Once we are born, we cannot be unborn; once we are born again, we cannot be unborn. The Bible says nothing about such a possibility.The way I understand it, people have free will to either accept or reject God's gift of grace and salvation in Jesus Christ. If someone accepts the gift through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, he or she is saved and God will never forsake him or her. However, God doesn't take away our free will when we come to saving faith. So, even after getting saved, we can still choose to reject God and His incredible gift and lose our salvation. Us rejecting God is not the same as Him forsaking us. It's our choice.
Once saved-always saved is part of Calvinism that says that man does not have free will (irresistible grace for those chosen by God, and no chance of grace by those not chosen). However, we know everyone does have free will, if for no other reason than God put the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden, gave Adam the proscription not to eat that fruit, warning of consequences of disobeying, and the choice of whether or not to obey.
If God created us for fellowship with Him, the only way there is true fellowship is if we have the choice to fellowship or not. If we do not have free will to choose, we are no different from the angels, who do not have free will. Part of love of God is choosing to fellowship with Him. So we worship Him, partake of Holy Communion, talk and listen to Him in prayer and through His Word (Bible)
If We're Still HereI have several Christian friends who are rapture-watchers, and we always laugh when we talk about our plans for the future...The other day I messaged one about my plans for later this winter, then instead of adding the usual caveat, I just wrote IWSH. (get it??!)
it is even sadder when you know those questions and ponder them but still do not know the "REAL" answers even for yourself(Jer 17:9) ....... do I believe that Jesus died and rose again for the whole world, I "THINK" so .... just not sure if I have "saving" faith in Jesus or if I am just one of those CINO's..... "depart from me for I never knew YOU!"is something that I have a 50% chance of hearing.Its all about Faith.
But we do need to ask:
Who is that faith in?
Is it evidenced?
Is it alive?
Assurance of salvation seems to be one of the biggest issues us Christians grapple with. It’s very sad to live with that level of doubt (and it’s unnecessary.)it is even sadder when you know those questions and ponder them but still do not know the "REAL" answers even for yourself(Jer 17:9) ....... do I believe that Jesus died and rose again for the whole world, I "THINK" so .... just not sure if I have "saving" faith in Jesus or if I am just one of those CINO's..... "depart from me for I never knew YOU!"is something that I have a 50% chance of hearing.
Great article and well written, I plan on sharing it with others. I am not meaning to be argumentative in any way, except I have a different take on 2 Thess. 2:3; The context of the letters to the Thessalonians was all about the Rapture -- this chapter is no different (as in verse 1 its referring to "gathering together unto Him" -- which of course is the Rapture). The Greek word for "falling away" is "apostasia" which can also be interpreted as "departed". It is used this way in the "Geneva Bible translation" which dates back before KJV. 2 Thess. 2:3 [GNV] "Let no man deceive you by any meanes: for that day shall not come, except there come a departing first, and that that man of sin be disclosed, even the son of perdition". ["departing" = Rapture]. To me this seems to fit the context better.How Close is the Rapture of the Church?
By Britt Gillette
How close is the rapture of the church? I think we can get a good idea based on recent surveys of self-identified Christians in the United States.
Recently, The Christian Post reported, “Over a third of senior pastors believe ‘good people’ can earn their way to heaven.” This was the conclusion of a survey conducted by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University. The survey polled around 1,000 Christian pastors, examining dozens of beliefs they hold, and found only 37% hold a biblical worldview. The survey found 39% believe “each individual must determine their own truth,” 38% do not believe “human life is sacred,” and 37% believe “having faith, in general, is more important than in what – or more specifically, Whom – one has faith.”
Assuming this is true, it should come as no surprise to learn the people sitting in the pews of these churches hold similar views. In his blog post, “Barna: Most Americans Create a Customized Worldview,” Ken Ham states, “Seven out of 10 U.S. adults call themselves ‘Christians’ and yet only 6 in 100 (6%) actually have a biblical worldview.” He then went on to cite statistics from a recent Ligonier Ministries survey. Among its findings:
– 56% believe “God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.”
– 38% see Jesus as “a great teacher, but he was not God.”
