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I have questions about the doctrine of election. My pastor has been preaching on this subject, leaving my wife and me confused. He leans more towards Calvinism (5 points). I believe more like the Baptist do. I believe people were born with free will to receive or reject Christ. He is preaching as God selects who does or does not. Is this right? Seems to me that God decides who ends up in Heaven or Hell. How could a loving God allow men to be born without a choice? This teaching troubles me. Please help me out. Thanks and may God keep you both strong and faithful.
Robert V.

Many people today are confused and disturbed because they have wrongly understood the teaching known as predestination or election.  A few brief comments should be helpful for you concerning this particular question.

We know that God has expressly told us that it is not only His will that all men come to repentance but also that He sent His Son to die as a redemption for the whole world.  Three verses in particular you may wish to see are I John 2:2, II Peter 3:9, and John 3:16.  We also know that not all men have accepted God’s offer of salvation.  In John 5:40, Jesus said:  “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” You may also wish to see Acts 7:51.  Despite the fact that God would desire that all men come to salvation, many have refused that free gift.

In considering Romans 9, we will all readily admit that this passage stresses the sovereignty of God.  It is well to keep in mind that an important element in this passage is faith. The sovereignty of God deals with men on the basis of faith.  Notice as we read through Romans 9 that the idea is stressed clearly that God does not deal with men on the basis of their racial background or their good works.  The basis on which He deals with them is one of faith or unbelief.  This is the condition of salvation.

We can rest assured that if we have come by faith to the Lord Jesus Christ, then we are saved.  By faith, we are one of God’s elect.  All who by faith have come are saved.  There is no such thing as a person who trusts Christ on the basis of faith and does not receive salvation because he is not one of the “elect.”

Salvation is based on man’s response of faith to the Gospel message.  This cannot be removed without doing serious and irreparable damage to Scriptural teaching.  Any man-made doctrine which robs us of our assurance that we are in Christ and eternally saved is wrong.  God has chosen those who are in Christ on the basis of our faith.

Christ Himself has promised us in John 6:37:  “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”  As God gives us opportunity to believe and we respond to that opportunity by coming to Christ, we can rejoice in His acceptance and rest in His redemptive work for us.  We need never be robbed of that blessed assurance and hope that we have in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 1:4-5 and 9-11

The following is from The Bible Knowledge Commentary by John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck:

1:5.  The cause of election is God’s predestination of believers unto sonship (cf. “predestined” in v.11).  Predestined is from proorisas, “marked out beforehand.”  Thus the emphasis of predestination is more on the what than the who in that the believers’ predetermined destiny is their being adopted as full-fledged sons of God through Jesus Christ, the Agent of the adoption.  The concept of adoption is also found in Romans 8:15 (NIV marg.), 23; Galatians 4:4-7.  In adoption a son is brought into a family and is given the same rights as a child who is born into that family.

1:11-12.  As a result of the spiritual blessing of insight into the mystery of God’s will (vv. 8-10) Paul discussed the Jewish believers’ inclusion in Christ.  The we in verse 11 seems to be a distinct group from the anonymous “we/us” in verses 3-10.  This is supported by two facts:  (1) verse 11 includes the word also and (2) verse 13 changes to “you also,” which refers to Gentile believers.  Though both Jews and Gentiles participate in God’s blessings, the Jews were called first (cf. Acts 3:26; Rom 1:16).

In Ephesians 1:11 chosen (eklerothemen) is not the same word used in verse 4 (exelexato).  The word in verse 11 (used only here in the NT) means “to cast a lot” or “to appoint or obtain by lot.”  In this context it is best rendered “to be chosen, appointed, or destined.”  Jewish believers were chosen because they were predestined.  But this predestination is not a matter of whim or caprice on God’s part; it is according to the plan (prothesin, “purpose”; cf. Rom. 8:28; 9:11; Eph 3:11) of God who works out everything in conformity with the purpose (boulen, “counsel or deliberation”) of His will (thelematos; cf. 1:5, 9).  The combination of these words-prothesin, boulen, thelematos-gives a forceful emphasis of God’s sovereignty for including the Jewish believers in the church, which is headed up by Christ.  The purpose of God’s choice of the Jewish believers is that they might be for the praise of His glory, which parallels verse 6.  The words “for the praise of His glory” serve as a refrain used after a description of the work of each Person of the Trinity (cf. vv. 6, 14).  The relative clause, who were the first to hope in Christ, further substantiates that verses 11-12 refer to Jewish believers as opposed to Gentile believers because the Jews did precede the Gentiles chronologically in the faith (Acts 1:8; 13:46; 28:25-28; Rom. 1:16; 2:9-10).

