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Israel's connection with prophetic events (5).

Biblical prophecies are always favorite topics of discussion not only for Bible-believing Christians but even for skeptics, agnostics, atheists, occultists, and even fortune tellers. The trouble is that many of us view everything going on around the world as events of prophetic significance. In short, many of us consider current events as the yardstick of measuring prophetic fulfillment. This should not be so. It should be the Holy Bible or the Scriptures which should interpret current events. We should measure current events with the Bible and see if there is correlation between the two. This being the case, we should refrain from setting specific dates for prophetic events. From Biblical verses, it is only God who knows the timing of end-time events and other prophetic events. What is important is that we must live our lives as if the Lord will come today.

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Let's take the State of Israel as an example. There are many Bible prophecies about Israel that have already fulfilled. There are also other Biblical prophecies about Israel that are not yet fulfilled.

Let me cite one Bible verse that has been fulfilled. In Isaiah 66:7-8 (International Standard Version), we see the following: "Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before her pains come upon her, she has delivered a son. Who has ever heard of such a thing? And who ever sees such things? Can a country be born in a single day, or can a nation be brought forth in a single moment? Yet no sooner was Zion in labor than she delivered her children."

From historical account, we see that on May 14, 1948, Israel was declared a united and sovereign nation for the first time in 2,900 years. Israel's independence was acknowledged by other nations. As people say, modern Israel was literally born in a single day!

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An example of an unfulfilled Biblical prophecy is the so-called rapture of the church.

What is rapture? It is an event where Jesus Christ will suddenly "snatch" His Church out of this world without any notice. Church as used here refers to people. To be more specific, Church refers to a community of believers. Church does not refer to a building. Relating this to the New Testament, Church refers to people - people who are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

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One may ask: Is there a Biblical basis for rapture? Yes. It is a New Testament doctrine. It is found in 1 Corinthian 15:51-52 in the New Testament. This Biblical verse says: "Listen, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed - in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."

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1 Thessalonians 4:17 also says: "After that, we who are still alive and left will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."

Based on science findings, the twinkling of an eye takes about 1/10 of a second. The nerve impulse causing the twinkle reflex travels at approximately 30 miles per hour. Within this short time (1/10 of a second), all believers both living and in the grave will be with Christ.

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Many people, even those who read the Holy Bible, are skeptical about rapture since the word is not found in the Holy Bible. This is true. The English word "rapture" does not appear in the Holy Bible. The term rapture is derived from the Latin Vulgate version of 1 Thessalonians 4:17 where the expression "caught up" is translated by the Latin word rapturo. The phrase 'caught up' is the Greek word "harpazo" which actually means to be snatched away violently. The Latin equivalent of harpazo is the verb rapio meaning "to take away by force." In the Latin Vulgate (one of the oldest Bibles in existence), the appropriate tense of rapio appears in Verse 17 of Chapter 14, Book 11, Thessalonians.

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Many of us are wondering whether the second coming of Jesus Christ is the same as the rapture of the Church. Are they the same? No. They are separate events. During the rapture, the chosen living as well as the dead go up the air to meet Jesus Christ. On the other hand, at Christ's second coming, Jesus Christ will come down to earth. Also, the rapture takes place earlier than Christ's second coming.

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When will the rapture take place? We do not know the exact time of the rapture. From the Biblical standpoint "no man knows the day or hour." It will come like a "thief in the night." Do not be deceived by people, not even by preachers and other spiritual leaders, who say that the date of the rapture can be pinpointed. This is very unscriptural. Please do not be alarmed when some people tell you that the date of the rapture has been ascertained. Like Christ's second coming, the exact time and hour of the happening of rapture is not even revealed. We should keep calm and condition our minds that there are more false prophecies that will come our way. How can we be shielded from these kinds of rumors? Simply by knowing the real thing so we can detect the counterfeit. How? By reading the Holy Bible, the Word of God. This is the only safeguard we need. Unless we know by heart the Biblical doctrines and teachings, we will always panic everytime a prophet of doom is around.

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What is important really is that we are ready all the time to meet our Lord God. We have no problem with rapture or Christ's second coming - if we live every day as if it were our last day on earth. (To be continued)

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This column continues to give out copies of the Holy Bible for free to those who cannot afford to buy their own copies. If interested, please send your letter-request to Ms. Nelly Favis Villafuerte, 5233 Fahrenheit St., Palanan, Makati City. Kindly mention if it is the Tagalog, English, Cebuano, or Ilocano Bible that is preferred.

Be joyful and forgiving! (Comments may be sent to Ms. Villafuerte's email: villafuerte_nelly@yahoo.com.)

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Title Annotation:Opinions and Editorials
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:7ISRA
Date:Apr 11, 2015
Words:1056
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