Was the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Invented Only 200 Years Ago?

A Pastor from Brazil writes:

I am the new pastor of Calvary Curitiba here in Brazil. How do you deal with or answer when people question the eschatology of pre-tribulationism being a Lacunza or Irving or Darby or Scofield thing from 1700s or 1800s? In Brazil, many people say this doctrine was created by these guys I cited and that it is an American thing.

I am not writing doubting the doctrine but trying to go deeper and understanding more about this historical reality. Do we have records and anything written from Christians from the first centuries who believe in the rapture like Calvary Chapel believes?

This is a common attack against the doctrine of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. I almost feel guilty speaking about this, because if you don’t have a background with some of these doctrines, it can all seem very confusing. I’m going to use a lot of terms without really defining them – so, if you’re confused, don’t feel bad. If you’re interested, take the time to look up these words or terms you’re unfamiliar with and think through all this.

All Christians agree – or should agree – on this:

  • Both the Old Testament and Jesus promised to rule on this earth.
  • Jesus Christ is coming again.

Beyond those points of agreement, there is a lot of disagreement. When is the reign of Jesus? What is the nature of His reign? What is the nature of His return? What will the world be like when Jesus returns? These are some of the things Christians disagree on. That’s fine – I think that Christians should read their Bibles, study hard, and think through these things the best that they can.

When we do disagree, I think it is important to do so with a spirit of mutual respect. As for me, I believe in the Pre-Millennial, Pre-Tribulational understanding of eschatology (things having to do with the last days or end times). However, I say to my Amillennial and Post-Millennial brothers and sisters: I love you, I respect you, I think I understand why you believe differently than I do – but I don’t agree with you. I say to my Mid-Trib, Pre-Wrath, Post-Trib, and no-rapture brothers and sisters: I love you, I respect you, I think I understand why you believe differently than I do – but I don’t agree with you.

These disagreements are not always held with mutual respect. More than once, I’ve had someone treat me as stupid or deceived or unspiritual because I don’t believe what they do in these areas. I have even been accused of doing the work of the Antichrist because I believe in the Pre-Tribulation catching away of the church!

Now, I try not to get offended as such things. After all, who am I? But when someone acts as if only a stupid person would believe in the Pre-Tribulation catching away of the church, I remember men like Donald Barnhouse, James Montgomery Boice, John Walvoord, or John MacArthur – look, maybe I don’t know much, but I don’t think you can rightfully accuse such men as being stupid.

Now, what do we make of this accusation that the teaching of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture is a novelty, that no one taught it or believed it before the 19th century? That this is the invention of a Jesuit priest named Lacunza, or a crazy woman named Margret MacDonald, or other weird teachers like John Nelson Darby and C.I. Scofield?

I will respond with five points.

1. In some sense, the accusation is true.

It’s true that there was not much specific interest before the 19th century in the “catching up” of the church as described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17:

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

It’s true that in the 19th century, John Nelson Darby was an early explainer of this idea that the catching up of the church was some seven years before the glorious return of Jesus with the church. It’s true that in the 20th century the Scofield Reference Bible had a big influence in spreading this idea.

We need to see the difference between a doctrine being focused on and dealt with by the church, and a doctrine being “invented” by the church. If it is in the Bible, it wasn’t invented by any of those people – it was declared by God in His word.

2. In a greater sense, the accusation is irrelevant: if it is in the Bible, it goes back to the origin of Christianity.

If you are a Roman Catholic or belong to one of the Orthodox communions, then I understand why you let tradition decide what the Bible teaches. But as Protestants, we’re supposed to be different. Our first measure is never “what do others say,” our first measure is “what does the Bible say.”

It is foolish to ignore or disregard traditional church teaching on many things. We need to be thoughtful and respectful, but at the end of the day we believe what the Bible says, and we don’t interpret the Bible by democratic vote. We don’t go though history and say, “Whatever most Christians have believed through history is always the right interpretation.” To think this way would invite all sorts of errors.

When it comes to eschatology, most Christians throughout history have been Amillennial or Post-Millennial – not Pre-Millennial. Most Christians throughout history have approved of the veneration of Mary, of infant baptism, of the institution of the state church. It doesn’t make any of those things true or right. Either we believe in sola Scriptura or we don’t.

3. Key foundations to the pre-tribulation rapture idea are found scattered in Christian history.

We can say that the developed doctrine of the Pre-Tribulation catching up of the church wasn’t recorded until the 19th century, while also noting that that doctrine is built on foundations that are spoken of often and early in the history of the church.