Christ has set the sinner free from his sin and has revealed His will that all things will be headed up in Christ at the end of the ages, including the Jewish believers who first trusted in Him.

God’s seal with the Spirit (1:13-14).

God’s spiritual blessings for believers are based not only on the sovereign election of the Father (vv. 3-6) and the redemptive work of the Son (vv. 7-12), but also on the seal of the Holy Spirit.

John 17:6-11

The following is also from The Bible Knowledge Commentary by John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck:

17:6-8.  The little flock of disciples was given by the Father to the Son (cf. vv. 2, 9, 24).  They had been separated out of the world (“world” occurs 18 times in this chap.:  vv. 5-6, 9, 11 [twice], 13, 14 [thrice], 15, 16 [twice in the Gr.], 18 [twice], 21, 23-25).  This separation was by the electing work of the Father, in which the apostles had been given as a gift to Jesus Christ (cf. 6:37).  With the words, They have obeyed Your Word, Jesus praised His disciples for responding to the message of God in Jesus Christ.  The disciples were not perfect, but they had the right commitment.  Their faith in Jesus was a trust in His union with the Father (17:8).  This faith in Jesus was manifested in their obedience to His words because they believed in His divine mission (cf. 16:27).

17:9-10.  Christ’s prayer (in vv. 6-19) was particularly for the Eleven, though it applies to all believers (cf. v. 20).  At this point He was not praying for the world in its hostility and unbelief.  This prayer is for two things:  (a) the disciples’ preservation (“protect them,” v. 11) and (b) their sanctification (“sanctify them,” v. 17).  The world is not to be preserved in its rebellion or sanctified in its unbelief.  Jesus prayed this request because of God’s ownership of them by creation and election (they are Yours).  Jesus’ words, All I have is Yours, and all You have is Mine, reveal His claim to unity, intimacy, and equality with the Father.

In the old economy, God dwelt among people and showed His glory.  In Jesus, God’s glory was displayed (cf. 1:14).  Then Christ’s disciples glorified Him:  Glory has come to Me through them.  And now in the Church Age the Holy Spirit glorifies the Son (16:14) and believers are also to glorify the Son (Eph. 1:12).

17:11.  Jesus would soon depart to the Father and leave His disciples in the world.  They had to stay in the world to carry out God’s plan in spreading the good news of redemption and in planting the church.  With the formation of the church, the history of the world has become, in a sense, “a tale of two cities” the city of God and the city of man.

Since the disciples would be in the world, Jesus prayed for their protection.  The hostility against God which fell on Jesus would now fall on the tiny band of apostles, and subsequently on many of Jesus’ followers.  Jesus, in calling on His Holy Father, pointed up God’s distinction from sinful creatures.  This holiness is the basis for believers’ separation from the world.  He would protect them from the sin and enmity of the world by the power of His name (cf. Prov. 18:10).  In Bible times a person’s name stood for the person. (In John 17:6, 26 the NIV translates the Gr. “Your name” by the word “You.”)

Why did Jesus pray for their preservation?  It was to promote the unity of the believers, patterned after the unity of the Father and the Son:  so that they may be one as We are One (cf. vv. 21-22).  The unity here seems to be that of will and purpose.  By being protected from the world they would be unified in their desires to serve and glorify the Son.

I listen and watch a lot of sermons since 1980, but I still have not heard anything as to what happens to GOD children after Satan is loose for a thousand years to deceive the nation for a season! (Rev. 20) KJV? Can you shed some light on the subject as to what happens to the children of GOD at that time?

Are we going to walk the earth again and be subject to temptations again?
James M. L.