– 60% say “The Holy Spirit is a force but is not a personal being.”
– 65% think “Everyone is born innocent in the eyes of God.”
– 37% agree that “Religious belief is a matter of personal opinion; it is not about objective truth.”
These beliefs don’t fit with what the Bible teaches, meaning those surveyed (who self-identified as “Evangelical Christians”) either haven’t read the Bible or they reject what it says. This “falling away” from the foundational beliefs of the Christian faith, by those who profess to be Christians, is an indication the world is on the verge of the seven year Tribulation. And since the Bible tells us the rapture occurs prior to the Tribulation (Revelation 3:10; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:9), if we see signs and indications we’re on the verge of witnessing the events of the Tribulation, we can know the rapture is even closer.
The Bible says the Day of the Lord (the Tribulation) will not come and the Antichrist will not be revealed until “a great falling away” happens first (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Some translations call this “a rebellion” or “apostasy” – an abandonment of the faith by professed Christians. Do these survey responses indicate a great falling away? They seem to.
However, by itself, this sign isn’t enough to indicate the nearness of the end times – and thus, the rapture. After all, it’s subjective. Some number of people have always professed to be Christians while denying the foundational principles of the faith. But on this scale? I don’t think so, but I can’t know for sure. That said, these surveys indicating a falling away from the faith are not the only sign telling us the end times and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ are at hand.
Jesus and the prophets gave us a number of signs to look for. Furthermore, and this is the key, Jesus said, “When you see all these things, you can know my return is near. I’m right at the door” (Matthew 24:33). This was in response to the disciples asking Jesus to tell them “the signs of your coming and the end of the age” (Matthew 24:3). In other words, Jesus said the #1 sign of His Second Coming and His return to establish His Millennial Kingdom is the convergence of the various signs He and the prophets said to look for. This is stated in three of the four Gospels – in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. Jesus said, “When you see all these things taking place, you can know that his return is very near, right at the door.” (Mark 13:29). He also said, “When all these things begin to happen, look up for your salvation is near!” (Luke 21:28).
The Bible is clear. The #1 indication Jesus will return soon is all the signs appearing together. Both Jesus and the prophets told us what those signs are, and the appearance of just one is reason enough to take notice. But the arrival of one sign after another demands your attention. It’s the sign Jesus said to look for. This convergence of signs confirms our generation will witness the Second Coming – not according to me, but according to Jesus.
The Convergence of SignsA great falling away of those who profess to be Christians, but deny the foundational truths of Christianity, is just one of many signs. Jesus and the prophets pointed to dozens and dozens. This article cites only a few, but the reality of each one of these signs is undeniable. And their convergence should be enough convince you the return of the Lord is close at hand. These signs include:
Israel Back in the Land – God promised to bring the Jewish people back into the land of Israel before He returned (Jeremiah 23:7-8). He said He would call them from “among the nations” (Ezekiel 39:28), from “the farthest corners of the earth” (Isaiah 11:12), and from “north, south, east, and west” (Psalm 107:3). He promised to welcome them home from the lands where they were scattered (Ezekiel 20:34). When they did, He promised to return and establish His everlasting kingdom (Isaiah 11:11-12).
The Jewish People in Control of Jerusalem – Jesus said armies would surround Jerusalem, destroy the city, and enslave its citizens. The Roman legions fulfilled this prophecy in A.D. 70. Jesus then said people other than the Jewish people will control Jerusalem for a time, until the Jewish people once again control Jerusalem. When they did, Jesus promised to return (Luke 21:24-28). Since 1967, the Jewish people have controlled Jerusalem.
The Gospel Preached Throughout the World – When asked about the end of the age and the signs of His coming, Jesus said to look for a very specific sign. He said the Gospel will be preached throughout the entire world. Every nation will hear it. And then? And then, the end will come (Matthew 24:14). For centuries after the crucifixion, the Gospel was confined to a small area surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. In the past two centuries, Christians have brought the Gospel to every nation in the world. Today, missionaries are in every nation. The Bible is translated in hundreds of languages, and the message of Jesus is sent around the world by radio, TV, satellite, and the Internet. This generation is on the verge of spreading the Gospel to every last person on earth.
