a prophecy about Quetzalcoatl (kèt-säl´ko-ä-tal), a legendary feathered god-king who was light skinned and bearded. It predicted that he would return to Mexico from across the sea and that he would come in the clouds from the east to save them.
     Well, in 1519 Spanish galleons arrived in Mexico carrying a group of conquistadors led by Hernando Cortez. When the Aztecs saw these ships, they thought their billowing sails looked like clouds. Cortez heard about the Aztec legend from some Indians who lived on the shore and decided to use it to his advantage. By assuming the mantle of deity,he hoped to befuddle superstitious King Montezuma II.
     While the king was waiting to receive the light-skinned visitor with honor, Cortez marched his army right into the center of the Aztec capital. By the time the people realized that Cortez was not the savior they were expecting, it was too late.
     The conquistadors proceeded to plunder, enslave, and kill the Aztec people. An entire nation was deceived and destroyed-in part because the prophecies of their god’s return were so ambiguous that almost anyone could have served as a counterfeit.
     In the near future, Satan will attempt to personate Jesus and counterfeit His return to earth. But God’s people need not be deceived. When the disciples asked Jesus for the sign of His coming and the end of the world, the very first thing He told them was to be on guard against impostors. He said, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” (Matthew 24:4-5).
     Christ then proceeded to give His followers a wealth of information about His second coming so there would be no doubt as to how He would return. Jesus not only wants us to know that He is coming and that He’s coming soon; He wants us to understand the manner of His coming.
     The reason this is so important is that Satan will soon attempt to personate Jesus and counterfeit His return. And to pave the way, Satan has introduced a strong delusion to the Christian world that has been almost universally accepted in mainline churches. I am referring to the popular teaching regarding a “secret rapture.”
     The secret rapture theory was designed to lull God’s people into a false sense of security and to prepare them for this final master deception.
     The devil knows that Jesus is coming back and that his remaining time is short (Revelation 12:12). He has been sharpening his skills of deception for 6,000 years, and his last masquerade will be his masterpiece.
     In fact, God warned that Satan will do such a convincing job that, if it were possible, even the very elect would be deceived. Jesus said to His disciples, “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall decieve the very elect” (Matthew 24:23-24).
     Satan is not an ugly, grotesque, bat-winged creature wearing a red leotard. He’s an angel-a beautiful, powerful angel. And the Bible makes it clear that he is able to transform himself and appear in different forms. “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light: (2 Corinthians 11:13-14). We must not underestimate how convincing and overpowering Satan’s final deception will be. I’m sure he will even quote Scripture, as he did while tempting Christ in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-6).
     The devil also has the ability to create the illusion of miracles. You will remember that when Moses went in before Pharaoh to plead for the children of Israel, the magicians of Egypt were able to duplicate the first few signs from God (Exodus Chapters 7-8). Satan is in the business of deception, and we know that he is saving his greatest deception of all for the last days. We need to know how Jesus is coming, or we will be deceived.
     The Bible is very clear that when Jesus comes back, His feet never touch the ground. It says the righteous will be caught up to meet Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17). This is why Jesus emphatically warns us, “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:26-27,NKJV).
     Satan cannot replicate a worldwide, cataclysmic event the magnitude of the real second coming. However, if he can seduce Christians into believing the secret rapture theory, he won’t need to. He can simply show up around the world in various places, perform great miracles, make TV appearances, and thereby deceive the entire world.
     Every general knows that the key to victory in battle is to maintain an element of surprise. Many battles have been won because of a clever diversionary tactic. While one army was distracted and looking at the diversion, the enemy came up from behind to conquer them. In the devil’s final assault, he will do the same thing. The archdeceiver has always wanted to be God. Now he knows that he is doomed, but his last taunting gesture against heaven will be to personate Jesus and receive the worship of a lost world.
     Satan’s deceptions will be strong and convincing, but Christ has given us ample information in order to help us discern truth from error. 

Not a Secret 

     Will there be a rapture Yes. Will it be a secret NO!
     Rapture means “to be carried away with power,” and it is true that when Jesus comes the living righteous will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17). But many have come to believe that this rapture will take place quietly-that faithful Christians all around the world will suddenly disappear and that life here on earth will continue for a seven-year period of tribulation. During this time, they say, many will be converted and have a “second chance” at salvation before Christ’s final coming.
     Although the secret rapture scenario may appear comforting at first glance, there is absolutely no scriptural support for it. The Bible plainly teaches that when Jesus comes again, every one of our senses will be bombarded with evidence!

His Coming Will Be Literal
     “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11).
     Heaven-sent messengers told the disciples that Jesus would return to this earth in the same manner He left. Christ left in the clouds, and He will come back in the clouds. He was visible when He left, and He will be visible when He comes again. He had a real body when He left, and He will return the same way.

His Coming Will Be Visible
     “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him.” (Revelation 1:7).
     “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:27).
     “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.” (Matthew 24:30).
     When Christ comes, it will not be merely a local sighting or an isolated event. It will be visible across the entire world. His Coming Will Be Audible
     “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17).
     “The Lord shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout.” (Jeremiah 25:30).
     “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.” (Psalm 50:3).
     As you can see from the preceeding Scriptures, Christ’s second coming will be loud! There will be shouts and trumpets and all kinds of noise. No one will accidentally miss it or be able to read about it in the newspaper the next day.

His Coming Will Be Emotional
     “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” (Luke 21:26, 27).
     “And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25:9).
     When Christ returns, it will be an emotional day for the wicked and righteous alike. The lost will experience indescribable fear and anguish, while the saved will experience the perfect joy of eternal salvation.

His Coming Will Open the Graves
     “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:40).
     “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” (1 Corinthians 15:22, 23).
     “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17).
     This is the Bible’s description of the rapture. The dead in Christ will rise by His power and will meet Him in the air. Afterward the faithful who are still alive will also be caught up. It will not be a secret!

His Coming Will Destroy the Earth
     “The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.” (Isaiah 24:19, 20).
     “And the heaven [sky] departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.” (Revelation 6:14).
     “And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.” (Revelation 16:18-20).
     This world will be uninhabitable by people after Christ comes. His coming will shake the very foundations of the earth.

His Coming Will Mean Final Judgment
     “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” (Matthew 16:27).
     “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” (Revelation 22:12).
     It is at Christ’s return that we will receive our final reward. Each person’s decision will have already been made; there will be no second chance to convert. The time to make a decision to follow Christ is now!