Revelation 20: 7 – 9 states: And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.

This portion of Scripture has caused many people great concern. They ask, “Why should Satan be loosed for a short season? What purpose could God have in unchaining this monster after one thousand years of blessed peace?” The answer is, “The free will of man.”

All persons who enter the Millennium are redeemed people (Isaiah 60:21 and Joel 2:28). However, one must remember that procreation still takes place during this era of time because those who survived the Tribulation hour enter the Millennium with human bodies. The believers upon the thrones possess resurrected bodies and do not bear children, but the others do. Consequently, the children born during this one-thousand-year period are born with the old Adamic, or sin, nature which has been an inherent part of man ever since the fall of Adam and Eve. Many of them, of course, accept Christ as their personal Saviour, but many do not! In addition, since Satan is bound, there is little to tempt them. They simply do not face the problems and trials which have confronted mankind in past ages. Satan’s release, then, is to determine whether or not Christ is real to these children of the Millennium, or whether they have been submissive simply because He ruled with a rod of iron (chapter 19, verse 15).

The truth is revealed as millions follow the devil. Yes, even after living with the Lord Jesus Christ for ten centuries, much of mankind rebels. Verses 8 and 9 inform us that Satan deceives the nations internationally (pictured by the four corners of the earth), and gathers them together for one last battle. The army is gigantic in number…as the sand of the sea. Once again the camp of God’s people-the beloved city of Jerusalem-is surrounded, just as the armies of the Tribulation hour gathered against Jerusalem to battle (see Zechariah 14:1). Then, in an instant, God destroys them all with a devouring fire from heaven.

To whom do the names Gog and Magog refer? In Ezekiel 38 and 39, they identify Russia. Not so in verse 8. Instead, they most likely indicate the memory of past brutality-much like the names Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, and Iraq do today. As Gog and Magog (Russia) invades Israel and comes against Jerusalem during the Tribulation hour, such an indelible impression is left upon all the world that now-one thousand years later-the details are still vivid. Thus, this past war, fought in the same area, is brought to mind as Satan once again attempts to destroy Israel.

Verse 10: And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

This is the end for the deceiver of the ages. He is cast into the place prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). Many centuries were required for this slanderous culprit to reach his final destination. Now that he has arrived, he will experience nothing but continual torment-day and night-for ever and ever. Amen!

A question. In detail, what will the Judgment Seat of Christ be like?

Charles W.

The day is coming when every blood-bought believer must stand before a Holy God for a scrutinizing investigation (Romans 14:10, 11). The English term “judgment seat” has a Greek origin, bema seat. The runners’ track in Athens, Greece, contained thousands of seats. However, there was one seat differing from the rest in that it was elevated. The judge of the contest, who sat there, had no obstructions to mar his view. He could see every movement clearly. This pictures the God of holiness elevated upon His throne watching the Christian’s race of life (2 Corinthians 16:9; Jeremiah 16:7; Hebrews 4:13). God is keeping records for the day when we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done (2 Corinthians 5:10). We cannot live for the flesh and self and hear Christ say in that day, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant?’ There must be a battle fought and won. Rewards must be earned and scars must be traded for crowns. Paul, who bore in his body the marks [scars] of the Lord Jesus (Galatians 6:17) was pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14). Salvation was already his as a gift, but only works of self-denial, hardship, suffering, and perhaps death could bring him the prize or crown to lay at Jesus’ feet (Revelation 4:10,11).

God will also investigate the motives behind one’s works. If there is an iota of self-glorification behind any act of service, the rewards will be sparse . . . if any (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-19; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 4:5).

Scriptural facts concerning the Bema Seat:

  1. This judgment is only for the people of God . . . those who have erected service or works upon the foundation of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. All of God’s people present some form of “works” to Christ at the Bema Seat.
  3. Though all worked to some degree, a difference in quantity and quality is observed … gold, silver, and precious stones versus wood, hay, and stubble.
  4. The difference is tested by purging fires.
  5. The disintegrated ashes of wood, hay, and stubble bring sorrow and loss (1 Corinthians 3:15). While eternal life is freely bestowed upon all who believe as a gift apart from works (Romans 6:23) and cannot be forfeited, rewards and crowns can be earned and lost, accumulated and liquidated. A day of addition and subtraction is coming at the Rapture.
  6. Quality works, performed for the glory of God to win the souls of men — gold, silver, precious stones —will earn crowns for all eternity. These crowns will then be placed at the feet of Christ as an eternal memorial of one’s lifetime of service (Revelation 4:10, 11).

