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Angels on a pin

Marital status of an elder

200 million soldiers

Who will be Left Behind at the Rapture?

Angels on a pin?
Frank asks - How many angels can stand on the head of a pin?? I have heard this expression before but I don't recall the answer.
   
Biblebell's reply
Exactly 1,024 angels can stand on the end of a pin. No, wait -- I was thinking of the number of bytes in a kilobyte.

Actually, Frank, the old chestnut about angels on a pin is pretty much in the same league as "how far is up?"
   
Angels are spirit creatures, NOT material creatures. A pin is a material object. Therefore, to speak of angels relative to pins is a logical absurdity. It does not compute.   But to which of the angels has God ever said: "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool"? Are they [angels] not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation? Heb 1.13-14
Marital status of an elder
Alan writes - This question has to do with the qualification of elders.

Do you have an opinion as to what the "husband of one wife" requirement in I Timothy 3 is referring to? If you do, let me know.
   
Biblebell's reply
In my OPINION, 1 Tim 3.2b means that a bishop should have just exactly one wife -- nothing more; nothing less. That is, it SPECIFICALLY means that a bishop should not be a polygamist. By inference this verse MIGHT also mean that, to qualify as a bishop, a man should be married.
  A bishop [overseer; elder] then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach 1 Tim 3.2

Some folks think that 1 Tim 3.2 means that an elder must never have been divorced. Maybe so, but...

  • The Bible's doctrines concerning divorce and adultery are clearly labeled as such (Mt 5.31-32, 19.3-9; Mk 10.2-12; 1 Cor 7.10-16). Moreover, those doctrines are readily understood.
  • Ergo, in my VIEW, 1 Tim 3.2 neither restates nor adds to these doctrines. Doing so would be unnecessary, of course, because an elder who has been party to a divorce that was contrary to Biblical doctrines would most assuredly NOT be considered "blameless."
  A bishop [overseer; elder] then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach 1 Tim 3.2
200 million soldiers
Anon writes - Is it true that the army of 200 million soldiers mentioned in Rev 9.16 will come from China?
   
Biblebell's reply
It is true that a couple of popular books on prophecy say that this army of 200 million soldiers will come from China.

In Biblebell's OPINION, this interpretation of Revelation 9.16 is ...umm... far-fetched, to say the least.
  Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them. Rev 9.16

Yes, an army of 200 million would be a deadly force indeed...

  • In just a few days, such a HUMONGOUS army could BURY the whole state of Texas several feet deep in poop. Yuck!
  • The convoy of trucks needed to transport such an army would stretch out more that 227,000 miles -- almost 10 times the earth's circumference!
  • Even with airlifts, it would take well over 100 years for such a tremendous army to move from China to the Middle East.
   

Nuff said. Read the context of Revelation 9.15-17. The army of 200 million will be an army of spirit creatures -- angels, demons, demon horses, and such.

NOT humans.
  The four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the vision: those who sat on them had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow; and the heads of the horses were like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and brimstone. Rev 9.15-17

Left Behind?
Kristine writes - When the Rapture comes, there will be some people left here on earth, right?

  • WHO will be left behind?
  • WHAT will happen to them?
   

Biblebell's reply

In order to answer Kristine's question, I must first summarize two of the major events that the Bible tells us will take place in the future. Namely...

  • The Rapture
  • The Tribulation
   

The Rapture
When The Rapture takes place...

  • Lord Jesus will return to the clouds above Planet Earth.
  • All people -- dead or alive -- who have ever believed on Jesus as their Savior will then be summoned into the presence of the Lord.

Specifically...

  • At the Rapture, Christians will be lifted up into the clouds, and taken with Jesus into Heaven.
  • People who have NOT believed on Jesus will be left behind on the earth.
  • Being "left behind" is NOT good, for reasons explained in the next panel.

 

I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep [died], lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus...

  • For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep [dead].
  • The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
  • Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.
  • And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

1 Thes 4.13-17

The Tribulation

  • It will NOT be good to be a resident of Planet Earth during The Tribulation.
  • Why not? Because The Tribulation refers to a future seven-year period when Planet Earth will be wracked by God-ordained disasters, on a cataclysmic scale never before experienced by the human race.
  • The purpose of these catastrophes will be to totally expunge sin from the earth.
  • As a surgeon uses a scalpel to cut cancer from a living body, so also will God use The Tribulation to destroy evil and sin from the world.

[Side Note: The Tribulation may start soon after The Rapture. On the other hand, it may not start until MANY years afterward. I know of no Bible verse which states or even infers that The Rapture will function as the trigger for The Tribulation.]

  For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. Mt 24.21

For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.
1 Thes 5.3

The sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place.
Rev 6.12b-14

And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of His majesty, when He arises to shake terribly the earth.
Isa 2.19

Who will be Raptured?

  • First off, notice that God's decision as to who He will rapture is NOT based on the absence of sin among ANY one group of people versus another group of people.
  • Why is this so? Because the Bible clearly states that EVERY human is a sinner. No exceptions.
  • Christians are born into a body of sin (Psalm 51.5; Rom 7.21-25). Clearly then, Christians have a sin nature, and will continue to be in that status right up until the very day that they are called into God's Heaven.
  If we (believers on Jesus Christ) say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1.8

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God
Rom 3.23

From God's standpoint the ONLY significant difference between...

  • non-Christian sinners
  • and Christian sinners

... is that Christians have faith in Jesus Christ as the atonement for their sins.

  being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, ...to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Rom 3.24, 3.25a-26

Therefore...