Basis for Confusion 

     With so much evidence in the Bible as to the manner of Christ’s coming, how did people get the idea that the rapture will be a secret event
     As with most deceptions, the secret rapture theory is based on a few texts which have been taken out of context. There are two main concepts in Scripture that have been used to substantiate a “secret” rapture.
     The primary one is that Jesus will come as “a thief in the night.” The secret rapture theory as- sumes this means that Christ will come secretly to steal away the righteous and carry them quietly to heaven.
     Christ’s coming is described as “a thief” several times throughout the New Testament. Let’s look at one of these passages and see if it describes a secret rapture. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” (2 Peter 3:10). That doesn’t sound like a secret event, does it
     In describing His return as a thief, Christ did not intend to show that it would be quiet, but that it would be sudden and unexpected-that the wicked would be taken by surprise. He said, “If the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.” (Luke 12:39, 40). Likewise, Paul told the Christians in Thessalonica, “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” (1 Thessalonians 5:4). God does not want His followers to be surprised. He wants us to be watchful and ready.
     To further illustrate this truth, Jesus said,”No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house” (Mark 3:27, NKJV).
     Can you picture a homeowner being oblivious to a robbery if the thief just broke into the man’s house, tied him up and threw him in a closet, and then ransacked the place while searching for valuables Of course not!
     In the same way, the day and hour of the second coming is a secret, but when the glorious event transpires, all will know!
     The second concept used to support a “secret” coming is found in Luke 17:34-36: “I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”
     Secret rapture proponents say this passage proves that the saints will suddenly disappear from the earth when Jesus returns. But let’s take an honest look at the evidence and see what these verses actually teach.
     In Luke 17:34-36, Jesus employs some of His favorite symbols to illustrate a simple point. At the end of time, there will be just two groups of people living upon the earth-the lost and the saved.

  • “Two men in one bed.” A bed generally connotes sleep, and Jesus used sleep as a symbol of death. He said to the disciples, “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.” “Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.” (John 11:11, 14). In the resurrection at the last day, there will be two kinds of people sleeping in the grave-the lost and the saved.
  • “Two women grinding together.” In Bible prophecy, a woman is a symbol of a church (Jeremiah 6:2). Grinding grain represents working with the Word of God. When Christ comes in glory, there will be two kinds of churches-the false and the true. Both will be outwardly doing the same thing, but only one will be redeemed.
  • “Two men in the field.” The field represents the world (Matthew 13:38). When Jesus comes again, there will be two kinds of missionaries laboring out in the field-the false and the true. This is why He said, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name have cast out devils and in thy name done many wonderful works And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:22, 23).


Not Left Behind 

     Another common misconception contained in the secret rapture theory is that people will continue to live here on earth for several years after Christ’s return. However, the Bible clearly teaches that when Jesus comes next, there will be no one left alive on this planet.
     For example, in his prophecy about the end of the age, Jeremiah wrote:”I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and by his fierce anger: (Jeremiah 4:23-26, emphasis added).
     In another place he declared,”And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: They shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground: (Jeremiah 25:33)
     The prophet Isaiah describes the same dismal conditions in his prophecy of the state of the earth following the second coming. “Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth aboad the inhabitants thereof.” “The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled:for the Lord hath spoken this word: (Isaiah 24:1,3, emphasis added).
     Last but not least, consider the following passage of Scripture:”And as it was in the days of Noe [Greek for ‘Noah’], so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed:” (Luke 17:26-30, emphasis added).
     Notice that the wicked were detroyed on the same day that the Flood came to Noah and on the same day that the fire came to Sodom. Jesus emphasizes at both the beginning and the end of this passage that these earlier judgments, which destroyed all of the wicked, were examples of what would happen at His second coming. The Bible is crystal clear that life on earth does not continue for either man or beast after Jesus comes. 

Through the Tribulation With Christ 

     The idea that the righteous will all be raptured out of the world just before the time of trouble and that only the wicked will be left behind to endure seven years of tribulation can be very appealing. Perhaps that is why this doctrine has gained such widestred acceptance. But the Bible clearly teaches otherwise.
     The phrase “seven years of tribulation” does not appear anywhere in Scripture. However, Jesus did say that a terrible time of trouble would come upon the world just before His return and that it would be more intense than any other in the history of this world. In His great prophetic discourse on the Mount of Olives, Jesus made the following statement: “For then shall be great tribulation,such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect”s sake those days shall be shortened: (Matthew 24:21-22).
     If the elect were not in the world during the great tribulation, they would not need the days to be shortened!
     All throughout Scripture we see examples of the Lord saving His people though tribulation, not from it.

  • Noah was not saved from the Flood, but through it.
  • Daniel was not saved from the lions’ den, but through it.
  • Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not were not saved from the fiery furnace, but through it. In fact, Jesus went through it with them, and He will go through the great tribulation with us, as well!
  • The children of Israel were not saved from Egypt before the plagues fell, but afterward. God demonstrated His love and power by preserving them in Egypt through the 10 plagues. In the same way, the righteous will be in the world when the seven last plagues fall (revelation chapter 16), but God will preserve them.

     God never promises that our lives will always be easy. Christ prayed to His Father for His disciples, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil [one]” (John 17:15). Likewise, in 2 Timothy 3:12 Paul states, “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Paul also told a group of disciples that “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).
     In His parable of the two home builders, Jesus taught that the storm comes to the wise man who builds on the rock just as surely as it comes to the fool who builds upon the sand (Matthew 7:24-27). The storm will come to all.
     The good news is that God’s children will survive the coming tribulation. They will endure by practicing some of the same survival skills used by the Great Basin bristlecone pine. Believed to be one of the oldest living trees on the planet, it can live more than 4,000 years. Found on lonely mountaintops, some of these ancient evergreens have weathered thousands of years of intense freezing wind, pounding rain, scorching sun, and violent electrical storms.
     How do they manage to survive such harsh, adverse conditions They send their roots deep, wrap them tenaciously around a solid rock, and hang on.
     In the same way, the saints will have to sink their roots of faith deep into the Word of God and cling tenaciously to the mighty Rock of Ages.
     Remember that even though God does not always provide an escape from tribulation, He does promise to give us the power and strength to get through it. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13) 

Times of Trouble 

     As we discuss the great tribulation to take place just before Jesus returns, keep in mind that there have been several other “times of trouble” for God’s people in the past.
     For example, the children of Israel endured 400 years of tribulation just before the Exodus (Acts 7:6). The early Christians also passed through a time of trouble immediately after the stoning of Stephen (Acts 8:1). From A.D. 303-313,during the era represented by the Smyrna church (Revelation 2:10), God’s people suffered a 10-year period of tribulation. But perhaps the most notable time of trouble was the 1,260 years of intense persecution waged against true Christians during the Dark Ages. “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.” “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child” (Revelation 12: 6,13).
     As dark as each of these times was for God’s people none will compare with the final, great tribulation that is yet to take place. The great tribulation corresponds with the time during which the seven last plagues of Revelation chapter 16 will “fall. “And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God” (Revelation 15:1).
     God’s wrath will be directed against the ones who disobey His law, distort His truth, and oppress His people. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness ” (Romans 1:18).
     The great tribulation also coincides with the Battle of Armageddon. Both take place immediately before Christ’s second coming. “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done:(Revelation 16:16-17).
     It is my belief that the great time of trouble will last only a month or two. Here are a few Scriptures that indicate it will be a short period of time.
     Revelation 18:8 tells us, “Therefore shall her plagues come in one day.” A “day” in Bible prophecy represents one literal year (Ezekiel 4:6;Numbers 14:34;Luke 13:32). So when Revelation says that “her plagues come in one day,” it means within, or less than, one year’s time.
     Furthermore, the very nature of the seven last plagues-the rivers and seas turning to blood and the planet being scorched with great heat- would render it impossible for the human race to survive more than a month or two. This is why Jesus said, “And unless those days were shorened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:22, NKJV).