 

Some will be ashamed before Him at His coming (1 John 2:28; 2 Peter 1:11). They will have nothing but ashes to lay at Christ’s feet. Thank God one can confess failure, rededicate his life, and make a new start immediately. Then such will hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

Can you tell me how is Israel’s 6-Day War an End Time Sign?

Anthony S.

In Luke 21:24-28, Jesus said the Jews would be scattered throughout the world and the city of Jerusalem would be controlled by Gentile powers until the time of His return. In 1967, after the Six Day War was won, the Jews took control of Jerusalem for the first time in over 2,000 years.

A peace settlement in the Middle East is one of the most important events predicted for the endtime. The signing of this treaty will start the final countdown of 2,520 days leading to Armageddon. The key issue in negotiations will be the city of Jerusalem itself, which Israel prizes more than any other possession (Psalm 137:5, 6). Undoubtedly a strong attempt will be made to make Jerusalem an international city with free access for Jews, Christians, and Muslims (the Temple area will also be internationalized). Jerusalem will keep center stage as this Temple becomes the scene of the Abomination of Desolation, the ultimate in desecration as the Image of the Beast is used to carry forth a diabolical plot from this holy place (Revelation 13:13-18).

Jerusalem is where the Lord touches down at His Second Coming to earth (Zechariah 14:4) and where He establishes His headquarters (Micah 4:1; Isaiah 2:3). The gates of Jerusalem will open to welcome the coming King (Psalm 24). During the Millennium, multitudes will come from the uttermost parts of the earth to visit the Holy City (Isaiah 2:2, 3).

 

In II Timothy 3:1-5 it says lover of their own selves, what does that mean?
Matthew A.

To be “lovers of themselves” in II Timothy 3 means to be selfish, and elevating self above all others.

Paul said in Romans 12:3: “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”  We must see ourselves as we really are – both the bad of what we are in the flesh and the glory of what we are in Jesus Christ.

John Calvin states: “But readers should note that lovers of themselves, which comes first, can be regarded as the source from which all the others that follow spring.”

William Barclay in his commentary states: “It is no accident that the first of these qualities will be a life that is centred in self. The adjective used is philautos, which means self-loving. Love of self is the basic sin, from with all others flow. The moment a man makes his own will the centre of life, divine and human relationships are destroyed, obedience to God and charity to men both become impossible. The essence of Christianity is not the enthronement but the obliteration of self.”

And D. Edmond Herbert states: “‘Lovers of self’ aptly heads the list since it is the essence of all sin and the root from which all the other characteristics spring. The word is literally ‘self-lovers’ and points to the fact that the center of gravity of the natural man is self rather than God.”

Could you shed light on who the morning stars are in Job 38:7?
Michael S.

The “morning stars” in Job 38:7 are the stars in the sky.  The “sons of God” mentioned in that verse are the angels.  The stars and angels joined in praise when the earth was created.

How can stars sing?  During the Triumphal entry into Jerusalem, when the Pharisees wanted Jesus to silence the disciples who were praising Him, Jesus replied: “…I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out” – Luke 19:40.   In Isaiah 6:1-4 we read: “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.  Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.  And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.  And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.” – even the inanimate doorposts shook in the presence of Almighty God.

I have a question re people being saved during the Tribulation. It appears that this will certainly happen or there would not be people being executed for not taking the Mark of the beast. My question is that if the Holy Spirit is taken from the world at the time of the Rapture, what is it that convicts people of their sin to cause them to repent? Or are the people saved those who have been witnessed to by others but did not make a commitment until the Tribulation begins?
Gail S.