One of these is the simple idea of immanence – the idea that Jesus is coming soon, and that His people should be ready for His coming. When you look at the New Testament, the idea of immanence goes far beyond the thinking, “I could die today and go to see Jesus.” It is the active anticipation of the soon return of Jesus Christ and the determination to watch and be ready for that return. Among Pre-Millennialists, this only fits with the Pre-Tribulation catching up concept.

And, to quickly make mention of, there are references in the ancient writers Shepherd of Hermas, Victorinus, and others that are quite consistent with the Pre-Tribulation catching up idea. We shouldn’t exaggerate and say they fully explained the idea, but they and others were consistent with it.

A paper I read last night mentioned references to the rapture, consistent with the Pre-Tribulational concept in The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (mid-second century), Irenaeus (late second century), and Pseudo-Ephraem (perhaps early fourth century).

I’ll put some of these quotes in the show notes, along with a link to an article by Thomas Ice titled “Why the Doctrine of the Pretribulational Rapture did not Begin with Margaret Macdonald.”

4. There is a pattern and flow to doctrinal development in Christian history.

I said before that we need to see the difference between a doctrine being focused on and dealt with by the church, and a doctrine being “invented” by the church. For example, the church did not “invent” the doctrine of the Trinity – it is clearly in the Bible. But it wasn’t given full thought and form until the third and fourth centuries.

When we look at Church history, we see that God has successively had the church focus on specific areas of doctrine at different periods, and our present understanding of many areas of Biblical teaching were only most carefully and precisely defined after God appointed the church to focus on that doctrinal area

  • Second through fourth centuries, the church focused on the doctrine of Scripture.
  • Fourth century: the doctrine of God (in the Trinity).
  • Fifth century: the doctrine of Christ.
  • Fifth through Seventh centuries: the doctrine of man.
  • Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries: the doctrine of salvation.
  • Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries: the doctrine of the church
  • Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries: the doctrines of last things and Christ’s return.

We should not therefore be surprised that as God chose to have the church focus on the area of the doctrine of last things and Christ’s return in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, that there arose great clarity from the Scriptures and new understandings of apostolic teachings.

5. Ultimately, this is the sign of a weak argument – not looking first to Scripture.

There is a case to be made for different ideas about the end times than what I believe – but those cases are made from the Scriptures, not from church history. When I see people lead with the accusation, “This is a new teaching from the 19th century!” it makes me think their Biblical argument must be pretty weak. Again, I’m not saying that there is no place to discuss this in the history of theology – but that place is far, far behind whatever Biblical arguments can and should be made.

It’s kind of like when I hear someone use the phrase “secret rapture.” It is something of a derisive term for the Pre-Tribulation catching up of the church. Personally, I’ve never heard a pre-trib teacher use that phrase! But opponents of the pre-trib doctrine like to use it because they think it makes the pre-trib idea sound ridiculous. Their use of the term “secret rapture” tells me more about them and the strength of their arguments than it does about their favored end times scenario.


So, what do we make of this accusation that the teaching of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture is a novelty, that no one taught it or believed it before the 19th century? That this is the invention of a Jesuit priest named Lacunza, or a crazy woman named Margret MacDonald, or other weird teachers like John Nelson Darby and C.I. Scofield?

1. In some sense, the accusation is true.

2. In a greater sense, the accusation is irrelevant: if it is in the Bible, it goes back to the origin of Christianity.

3. Key foundations to the pre-tribulation rapture idea are found scattered in Christian history.

4. There is a pattern and flow to doctrinal development in Christian history.

5. Ultimately, this is the sign of a weak argument – not looking first to Scripture.

Every prophetic perspective has its proof-passages and its problem passages. Every standpoint has difficulties to deal with. I believe in the pre-tribulation catching up of the church, but not because there are absolutely no problems with that approach – but because after studying them all, I prefer the difficulties in that approach than the others.

For show notes:

From the Shepherd of Hermas, as early as a.d. 90:

“You have escaped from great tribulation on account of your faith, and because you did not doubt in the presence of such a beast. Go, therefore, and tell the elect of the Lord His mighty deeds, and say to them that this beast is a type of the great tribulation that is coming. If then ye prepare yourselves, and repent with all your heart, and turn to the Lord, it will be possible for you to escape it, if your heart be pure and spotless, and ye spend the rest of the days of your life in serving the Lord blamelessly.”