Just Before the Plagues 

     Since the experience of the children of Israel just before the plagues fell on Egypt is a type, or symbol, of what will happen to God’s people before the seven last plagues described in Revelation chapter 16, let’s examine that story more closely.
     After 400 years of slavery, the Israelites had become influenced by the religion of Egypt and had lost sight of God’s law. So before Moses and Aaron met with the Pharaoh, they first met with the leaders of Israel to encourage a revival of commitment to God’s law-including the Sabbath of creation (Exodus 4:29-31). The people responded wholeheartedly, which is why the Pharaoh got angry and said to Moses and Aaron, “You make them rest from their labor!” (Exodus 5:5, NKJV). Remember that the children of Israel knew the Sabbath was part of God’s law before they ever came to Mount Sinai (Exodus 16:22-28).
     Likewise, before the onset of the great tribulation, special attention will once again be called to the subject of worship and the Sabbath commandment. In Revelation 14:7, an angel calls God’s people to “worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” The angel is clearly quoting from the Sabbath commandment, which says, “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day” (Exodus 20:11).
     A widespread rediscovery of the law of God, including the Sabbath truth, will be the alarm that wakes the dragon to fury. The devil hates the Sabbath because he knows that all love relationships are built upon time. If he can destroy the day that was set apart for God’s people to spend quality time with their Creator, he can destroy the relationship. We see this happen over and over again between husbands and wives or between fathers and sons. If two people stop spending quality time together, soon the relationship will fall apart.
     When the children of Israel responded to God’s call to keep the seventh-day Sabbath holy, the Pharaoh became furious. He knew that as long as the people focused only on work, work, work, they would have no time to think about freedom. The devil is using the very same strategy today. His goal is to keep people so busy with work and so preoccupied with the cares of this life that they have no time to worship their Creator. He knows that if he can cause people to neglect the Sabbath rest, they will never have time to think seriously of salvation.
     Looking down through history to the end of time, the Lord knew that His faithful people would keep the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. That is why, in connection with the tribulation, Jesus advises His followers to “pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day” (Matthew 24:20).
     Another way in which this small time of trouble will resemble the period of time just before the plagues fell on Egypt is that God’s people will be called upon to endure a period of bitter hardship. In Moses’ day, the angry Pharaoh tried to turn the hearts of his Israelite slaves against their God by forcing them to produce the usual quota of bricks without providing the necessary straw.
     In the same way, before the tribulation the government will use political and economic sanctions to pressure God’s end-time people into re- ceiving the mark of the beast. During this time the saints will be called upon to share their faith in the face of stiff social, political, and religious opposition. “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:17).
     When this fails to deter the people of God from obedience, there will be a final death decree. The Bible says, ” And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed” (Revelation 13:15). At this time, the great tribulation begins and the seven last plagues start to fall.
     The time of trouble begins with the wrath of the devil against God’s obedient children (Revelation 12:17) and ends with the wrath of God against the ones who obey the beast (Revelation 14:9-10). 

No Second Chance 

     The main reason this last period of time will be so intense is because it will come after probation closes for the lost. God gave the very first prophecy about it to His servant Daniel, who wrote, “At that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book” (Daniel 12:1). Notice that when the great tribulation begins, the cases of all people will have been forever decided.
     The door of salvation and grace will close for the world-just as the door on the ark closed seven days before the Flood began. At that time Jesus will declare, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:11-12).
     For the first time in the world’s history, God’s Spirit will be completely withdrawn from the lost. The unsaved will be given wholly over to demonic control. The saved will be forever sealed and the lost forever lost. No more changing teams! 

God on Trial 

     If no one is converted by the plagues, then why does the Lord allow them
     For thousands of years God’s Spirit has worked in the hearts of men. But He has warned that this would not always be so (Genesis 6:3). Satan must have an opportunity to demonstrate what a world that is completely under his power would be like. And so God will finally allow the winds of strife to blow unhindered-but not before His servants are sealed (Revelation 7:1-3).
     The great tribulation will prove to the universe that nothing-not even the worst conditions in the history of the world-would change the characters of those still alive upon the earth. God’s people will trust Him no matter what, and His enemies will rebel agaist Him no matter what.
     Sometimes adversity brings a lost soul to repentance, but as the seven last plagues are being poured out, the wicked will reveal that there are no longer any redeemable threads in their fabric. The following three verses prove this point:
     “The fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues; and they repented not to give him glory” (Revelation 16:8-9).
     “They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds” (Revelation 16:11, NKJV).
     “Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great” (Revelation 16:21).

No Need to Fear 

     Perhaps your picture of the great tribulation has always resembled this terrifying recipe:
     “Pour the entire contents of Armageddon into a pressure cooker, then slowly mix in the seven last plagues with one full bottle of Jacob’s trouble and one whole crushed Babylon. Next, evenly stir in two full boxes of wrath-one from God and one from Satan. Cover securely and cook on high.”
     We all seem to conjure up frightening images when we think of the coming tribulation. Do yourself a favor; try this instead. Picture Jesus in a fragile little boat on a dark sea, with the waves mounting and wind roaring. Mark 4:38-40 records the scene: “He was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”
     Then Christ said to them, “Why are ye so fearful how is it that ye have no faith” Jesus rested with the peace of a baby because He lived by faith in His heavenly Father. One message He delivered repeatedly throughout His ministry was “Fear not.”
     In John 16:33, Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
     God does not want us to live by fear, but rather by faith. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).
     During the world’s darkest hour and greatest trial, God will supply the greatest peace and faith. We need only to remember that Jesus is in the boat with us. Though the furnace be heated seven times over, we can pass safely through it if Jesus is at our side.
     The ninety-first Psalm contains special promises for those living during the last great tribulation. It says, “You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked” (Psalm 91:5-8, NKJV).
     The Psalmist makes it clear we will be in the midst of the world during the plagues, yet remain untouched, if God is our refuge. “No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling” (Psalm 91:10, NKJV).

