Elders Conference—2011

Fred R. Coulter—May 28, 2011

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Well, this past week we saw a major false prophet exposed. Here we are a week later and we're still here. I don't know why they keep on insisting upon a 'rapture'. The reason is that they don't understand the Scriptures. But the unfortunate thing was that many people believed him. Many people sent him a lot of money. I heard rumors he's going to give some back, but let's see how much of a hedge there is on that.

Let's answer the question: Is there a 'rapture'? I thought it was very interesting that there are people who know the Truth. Even on (Sean) Hannity's panel when they were discussing the failure of Harold Camping's proclamations, even a woman on the panel said, 'No man knows the day or the hour.' Well, how can people read their Bibles and believe that they believe in God and they accept Jesus as their Savior. He said, 'No man knows the day or the hour.' And in the Gospel of Mark He said, 'Not even the Son.' That was at the time that He was speaking. Why would He say that? The answer is: God always honors repentance!

So, when there's repentance, God honors it. We have many examples. One of the biggest examples in the Bible is we have the whole nation of the Assyrians centered in Nineveh that when Jonah gave the warning, and it got to the king, he proclaimed a fast. He said, 'Everybody repent. Maybe the hand of God will be stayed and we're even going to make the animals repent.' And the king tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes.

Jonah finished what he was going to do and he went over to sit down and there grew up this little plant, gave him a little shade. Jonah heard that they had repented, then when God talked to him, he said, 'See, I told you they would repent, so why did you send me?' That's why He caused the little gourd to grow, give him a little shade. Then He caused the worm to come and eat it and cut it down to show to Jonah that God is going to do what He is going to do and if God tells you something to do, you better do it, because God said so. That was quite an example!

I don't know how much repentance we're going to hear of those who supposedly believe in the 'rapture'. But Jesus said that there will be many false prophets who will arise. I think it's really interesting when you understand how many people have Bibles today. Can they check the Word of God? Well, if they know how to read, yes they can check the Word of God. But they don't do it.
How do they get the case of having a 'rapture' and what is it that they misinterpret?

  • They believe in an immortal soul. They have cast aside the resurrection.

I don't know if you've gone to a Protestant or a Catholic funeral, but it's kind of almost eye-crossing when they bring up, 'Aunt Gertrude is up there looking down on us now.' or 'Uncle Harold is up there and his favorite game was golf and he's playing golf with Jesus right now.' Little children don't understand that and if it's open casket when they get in the car to go home, the little boy or little girl says, 'How can they be in heaven when I saw them right up there in the casket?'

Once you do away with the Word of God by selectivism, that's something we need to understand. You don't believe the Word of God with all the Scriptures that you like. We have to all believe the Word of God with all the Scriptures. Some of them are pretty tough. Some of them are very inspiring. One of the things that's important to understand is this: You've got to rightly divide the Word of God and you have to believe God.

Let's see first of all where they went wrong, and we'll also see where the Church of God went wrong. Did we not go through the same thing? How many here remember 1972-75? Yes! And I heard that Harold Camping did the same thing in 1994. And I also heard that some people went to the extreme, they sold their property, gave it all to Harold Camping. Even took their pets down and had them put to sleep, because 'the Lord is coming for me.'

Well, I discovered that they believed in the 'rapture' clear back in the 1780s. You know when William Miller and his group there in the middle of the 1800s—1844 to be exact—they thought Jesus was returning. They did the same thing. A lot of them went out and stood on high hills and rocks and stayed there all day waiting for the Lord, waiting for the Lord. He never came.

Let's see where they went wrong. First of all, there is no word 'rapture' in the New Testament, just not there. Let's see where they misinterpret. Let's see where they think that the souls of people are in heaven.

Let's come to 1-Thessalonians 4. Here's one of the main Scriptures they use.  I'm sure there are some out there that believe in the resurrection—but I don't know how they equate that with the immortal soul going to heaven.

1-Thessalonians 4:13, Paul writes to them: "But I do not wish you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep... [who have died, because God looks at death of the saints as asleep.] ...that you be not grieved, even as others, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in exactly the same way also" (vs 13-14).

What is he talking about here? Resurrection! What does it say in 1-Cor. 15? Christ the firstfruits! It talks about the resurrection of Christ, and if Christ isn't risen then there's no resurrection from the dead. And if there's no resurrection from the dead, your faith is in vain and you are yet in your sins. But Paul said, 'But Christ is risen and become the firstfruits of those who sleep.' And he also said, 'Christ the Firstfruit'—listen carefully—'and those who are His at His coming.'