The Shepherd of Hermas, 1.4.2

From Victorinus, late third century:

“…and the heaven withdrew as a scroll that is rolled up. For the heaven to be rolled away, this is that the Church shall be taken away.”

Commentary on the Apocalypse, 6:14

“…and I saw another great and wonderful sign, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is completed the indignation of God. For the wrath of God always strikes the obstinate people with seven plagues, that is, perfectly, as it is said in Leviticus; and these shall be in the last time, when the Church shall have gone out of the midst.”

Commentary on the Apocalypse, 15:1

From Pseudo-Ephraem, as early as the 4th century:

“Why therefore do we not reject every care of earthly actions and prepare ourselves for the meeting of the Lord Christ, so that he may draw us from the confusion, which overwhelms the world?”

“For all the saints and elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins.”

From the sermon, Sermon on the Last Times, the Antichrist, and the End of the World

Why the Doctrine of the Pretribulational Rapture did not Begin with Margaret Macdonald

By Thomas Ice


Why would God bring the Jewish people into 7 years of such a terrible time before they repent?

Why would God bring the Jews into seven years of the worst time in humankind before they repent?

I can give you reasons based on the result of that time. Ultimately, the reasons are known to God. I don’t teach that because we just absolutely know that the Bible teaches it. We believe it because the Bible clearly teaches it. I can speculate on some of the reasons because of the result of these things that we see.

Here’s some of the results. Number one, Israel comes to faith in Jesus Christ as their Messiah. You see, this is a very interesting phenomenon here. At the very agony of Israel in the Great Tribulation, the period of time that the prophets called the time of Jacob’s trouble, they come to faith in Jesus as the Messiah. No doubt, some of their affliction in that time drives them to it. There’s another aspect to it as well. God made a covenant with Israel in the Sinai desert that they would be blessed for their obedience and cursed for their disobedience. There’s some sense that they are reaping some of what they sow in this period, and that reaping drives them to Jesus Christ, to trust in Him as the Messiah. I can give you a third reason why. It’s simply because Satan hates the Jewish people and wants to eliminate them, because they have a remaining role in God’s unfolding plan of the ages.

I could speculate with you on reasons, but the scriptures are more clear on the fact of this happening than giving us all the reasons for it. We just have to understand that this is what the Scriptures say is going to happen.

Will the Bible be banned during the Great Tribulation?

The Bible simply doesn’t give us enough information to say that. No doubt, the scriptures will be attacked and persecuted. As in previous times of persecution, there will be people who want to destroy the scriptures, but we just don’t have any specific chapter or verse that tells us that this will be the case.

I would just say, we don’t have that evidence. One of the blessings of it is that the scriptures can be distributed in so many formats and in so many ways, that it would be virtually impossible to destroy every digital copy of the Scriptures on every thumb drive, etc.

Is a Christian better off because of Adam’s sin?

Do you think a Christian is better off because of Adam’s sin? If yes, why? If no, why not?

With the big picture in mind, not considering only time, but eternity as well, yes. The believer is better off. This is why. I’d like you to remember this phrase. This is a phrase I think is very important to understand in God’s great plan of the ages. Here’s the phrase, we gain more in Jesus than we lost in Adam. In other words, what God is doing through the person and work of Jesus Christ is not to lift His people up to the same level that Adam was before the fall. It’s to lift His people up to a place that’s even greater. God’s work of redemption is greater than His original work of creation.

Another way to say it is that we gained more in Jesus than we lost in Adam. We can say God’s work of the gods is bringing us back to something greater than man originally created. We can also put it this way, God’s work of redemption is greater than His work of creation. Redeemed man is greater than innocent man.

For those reasons, we are made kings and priests. Adam was never described in such terms. We will never have the possibility of falling away and having an eternal future secure with Jesus Christ. That wasn’t true of Adam. We will live in a world and eternity with no temptation that’s greater than something Adam ever had. I could go on and on, but what we gain in Jesus is greater than what we lost in Adam.

In conclusion, a christian is better off because of Adam’s sin, and that’s what we have to reckon with and accept. This is God’s unfolding plan.

How can we keep saying that we are in the “Last Days” if Jesus hasn’t come yet?

We’ve often heard that we’re in the last days. I constantly hear that every year. Why do people say that but, in reality, a few days go by, and the rapture has not yet come?