An Increase in Travel and Knowledge – Six hundred years before Jesus, an angel gave Daniel a special message. He said “travel and knowledge” will increase in the end times (Daniel 12:4). For centuries of human history, dramatic gains in travel and knowledge did NOT take place. Yet the last two hundred years have seen explosions in the speed and frequency of travel as well as the amount and availability of knowledge.
Arrival of the Exponential Curve – Jesus said a variety of global signs will come before His return and the end of the age. These signs will be spiritual, natural, societal, and political in nature. He said they will appear in a distinct way – “like birth pains” (Matthew 24:3‐8). This means the frequency and intensity of these signs will increase as we near His return. Our generation has seen the exponential increase in war and famine Jesus said to look for. In the 20th Century alone, more people died from war and famine than lived on the earth when Jesus spoke these words.
Israel Surrounded by Enemies – The Bible says enemies will surround Israel in the end times. Those enemies will say “Come, let us wipe away the nation of Israel. Let’s destroy the memory of its existence” (Psalm 83:4) and “Let us take for ourselves these pasturelands of God” (Psalm 83:12). Ezekiel said Israel’s neighbors will say “God has given their land to us” (Ezekiel 11:14‐17), and “Israel and Judah are ours. We will take possession of them. What do we care if their God is there?” (Ezekiel 35:10). Ever since the rebirth of Israel in 1948, the daily headlines have included these Bible verses. Israel’s Muslim neighbors claim the land of Israel for themselves, and they have no regard for the God of Israel.
Israel’s Exceedingly Great Army – Ezekiel said, in the end times, Israel will field “an exceedingly great army” (Ezekiel 37:10). Zechariah said Israel will be like a fire among sheaves of grain, burning up the neighboring nations (Zechariah 12:6) and even the weakest Israeli soldier will be like David (Zechariah 12:8). Since 1948, Israel has fought no less than four conventional wars against its neighbors. Despite being outnumbered more than 50 to 1, Israel has achieved overwhelming victory every time.
Rise of the Gog of Magog Alliance – The Bible says a military alliance that includes Russia, Iran, Turkey, and a number of other nations will attack Israel “in the latter days” (Ezekiel 38:8) when God brings His people home from among the enemy nations (Ezekiel 39:27). Today, we see those very nations coming together for the first time – an alliance that has never existed in world history.
Rise of a United Europe – The Bible says a revived Roman Empire will come to power in the end times (Daniel 2, Daniel 7, Revelation 17). According to Daniel, it will be a ten nation alliance of weak and strong nations. Some parts will be as strong as iron, while other parts will be as weak as clay (Daniel 2:42). We see the beginning of this alliance in the European Union – a coalition of weak and strong nations struggling to stay together.
The Rise of Global Government – The Bible says a single government will rule the world politically (Revelation 13:7), religiously (Revelation 13:8), and economically (Revelation 13:16‐17) in the last days. It will rule over “all people, tribes, and languages” on the face of the earth (Revelation 13:7). Its authority will be so complete no one will be able to buy or sell anything without its permission (Revelation 13:16‐17). For centuries, a true global government was impossible. Today, world leaders openly discuss it.
Denial of the Signs – Almost two thousand years ago, Peter issued a warning. He said in the last days people will mock the idea of Jesus returning. They will make fun of those who believe in the Second Coming and say exactly what we hear today – things like, “I thought Jesus was coming back? What happened to His promise? Generation after generation has said He’s coming. Yet, since the beginning of the world, everything has remained the same!” (2 Peter 3:3‐4).
The Hour is LateIt’s not true to say these signs have always been present. Generations of Christians lived and died without witnessing any of these signs. For centuries of Christian history, none of these signs were present. Zero. Today, they all are. Jesus said when you see these signs, you can know His return is near. He’s right at the door (Matthew 24:33). In fact, Jesus said the generation witnessing these signs will not pass away before He returns (Matthew 24:34). So despite the skeptics and naysayers, Jesus is coming, and ours is the generation that will witness His return. The convergence of all these signs confirm it.
