Dear Esther :: August 1, 2016

Dear Esther,

I am a relatively new believer in Christ having just accepted him as my Lord and Savior this past August. The Rapture Ready website actually led me to Christ after having been raised a Catholic all of my 16 years of life.

As such, I am feeling the pull between the varied opinions on Scripture. I have given up my false Catholic beliefs based on these Scriptural proofs found on the Rapture Ready website and feel most pulled to believe the pre-millennial and Pre-Tribulation Rapture point of view.

I feel a bit trapped in that I am the only one my family that I know of to have actually been spiritually born-again and to have been saved by Jesus Christ. I don’t have another person with the same beliefs to talk to and to go to for support. I feel myself fighting in my head against this world, the flesh, and Satan.

Satan keeps planting doubt in my head and telling me that Jesus won’t come, there isn’t any Rapture, and that God doesn’t exist. I know in my heart, that Jesus is coming and He is my Lord and Savior who died for my sins on the cross, that Rapture will happen, and that God does exist and that He is a loving God.

It is just so hard keep positive and to know the truth. Therefore, I am writing this email to you for comfort and encouragement. I also have a few questions. One of the things claimed by the Catholic Church is the presence of Jesus’ body and blood in the wine and bread in communion.

My priest usually cites the times in the Gospel of John when Jesus says, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life and I will raise them up on the last day” (John 6:53-54).

From what I read on this topic on the Rapture Ready website about this topic is that this is meant to be taken metaphorically, but I am confused, because the Rapture Ready website holds to interpreting Scripture literally, where applicable.

If this is not meant to be taken literally, what tells you this and what does this passage actually mean? Another question is which Day of the Lord is referred to in the many references to it in Scripture? The Pre-Tribulation Rapture and pre-millennial doctrine seem to refer to multiple days of judgment and comings of the Lord.

This point was addressed in an anti-dispensationalist article I was reading and it was something that confused me before then, too. Another thing the anti-dispensationalist article said was that the Pre-Tribulation Rapture and pre-millennial doctrine promotes multiple ways of salvation and multiple judgment days, something the author says disproves this doctrine based on what he has found in the Bible.

So, like I mentioned before, the ideas laid out on the Rapture Ready website seem to fit and feel right in my heart, but I need encouragement. I ask for links to articles proving these ideas and for you, to pray for me.

I also ask for a connection to somewhere that I will be able to correspond with fellow believers, if such a thing exists. I will continue to pray to the Holy Spirit for discernment and to Jesus, that he may still my soul, and show me the way.

Thanks for your help.

May the Lord come soon!

Phillip

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Dear Phillip,

I am glad you reached out and that you found salvation in the Lord by reading the information on Rapture Ready. It is wonderful that you are serious about your faith and asking important questions. You sound very mature for your age.

I would ignore the article you mention that tries to discredit the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. Sometimes Rapture Ready has some articles that are simply there to show the opposing views of others.

The Day of the Lord is in reference to the Tribulation. The Day of the Lord begins with the Tribulation years. At the end of the seven-year Tribulation Jesus returns with His saints and judges the nations at Armageddon.

There is only one way of salvation, through Jesus Christ alone, and there is one judgment after the Rapture for believers (Bema Seat judgment) when believers give an account of their lives face to face with Messiah Jesus.

The judgment seat of Christ does not determine our salvation. We know that was resolved forever by His sacrifice on the cross on our behalf (1 John 2:2 and John 3:16). The sins of all born-again believers are forgiven, and they will never be condemned or judged for them (Romans 8:10).

At the judgment seat of Christ rewards will be given to believers based on how steadfastly and faithfully we serve Him (1 Corinthians 9:4-27 and 2 Timothy 2:5). Much later, after Christ’s 1000-year millennial reign on earth, there is another judgment for the unsaved (the Great White Throne judgment).

Phillip, it would be a good idea to stop reading anything that has to do with challenging the Pre-Tribulation Rapture or your faith in general. Biblically, the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church is the correct view.

The Rapture will happen (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, 1 Corinthians 15:50-54). God cannot lie and He has promised to remove all true believers before the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord is in reference to the Tribulation.

Jesus comes once in the Rapture (in the clouds when all true believers meet Him in the air. But the next time, He comes directly to earth at the Second Coming— at the end of the Tribulation followed by His saints on white horses—when all the nations are gathered together at Armageddon, when they literally try to fight against Him and try to destroy Him, but they will instead be destroyed (Revelation 1:7, 19:11-16; Zechariah 14:3-4; 2 Thessalonians 2:8).

Satan plants doubts in the minds of all believers. Now that you are saved he will work constantly to try to trip you up and weaken your faith. The best antidote to his bullying is to get deep into God’s Word.

“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Every believer at some point has doubts, even if it’s for a moment. Study the passages in which it is prophesied that in the last days (our time)—there will be mockers who will claim Jesus will not return (2 Peter 3:3-4). The biggest mocker is Satan.

