Why We Believe In Our Gathering unto Christ,
also Called the Rapture
By Mary Stephens
2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
IntroductionThere has been a good deal of discussion about the doctrine of the rapture of the Lord's church in recent times. Many mockers have been encouraged by the foolish predictions of Harold Camping. The Emergent Church movement has pushed the idea that we should not be divisive and that we should just not talk about things we don't agree on. They imply by this that many things in scripture are really not important. Some people have gone so far as to conclude that belief in our gathering unto Christ is heresy, even "doctrines of devils". These last are strong accusations!
First of all, it is important to establish the fact that having a perfect understanding of end time events is nowhere said in scripture to be essential for salvation. Put simply, we don't need to know the day and the hour and all the details of the Lord's return to be saved. It is not required. What is an essential part of our belief is that Jesus Christ is coming back and that He will judge the world in righteousness. It is repeated many times in the New Testament, as well as the Old, that the Lord is going to come and judge this earth.
1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
Part of turning from idols to serving the true God is to wait for his Son's return. Whether you see that as the Second Coming at the end of all things when the final judgment is poured out on this earth, or whether you see a catching away of the church prior to the time of Jacob's Trouble (or the time of great tribulation) does not determine whether you are saved or not. It does imply that you might have somewhat of a surprise, one way or another. :-) Nevertheless, the future view that Jesus Christ will return and that we are saved from the wrath to come is an important part of the our salvation. God has promised so very many times that He will come and judge this earth that it seems preposterous and unreasonable to say one believes and yet to call Him a liar on this point. (See note at bottom of page for list of a some scriptures that establish this.)
AccusationsNow regarding the rapture of the church there has been a lot of debate over the years. Many men - many godly, wise, and zealous men - have disagreed on this subject. But, there have also been some wild accusations by the more fringe groups who actually seem to hate anyone who believes in the Rapture - or who doesn't agree with their particular system, for that matter.
The first crazy one that I remember hearing was a man/group who came out with the claim that the rapture doctrine was invented by Jesuits. The first question we should ask is, "Why?" It doesn't make sense in the first place. The only possible thing they would accomplish is to make some people look silly, which they are certainly capable of, but how would it promote the Catholic cause? More importantly, however, is the fact that there is enough scripture to support the position that it is perfectly ridiculous to try to claim that it was invented as lately as that. Added to this is the fact that this type of reasoning smacks of that old "the Communist did it" type of paranoia that was popular in the '50s and all. My family first heard of the accusation at a time when the Catholic church, Jesuits in particular, were being blamed for anything and everything. This was especially useful to groups who had pet peeves. What an easy way to discredit something one doesn't agree with. One certain man who was highly used by Jack Chick and others was blaming virtually everything he could imagine on "Jesuit plots." Since he claimed to have been a high ranking Jesuit himself before he was "saved" many assumed that he knew what he was talking about. As time eventually showed, there was no proof that he had ever been a Jesuit himself. Is the rapture teaching a Jesuit plot? I trust that our reasons for believing it is a biblical belief will lay that question to rest.
Both in the past and in recent times there has been the folly of those who predicted the rapture of the church and thus made idiots of themselves. They also gave mockers opportunity to ridicule the truth and those who believe it. This is not a small matter. When David did this by committing adultery and murder God did not take it lightly. 2 Samuel 12:14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die. Also, this is the event of which we don't know the day nor the hour and aren't supposed to, as is repeated a number of times in scripture.
More recently still I ran across a blog which had a lot of useful looking information on it. The man takes a strong stand for the King James Bible and seemed sound on a number of things. However, in reading some of his material I discovered to my disappointment that he calls the belief in the Rapture "doctrines of devils." These are very strong words! Now, I think this man took this position partly due to the Harold Camping fiasco, and partly due to a misunderstanding about the two resurrections in scripture but, it's always a perilous thing to cut off a whole portion of the body of Christ over something that is not declared to be essential for salvation! 1 Corinthians 12:18-21 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. This man is in essence doing this very thing.
