Tom: In this, our Understanding the Scriptures segment, we are in the Book of Acts. We are in Acts:3:19. Dave, we went over this last week, but I think it’s worth repeating. Peter is saying: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:” Now Dave, what time is this referring to?
Dave: This is a future time, obviously. Jesus has already come at this point. He has risen from the dead, He has ascended to the Father’s right hand, and so Peter is quoting. He is referring to Old Testament prophecies of the Second Coming. Now, there is a lot of controversy about these verses. Second Coming: people use “Coming”—oh, “the return of Christ,” in a rather loose way. What do you mean? Are you talking about the Rapture or the Second Coming?
“Oh is there a difference?”
Well, there is a difference. At the Rapture, He catches us up to meet Him in the air. He doesn’t come to this earth. At the Second Coming—you referred to it earlier—His feet touch the Mount of Olives. He comes to rule over His kingdom. You would get that picture in Daniel 2, the image, the head of gold, and so forth, and finally down to the feet, of a mixture of iron and clay, and these are the kingdoms of this earth: the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, and so forth, and down to the Roman Empire, which will be revived under ten heads, and so forth. Then you have the stone cut out without hands. Now, Jesus Christ is the Rock. He is the stone. It smashes this image and just grinds it to powder, and the wind blows it away, and then the Stone becomes the great mountain that fills the whole earth.
Well, that’s what he is talking about here. The Second Coming, Christ is going to establish His kingdom, He is going to take over this world. But you have people, for example, Earl Paulk—I can remember a book by him titled: Held in the Heavens Until. And his whole thesis and the thesis of the people we call Kingdom Now, Kingdom-Dominion people, who say the church has to take over this world, and then Christ will return to rule over the kingdom we have established—of course, if you are meeting a Christ who comes to this earth and your feet are planted on planet earth and He doesn’t take you to heaven—we’ve talked about that of course—this is not Christ, this is Antichrist. But anyway, he said, “Held in the heavens until… we’ve established a kingdom on this earth.”
No, if we went back to Acts 1, the disciples asked the question: “Lord, wilt thou at this time, restore the kingdom to Israel?”
And now is going to restore the kingdom? They don’t say, “Lord, is it time for us to take over the world and restore the kingdom?” No, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom,” okay? And Jesus said, “It is not for you to know the times and the seasons.”
So, what does it say here? It doesn’t say, verse 21, “Whom the heaven must receive until the restitution or the restoration of all things.” it says, “Until the times of restitution!” So, Christ is only going to come back when it is time to restore the kingdom. We’re not the ones who are going to restore the kingdom and then He will come back and rule over it. He is going to stay in the heavens until it is His time. When it is His time to come and destroy Antichrist, and so forth (and that’s how the kingdom will be established—this Stone cut out without hands is going to smash the whole thing and fill the earth), then He will come. So, Paulk’s book, Held in the Heavens Until, what is He held in the heavens until? Until it is time. And when He who alone can restore the kingdom and it is time for Him to come, He will come and do that.
Tom: Dave, in terms of building the church, it’s a matter of evangelizing, of outreaches to people to try and get as many people saved as possible. But if that in turn, you know, I know people who have made distinctions between the visible church and the invisible church—the invisible church being true believers, those who come to Christ no matter where they are. But the visible church would be, what we would call today, professing Christianity with its organizations, its buildings, its institutions and so on. If that physical or temporal aspect takes over and people contribute to something like that, couldn’t they, unwittingly, be setting up this false church in the last days?
Dave: Well, if you are following the Scriptures and you’re preaching the gospel and souls are getting saved, there is no problem, but if you are adopting methods of the world, business techniques, success techniques, salesmanship techniques, promotion, advertising, and so forth in order to get a lot of people, church to grow, and you’re making Christianity popular, which it never was and Christ said it never would be, then you are definitely contributing to this—setting the stage for Antichrist.
Tom: And you are not looking for, or encouraging them to look for, that blessed hope. Wouldn’t that be also part of the problem?
Dave: That would be a big part of it, because you are focused on this earth now. It does kind of send chills up and down my spine, Tom, when I visit various churches and the pastor tells of his 5-year plan, his 10-year plan, and all the building plans they have got and so forth. Well, okay, it’s wonderful if a church grows and so forth, but maybe it would be better to split up and have more locations in more neighborhoods so you can reach more people. I’m not being dogmatic about this, there are some really wonderful very large churches, but they seem to have forgotten the Rapture. You don’t hear much about it, and yet that, as you said, is the blessed hope. This is what we are looking for. Every time we take the bread and the cup in remembrance of Christ, Paul says we do it until He comes. So, we should have in mind that, you know, the Lord is going to take us out of here, and heaven is our home. We don’t set our affection on things on this earth, but on things above, and we don’t lay up treasure on this earth, but we want to have our treasure in heaven.
Tom: Verse 22: “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.”
Dave: Well, that was what Moses said. Pretty tough stuff, Tom: “Strait is the gate and narrow is the way.” There is no room for rebels. You don’t like this? This is God’s program, this is God’s universe—He makes the rules. You want to lord it over God?
We’ll be talking, I guess, in the future, as we continue to delve into this book, Beyond Seduction, be talking about prayer, talking about faith. For some people, faith is a technique or prayer, a technique to get what they want, and faith is a power you aim at God, you know, or to get Him to do what you want to bless your plans, and so forth.
So, God is going to set up His kingdom. That’s where we are heading and it will be on this earth momentarily, and that will be temporary—a thousand years seems like a long time, but with eternity that’s a very short time. It’s like a watch in the night, Moses said. It’s like a tale that is told. It’s like yesterday, you know. And all those who are not willing to be part of the kingdom of God, they are shut out. Is God going to negotiate, should He compromise, should He lower His standards in order to accommodate rebels? No. It’s not hard-hearted—it’s the way it is. That’s the way gravity works. You don’t like gravity, you want to step out of an airplane? Go ahead! You’ll find out there is such a thing as gravity, and God’s laws are immutable. You don’t break them, they will break you.
Tom: Dave, I mentioned this earlier, and maybe I shouldn’t, but is it possible for a rebel to be happy in heaven?
Dave: Well, you wouldn’t be happy in heaven because it’s not the way you want it. It’s not the heaven that you manufactured, so you wouldn’t be happy there, and God is not going to have discontented people in heaven. A dear brother mentioned to me something the other day—sorry, Tom, this is a little bit of an illustration and not terribly humorous…
Tom: Well, this isn’t a sermon here.
Dave: …But this lady was just always grumpy, discontented, unhappy about everything, no matter what it was, and one day she is expressing some of her displeasure to the pastor. He said, “Well, sister, I sure hope you will be able to be cheerful during the Rapture!”
Well, that’s what we are looking for, and it’s going to change everything. There’s not going to be anything—this earth is gone, and if you want to be in God’s heaven, and you want to submit to Him, okay. If you don’t want it, then God is not going to accommodate you. It’s that simple, and I think it makes sense and it is biblical.