Rescue From the Skies 

     On Friday, June 2, 1995, Captain Scott O’Grady was flying his F-16 over Bosnia when the jet was cut in two by Serbian anti-aircraft fire. He quickly ejected and parachuted to the ground. Suddenly he found himself in a different, hostile world with the entire Serbian army combing every inch of ground in search of him.
     For six days he prayed, often hiding with his face in the dirt to avoid being seen by enemy soldiers passing within a few feet. For six long days he survived-cold, wet, tired, hungry, eating bugs and drinking dirty water, calling every night on his little radio for help from above, running from enemies, and hiding under bushes.
     Then came a daring rescue from the skies. Forty airships, hundreds of soldiers, satellites, and the combined technology of all NATO were all engaged to rescue one hunted soldier.
     Will God do less for His people
     When Captain Scott O’Grady returned to the United States, he was hailed as a hero. Why Because he had come out of great tribulation. We too may have to endure a brief time of trouble, but it will fade into insignificance when compared with the glorious moment when Jesus comes crashing through the skies with His angelic armies to rescue His children.
     “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).


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Absent From the Body

Absent From the Body

by Joe Crews
Copyright © 1989
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1   Introduction 

     Clergy and laity alike have often stumbled over some of the writings of Paul the Apostle. Scattered among the letters which he addressed to the churches are a few verses that almost seem to contradict what he wrote in other epistles. At least they have been interpreted as contradictions. But did the great, spiritual, straight-thinking Paul write confusing things Or is the contradiction only in the way readers have twisted his words
     A perfect example of the problem appears in the first few verses of 2 Corinthians 5 where Paul speaks about life and death. His language has been understood by many to teach that the reward of the righteous is bestowed at the moment of death and that an immortal soul leaves the body to face an immediate reward or punishment. If this is the true meaning of Paul’s words, we are faced with some serious inconsistencies within the epistles. Let us examine the verses in 2 Corinthians 5:1-8 and discover what Paul actually did teach on this crucial subject.

     “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
     For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:
     If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.
     For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
     Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
     Therefore we are always confident, knowing that whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
     (For we walk by faith, not by sight.)
     We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”

     In order to get the picture clearly in mind, let us review the verses point by point.

Vs. 1 Paul introduces an earthly house and a heavenly house, and says: “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God,
  an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
Vs. 2 He states our condition while in the earthly house. “In this we groan” and “being burdened.”
Vs. 2,3 He tells us what we desire in that state. “Earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.”
Vs. 4 Paul repeats these facts once again. “For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon.”
Vs. 4 He then states the result of being clothed with the house from heaven that he so greatly desired. “But clothed upon, that MORTALITY might be SWALLOWED UP OF LIFE.”
Vs. 5 The Spirit is a pledge that mortality shall eventually be swallowed up of life. “Who also hath given unto us the earnest (assurance, pledge) of the Spirit.”
Vs. 6 Paul states the grounds of his confidence. “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord.”
Vs. 7 A parenthetical comment on successful Christian living. “(We walk by faith, not by sight.)”
Vs. 8 He repeats a willingness to be absent from the body and to be with the Lord. “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body and present with the Lord.”

     With the subject fully before us, let us determine the meaning of the terms Paul uses in the text. What does he mean by the “earthly house” and the “heavenly house” By being “clothed upon” and “unclothed” By “mortality” being “swallowed up of life” By being “absent from the body” and “present with the Lord”
     The apostle answers all of these questions for us. In verse 6, he defines “our earthly house” as being “at home in the body.” The chief characteristic of this house is that it may be “dissolved.” In other words, it is mortal. This earthly house is, therefore, our mortal body or our present mortal condition. This fact appears too obvious for further comment.
     The house from heaven is “eternal” or immortal and represents the state of immortality that awaits the redeemed beyond the resurrection. Here is where the greatest misunderstanding enters the picture. Some have thought that the “house from heaven” is put on at the moment of death. But the apostle clearly spells out the TIME when he will put on immortality. 

2   The Time of the Change 

     Notice how he explains when “mortality is swallowed up of life,” in Romans 8:22, 23, “…ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” This verse in Romans is a perfect, striking parallel to the verses in 2 Corinthians 5:1-8 and clarifies when we shall be clothed with that immortality. Notice the similarity of language and thought:

    To the Corinthians Paul Wrote:
    “We… in this tabernacle do groan.”
    “Given to us the earnest of the Spirit.”
    “Earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven.”
    To the Romans Paul Wrote:
    “We groan within ourselves …”
    “Have the firstfruits of the Spirit.”
    “Earnest expectation… waiting for the redemption of our body.”

     These two scriptures are speaking of the same experience. The ultimate object in both cases is to change this mortal body into the immortal body and to change this “earthly house” into the “house eternal in the heavens.” Please notice that in one verse Paul was “earnestly desiring to be clothed” with his house from heaven, and in the other verse his “earnest expectation” was the “redemption of the body.”
     The comparison proves that this clothing from heaven takes place at the “redemption of the body.” Paul adds the final clarification in 1 Corinthians 15:5 1-53 when he again describes the TIME this change takes place: “…we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump… this mortal must put on immortality.” In other words, even though death should dissolve this mortal body, Paul makes it very clear that we do not put on the house from heaven (immortality) until the coming of Jesus and the redemption of the body. This is also established by the repeated references to the “naked” or “unclothed” state. 

3   Unclothed in Death 

     What is meant by the term “unclothed” Notice that Paul specifically declared that he did not desire to be naked or unclothed. We can be certain, then, that the unclothed state did not involve being with the Lord, since Paul did not desire it. In fact, the apostle made reference to being clothed with only two houses, the earthly and heavenly. In the unclothed state, he was neither in the earthly body nor clothed with the heavenly. That leaves only one possible explanation. To be “unclothed” or “naked” is the condition of death that is the interlude between the dissolving of the earthly house and putting on the heavenly. 

4   Only Two Houses 

     Some have claimed that the house which we have “eternal in the heavens” is the immortal soul with which we immediately enter into heaven when the earthly house is dissolved. But this could not be. Notice the impossibility of such an arrangement. If the soul inhabited that heavenly “house” immediately at death, what happens when it must inhabit the immortalized body after the resurrection takes place It is in the glorified resurrection bodies that the righteous dwell with God for eternity. This would involve those souls leaving the “house eternal in the heavens” which they inhabited at death, and going into the redeemed bodies at the resurrection. Then what happens to the house they vacated Are the saints to have “houses to rent” Moreover, this view introduces something that Paul never mentioned; for here we have THREE HOUSES, but Paul’s language allows for only TWO. And one would have to be abandoned according to the popular view. Would it stand abandoned and fall into ruin All this is unscriptural and absurd. Such a view is an impossibility.
     The fact is that Paul is not talking here about the soul at all. He does not even once mention the soul in the passage or its context. He is simply contrasting the present life with the far more glorious life to come in heaven. He did not look forward to the sleep of death (being “unclothed”) when he would not be with the Lord, but he did long for the redemption of the body when he would be clothed with the “house eternal in the heavens.” While still in this life he would be clothed with a mortal body; and after mortality is “swallowed up of life,” he would have a heavenly, immortal body. But whether in the earthly tabernacles or house from heaven he would still have a body. Nowhere does Paul separate a soul from the body. It is either a body on this earth and being absent from the Lord, or it is a redeemed body in heaven and being present with the Lord. 