It is evident from John 16:7, 8 that the work of the Spirit in the world is that of conviction and restraint concerning sin.  He accomplishes this work through the bodies of those He indwells (I Corinthians 6:19).  Spirit-indwelled believers have a purifying effect on the world.  The Antichrist cannot be revealed until the Bride of Christ (the Church – all believers dead and living) are removed (II Thessalonians 2:3, 7, 8).

This does not mean that the Holy Spirit must be removed from the earth.  This is not possible since He, as God, is omnipresent (present everywhere at all times) Psalms 139:7-11 and always will be.

I’ve been listening to Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe for years, and my question is are there any Prophets since those mentioned in the New Testament? This question came up in conversation and I want to get the correct answer from you. Thank you.
Your Sister in Christ
Kathleen D.

In Acts 2:17 – 21, Peter quotes a prophecy of Joel found in Joel 2:28-32: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:  And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:  And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come:  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

John Piper, in a sermon entitled “I Will Pour Out My Spirit” – https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/i-will-pour-out-my-spirit states:

“…Joel’s prophecy, that Peter quotes in Acts 2:17–21, makes clear that the last days will be mixed days—days of powerful witness (vv. 17–18) and days of terrible calamity (vv. 19–20). When Joel looked into the future, God didn’t tell him how many years would separate the different parts of the last days that he was describing. He saw the last days as all one piece. Some of what he saw was nearer to the beginning of the last days, and some was nearer to the end of the last days.

The Bright Part of Joel’s Prophecy

So when you read his prophecy, it has two parts—a bright part and a dark part. The bright part is verses 17–18,

    I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; yea, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

In other words Joel says that one feature of the last days will be the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on people of every kind—men and women, young and old, high and low. God’s people will be clothed with power; they will receive power. And the main effect of this power seems to be bold, prophetic speech. Believers of all kinds are going to be so gripped by the Spirit of God that they see the greatness of Jesus and the purpose of Jesus with extraordinary clarity and speak it with extraordinary boldness. That’s the bright part of Joel’s prophecy.

The Dark Part of Joel’s Prophecy

The dark part is in verses 19–20,

    And I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; and the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and manifest day.

In other words there will be natural catastrophes; there will be war and bloodshed; there will be conflagration and devastation.

The Answer to the Second Question

So, what is the answer to our question? If war broke out tomorrow in the Middle East with terrible bloodshed and earthshaking ferocity, and began to draw the whole world into conflict, would that be a sign that God’s purpose for our day is not a great spiritual awakening but only a bleak downward spiral of calamity and moral collapse till the end?

No. On the contrary, there is a promise that in the last days the Spirit will be poured out on all flesh—all the nations will be reached. The true church of Christ will be awakened and revived and sent with extraordinary passion and zeal and prophetic power, and—right in the midst of terrorism and war and persecution and natural disasters—the flaming end-time church of Christ will finish the Great Commission, and welcome the King…”

So yes, we believe that there are Prophets today.

Exodus 20, and Deuteronomy 5 both give the 6th commandment as not to "murder", yet you always say it means "kill". There is quite a difference here for if it was "kill" as you say then why all the killing in all their wars? If indeed the word is "murder", then the killing in all those wars would be justified. Which is right?
John G.

In the King James Version of the Bible, which Dr. Van Impe has spent 70 years memorizing, Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17 both state “Thou shalt not kill”.  However, as he states, a better translation is “Thou shalt not murder

There are two different Hebrew words for murder and killing.  One means to put to death, and one means to murder.  The word for murder [ratsakh] is the one prohibited in the Ten Commandments.  Ratskah also covers deaths due to carelessness or neglect, but it is never used to describe killing during wartime.

In the setting up of the cities of refuge in Numbers 35:9-34, killing anyone outside the context of war with a weapon, or in unarmed combat, is considered ratsakh, but if the killing is accidental, the accused must not leave the city, or he will be considered guilty of intentional murder.

 

Dear Drs. Van Impe,

Revelation 10:2-4 references “seven peals of thunder”, while information in lacking in the text; do you have any thoughts on what these could be?

Are they seven additional judgments like the “bowls”, “trumpets”, and “seals”?
I am curious to hear what you say, as I have never heard anyone refer to these.