There are no doubt many other accusations regarding the alleged "error" of the Rapture, but my point in this article is to present why we believe it is biblical, not to answer all the gainsayers. Answering the opposition can become a full time job if we fall into that trap. Declaring what the Bible actually teaches is much more profitable and takes far less time. The responsibility of what you do with the scriptures is between you and the Lord.
Reasons1. It is not like God to judge the righteous with the wicked.
It may come as a surprise to some readers that I would start this discussion in the book of Genesis, but that is exactly what I intend to do.
When the Lord appeared to Abraham in the plains of Mamre, He had a message for him regarding his future child. The Lord was also on His way to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for their great iniquity. Genesis 18:20-21 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. Now, as it happened, the Lord decided to tell Abraham His intentions before hand. Abraham, knowing that his nephew, Lot, lived there, took it upon himself to plead for the righteous that might be in the city. (Abraham doesn't seem all that confident about the righteousness of Lot's family at this point and never mentions Lot by name). Notice how he starts: Genesis 18:23-25 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
Abraham appealed to the Lord as "the Judge of all the earth" and he clearly states that it is far from God's methods of operation to slay the righteous with the wicked or to categorize the righteous with the wicked. And, the Lord does not deny nor correct Abraham on this. So, one important reason that we can safely believe that God will remove the righteous before He brings His judgment on this earth during the time of great tribulation is this: it isn't like God to kill the righteous with the wicked. According to the book of Revelation that time will be a time of severe judgment being poured out on this earth and many, many wicked will be killed.
Now, there are some who will rise up in their self-righteous pride and declare that only the righteous Christians will be removed in the rapture of the church, and the rest of us poor peons who aren't "good enough" will be left behind to suffer for our sins. I would remind you of some things regarding Lot.
Now, Lot's wife was rescued after a fashion, but her heart was in Sodom and she looked back. Whatever she may be a picture of, that doesn't seem to apply to the rapture of the church, though we certainly need to heed the warning to "Remember Lot's wife." Luke 17:32 She serves as a fearful warning to those who would love the world and lay up treasure here. Lot's daughters were rescued also, which seems to indicate that God saw fit to remove them despite their later incestuous sin, Gen. 19:30-38, but we are not told that they were righteous.
Lot, however, who does not show particular signs of being what many today would consider righteous is called "righteous"! First of all, Lot himself sat in the gate of Sodom, Gen. 19:1, which was a position of prestige in a city at that time. Secondly, he had married his daughters off to Sodomites, Gen. 19:14 (it is somewhat unclear if these are the same women who were in the home and accompanied him out of the city). Thirdly, Lot offered his daughters to the wicked men who came seeking to "know" the angels sexually, Gen. 19:8. Fourthly, Lot lingered about leaving and then asked to be let off with only going to a smaller town nearby instead of to the mountains, Gen. 19:16-22. Yet God calls Lot righteous and obviously did not intend to destroy him with the wicked!
2 Peter 2:4-9 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: [Emphasis added.]
This passage not only shows us that God considered Lot righteous, but it also underscores the point I'm trying to make here - God knows how to deliver the godly and how to punish the unjust.
1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
2. The "Tribulation" is the time of Jacob's trouble.
In Jeremiah chapter 30 we read first about a returning of Israel and Judah to the land of their fathers, v. 3; but then this is followed by trembling and fear in v. 5-6. This sounds like it could well be what we have seen in our time as the return of Israel to their land. The reason I say this is because we read in verse 7, Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. But, after a discussion of why the Lord does this, we then read from v. 16 onward about the many things the Lord is going to do for them in what appears to be a second restoration. This restoration is described in such a way that it seems self-evident that it is the Kingdom era when Jesus Christ reigns on this earth because it certainly does not apply to the restoration we see today.