5   Earnest of the Spirit 

     Here is further positive proof that Paul was referring to the resurrection as the TIME to put on that eternal house. To both the Corinthians and the Romans, Paul emphasized that the Spirit was a pledge that they would be clothed with immortality. What did he mean Of what is the Holy Spirit in our hearts and earnest or pledge Is it a proof or assurance that we have immortal souls that will live on when the body is dead Is that what Paul meant No. The apostle makes it abundantly clear that the Spirit is a pledge of the redemption of our bodies at the resurrection. “… ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the EARNEST of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:13, 14.
     Do not miss the point Paul makes that the “earnest of the Spirit” points to the time when our inheritance is received in full and the bodily redemption takes place. Paul used the same expression in 2 Corinthians 5:5 when talking about putting on the house from heaven, “God hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.” That Spirit is the pledge of the resurrection of the body. Another text removes all doubt: “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” Romans 8:11. This verse provides undeniable proof that the indwelling Spirit is a guarantee that our mortal bodies will be quickened at the resurrection. 

6   Swallowed Up When 

     Now let us take note that Paul used an argument that forever precludes the doctrine of the soul going to heaven at death. In one simple statement, Paul shattered the popular argument for natural immortality. He said, “we… do groan that mortality might be
swallowed up of life.” 2 Corinthians 5:4. Obviously, mortality can only be swallowed up by immortality, or eternal life. Is this the passing of the soul from the mortal body at the hour of death Let us look at it. What is there about man, according to the common view, which is mortal The body. In addition, what is immortal The soul. Assuming for a moment that this is true, then what happens at death At death the body, which is mortal, does not become immortal, but loses all its life and crumbles back to dust in the grave. Moreover, the soul, which was immortal before, is no more than immortal afterwards. Is there any “swallowing up of mortality by life” here Just the reverse! Mortality, or the mortal part, is swallowed up by death! There is not as much life afterward as there was before, because after death only the soul lives, while the body which was alive before, is now dead. That view is in contradiction to what the Word of God actually says. We must reject it.
     Paul knew the Corinthians would not be confused by his language in 2 Corinthians 5 about mortality being swallowed up by immortality, because he had already written his first epistle to them explaining when that immortality would be put on. “… in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump… this mortal must put on immortality. THEN shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” 1 Corinthians 15:52-54. When would death or mortality be “swallowed up” “THEN,” Paul said. When is THEN “In the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump.” How can anyone stumble over the plain language of these verses
     Paul was longing for that change from the earthly mortal body to the glorious immortal body. He stated that the change would take place on the resurrection-translation day. His chief hope seemed to center upon being translated without ever being “unclothed” in death. He yearned to “be clothed upon” by translation at the coming of Jesus, so that he be not found “naked” (in the grave). Translation would mean that mortality would be “swallowed up of life.”
     Nevertheless, he hastened to express confidence, as we have just pointed out, in the certainty of a resurrection when death would be swallowed up in victory (1 Corinthians 15:54). In either case, whether by translation or resurrection, he would be “clothed upon” with the immortal body. Either mortality would be “swallowed up” by being translatedor death would be “swallowed up” by being resurrected.
     Paul does not linger over the “unclothed” state, because his hopes rested in the new body to be received at Christ’s coming. He could not be “forever with the Lord” until that change took place “in the twinkling of an eye.” The interim sleep of death in the grave held no appeal for Paul, since it would seem but a fractional second of utter oblivion to the one who died. Looking beyond the uninviting nakedness of death to the land of life, Paul ruled out any possibility of a state between death and the resurrection when disembodied spirits could be present with the Lord. 

7   Made for What 

     The apostle makes one other point in 2 Corinthians 5 that destroys the idea of a disembodied soul. In verse 5, he affirms that God “hath wrought us for the selfsame thing.” What thing For what purpose had God made man Paul answers that we might enjoy a state of being in which “mortality is swallowed up of life.” Is that condition the separate existence of an immortal soul Impossible! Because if man had not sinned, he would have reached that state without seeing death. God’s purpose in making man would have been realized without death taking place, and the idea of an immortal soul would never have existed. Surely no one could believe that God “wrought us” for the “selfsame” purpose of sinning, dying and leaving the body in some invisible soul form. 

8   Paul’s Earnest Expectation 

     A related text that Paul penned to the Philippians has been twisted and misinterpreted much like 2 Corinthians 5. Here again Paul speaks of his “earnest expectation.” Philippians 1:20-24:

         “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
         For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
         But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour; yet what I shall choose I wot not.
         For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
         Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.”

     First, let’s clarify what Paul’s “earnest expectation” really was in regard to being with Christ. Did he expect to be with Him at death Not one text of the Bible teaches such a thing. Let the apostle answer for himself concerning his “earnest expectation.” “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” Romans 8:19. What was that manifestation when the sons of God would be revealed Verse 23 answers, “… we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” Paul’s earnest expectation and hope was for the time when his body would be redeemed.
     He did not say one word in Philippians 1:20-24 about the TIME he would be with the Lord. Some have attempted to interpret this text as though Paul said he wanted to depart and be with Christ immediately, but the word immediately is not in the scripture. In these verses, Paul does not specifically state WHEN he will be with the Lord.
     He only states his “earnest expectation” to be there. We have found from other scriptures that his expectation centered on the resurrection or translation of the body. Other passages further clarify without any equivocation when the great apostle expected to be with Christ.

  • Romans 8:23
              At the redemption of the body
  • 1 Corinthians 5:5
              In the day of the Lord Jesus
  • 1 Corinthians 15:51-55
              At the last trump
  • Colossians 3:4
              When Christ our life shall appear
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:16
              When the Lord descends with a shout
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:1
              At the coming of the Lord
  • 2 Timothy 4:7, 8
              At “that day” (by which Paul means the second advent of Christ)
         Paul had two conditions in view: to live or to die. Between these two, he was in a strait. The cause of God on earth drew him here, but he was weary from beatings, stonings, and bodily suffering. He almost felt that death would be desirable over the struggle of living. So evenly balanced were the influences drawing him in both directions that he hardly knew which course he preferred. Nevertheless, he said it was more needful for the church that he remain here to give them the benefit of his counsel and labor. 