I believe that God intends for His people to live in a state of anticipation of His return. I do not believe that God wants Christians to live with the attitude that our Lord delays His coming and that there’s really nothing that we have to think or worry about regarding the return of Jesus Christ. God wants us to live with the earnest serious expectation of the return of Jesus Christ. Therefore, I believe that God has given every generation some reason to believe that Jesus Christ is coming soon. You see it throughout church history. During the time of the reformation of Martin Luther, Martin Luther had a very high expectation of the soon return of Jesus Christ. Was he wrong in that? You could say he was wrong, because Jesus didn’t return in his lifetime or soon afterwards. You could also say, no, he wasn’t wrong, because God wanted him to live in that anticipation.

It’s important for us to understand that God wants us to live in the anticipation of the soon return of Jesus Christ. This is a healthy and a purifying thing. The first church lived with this anticipation of the soon return of Jesus Christ, and I’m not going to stand back now 2000 years later and say they were wrong. They were right, because they had the mentality that God wanted them to have and it had a good effect in their life.

When I was a kid in the 1970s, everybody was talking about the rapture, and it didn’t happen. Some people have the mentality that it’s never gonna happen. That’s the wrong way to think. The right way to think is this. We thought that Jesus Christ was coming in the 1970s, and we can believe that it’s all the more likely He’s coming soon, now 50 years later. Do you understand the difference there? We have this anticipation of the soon return of Jesus Christ. That is not something bad. It’s something good for us to have.

Did God create the Earth in 6 literal, 24-hour days?

Do you believe that God created the earth in six literal days, one day with 24 hours?

Yes, that’s what I believe. I believe God created the earth in six literal days, one day being 24 hours. I do believe that that is the most clear explanation of the Bible’s teaching.

However, I don’t think that the Bible is so clear on this issue that I can excommunicate or call heretical those who believe in, what you might call, an old earth. There’s a difference between the two. I do believe I am somebody who is in favor of more what’s called the young earth conception. That is the most straightforward way to understand what the Bible says.

Is it God’s will for people to get sick or suffer?

There are questions that have an immediate answer, and an ultimate answer. The immediate answer is yes. It is God’s will for people to get sick and suffer. If God did not want a world where people got sick and suffered, it is fully within the capability of God to create such a world. Do you understand what I’m saying? The fact that we have a world where people get sick, and suffer shows us that God desires this particular world. Now, that’s the immediate sense. Ultimately, God is going to resolve all this. Nobody is sick in heaven. Nobody is suffering in heaven. God’s ultimate will is to resolve all these things, and He’ll do it in and through the person and work of Jesus Christ.

We cannot look around us and say that this is the best possible world. Any less pain, any less suffering would mean a better world. However, what we can say is this. This is the best possible way to the best possible world.

Can you recommend some books on the end times and prophecy?

Can you recommend some books or portions of Scripture that best explain the order of how the end times are going to happen?

Dwight Pentecost has an excellent book called Things to Come. It’s a big book, but it’s really good. Secondly, I would recommend a book by Arnold Fruchtenbaum. His book, Footsteps of the Messiah, is an excellent book speaking about God’s prophetic plan. I’ll give you one other book that I think is a great reference on this. Basically, anything written by John Walvoord. John Walvoord was an excellent Bible commentator and professor. He’s written some wonderful books on prophecy.

What is the relationship between being filled with the Holy Spirit and the baptism of the Holy Spirit?

Please explain the relationship between being baptized by the Holy Spirit and being filled with the Holy Spirit.

I would not describe the feeling of the Holy Spirit and the baptism of the Holy Spirit as two different things. I would rather describe them as things that overlap, to some extent.

When a person is baptized with the spirit, they’re being filled with the Holy Spirit. I do believe that that term, baptism of the Holy Spirit speaks to a certain degree of experience. The word baptize in the original language of the New Testament basically means to immerse, to dip under or to be covered over in. When a person is baptized in the Holy Spirit, it’s fair enough to say that they are, in some sense, overflowed with the Holy Spirit. This overflow is speaking of an abundant experience. Jesus alluded to this when He spoke of living waters gushing forth from a person’s innermost being. That’s what Jesus is speaking about there, this overflow experience.

I will often speak to people more about the filling of the Holy Spirit rather than the baptism of the Holy Spirit, because I know that the terminology is a stumbling block to a lot of people. This is what Paul, by the inspirational Holy Spirit, wrote about the feeling of the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 5. He said, be constantly being filled with the Spirit. That speaks of an overflow experience with the Holy Spirit. There is overlap, but it just speaks of the Holy Spirit’s many varied ways of working in our life, and I would make some distinction but not a complete separation between the two.