One of the difficulties that many people have with understanding an ending of the church era is that many have missed the point that God intends to restore the nation of Israel - the actual genetic descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. There are certain veins of theological thinking that declare that God is through with the Hebrews and that all the promises to them have been transferred to the church. This is rather bizarre to consider when you read all the promises and prophecies to Israel that have yet to be fulfilled. This discussion would be altogether too long if I went into all of that, but we are convinced that God does intend to return to Israel and restore them when the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled, Luke 21:24. We also believe that the Lord Jesus Christ will rule and reign on this earth for a thousand years from Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, Revelation 20:2-6, Zechariah 14:16-17.
In Matthew chapter 24 Jesus was explaining to His disciples many things about the end of the world, v. 3. In verses 21-22 we read, 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. Following this He discusses false christs and then describes His actual coming: Matthew 24:27 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. He goes on in 29-30, Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 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.
Whatever you may or may not conclude from this passage, it is safe to say that the time of great tribulation, which is like nothing that has ever been or ever shall be, happens just prior to Christ's coming in power and great glory as lightning. If the church age righteous are not going to be judged along with unbelieving Israel, then it's safe to say that "our gathering unto him" will be before the great tribulation starts and the vials and trumpets of Revelation are unleashed upon this rebellious earth.
3. When Jesus Christ returns to believers it will be "in like manner" to how He left them.
Acts 1:9-11 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.
The description of how Jesus left the disciples here is nothing like what He describes of His returning to be in Matthew, as we just saw. There is no power and great glory. He does not leave as the lightning shining. He disappears into a cloud out of their sight, and angels appear declaring to them that He will come again "in like manner".
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
This description, which is commonly used as relating to the "rapture" of the church, resembles the Acts 1 leaving much more than it resembles the coming of the Son of man in Matthew 24. There is a shout - probably the Lord calling us to "Come up hither," Revelation 4:1. There is the voice of an angel, as there was also when He ascended before the disciples. There is the trump of God which, though not mentioned at His ascension is an interesting aspect since there were trumpets of silver (not ram's horns/shofars) used to call the Israelites to assemble and to move on to a new location during the wilderness years (see Numbers 10). And lastly there are clouds, which appear in both comings as it were.
It is also of note that this passage in 1 Thessalonians does not indicate at all that Christ is coming to the earth. He is said to descend from heaven, but there is nothing here to make us think that He actually comes to earth.
4. The wedding - the marriage supper of the Lamb - must take place with believers present and before Christ's return to earth in power and great glory.
In the first part of Revelation chapter 19 we find the saints in heaven rejoicing over the destruction of the great whore and worshipping God in heaven. In verses 6-9 we read, And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. But, then, starting in verse 11 we read about the coming of Christ in power and great glory, meaning that this event follows the marriage supper. Revelation 19:11-14 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
But, lest we mistake this for the last great destruction at the end of the thousand year reign of Christ, we are given a detailed explanation of who is being judged and what is going on here at the end of the chapter. Revelation 19:19-21 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. Since we know that those who take the mark and worship the beast's image are not going to be part of the thousand year Kingdom of Jesus Christ on this earth, and since the final uprising of Satan with Gog and Magog is described in the next chapter (Rev. 20), it is obvious that this is the coming of the Son of man when He comes to set up His Kingdom at the end of the time of great tribulation - Jacob's trouble. Consequently we, the church, must be in heaven before the second coming in power and great glory occurs, as is indicated by the beginning of Rev. 19.
Some have suggested that this happens all in one event, that Jesus comes and calls us up to Him and then we all turn right around and zoom back down with Him as He conquers the beast and false prophet and sets up the Kingdom. (It sounds like a pretty rushed trip to me.) But, the problem there is the marriage supper of the Lamb. And, Revelation 19:14 says quite clearly, And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. [Emphasis added.] Between the marriage, the supper and the armies already being in heaven, it's hard to believe that someone would think that we show up at the last minute, jump on the horses and come flying back with the Lord. ...God is not the author of confusion... 1 Corinthians 14:33.