    9   How to be with the Lord 

         Paul positively refuted the idea of an immortal spirit leaving the body at death when he pinpointed the ONLY means of being with the Lord. In 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 he said, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and SO shall we ever be with the Lord.”
         Please note the significance of that word “SO.” It means “in this way,” “in this manner,” “by this means.” “SO,” in this manner, by this means, “shall we ever be with the Lord.” By describing, without any limitation, the way and means by which we go to be with the Lord, Paul precludes every other means. If there is any other way of getting to be with the Lord, then Paul’s language is a stupendous falsehood. If we go to be with the Lord by means of our immortal spirit when we die, then we do not go to be with Him by means of the visible coming of Jesus, the resurrection of the dead and the change of the living. Then Paul’s words would not be true. There is no possible way of avoiding this conclusion, except by claiming that the descent of the Lord from heaven, the mighty shout, the trumpet, the resurrection of the dead, and the change of the living, ALL TAKE PLACE WHEN A PERSON DIES—a position too absurd to be considered.
         Since Paul himself so carefully defines the manner of going to be with the Lord, why should man try to interpret Philippians 1:23 to mean something contrary to the writer’s own explanation As we have just noted from 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17, Paul knew of only two ways to be with the Lord—by translation or resurrection. 

    10   To Live Or to Die 

         He expressed the hope that “Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.” Paul tied life and death to a physical body, not some soul or spirit. The alternatives that drew him were either “to live” or “to die.” He was “in a strait” between these two. If he lived, Christ would be magnified, and if he died a martyr’s death, the cause of Christ would be magnified. It would be “gain” either way, both for him and for Christ.
         But after considering the two alternatives, upon which he could not make up his mind (to live or to die), Paul is suddenly struck with a third choice, which he quickly declares to be “far better” than the other two. He described it as “having a desire to depart and to be with the Lord, which is far better.” Better than what Clearly, than either of the two he had just mentioned (living or dying). Again, we are reminded of Paul’s overwhelming desire to be translated without passing through the “unclothed” state of death. That was his deepest desire.      Once more, we are constrained to ask: When did Paul expect this translation to take place Moreover, when did he anticipate the change from mortality to immortality He answers: “when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, THEN shall ye also appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:4. When is THEN At His second Coming. Have these appeared with Him in glory already No. It will happen THEN, when He shall appear.
         John agrees with Paul, “But we know that, WHEN HE SHALL APPEAR, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2. Think for a moment about the implications of that statement.
         John could not have believed that the righteous dead were already in the presence of the Lord. If so, they were able to see him “as he is” at that very moment, and they would already be changed into the “likeness” of Christ. However, he refutes the idea that any have seen him yet and declares unequivocally that it will all happen “when he shall appear.” 

    11   Translation or Resurrection 

         Finally, let us take note that in case Paul was not permitted to depart this life by translation and had to depart by death, he did not expect to be with Christ until the resurrection. He clarifies this in 2 Timothy 4:6-8: “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time for my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: HENCEFORTH there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me AT THAT DAY: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
         In the clearest possible language, Paul not only explains but also emphasizes that his reward will be given at the coming of Christ. Even though his departure in death was “at hand,” he did not expect to be with Christ immediately. He expected it “henceforth.” The crown of immortality was “laid up for me,” he said. He would receive it “in that day” with others who would “love his appearing.” Surely, those of us living today should anticipate that same glorious appearing when we too shall receive, with Paul, the crown of righteousness, which fadeth not away.

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    Tips Agar Karet Wiper Tidak Mengeras

    Tips Agar Karet Wiper Tidak Mengeras

    Di minggu-minggu terakhir saat mobil diguyur hujan deras, keberadaan wiper menjadi sangat penting. Oleh karena itu, ada baiknya jika kita melakukan pemeriksaan ekstra terhadap wiper mengingat jarak pandang kita saat mengemudi sangat bergantung pada komponen mobil yang satu ini.

    Yang pertama kali harus diperhatikan adalah kondisi karet-karetnya, apakah masih elastis atau tidak. Waspadai jika ternyata karet wiper sudah mengeras karena pasti fungsinya menjadi tidak sempurna saat menyapu air dari kaca depan.

    Keras dan tidak fleksibel adalah ciri utama karet wiper yang sudah saatnya diganti. Selain dapat menggores kaca hingga meninggalkan bekas yang mengganggu pemandangan, karet wiper yang sudah buruk biasanya ditandai dengan timbulnya embun pada bagian-bagian kaca yang tersapu wiper.

    Walaupun terkesan sepele, namun sebaiknya wiper dirawat dengan sebaik-baiknya, diantaranya dengan:

    1. Merenggangkan karet wiper dari kaca ketika mobil diparkir di tempat yang langsung mendapat sengatan terik matahari.

    Cara tersebut merupakan upaya sederhana yang bisa dilakukan untuk menjaga keawetan karet wiper. Sinar matahari yang menyengat kaca lazimnya akan membuat temperatur permukaan kaca ikut naik. Bila wiper menempel, tentu panas itu akan menyentuh bagian wiper yang terbuat dari karet. Sesuai sifat dan karakternya, kondisi panas yang berlebih memungkinkan rusaknya karet pada wiper

    Pada tahap awal, panas yang berlebih akan terlihat dari perubahan bentuk karet yang memuai. Selanjutnya, karena sering mengalami perubahan cuaca dari panas ke dingin akan menjadikan karet tidak elastis dan ketika dioperasikan, wiper akan menggores kaca.

    2. Memeriksa air wiper secara berkala.
    Segera isi bila tangkinya kosong. Lakukan juga penyetelan pada arah semburan air wiper karena jika arah semburan tidak tepat mengenai lintasan wiper akan mengurangi kemampuannya dalam proses pembesihan kaca.


    Source: Klasika Kompas 30 April 2008

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    Merawat “Wiper” Mobil

    Merawat “Wiper” Mobil

    Di musim penghujan, salah satu komponen penting mobil yang sangat penting adalah wiper. Namun karena wiper hanya digunakan saat hujan, justru perawatannya sering terabaikan. Jika tidak dirawat, wiper biasanya suka mengeras dan karet-karetnya tak lagi elastis. Jika sudah keras dan tidak fleksibel itu artinya karet wiper sudah harus diganti.

    Karet wiper yang keras, selain dapat menggores kaca hingga berbekas dan mengganggu pemandangan, juga menimbulkan embun pada kaca yang tersapu wiper. Untuk menghindari karet wiper mengeras, jauhkan atau renggangkan karet wiper dari kaca ketika mobil diparkir di tempat yang langsung mendapat sengatan terik matahari.

    Sinar matahari yang menyengat kaca akan membuat temperatur permukaan kaca ikut naik. Bila wiper menempel, tentu panas itu akan menyentuh bagian wiper yang terbuat dari karet. Sesuai sifat dan karakternya, panas berlebih dapat merusak karet. Awalnya, pengaruh buruk panas terlihat dari perubahan bentuk karet yang memuai. Lama kelamaan, karena sering mengalami perubahan dari panas ke dingin karet menjadi tidak elastis (keras).