Verse 14: "...if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in exactly the same way also, those who have fallen asleep in Jesus will God bring with Him." They're in heaven—isn't that right? He's going to bring with Him. And they stop right there. When will they be with Him? It says He'll bring them with Him!

Verse 15: "For this we say to you by the Word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall in no wise precede those who have fallen asleep Because the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first" (vs 15-16). They can't be with Him until they're raised—can they? So you can't take that one verse and take that out of context and we'll apply it to some other Scriptures and see how none of those actually fit.

Verse 17: "Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds for the meeting with the Lord in the air; and so shall we always be with the Lord." If you stop at that verse, what happens? You're all up with the Lord there someplace—right?

When is He going to come? Doesn't tell us right here. You have to put it together with other Scriptures. First you have to go to Rev.15—Sea of Glass and the marriage of the Lamb. Then Rev. 19, let's see when they come with Christ. Let's take a look at that. How many know anyone who got caught up in that Harold Camping thing and believed him? Do you know anybody, know any relatives? I'll tell you one thing that has really done to the evangelical movement. It's done a terrible damage and it's put a dagger right in the heart of Christianity as the world knows it, because it's made a terrible fool of what Protestants believe. And it was a big bone to the atheists and agnostics and those who say, The 'Bible is a myth and Christianity is a fairy tale. Why should you believe in that?' It give them a lot of ammunition. And I heard the day before on the news they interviewed Harold Camping and they asked him, 'How sure are you that this is going to happen?' He said, 'I am absolutely sure!' Haven't heard any repentance. We'll see if he's going to return some money.

Here's when they are coming back with Christ, Revelation 19:11: "And I saw heaven open... [We know and we'll see on Pentecost that we meet Christ on the Sea of Glass, and so forth.] ...and behold, a white horse; and He Who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He does judge and make war. And His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written that no one knows except Him. And He was clothed with a garment dipped in blood; and His name is The Word of God. And the armies in heaven..." (vs 11-14).

Who are the armies in heaven? That's all the saints! Remember what Jesus said when He was before Pilate. What did He tell Pilate? He said, 'If My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight.' So this is when we fight, right here.

Here's Jesus' secret weapon, as we know, v 15: "And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He might smite the nations; and He shall shepherd them with an iron rod; and He treads the winepress of the fury and the wrath of the Almighty God. And on His garment and on His thigh He has a name written: King of kings and Lord of lords" (vs 15-16). Then we all come down to the earth. That's when we come with Him. So that's their first mistake.

  • Heaven is not a wilderness

What is their second mistake? Let's look at it. We've also made mistakes with this—haven't we? Yes! Revelation 12:12: "Therefore, rejoice you heavens and those who dwell in them. Woe to those who inhabit the earth and the sea! For the Devil has come down to you, having great wrath because he knows that he has only a short time. And when the dragon saw that he was cast down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who had brought forth the man child.... [The woman is the Church in this particular case. They say also that this is part of the 'rapture' theory that they have. So let's look at it.] ...And two wings of a great eagle were given to the woman, so that she might fly to her place in the wilderness, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent" (vs 12-14).

They're 'raptured' off to heaven. Wait a minute! Hold on! When was heaven ever called 'a wilderness'? It's not! This is on the earth, and this is talking about some who will escape. Now let's read on a little bit and see who this identifies. But where is the wilderness? A lot of people believe a place of safety is in Petra. Well, it may be, it may not be. Jesus said to those in Matt. 24, those in Judea: if you're on the housetop, go; don't come back and get anything. If you're in the field, run; don't go back and even get your coat. Get out of here. And He said, 'Pray that your flight be not in the winter or on the Sabbath.' And yet, in the Church of God what happened? There were people who would come to Sabbath services and they would always have their 'Petra box' in the trunk! So, just in case they got word that it's time to flee, they could run out and get their box. Well, it wouldn't come on the Sabbath. Hello!

Verse 15: "And the serpent cast water out of his mouth as a river, so that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth, and swallowed up the river that the dragon had cast out his mouth" (vs 15-16). And I believe that is a literal avalanche of water coming after those going into the wilderness.

Verse 17: "Then the dragon was furious with the woman... [listen]: ...and went to make war with the rest of her seed... [The King James says 'remnant,' so everybody thinks that's a small number. The Greek there means 'rest,' the remainders, but not a small remnant. It may be more than those who go to a place of safety.] ...who keep the commandments of God... [So they understand that. They're obedient.] ...and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." They understand the plan of God.