The best way to circumvent the attacks of Satan is to read, and study the Bible every day, and pray as often as possible. Memorize as much Scripture as you can and carefully meditate on the Word. It sounds like you really need to connect with some other believers in your area.

Have you looked into any Christian churches near your home? Or would that be going against your parents’ wishes?

Perhaps you can convince your parents that you are mature enough to seek out fellowship with other believers in a way that does not sound threatening or disrespectful. It is important to remain very respectful of your parents and others despite a difference of opinion.

I have a friend who came to Christ at your age (16). He grew up in a very strict Orthodox Jewish home. His parents learned of his conversion and gave him an ultimatum; to either renounce his faith in Christ or leave home. As a true born-again believer he would not renounce his faith in Christ, so he left home. The Lord has used him in a mighty ways ever since. (In fact he has your same first name.)

I am not even remotely suggesting you leave home. Of course you should not, but I am very much encouraging you not to let the opinions of the unsaved, including family members stop you from living for Christ and growing in your faith. Stand your ground with love and not anger or resentment.

Pray for your unsaved family members and friends. Right now you feel alone but you really are not alone. You have the Holy Spirit living within you and you are a new creation in Christ. The Lord will give you the strength to deal with whatever opposition comes your way. Rely on Him for everything in your life.

The Catholics’ claim that when Jesus said you must eat His body and drink His blood to have eternal life is absurd.

If you think John 6:53-54 is to be taken literally then no one could ever be saved. No one ever ate the body of Jesus and no one ever drank His blood while He lived. When He died His body was placed in a tomb and three days later He rose bodily from the tomb. No one ate of His body or drank of His blood after He rose from the dead.

It is obvious that His statement was metaphoric. Even Catholic priests will admit that no one has ever eaten of the literal body of Jesus and consumed His blood.

Instead they claim that the wine is transformed into the blood of Jesus and the wafer (host) is changed into His body (transubstantiation) when the priest utters the magic words: “HOC EST ENIM CORPUS MEUM” (This is My body) and “HIC EST ENIM CALIX SANGUINIS MEI” (This is My blood).

Did Jesus mean His followers must eat bread and drink wine that is magically transformed into His literal body and literal blood? Or, did Jesus mean the Bible is His body and confession of sin is drinking His blood?

Remember, Jesus is called the Word (John 1:1, 14; 1 John 1:1; 5:7; Revelation 19:13). He also repeated the truth that Man is not to live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Deuteronomy 8:4; Matthew 4:4). It is obvious that eating the body of Jesus means to study His Word.

When we confess our sins we are in essence “drinking” the blood of Jesus. Jesus cleanses us of our sins when we confess them (1 John 1:9). What cleanses us of our sins? His blood, see Ephesians 1:7; Revelation 1:5, 5:9). Drinking His blood is the act of confessing our sins.

God does not give His children the power to live a holy life by a magical custom of eating a wafer and drinking wine.

He gives us that power when we daily study His Word as He commanded us to (Deuteronomy 6:6-7; John 5:39; Acts 17:11; Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 2:15) and when we confess our sins to Him directly, not a priest or anyone else (1 John 1:9, 1 Timothy 2:5-6)).

Remember, that the Catholic lay people do not drink wine during communion. They only eat the wafer. If the Catholic interpretation of John 6:53-54 is correct the hierarchy has condemned all Catholics except the priestly class to eternal damnation.

Catholic priests say Catholics need to eat the wafer to have the body of Jesus in them. This is unnecessary since Jesus literally lives within all true believers and so does God the Father and the Holy Spirit (John 14:23; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16; 1 John 4:12-13).

The idea that believers in Jesus must eat a wafer that is magically transformed into the body of Jesus to have Him present is a severe rejection of the truth that He lives within all true born-again believers 24/7.

What every person needs is to become born-again by the Spirit of God, which does not involve repetitive never-ending rituals orchestrated by a priest or anyone else. The Catholic hierarchy rejects the clear teaching that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit spiritually live within all true believers.

Instead they added the idea of eating the wafer to get Jesus inside them. This is a very dangerous idea because it denies the truth in the Scriptures and adds a ritual that has nothing to do with Christianity.

The idea of eating flesh to get the essence of Jesus inside of you is a warped and ancient pagan idea. Many ancient cultures believed and practiced cannibalism. Other pagans believed that they would absorb the power of animals when they ate them. Many of the native, American Indian tribes believed this.

The belief that eating a wafer which has been transformed into the literal body of Jesus to get Him inside of you—is a variation of this pagan practice. It is has nothing to do with the Bible.

We also know that Jesus would never tell anyone to eat human flesh and drink human blood. That was strictly forbidden by the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 17.12; Deuteronomy 12:16, 23-24). If Jesus meant people must eat His flesh and drink His blood He contradicted Himself.