    Selain itu perlu dilakukan perawatan wiper rutin. Pertama, periksa washer (air wiper) secara berkala. Isi bila tangkinya tampak kosong. Kedua, atur arah semburan air washer. Yang sering terjadi, arah semburan tidak tepat mengenai lintasan wiper sehingga proses pembersihan kaca tidak berjalan dengan baik. [L-11]

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    Merawat Mobil yang Lama Ditinggalkan

    Merawat Mobil yang Lama Ditinggalkan

    SETIAP kendaraan sudah pasti memerlukan perawatan. Tidak terkecuali kendaraan yang diparkir untuk jangka waktu yang lama. Banyak alasan sebuah kendaraan terpaksa memenuhi sudut ruang tertentu dalam hitungan waktu yang cukup lama. Misalnya, si pemilik pindah tugas ke tempat yang jauh sehingga memerlukan waktu dan penanganan khusus untuk bisa membawa pergi kendaraannya itu.

    Karenanya, pada kondisi ini, mobil memerlukan penanganan tersendiri terutama untuk mencegah proses korosi pada bagian mesin dan badan kendaraan.

    Pertama-tama, pada saat ditinggalkan, posisi rem tangan harus dalam keadaan terlepas. Bila keadaan rem dalam kondisi aktif, piringan rem lama-kelamaan akan lengket dengan minyak rem.

    Kedua, usahakan keempat ban kendaraan diganjal dengan balok agar terangkat dari lantai. Balok yang dipilih diusahakan tidak membuat mobil berada pada posisi miring agar sesuai dengan ketentuan pertama yang menyarankan tidak mengaktifkan rem tangan. Selain itu, suspensi kendaraan juga tidak terbebani dalam waktu yang lama dan dapat dipergunakan kembali dengan nyaman.

    Kemudian, aki mobil juga harus dilepas agar arus bocor permukaan kabel tidak mengosongkan tegangan baterai.

    Selanjutnya, wiper sebaiknya diganjal juga, namun dengan menggunakan bahan yang lembut, seperti busa. Hal ini dimaksudkan agar karet wiper tidak mengeras dan mati.

    Langkah terakhir agar kendaraan tetap nyaman ketika dipergunakan kembali adalah dengan meletakkan pengharum ruangan di dalam mobil. Langkah ini dapat menghilangkan bau apek karena mobil tertutup rapat dalam waktu yang lama. Menutup pintu mobil rapat-rapat merupakan pilihan yang lebih baik daripada meninggalkan mobil dengan kaca terbuka. Karena, meskipun tempat parkir mobil mampu melindungi kendaraan dari tamu tak diundang, tetapi debu sedikit demi sedikit akan masuk memperkeruh udara di bagian interior. (Y-5)

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    Pelajaran 13: Raja atas Segala Raja dan Tuhan atas Segala Tuan

    Raja atas Segala Raja dan Tuhan atas Segala Tuan

    (Yohanes 14, Matius 24, 2 Petrus 3, Wahyu 19)

    Kehidupan Rohani – Mengalami Yesus Kristus sebagai Tuhan:  Pelajaran 13


    Copr. 2005, Bruce N. Cameron.  Semua referensi Alkitab dikutip dari Alkitab Terjemahan Baru Ó1974 Lembaga Alkitab Indonesia, kecuali disebutkan lain.  Saran jawaban terdapat di dalam tanda kurung. Pengajar diasumsikan menggunakan papan tulis atau alat peraga lainnya dalam membawakan pelajaran.  Pelajaran ini dapat dilihat di http://www.GoBible.Org/indonesian


    Pendahuluan:  Ini adalah pelajaran terakhir dari seri kita mengenai Kekristenan dalam praktek.  Apa hasil akhir dari keputusan kita menjadikan Yesus Tuhan atas setiap aspek kehidupan kita? Ke arah mana kita harus memandang?  Apa harapan mulia kita?  Bagaimana kita dapat memastikan bahwa kita benar-benar bersama Allah?  Mari selami Alkitab dan temukan jawabannya.


    1.      Janji

    1.      Baca Yohanes 14:1. Hal-hal apa yang membuat saudara cemas dan gundah? Atau, apakah ini sekedar gambaran umum kehidupan?

    1.      Pernyataan Yesus ini berlangsung hanya beberapa saat sebelum penangkapan, siksaan dan kematianNya. Apa pendapat saudara mengenai pernyataanNya bahwa murid-muridNya tidak perlu risau di saat Ia siap hendak melalui masa paling sulit dalam hidupNya di dunia?  (Kasih dan kepedulian Allah bagi kita sangatlah istimewa.  Ia tau murid-muridNya akan melalui masa-masa paling sukar.  Ia mempedulikan mereka.)

    2.      Apa jawaban bagi hati yang risau?  (Percaya kepada Allah.)

    2.      Baca Yohanes 14:2-3.  Tempat tinggal.  Alkitab The King James Version menerjemahkan kata Gerika ini sebagai mansion – rumah besar.  Contemporary English version dan Today’s English Version menggunakan kata room – kamar.  Mana yang saudara lebih suka?

    1.      Jika Presiden Amerika Serikan mengatakan pada saudara bahwa saudara dapat tinggal dalam sebuah kamar tidur di gedung Putih atau saudara dapat tinggal di rumah besar [mansion] di seberang jalan, mana yang saudara akan pilih? (Dulu saya kecewa ketika mengetahui bahwa kata asli bahasa Gerika bukanlah “mansions” –-  rumah-rumah besar.  Namun, bila saudara memikirkan ihwal tinggal di rumah Allah, pertimbangan lain akan pudar.)

    2.      Jika saudara risau perihal “rumah besar [mansion]”, pengertian saya soal ini adalah bahwa kuantitaslah bukan kualitas hunian yang dimaksudkan oleh terjemahan bahasa Gerika.  Jika saudara ingin melihat bagaimana kata ini diterjemahkan dalam konteks lain, baca Yohanes 14:23. (Kami akan “diam” bersama-sama dengan dia.  Kata bahasa Gerika yang digunakan dalam Yohanes 14:2 memodifikasi kata yang diterjemahkan sebagai “diam” dengan kata “berlimpah-ruah.”  Hasilnya adalah “banyak kamar – banyak tempat” atau “banyak tempat kediaman.” Bagi mereka yang risau soal hunian mereka, inilah aspek “mansion – rumah besar.”

    3.      Baca Kisah 1:9-11.  Yesus baru saja berangkat untuk pulang ke surga dan murid-murid sementara berdiri di sana menatap langit.  Apa pendapat saudara mengenai pertanyaan yang diajukan malaikat?

    1.      Menurut saudara mengapa malaikat-malaikat tersebut mengajukan pertanyaan tersebut?

    2.      Apa implikasi dari pertanyaan malaikat tersebut? (Ia AKAN kembali. Jangan berdiri saja, bekerja dan bersiaplah.)

    2.      Metoda

    1.      Saya pecinta musik, tapi sayangnya para orang tua terkekeh-kekeh dan anak-anak biasanya berbalik dan menengok tatkala mereka mendengar saya bernyanyi.  (Kodok menyukai saya.)  Satu dari lagu favorit saya bertemakan (sejauh yang bisa saya ingat) “Kali berikut tak salah lagi Rajaku akan mengenakan mahkotaNya.”  Baca Matius 24:23-27.  Apakah mahkota yang akan memberitahu kita bahwa Yesus lah yang sementara kembali, bukan penipu?