Is the rapture of the Church the second coming of Jesus and His coming at Armageddon the third coming of Jesus?

When Jesus comes for His church, the rapture, He doesn’t actually come to earth, is how I see the word. I could be wrong. Shouldn’t that be counted as a first second coming?

My understanding of this is simply that there are two different aspects of the second coming of Jesus Christ. One aspect is a coming for His church. The second aspect is coming with His church. One aspect is Jesus meeting His church in the air and not even coming to earth. The second aspect is Jesus coming with His church to the earth. One aspect comes at a time that is completely unknown. No one will know the day or the hour. The other aspect comes a predetermined number of days after an event known as the abomination of desolation. One aspect comes to a world that’s operating business as usual. The other aspect happens as people are undergoing, what you might say, hell on earth. It’s the worst time of all human history.

You put all that together, and there are two discernible, different aspects of the return of Jesus. When I have taught this or discussed this with people before, sometimes they like to mock me because of that. They say things like, “Oh, you don’t believe in a second coming. You believe in a second and third coming of Jesus.” No, I believe in a second coming. I believe that there are two aspects to the second coming of Jesus just as there were multiple aspects to the first coming of Jesus.

Think about it for yourself. When did Jesus come to the earth in His first coming? Did He come when He was conceived in Mary’s womb by a miracle of the holy spirit? Did he come when He was born in Bethlehem? Did He come when He emerged out of Egypt and came back into the land? Did He emerge when He began His public ministry at His baptism? Did Jesus come to the earth and come to Israel when He was presented at the triumphal entry? You see, all of those aspects could legitimately be described as arrivals or appearances in reference to His first coming. The first coming of Jesus had several different aspects. I have no problem with seeing two significant aspects in the second coming of Jesus.

Was it possible for dinosaurs and humans to live at the same time?

What about dinosaurs and humans living at the same time? Was it possible?

I suppose it’s possible. Perhaps I could construct a scenario where men and dinosaurs lived on the earth at the same time, and the dinosaurs perished in the flood or very soon after the flood, when the ecology of the Earth was profoundly changed. This has been the understanding of some great Creation Science scholars, such as Henry Morris and Dr. Duane Gish.

I’m not an expert in geology or archaeology. I know that a geologist would probably laugh at what I just said there. I don’t want to diminish the work that the archaeologist or the geologist does. Do your work. Do your research. Investigate it with all your heart. If the findings of a scientist don’t seem to match up with what we see in the Bible, the solution to that is not to tell the scientist to shut up. It’s not to tell the scientist to stop their investigation. The answer to that is to tell the scientist to keep digging and keep working. Tell the scientist to keep doing everything they can to figure out that question. I am sure when you understand it in its fullness, it’ll be much more like what the Bible says. I thank God that scientists know a lot and know a lot more now than they knew 20 years ago, and certainly 200 years ago. I’m grateful for that.

If you were to conceive of the total amount of knowledge in the universe, and think how much of that is known and how much of it is unknown, there’s a lot more that’s not known than is known. So, we say to the scientist, even the ones that would doubt the scriptures, keep digging, keep doing your work. If you do your work honestly, eventually it will show that the Bible is true and right in all of its ways.

How do you understand the order of events from the scriptures about the end times, the tribulation, and the rapture?

I understand, number one, that the next significant event on God’s prophetic calendar is the catching up of the church as described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. That’s the next major event. I look around the world today, and I notice that the Bible describes a certain kind of spiritual environment that’s going to happen in the very last days (the book of Revelation, the book of Daniel, the olivet discourse of Jesus in Matthew 24). There’s a certain kind of spiritual environment, a certain kind of political environment, a certain kind of economic environment, a certain kind of cultural or social environment, a certain kind of moral environment. I look at that profile of what the Bible describes, and I look at the world around me and say we’re in it.

I think we should anticipate the coming of Jesus Christ very soon. How soon? I don’t know. If we believe that Jesus Christ is coming soon, what should we be doing? We should be about our business to the fullest extent. We should be about our Father’s business and doing everything that we can possibly do to be faithful in the current moment.