5. We DO want God's escape plan.
One common accusation about believing in the rapture of the church is that we are just looking for an escape plan. Well, you better believe it! Lot liked his pretty well I'd guess. Noah liked his really well - he spent a long time working on the ark. If the escape is provided by God Himself then it is a good thing. There is nothing unrighteous about accepting it. And, I might add that people who think there is something wrong with having an escape plan are second guessing God who has provided one on many occasions for His servants. 1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
To the church at Philadelphia the Lord said, Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Revelation 3:10 The hour of temptation that will come upon all the world indicates the time of great tribulation. The Lord says specifically here that He is going to deliver someone from it - those who keep the word of His patience. If He has promised to provide that deliverance there is good reason to hope for it!
When all is said and done, the fact still remains that this particular issue is never said to be essential to salvation. Believing God will come and judge the earth is a doctrine. We believe the rapture of the saints occurs before the tribulation. If you don't believe this particular interpretation you won't go to hell. But, on the other hand, we won't either if we happen to be wrong about this. And, if perchance, we do end up going through the time of great tribulation, God will be there and the Lord Jesus has clearly said He will never leave nor forsake us.
And that reminds me, one of the things that it is hard to deal with in people who believe they will personally be going through the great tribulation is that they often are preoccupied with taking care of themselves - preparing to survive. The scriptures say, Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5 Foreseeing the evil and hiding yourself (Prv. 22:3) is one thing. Stockpiling food and ammunition to fight it through the time of Jacob's trouble? It's just not going to work out, and we're never told to do so in scripture. Even more than that, the indication from the prophecies given make it seem that this would be a waste of time anyway. For catastrophes prior to that time some preparedness may be in order, but you can't prepare enough to make it through on your own during the great tribulation. It's going to be worse than Noah's flood, worse than Sodom and Gomorrah, worse than the plagues on Egypt. Only those who received supernatural deliverance from God made it through those judgments.
One interesting thing I'd like to point out which came from a friend of ours is this: For principles of fellowship it is easier for those who believe in the rapture of the church before the great tribulation to fellowship with people who believe that everything will just run down to a horrible mess till the Lord comes to judge the earth and end all things. That may sound odd to some of our readers, but the reason he said that is this: Those who believe that they are going to have to tough it out and be instrumental in their own survival in the tribulation tend to be strongly focused on "preparedness" - collecting food, water, ammo, guns, other necessities, and having plans to "survive." Those who believe that things will get better and better or that they must fight to bring in the Kingdom or "prepare the way of the Lord" are preoccupied with politics; with things and prospering; with the affairs of this world. Our friend pointed out that the people who believe these things are world focused and that their belief is in essence a form of idolatry because it puts something else in place of just looking for the coming of the Lord.
When you are just looking for Jesus - either to come for His church or to come for the final judgment - you are in reality looking for the right thing - the Lord Himself! Those who are looking for something else - trouble or self-propelled triumph - are hard to deal with, even when they are believers, because they simply aren't looking for the same thing! One group is looking for the anti-christ, for great trouble and suffering and for self-vindication. The other is looking for ways to make this world "be good," to "fix it" by their own influence and efforts - which we never can! Whether you believe in the rapture of the church or not, may it be found when He comes that you were looking for HIM - not the anti-christ and great tribulation, and not the success of your do-gooder endeavors!
1 Corinthians 1:4-8 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Revelation 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
A few scriptures on the judgment of this earth by God and the return of Jesus Christ:
1 Samuel 2:10 The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.
Psalms 46:8-11 Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
Psalms 96:12-13 Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.
Isaiah 2:2-4 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
Jeremiah 23:5-6 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Matthew 26:64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
Luke 21:24-27 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 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.
Philippians 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy.
1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
James 5:7-8 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
2 Peter 3:7-14 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 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. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
1 John 3:2-3 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
graphics and background by mary stephens