    1.      Sekali waktu saya mendengar sebuah diskusi konyol soal kedatangan Yesus yang kedua kali.  Kelompok yang berdiskusi kelihatannya sepakat bahwa saudara dapat membedakan Yesus dari para penipu oleh melihat apa kakiNya menyentuh tanah.  Saya khawatir saudara tidak akan bisa melihat kakiNya.  Apa yang disebutkan dalam Matius 24:27 perihal “kaki”? (Kedatangan Yesus yang kedua kali tidak akan meninggalkan keraguan.  Akan seperti kilat disekeliling dunia! Saudara tidak perlu melihat kakiNya atau mahkotaNya.)

    2.      Baca Matius 24;30-31. “Pengangkatan rahasia,” sebuah kepercayaan di sebagian kecil umat Kristen, telah memperoleh tambahan sokongan dengan serial populer “Left Behind” (Tertinggal). Apa yang ayat ini katakan tentang sifat alamiah dari pengangkatan (Kedatangan Kedua)?  (Jika ada hal yang tidak akan menjadi sebuah rahasia, inilah dia.  Kilat sekeliling dunia, Yesus datang di langit, trompet yang nyaring, dan umat tebusan dikumpulkan oleh malaikat.)

    3.      Baca 1 Tesalonika 4:16-17. Gantinya memperhatikan kaki, menurut ayat ini apa yang menjadi tanda yang lebih nyata tentang Kedatangan Yesus Yang Kedua? (Kita akan melihat orang-orang bangkit dari kubur! Yang masih hidup saat Kedatangan Kedua akan menyaksikan hal ini sebelum mereka secara pribadi dikumpulkan menuju surga.)

    4.      Baca 2 Petrus 3:10. Pencuri itu diam-diam.  Seorang pencuri datang secara rahasia (jika mungkin).  Bagaimana bisa Petrus berkata bahwa Kedatangan Yesus Yang Kedua seperti pencuri dan seperti guruh? (Petrus mengatakan bahwa Yesus datang tanpa disangka-sangka oleh sebagian orang.  Kejadiannya tidak bisa salah, tapi saatnya bisa salah.)

    1.      Mari mundur beberapa ayat. Baca 2 Petrus 3:8-9. Mengapa Kedatangan Yesus seperti pencuri bagi sebagian orang? (Allah bisa terlihat berlambatan, tapi tidak. Ia akan datang pada jadwalNya sendiri.  Mereka yang terbuai dalam pemikiran bahwa saat kembaliNya masih jauh akan terkejut.)

    1.      Baca 2 Tesalonika 2:8-12. Hal apa lagi yang harus kita harapkan sebelum Yesus datang kembali? (Paulus mengatakan bahwa akan ada setidaknya seorang penipu yang akan berbuat “rupa-rupa perbuatan ajaib, tanda-tanda dan mujizat-mujizat palsu.”)

    1.      Siapa yang akan ditipu oleh penipu ini? (Ayat 10 menyebutkan “orang-orang yang harus binasa.”)

    2.      Mengapa ayat 11 mengatakan bahwa Allah mengirimkan “kesesatan” agar orang-orang yang harus binasa tertipu? Saya kira tujuan Allah bagi umat manusia adalah keselamatan, bukan kebinasaan? (2 Tesalonika 2:10-11 membuat hal ini kedengaran seperti ujian akhir.  Orang-orang yang mencintai kejahatan gantinya kebenaran akan dirampas oleh penipu ini.  2 Tesalonika 2:8 mengatakan bahwa Yesus akan membinasakan penipu ini pada KedatanganNya yang Kedua.)

    3.      Kita Harus Bagaimana?

    1.      Alkitab Bahasa Indonesia Sehari-hari, 2 Petrus 3:11-bagian pertama menuliskan “Karena semuanya itu akan dihancurkan dengan cara yang demikian, bagaimanakah seharusnya kalian hidup?” Pertanyaan bagus dalam terang Kedatangan Kedua.  Apa jawabnya? (Baca bagian kedua dari 2 Petrus 3:11 dan 2 Petrus 3:12)

    1.      Dampak apa yang bisa kita miliki atas saat Kedatangan Yesus yang Kedua? (2 Petrus 3:12 mempunyai catatan yang sangat menarik.  Dikatakan bahwa kita dapat “mempercepat kedatangan” Yesus.)

    1.      Menurut saudara bagaimana caranya saudara mempercepat Kedatangan Kedua? (Oleh hidup “suci dan saleh.”)

    2.      Baca Matius 7:21-23.  Apa yang menurut Matius 7:21 penting bagi kita untuk memasuki surga. (Melakukan kehendak Allah.  Sekedar berkata (“Tuhan, Tuhan”) tidak akan bisa.)

    1.      Jika saya hanya berhenti di situ, kita akan adu argumen soal kebenaran oleh perbuatan.  Dalam Matius 7:22 apa argumen dari orang-orang yang memprotes gagalnya mereka masuk surga? (Bahwa mereka telah bekerja! Perhatikan frase “Tuhan, Tuhan, bukankah kami bernubuat demi nama-Mu” dapat diartikan “bukankah kami dimuka umum mengajar dalam namaMu?”)

    2.      Bagaimana saudara menjelaskan kontradiksi yang nyata-nyata ini?  Yesus berkata “Bicara tanpa berbuat” tidak akan memberimu pas masuk surga.  Kemudian Yesus berkata pada orang-orang yang banyak berbuat (guru-guru yang mengusir setan dan membuat mujizat) “Aku tidak pernah mengenal kamu.” Apa ini pembicaraan ganda? Apakah surga suatu target bergerak yang sulit untuk dibidik? (The Bible Exposition Commentary mengemukakan:  “Kata-kata bukanlah pengganti dari penurutan demikian pula perbuatan religi.” “Penurutan kepada kehendak [Allah] adalah ujian bagi iman yang sungguh-sungguh di dalam Kristus.” Sudah lama yang meyakini bahwa “Kebenaran oleh sikap” adalah deskripsi yang lebih tepat dibanding “kebenaran oleh iman.” Sebagaimana kita baca dalam 2 Tesalonika 2:9-11, Allah menyelamatkan mereka yang “mengasihi kebenaran.”)

    3.      Sobat, bacalah Wahyu 19:11-16.  Kedatangan Yesus yang Kedua tidak akan seperti yang pertama.  Inilah saat untuk memilih siapa yang saudara akan turuti.  Sudahkah saudara bertobat dan menerima pengorbanan Yesus bagi kita?  Apakah saudara mengasihi Allah dan kebenaranNya? Adakah pengharapanmu diletakkan pada Kedatangan Kedua dan Pejuang Yang Sejati dan Yang Benar berkendara kuda putih?



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