I would order the events like this. The rapture of the church, and at this time, a charismatic, successful leader that we often call the Antichrist, makes a covenant with the Jewish people. There is a temple rebuilt in Jerusalem. Eventually, this world figure turns on the Jewish people and establishes an image of himself in that temple. This is the abomination of desolation, and that opens the floodgates for God’s judgment to come upon the earth. We often speak of this seven year period as the Great Tribulation, this three and a half years of great catastrophe, wrath, and judgment upon the earth culminating in the glorious return of Jesus Christ at the end of that period. At the end of that period, there’s a judgment of the nations, and Jesus establishes a kingdom on this earth that will last forever. He has a specific period on this earth for 1000 years before the final judgement.

My Youtube channel has a video titled God’s Plan of the Ages, and it goes more in depth with this.

Did Paul write the letter of Hebrews? Who did?

There’s so much debate on who wrote Hebrews. Many people believe it was Paul, but what do you say according to all of your biblical research?

I know that the ultimate answer is that the Holy Spirit inspired this book. We don’t know who wrote it, but I would favor the authorship of Apollos for the book of Hebrews. There are many people who believe that this was a sermon, because the book of Hebrews is structured very much like a sermon. By the way, it’s an exegetical sermon. It’s developing passages of Scripture and explaining them.

Some people believe that it was a sermon Paul would teach in Hebrew in synagogues and that Luke translated into Greek. This is possible, but maybe it’s just because I like the underdog. I want to say that it was Apollos, a man who was eloquent, an expert with the scriptures, and who came to a great understanding of Jesus and His work. To me, that seems like a great example of someone who would write the letter to the Hebrews.

One of the reasons I don’t believe Paul wrote it is because in Hebrews either chapter 2 or 4, the author of the letter to the Hebrews speaks as being one who heard the gospel from others. Whereas I find Paul very insistent, especially in Galatians, that he did not receive the gospel from anyone else. He received his gospel directly from Jesus Christ. I think that’s one of a few things that make it unlikely Paul wrote it.

I don’t really think there’s much place to contest the issue. If someone needs to believe it, they can believe it, and we can just take it as that comes.

How does one grow in the gift of prophecy?

I’m no expert. In fact, I’d like to consider myself an infant in God’s eyes. I never asked for the gift of prophecy. Will this gift only grow or can I lose this?

In general, God’s gifts grow and are strengthened as they are used and exercised. It is the exercise of gifts that makes them stronger and more effective in our life. I say that as a general principle. Maybe if I was sitting down with you face to face, I would have a different counsel with you about this specific issue.

What advice is there for older people who want to serve the Lord but can’t do as much as they used to?

Do you have any advice for older folks who are serving the Lord and are not as able as they were in their younger years?

I would give two pieces of advice for older brothers and sisters who don’t have the same capabilities, maybe not physically, but may feel like their minds aren’t as sharp as they used to be.

One, just look to serve in any way you can. Don’t compare yourself with what you used to be able to do. That’ll torture you. You’re in the place where you are right now. God has His hand on you. There are ways that you can serve the Lord, even if it would just be in prayer. Prayer is a huge thing. There’s ways that everybody can serve the Lord. Resist the temptation to compare your current capability to serve the Lord with prior capabilities.

Two, be grateful. Be grateful for prior things that the Lord has let you do. You know, I think about when I am quite old and find my capacity greatly diminished, I hope that I’ll be able to look back on my younger years and say, Thank You Jesus for what you did in me and for what you did through me to serve you and serve your kingdom.

In conclusion, do what you can, don’t compare, and be grateful.

What is the difference between “created” and “begotten?”

When the Bible speaks of Jesus being the begotten Son of the Father or the only begotten, the emphasis is not so much on point of origin as it is on relationship. Now, this is a question that has been active in the history of Christian theology, the idea of the eternal generation of the Son. Is God the Son eternal in the past the same way that God the Father is? I’m not going to get into that debate, but that has been a debate at different times in church history.

Anyways, the emphasis is not on a point of time of origin, the emphasis is on relation. We create things different from ourselves. Someone could create a statue, a little bobble head, here, of John Wesley. Somebody could create this and make it very lifelike. This isn’t terribly lifelike, but you can imagine somebody creating something life size and fully lifelike. You would say, Wow, they created something that looks very much like them. It’s true, but it wouldn’t be human at all. It would be of a different order of existence all together. We create things different from ourselves. We beget things the same as we are.

The fact that Jesus is described as the begotten of the Father means He is God just as much as God the Father is God. So, begotten speaks more of relationship than it does to a point of origin. It tells us that Jesus is not created. Rather, He is begotten. He is God, the only begotten Son of the Father.