That's not the Protestants—is it? It's not the Catholics. Has to be the Church of God. And this has to be those who were not taken to a place of safety. We'll read some other Scriptures concerning a place of safety.

This takes place on the earth. What happens when Satan makes war? What does he do? He martyrs the saints! They die! We find that connected with the fifth seal in Rev. 6. Just like anything else, I'm going to talk a little bit about the world government this afternoon in a book written by Damon Vickers entitled, The Day After the Dollar Crashes.

  • Time of Temptation

Let's look at another misinterpretation here. Let's come to Revelation 3; every once in a while you meet a group that calls itself Laodicean. Most of them like to claim to be Philadelphians. Well, they hate everybody else and Philadelphia means to be lover of brethren. Like Ray said, you're going to love each other. They also brag themselves on the fact that if you are in this corporate church you're going to go to a place of safety.

Philadelphia Church, Revelation 3:8: "I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, and no one has the power to shut it because you have a little strength, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who proclaim themselves to be Jews and are not, but do lie—behold, I will cause them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.... [That has to be after the resurrection, obviously. Here's the verse that they turn to, right here. This is the one that is the key of going to a place of safety—or is it?] ...Because you have kept the word of My patience, I also will keep you from the time of temptation..." (vs 8-10).

What is the 'time of temptation'? It doesn't say from the time of tribulation—does it? And what did Jesus say? He said, 'When the abomination of desolation stands in the temple then shall there be great tribulation such as there has not been from the beginning of the world till that time, nor ever shall be.' He talks about tribulation. He didn't say, 'Then will be great temptation.' So we'll see what the great temptation will be. And that's already being worked up. You're going to be amazed at some of the things that we're going to learn this afternoon. And it's going to be so easy to accept that temptation.

What was the eating of the fruit that God said not to eat of called? Sin! But what led to the sin? Temptation, v 10: "...keep you from the time of temptation... [Here's how you understand the book of Revelation. You have to have good grasp of all the Bible and you have to know that the book of Revelation is talking about the whole world—all the earth, all people, all languages, all tongues.] ...which is about to come upon the whole world to try those who dwell on the earth."

That includes everybody. There's not a time in history that that could have happened, until our age, and especially in our 'high-tech' age, if I could put it that way. How many here have cell phones? Do you have them all turned off? How many here have 'smart phones'? That's one you can do everything with, with the tip of your finger—right? But the point is, this is the only age in which we have had instant, and I mean instant, communication.

Every time there's an earthquake, news flash—radio and television—earthquake here, earthquake there, earthquake the other place. But they never said that's as what Jesus said. Look at all the storms we've had. By the way, do you know of any brethren that have been severely affected by it? Well, of all the storms that there have been, that's a pretty strong testimony—isn't it?—that God is behind this? Yes, indeed!

Verse 11: "Behold, I am coming quickly; hold fast that which you have so that no one may take away your crown." How do crown-stealers steal your crown?

  • By you believing wrong things.
  • By people looking to men and leaders rather than leaders teaching all the brethren to look to God.

All we are, are vehicles to teach the Word of God. That's it! As Roy pointed out, when people begin to exalt themselves, oh-oh, there's trouble. Let's find out what this temptation is here, and it has to do with the three angels' messages, and especially the third angel's message.

Let's go to Revelation 13:14: "And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by means of the wonders that were given to him to perform in the sight of the beast, saying to those who dwell on the earth that they should make an image for the beast, which had the wound by the sword, yet was alive. And he was given power to give life to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast also could speak; and he causes everyone who will not worship the image of the beast to be killed" (vs 14-15).

There is one temptation, right there. 'Well, if I just bow down, I won't be killed.' But what do you give up? Remember the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? They didn't bow down. God delivered them—right?

Here's the other one, which is going to be as great or greater. Maybe we can survive the test of not making an image, but then if we don't make an image to the beast, what does that do? That exposes us for who and what we are—doesn't it? There will be something else that will expose us, too.

Verse 16: "And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free and the bond, to receive a mark in their right hands, or in their foreheads; So that no one may have the ability to buy and sell unless he has the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name" (vs 16-17).