  • Sinners who believe on Lord Jesus as their Savior will Raptured from the Planet BEFORE The Tribulation.
  • Sinners who do NOT believe on Lord Jesus as their Savior will be left behind.
  For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. 1 Thes 5.9-10

[Jesus said...] Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Rev 3.10

Will "carnal" Christians be Left Behind?

  • To answer this question, we need to look at the Bible verses quoted alongside.
  • These verses state that Lord Jesus will change [glorify] each Christian's physical body when He Raptures them to heaven.
  • Moreover, these verses clearly state that ALL Christians will receive these physical changes.
  • The fact that ALL Christians will be glorified at The Rapture shows that ALL Christians will participate in The Rapture.
  Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body Philippians 3.20-21a

Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep
[die], but we shall ALL {pas} be changed-- in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we [believers in Jesus] shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 1 Cor 15.51-53

In First Corinthians 15.51 [quoted above], "all" translates the Greek word pas.

  • As shown alongside, there is no doubt whatsoever that pas means ALL.
  • ALL believers in Jesus will be Raptured -- not just the "super-spiritual" ones -- ALL!

[P.S. Does this mean that Christians have a license to live sinfully? NO WAY!!! As explained in our 3-page study about security of the believer, God will VERY severely chasten those of His children who persist in living a life of sin.]

  Strong's # 3956 pas
all, any, every, the whole:--all (manner of, means), alway(-s), any (one), every (one, way), whatsoever, whole, whosoever

How bad can it get?

  • The world we live in is a place marred by sin, depravity, hatred, violence, and wars.
  • But -- is the world as bad as it can get? NO!
  • The Holy Spirit of God presently imprisons the worst of the evil angels, plus He LIMITS Satan's freedom and the amount of sin in the world.
  • As long as Holy Spirit continues His restraints on evil, then the world is by NO MEANS as bad as it can get.
  • But when the Holy Spirit is removed from Planet Earth, then the world will experience the full evil of Satan and all his demons.
  The angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He [God] has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day Jude 1.6 [see also 2 Pet 2.4, Rev 9.1-15]

...He
[the Holy Spirit] who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 2 Thes 2.7a

A free reign for sin and Satan

  • Although the world is very sinful, it is NOT as totally and horribly sinful as Satan and his demons would like it to be.
  • The reason for this is that the Holy Spirit, who indwells every Christian in the world, RESTRAINS the amount of sin that Satan is allowed to engender.
  • Accordingly, when God removes Christians from Planet Earth, the indwelling Holy Spirit will be removed together with them. Therefore, there will be no further restraint upon sin in the world.
  Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 1 Cor 3.16

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He [the Holy Spirit] who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 2 Thes 2.7
  • When the restraining power of Holy Spirit is removed, Satan will be free to raise up the Antichrist.
  And then the lawless one [Antichrist] will be revealed 2 Thes 2.8a

The beautiful mask of the Beast

  • Since Antichrist will be empowered by Satan, everybody in the world will see him as an extremely appealing and charismatic person.
  • Accordingly, Antichrist will be able to establish his rulership over the entire world.
  The coming of the lawless one [Antichrist] is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 2 Thes 2.9-10

The horribly ugly face of the Beast

  • At some time in the future, the Temple of God in Jerusalem will be rebuilt.
  • Antichrist will enter that temple and exalt himself as *god of the world* -- and EVERYONE will be required to worship him.
  [Antichrist will...] exalt himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 2 Thes 2.4
  • Antichrist will require that every person on earth must have an ID mark embedded or tattooed on his or her body.
  • Without that mark, no one will be able to buy or sell ANYTHING.
  • In summary - Anyone who refuses to serve, obey, and worship Antichrist will be slain. [see Rev 13.11-15]
  He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, so that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast [Antichrist], or the number of his name.
Rev 13.16-17

IF ... THEN
Okay, that's enough about Antichrist's future world government. Now consider carefully ----

  • IF you are an unbeliever, and...
  • IF the world of Antichrist is the kind of world you want to live in, and...
  • IF you want to join Antichrist and Satan in their war against God, and...
  • IF you wish to experience the ensuing battle between God and the forces of evil -- the war known as *Tribulation* and *Armageddon* --
  • THEN by all means continue to reject the salvation that God freely offers to you.
  • It's your choice -- if you truly WANT to be left behind, you can certainly do so!
  And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve...
Josh 24.15a

[God said...] I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live
Deu 30.19
Sinners who did NOT receive Lord Jesus as their Savior will be left behind on Planet Earth, to undergo The Tribulation.  

In flaming fire taking vengeance on those...

  • Who do not know God
  • Who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

2 Thes 1.8 & 2.12b

BOTTOM LINE- All believers in Jesus Christ will be raptured. Unbelievers will be left behind. Some of those unbelievers will have heard the Gospel BEFORE the start of the Tribulation, and some of them will realize their need for Jesus. They will become believers, but will remain on the earth during the Tribulation.

God will send messengers to proclaim the Gospel to those people left behind on earth during the Tribulation. He will do this by means of...

  • Having an angel proclaim the gospel from the skies above earth (Rev 14.6)
  • Sealing 144,000 Jews to be safe from death for a season, so that they can proclaim the Gospel on earth (Rev 7.1-8, 14.1-3)
  • Providing two very special witness to give the Gospel to the earth (Rev 11.3)

Having heard the Gospel, some of the people on earth during the Tribulation will receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Many of these "Tribulation Christians" (perhaps even ALL of them) will be killed by the forces of Antichrist. They will be resurrected to life at the end of the Tribulation (Rev 20.4). Of course, those Christians who died PRIOR to the Tribulation will already have been resurrected at the Rapture of the church (1 Thes 4.13-18).

Click HERE to read Biblebell's IN-DEPTH study of all major aspects of The Soon-Coming Rapture.

   

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