Notice that after Jesus made His declarations cited in John 6:60-65, many of the people who were following Him, left (John 6:66). He made it clear that it is the Spirit of God who gives eternal life and not works of the flesh. When Jesus asked the twelve if they would leave Him also, Peter made his great confession saying:

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and have come to know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:68b-69).

Consider this Phillip: The Catholic Church holds to the doctrine of transubstantiation while no Protestant denomination believes in it.

Only a small number of Protestants believe in consubstantiation which teaches that the bread and wine remain bread and wine, and it “spiritually” become the body and blood of Jesus.

If the Roman Catholic Church is right about this doctrine and ALL Protestants are wrong in not believing it, does this mean ALL Protestants as—the Council of Trent declared are anathema and are not saved? The Bible teaches only true born-again believers are saved.

The Council of Trent (1545-1563) declared in the canons of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist:

If anyone denies that the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist, but says that Christ is present in the Sacrament only as in a sign or figure, or by his power: let him be anathema.

The Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist is wrong, and the Protestants got it right, as they did with numerous other doctrines—such as salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone apart from works (Ephesians 2.8-9). I would trust the Bible over declarations made by men, especially those who have hidden-agendas outside of serving the Lord.

“But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7).

Always consider the source when you are sizing up a situation. In the Christian church we can find sin and hypocrisy. Jesus warned that this would happen, especially in the last days. But the Roman Catholic Church has had so much controversy, specifically a long history regarding the abuse of young boys/men.

Considering this one thing alone, anything they declare as an absolute should be carefully scrutinized. Nowhere does the devil get more mileage than by using false religious systems to fool people and take them away from the true God of the Bible.

We are living at a time of tremendous deception. Phillip, please stay in the Word of God (not the Catholic “bible”) and you will see that you are on the right road. Count your blessings a thousand times—that you have been freed from the confines and heresies of the Roman Catholic Church. Read primarily the New American Standard, the New King James or the American Standard (1901) versions of the Bible.

Jesus Himself declared the truth about communion when the bread and the wine are used, to be in remembrance of Him, not a matter of these substances becoming His literal body!

“And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:19-20).

It is a dangerous practice to take single Scriptures from the Bible out of context. The Scriptures must be interpreted with careful consideration of other verses in relation to one another. Here is a great teaching to memorize and use when you are studying your Bible, as taught by the late great biblical scholar, David L. Cooper. The Golden Rule of Interpretation:

When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate content, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicates clearly otherwise.

By using this method of Bible interpretation we can quickly assess that John 6:53-54, is to be taken “otherwise” and not literally. Phillip, the more you study the Word of God, the confusion and doubts you are having will dissipate.

We should always keep in mind that every passage in the Bible is empowered by the Holy Spirit and has only one primary meaning. However, there may be many applications. Every doctrine found in the Bible is absolute. No doctrine can have two or more correct meanings. It is always the responsibility of every believer to diligently study the Scriptures so he or she has the correct understanding of every doctrine and passage in the Bible (2 Timothy 2:15).

The greatest teacher is the Holy Spirit. As we let Him have more of us, more of our commitment and time, and as we allow Him to renew our minds and grow as believers with pure hearts, He will guide us and teach us:

“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.

These things I have spoken to you, while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:16, 25).

I am praying for you, especially that the Lord will bring some like-minded true believers into you’re your life. Keep calling out to Him and pray for protection every day from the evil forces that want to keep confusing you. Many youth outreach programs exist at good churches. See if you can connect with some other Christians in that way.

The Holy Bible is the best place to get your information, but I do recommend the following material since you asked for some resources. Check them out the books at Christian bookstores or on the Internet. I have also provided some important the Internet links for you:

A Woman Rides the Beast: The Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days,Dave Hunt.

Queen of All: The Marian Apparitions’ Plan to Unite all Religions under the Roman Catholic Church, Jim Tetlow and Roger Oakland.

The Gospel According to Rome: Comparing Catholic Tradition and the Word of God, James McCarthy.

Faith Undone, Roger Oakland. This book exposes the dangers of the emergent church movement grounded in age-old mystical approach; a highly deceptive teaching leading to Roman Catholicism and interfaith perspectives pointing toward the coming one world ecumenical religious system of Revelation 17.

http://www.justforcatholics.org/ – A great website, especially good for Catholics with the focus on salvation and other Catholic-related issues; also good for Protestants.

http://www.religiouscounterfeits.org/nas.htm – A very interesting, very informative site on religious counterfeits and New Age deception, including the Catholic connection to the New Age god of pantheism.

Phillip, Jesus has overcome the world and He is coming soon. Serving Christ is not about keeping rituals but about a personal ongoing relationship with Him. He is there for you in every moment of your life.

I will continue praying for you. Pray that the Lord will bring some true, dedicated believers into your life. He knows your needs. Connecting with others who are strong in the faith is very important. I am only an email away and I look forward to hearing from you in the future. Never hesitate to reach out.

In God’s love,

Esther

“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:5-6).