In trying to understand these things in the past, the Seventh Day Adventists, and even the Churches of God, have said, the mark of the beast is Sunday, but that's nonsense! This has nothing to do with enforcing Sunday worship around the world—right? It says all, talking about the whole earth. You want to convince the Muslims they ought to worship on Sunday? You want to convince the Jews they ought to worship on Sunday? 'Oh, well, it's going to be a Sunday law and they'll close all stores.'

If that happens, you can shop on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and Friday. And if you're not in the Church of God, you can shop on Saturday and if you're not a Muslim you can shop on Saturday and not Friday. It has nothing to do with national Sunday-keeping laws. It has to do with buying and selling. And now we live in an age when that can happen. Have you ever had them stop your credit card? Can't buy, can't sell—right? We'll talk a little bit more about the mark of the beast. Temptations:

  • Idolatry, to worship the beast and his image
  • The mark of the beast

Let's read the three angels' message. We reach a time when it's impossible for any man to preach on any scale, yet the world needs to be warned. So God sends three angels. They go around the world and they have a special message. They give the message and God is going to make sure that every language is going to hear this.

Revelation 14:6: "And I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on the earth... [What is the 'everlasting Gospel'? The Kingdom of God is coming on the earth and Christ is coming as Lord of lords and King of kings.] (That's the sum total of the): …everlasting Gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and language and people." That's going to be quite an event—isn't it? God isn't going to leave anyone any excuse. There's no such thing as a 'secret rapture'. God is going to make Himself known in so many powerful ways and it's going to be incredible.

Here's the message, v 7: "Saying with a loud voice, 'Fear God, and give glory to Him, because the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him Who made the heaven, and the earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.'…. [When that's done, here comes another angel]: …Then another angel followed, saying, 'The great city Babylon is fallen... [Why does God use the definition of the great city Babylon? Because every city on earth is patterned after the same formula and that's patterned on Babylon.] ...is fallen, because of the wine of the wrath of her fornication which she has given all nations to drink.' And a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, 'If anyone... [This is to what? To the whole earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people!] ...If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives the mark in his forehead or in his hand, He shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed undiluted in the cup of His wrath; and he shall be tormented in fire and brimstone in the sight of the holy angels, and of the Lamb. And the smoke... [remember the smoke] ...of their torment ascends into the ages of eternity..." (vs 7-11).

So religionists come here and say, 'See, you're going to be tortured in hell forever.' Doesn't say that! When people are cast into the Lake of Fire, what happens? They burn up! Want to try swimming in a volcanic lake? Take a quick dip; it's over with! What happens to the smoke? The smoke goes up, gets up into the stratosphere. And not many people really realize it, but periodically the earth's stratosphere burps.

And they never understood that until they caught it on one of these satellites taking pictures. And what happens, it's almost like there's an invisible bubble around the earth. And when radiation reaches a certain point and things in the air, it burps and it goes out into outer space. What happens when things go into outer space? They go on and on and on—isn't that correct?

Remember the satellites that they sent out to take pictures of all of the planets and everything? Went out there for years beyond what they ever expected. And even the batteries stayed alive for years and years and years. And it got way out there near Pluto, how many billions of miles away and it was still sending messages back. So, when the smoke of the torment comes up and the earth opens up and burps and then closes up after it lets out the toxics that God wants it to get out, then it goes on into space, all the particles of smoke. Smoke is actually made up of small particles. So the smoke goes up forever, they're not tormented forever.

Verse 11: "'...and all who receive the mark of his name, have no rest day and night.' Here is the patience of the saints; here are the ones who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus" (vs 11-12). When is this warning given? When does God give a warning? Before the event? or After the event? Before the event! This has to happen before Rev. 13 where they have the image of the beast and the mark of the beast and people take it.

Now notice the next one here, because if this happened just before the return of Christ, people could say, 'Well, God, you never told me.' So it has to be before it's enforced. Verse 13: "And I heard a voice from heaven say to me, 'Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from this time forward."

From what time forward? From the time of the warning, because Satan comes and makes war against them—right? All who don't worship the image are killed. Is that not martyrdom? Yes, indeed!

All who will not accept the mark are killed. Is that not martyrdom? Yes, indeed! You can't have it right down just before the resurrection takes place and there are a few people who die at that time. This is talking about the martyrdom that we find in Rev. 12 as instigated by the things in Rev. 13 and that ties in with the fifth seal there in Rev. 6. We'll put all of those things together.

(go to the next track)

Let's look at the last thing that they misinterpret.

