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Question #13

13. After Christ's return and He has taken the Christians with Him, will there be any way for someone to get to heaven? I have heard they have to be beheaded. Is this true?

You are speaking of the so called "rapture" which, according to some, precedes Christ's return. Your question grows from two major misconceptions. The first misconception is that Christ will return (secretly) for His church, then, after seven years elapses, He will return in judgment. The second misconception is that Christians go first in the rapture. Let me explain by responding to these misconceptions in reverse order.

In the Parable of the Weeds found among the "Kingdom Parables" of Matthew 13, Jesus clearly teaches the wicked leave the planet first. As Jesus relates the parable, He says the kingdom is like a man who sowed good seed in a field. Later an enemy sowed weeds which grew up among the wheat. The owner's servants wanted to pull up the weeds, but the owner knew he could lose part of his harvest so he advised them to wait until the harvest when the weeds and the wheat could be clearly differentiated. At the harvest the weeds were to be gathered into bundles and burned while the wheat was threshed and taken to the barn. You can read the actual account in Matthew 13:24-30.

Bible scholars provide many interesting interpretations of this passage to avoid its clear teaching. Were it not that Jesus explains it, we could drift off into all sorts of strange ideas. Examine the explanation in Matthew 13:36-43. Jesus says the "good seed" represents the "sons of the kingdom" (Christians). The weeds are the "sons of the evil one" (unbelievers, heathens, and those who deny Christ). The "field" is the world, not the church as some suggest. The "harvest" is the "end of the age." The "harvesters" are angels. According to Jesus's explanation, the angels separate the weeds from the wheat and cast them into a fiery furnace. The righteous then "shine like the sun." In other words, when the end comes, the weeds are taken away first, then the righteous shine.

While it is tempting to adopt some of the fanciful views regarding Christ's return, let it be known there is only one return, not two. Suggesting an early "secret coming" is reading into Scripture something that is just not there. The Bible teaches that when the end comes, Christ will appear to bring human history to its end. When He appears it will be too late to acknowledge Him as Lord. When Christ returns all opportunity ends, judgment is determined, and sentence is passed.

If you are a Christ-follower now, there is no need to be concerned over whatever else may transpire. Even if I am in error, it is best to be prepared for Christ's return and it is best to be active in reaching out to others with the Gospel message. His coming, which I believe will be soon, should motivate us to godly living and effective evangelism. In other words, you should want to go to heaven when you die (or when Christ returns) and take as many with you as you possibly can.

Question #12
Why does First Christian Church refer to itself as a "New Testament Church?"

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Question #14
I have read that over the years the calendar has been changed and now we are really in the year 2004 not 2000. Is that true?

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