Thank you, and may God continue to use you in reaching many, in these last days.

Wayne C.

Revelation 10:3 says: And [he] cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.

This is the cry of the Lion of the tribe of Judah (see Hebrews 7:14). Immediately prior to executing the judgments listed in the book, He cries loudly (or roars as a lion) to warn of impending danger. Other portions of Scripture also speak of His roaring when He comes as the Judge of the universe. Hosea 11:10 states: They shall walk after the Lord: he shall roar like a lion: when he shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west. Joel 3:16 adds: The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. Again, Amos 1:2: The Lord will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem.

When the Lord roars, seven thunders utter their voices. Though thunder is usually associated with judgment, no attempt will be made to explain the meaning, since God forbids it in verse 4.

Verse 4: And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.

Well, someday we will know! For the present, however, God commands that this one portion of Scripture be kept secret.

I’ve heard differing opinions on the Marriage Super of the Lamb. I was under the impression that ALL born-again believers were the Bride of Christ. Now I’m hearing that some born-again believers will be “guests” that won’t be allowed in and they will be cast into outer darkness with weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew). Do you have to EARN the right to be a bride? Who are the guests? And which ones get in? The proper clothing confuses me since I thought all who are resurrected are the Bride of Christ. Thank you so much for all your teachings!

Beth K.

The marriage partners at this glorious event include the Lamb (Christ) (Ephesians 5:25-33) and His Bride (the Church). They have been in heaven during the Tribulation Hour. While earth dwellers suffered judgment, the Bride was being investigated in preparation for the wedding (Revelation 19:7). For many, who were unfaithful to Christ during the engagement period (their years of service upon earth), this will be a time of humiliation (1 John 2:28) as every believer will be attired in the wedding garment he made upon earth. The material will by composed of their good deeds that remain after the Judgment Seat has occurred (Revelation 19:7, 8). Righteousnesses rather than righteousness is the correct word in this text.

The Bride includes all believers from the Day of Pentecost until the Rapture. All Christians will be presented in one body (or group) as a chaste virgin to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2). Symbolized as a bride, the Church is clothed in fine white linen (Revelation 19:7,8). The Lord Jesus Christ, himself, is the Bridegroom (Ephesians 5:25-33).

The marriage itself takes place in heaven during the end of the Tribulation period on earth. The phrase, the marriage of the Lamb is come (Revelation 19:7), signifies that the Church’s union with Christ has been completed (1 Thessalonians 4:17). From this point on, wherever Christ goes, His beloved Bride goes with Him.

Is there a time lapse between Genesis chapter 1 verses 1 and 2 what happened to make the earth without form and void?

Keith N.

Dr. Van Impe believes that there is a definite time lapse between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.  Verse two states that the earth was “without form and void.”  Isaiah 45:18 states that God created not the earth in “vain” (the Hebrew word is void).  We see from this that the earth was not created void.  According to Genesis 1:2, it became void through a judgment of a pre-Noahic flood that occurred, causing the Spirit of God to move upon the face of the waters.  Hence, verse one of Genesis one is the original creation and later came the restructuring of the original creation.  This could account for thousands or millions of years between verses one and two wherein the prehistoric animals, created in verse one, cease to exist because of the earlier flood.  Some scholars even believe that there was a race before Adam, now buried in the sea, which was originally land.  These are purported to be the souls mentioned in Revelation 20:13 when “…the sea (gives) up the dead which (are) in it.”  Since God must have had a reason to mention this special group, it must mean more than just a few sailors who died in oceanic or wartime disturbances.

The “Gap Theory” has been carefully studied, and taught by some of the most solid and sincere Christian scholars of our day.   Almost all good, Godly men who have done a sincere study of this subject based their views not upon a vision or tradition, but upon a thorough exegesis of the Scripture.

This does not preclude that other good, Godly men will differ in this study.

We appreciate your concern over this particular matter and the freedom you have taken in writing to our ministry.   Dr. Van Impe has spent years in an intense study of Scripture.  I trust that his study on the “Gap Theory” will prove adequate in formulating a Scriptural basis for this opinion.