4. Place of Safety

Luke 17 is a very interesting chapter that has to do with going to a place of safety. We are going to see those who go will be taken. You're not going to get a phone call from your local minister.

Remember how it was set up before? The 'chief apostle' will call all the superintendents and say, 'I got the word from God. We're going to a place of safety.' So, they pick up the phones and they talk to all their pastors and say, 'We just got the word from the 'chief apostle,' place of safety is going to be coming. Tell everyone to get ready.' So then the pastors get out their phone lists and they start going down the line. One is busy, 'Can't get a hold of him.' Another one he says, 'Well, he doesn't have a good attitude. I ain't calling him.'

At the resurrection those two people which would typify many people, would say—Jesus come and give him a hug and say, 'Boy, I'm so glad you made it. Sorry that you had to be martyred. I had it scheduled that you would go to a place of safety, but you know, that pastor of yours couldn't get a hold of you.' or 'your phone was busy,' or 'there was a tornado and the phones weren't working.' or 'the battery went dead on your cell phone. No one could get a hold of you, but I saved you, you're resurrected.' It's not how it's going to work!

Rev. 3 talks about the time of temptation, so we have the two temptations that are coming:

  • worship the beast and the image
  • take the mark of the beast

Here is the place of safety and how are those going to go the place of safety and how many will it be? We're not told how many, but we're told how we're going to get there and we're told how God is going to make the decision.

After He told them the Kingdom of God is standing in your midst, and so forth. Luke 17:26: "Now, as it was in the days of Noah, so also shall it be in the days of the Son of man. They were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah went into the ark, and the Flood came and destroyed them all. And it was the same way in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; But on the day that Lot went out from Sodom, it rained fire and sulphur from heaven and destroyed them all" (vs 26-29).

It's going to be just like these tornados we've seen, it's going to come BOOM! You know how it is today, you could go from prosperity to poverty in ten seconds. You can go from health to death in an instant.

Verse 30: "This is how it shall be in the day that the Son of man is revealed.... [What day is that going to be? How's He first revealed? By the three angels' messages!] ...In that day let not the one who is on the housetop, and his goods in the house, come down to take them away; and likewise, let not the one who is in the field return to the things behind" (vs 30-31).

We know from other Scriptures this is for those who are in Judea, but what about the rest of the people not in Judea? 'Lord, I can't swim across the Atlantic Ocean.' Then Jesus said, v 32: "'Remember Lot's wife. Whoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whoever shall lose his life shall preserve it" (vs 32-33).

Notice what He describes here. As I read this, I want you to think of looking down at the earth from heaven. Half of it is always in night. Half of it is always in day, and as it turns on its axis.

Verse 34: "I tell you, in that night there shall be two in one bed; one shall be taken..." (v 34). How are they going to be taken? Who took Lot and his family out of Sodom? The angels! It's going to be God who makes the decision and the angels to carry out that decision. And when that happens, in these cases, there's not going to be any time to say goodbye, and 'Oh, honey, I just woke up and here's the angel. Let me kiss you goodbye. I'm going to a place of safety, but you're staying behind.' 'Oh, no!' The King James makes an error, but this might work in San Francisco: 'There shall be two men in bed'

Verse 34: "...there shall be two in one bed; one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together... [When do you grind flour? In the daytime, generally early in the morning when it's cool.] ...one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two men shall be in the field; one shall be taken, and the other shall be left" (vs 34-36). When are you working in the field? All day, from sunrise to sunset—right? This really got to the disciples.

Verse 37: "And they answered, saying to Him, 'Where, Lord?' And He said to them, 'Where the body is, there will the eagles be gathered together.'" Where is that? We don't know! The truth is, we don't know where the place of safety really is. And for those who go, you don't need to know, because when you get there, you'll know. And for those of you who think you know and you don't go, the knowledge didn't do you any good because you didn't get there.

So likewise, what they do, here's their error. They say that this the 'rapture.' There's where Harold Camping and all of those who believe in a secret 'rapture' find themselves when compared to the Word of God.

Scriptural References:

  • 1-Thessalonians 4:13-17
  • Revelation 19:11-16
  • Revelation 12:12-17
  • Revelation 3:8-11
  • Revelation 13:14-17
  • Revelation 14:6-13
  • Luke 17:26-37

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • 1-Corinthians 15
  • Revelation 15
  • Matthew 24
  • Revelation 6

Also referenced: Book:
The Day After the Dollar Crashes by Damon Vickers

Transcribed: 06-07-11
Formatted: bo—6-8-11