This means the church is on the verge of the rapture. The rapture has always been an imminent, signless event. No preconditions are necessary for it to happen. However, as we approach the beginning of the Tribulation – a time period filled with numerous specific events – we’re running out of time for the rapture to come unexpectedly on the world. Jesus said, “You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected” (Matthew 24:44). By definition, Jesus can’t be talking about a time during or after the Tribulation. Once the events of the Tribulation begin to unfold, the glorious appearing of Jesus will be expected. He’s talking about the rapture before the Tribulation. Furthermore, Jesus promised to keep us from “the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world” (Revelation 3:10). This means if we see the events of the Tribulation just ahead and the rapture takes place beforehand, we’re extremely close to the rapture.
The signs of His return are all around us. Jesus is coming. If you’ve been waiting to share the Gospel with someone, don’t wait one minute more. You may not have another opportunity. The hour is late. The signs are present. Now is the season of the Lord’s return. So keep your eyes fixed on Him – Jesus is coming!
Britt Gillette is the founder of End Times Bible Prophecy and the author of Coming To Jesus and Signs Of The Second Coming. Receive his book 7 Signs of the End Times for FREE when you sign up for his monthly newsletter.
This is pertaining to those who were trying to be good enough, but they didn't go the right way. They didn't accept as their personal Savior and Lord.Jesus said those words “Depart from me…” in the context of false teachers. Not referring to us believers who wobble in faith at times.
Thanks I'm having a wobble in faith at the moment..
Assurance of salvation seems to be one of the biggest issues us Christians grapple with. It’s very sad to live with that level of doubt (and it’s unnecessary.)
Jesus said those words “Depart from me…” in the context of false teachers. Not referring to us believers who wobble in faith at times.
If you‘ve believed in Jesus, ie. trusted in Him and His work on the cross to save you, then you are saved. I wouldn’t even try to compute how much faith we are supposed to have…the Bible doesn’t give us a quantity to measure. It just says, Believe.
And it’s true that our hearts are desperately wicked, which is why we need a new heart..and that’s exactly what Jesus gives us.
My own faith can seem very weak sometimes, but I just trust that Jesus will keep holding on to me, as He has promised to do.
I’ll be praying for you.
I’ve just listened to a wonderful sermon by Andy Woods on assurance of salvation…its well worth a listen...he preached from 2 Timothy 2:11-13it is even sadder when you know those questions and ponder them but still do not know the "REAL" answers even for yourself(Jer 17:9) ....... do I believe that Jesus died and rose again for the whole world, I "THINK" so .... just not sure if I have "saving" faith in Jesus or if I am just one of those CINO's..... "depart from me for I never knew YOU!"is something that I have a 50% chance of hearing.
I agree with you on 2 Thessalonians 2:3. Andy Woods has a small book on the subject, and has also taught in it. He has 10 reasons for believing it means departure.Great article and well written, I plan on sharing it with others. I am not meaning to be argumentative in any way, except I have a different take on 2 Thess. 2:3; The context of the letters to the Thessalonians was all about the Rapture -- this chapter is no different (as in verse 1 its referring to "gathering together unto Him" -- which of course is the Rapture). The Greek word for "falling away" is "apostasia" which can also be interpreted as "departed". It is used this way in the "Geneva Bible translation" which dates back before KJV. 2 Thess. 2:3 [GNV] "Let no man deceive you by any meanes: for that day shall not come, except there come a departing first, and that that man of sin be disclosed, even the son of perdition". ["departing" = Rapture]. To me this seems to fit the context better.
Not that there won't be "apostasy"; Paul tells Timothy all about that in: 2 Timothy 4:3 "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears". Not that it matters, just personal viewpoint.
I am of a strong belief that the Rapture will be very, very soon. The anti-christ is getting ready to step out of the shadows; anyone who can see or hear, knows that War, Famine and Death are on the horizon. When the curtain opens, we'll be in Heaven, and "The Lamb Who was Slain" will start opening the seals. As I told people in my Sunday School class; "don't be attached to anything in this world, because its all "temporary" and will soon pass away. Jesus will make Everything New"
God Bless -- Maranatha, Dan