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The Rapture Paradox

A woman who emailed from the Netherlands proposed I address a troubling thought she lives with as a Christian. It is a paradox I believe many Christians who look for Christ to come for believers in the rapture have considered, at least to some extent.

The writer sent an article for me to read about the growing Islamic population in Europe and the threat Islam represents not only to Israel, but to the rest of the world that is not Islamic. She recognizes that Israel being at the center of world controversy indicates the lateness of the hour, prophetically speaking. She puts it this way in her email:

Every time I see these articles, I am on one hand horrified at the treatment of the Jewish people but on the other hand full of anticipation as I know that with each event that pushes the Jewish people back to their homeland of Israel, the closer the rapture is for Christians. I do feel badly that I am excited for the rapture though as I know what that means for those that will be left behind… Should we be as excited as I am to know that we can (I believe “will”) be raptured any second? I know this gives me an urgency to share the Gospel with friends and neighbors, but I still always feel guilty for the anticipation and excitement I get when I see the current events played out daily.

This dichotomy within the believer’s thinking is, I believe, not unusual for those who truly look for Christ’s any-moment call as prophesied by Paul the apostle:

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thess. 4: 16-17)

Christians who believe the pretribulation rapture is truth from God’s Word, yearn—without need to apologize—for the blessed hope that is found in Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13). At the same time, they know that when that call from their Lord comes, those left behind will soon endure a time of horror, about which the Lord Himself foretold: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matt. 24:21).

Those left behind will, the Christian knows, include perhaps close friends and beloved family members. So, the paradox of wanting the rapture to take place, and at the same time dreading it for those who will stay on this planet that will endure God’s judgment and wrath is, to some, troubling.

The article this writer sent with her email encapsulates just a small part of the building evil that the Lord of heaven will judge with His righteous wrath. The matters the article involve point to the satanic rage represented within Islam, the number-one Israel-hating entity on the planet. Hatred for Israel, and the desire of the international community to force the Jewish state to divide the tiny portion of its God-given land in order to come up with a formula for peace with its Islamic neighbors will lead to Armageddon, God’s Word says:

For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land. (Joel 3:2)

The article the emailer sent contained a speech by a Dutch Member of Parliament for the Netherlands. He synopsized with stunning description how Israel’s Islamic enemy is systematically infecting Europe, thus threatening world stability—or what little of it that remains.

The speech included the announcement that Europe is in dire straits as it undergoes Islamization. America and the world, he warned, face the same fate as Europe if the threat isn’t confronted and defeated everywhere it exists.

The official said that entire city sections throughout Europe are taken over by Islamics one street at a time. Local governments and police forces are often so intimidated that they dare not go into those areas to govern. Women, treated no better than slaves, according to the speaker, are covered from head to toe in tent-like attire, sharia law takes precedence, and women in sections of the cities not part of the Islamic communities more and more hear hate-filled shouts of “Whore!” from those of the Islamic populations.

He said that Jews are fleeing France in record numbers, on the run from the worst wave of anti-Semitism since World War II. He added that many in Europe argue in favor of abandoning Israel in order to address the grievances of the Muslim minorities. But if Israel were, God forbid, to go down, it would not bring any solace to the West It would not mean our Muslim minorities would all of a sudden change their behavior, and accept our values. On the contrary, the end of Israel would give enormous encouragement to the forces of Islam. They would, and rightly so, see the demise of Israel as proof that the West is weak, and doomed. The end of Israel would not mean the end of our problems with Islam, but only the beginning. It would mean the start of the final battle for world domination. If they can get Israel, they can get everything.

(http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/wilders.asp)

Israel and its being targeted for extinction is the sure sign that the tribulation is in view. The rapture of the church is, therefore, an event that must be very near to occurring indeed. That being the obvious case, what should be the Christian’s foremost priority? The answer is that it should not be considered a paradox for the believer, but an exhortation, a call to duty.

There is nothing anyone can do to hurry or delay the coming of Christ for His saints in the rapture. The timing of that great event is out of our hands. Therefore, longing for the blessed hope (Titus 2:13) to rescue us from the terrible time to come (Revelation 3:10) doesn’t conflict with our concern and compassion for those who will be left behind if they don’t come to Christ for salvation. It is time for those who name the name of Christ to recognize the lateness of the prophetic hour; witness to those around us of the truth that Jesus Christ is the one and only Way to salvation; and live in such a way that we can earn our Lord’s commendation, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

 

U.S. Paving Way for Final Führer

Try as I might to get away from thinking on the stupefying swiftness with which the world’s monetary crises are reshaping our existence, I cannot. I consider only the so-called peace process being foisted upon Israel by the American administration and, now the Pope and the European Union in exerting new and increased pressures on the Benjamin Netanyahu government to be of slightly more profound prophetic importance than the current economic chaos. So, please indulge me yet another commentary-swipe at the matters involved.

Most who have the ability to receive news reports are aware that the Western world in particular is in unprecedented economic turmoil. While the Great Depression of the 1930s was terrible in its ramifications for the planet’s inhabitants, the crisis was relatively simple in its cause-and-effect dynamics. Relatively simple, that is, compared to the complexities that the decades have wrought with the evolution of interlinkage between banking institutions and governments.

Computers, satellites, and a myriad of other technological wonders have intertwined the fiscal health of continents in a way that was impossible to imagine before the advent of such technology. Actions taken in London, Berlin, Paris, New York, or other such disparate financial centers can instantaneously cause reverberations globally. This intimate linkage can and has included mechanisms to use in averting–perhaps better put, in postponing–disastrous monetary crises. Manipulation by the wizards of finance have worked to this point. But now it seems their magic has fueled a gathering economic storm that is about to break upon a world ill-prepared to cope with what is coming.

Now for the conspiracy-theoritician within your essayist. The question that leaps to the forefront is how much of the economic storm that is ready to break upon the world was fueled by the stumbling, bumbling machinations of those at the monetary controls, and how much was deliberately and masterfully contrived.

What follows–-a news account from several years ago of early manipulations by the world financial gurus–provides a glimpse into the eye of that cyclonic economic turbulence:

BRUSSELS – European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has said he is looking to establish a clearer “hierarchy” among the EU institutions and member states to make it easier to deal with any future crises in the eurozone…

“We are working in order to have some crisis cabinet because we are a lot of players in the field–certainly when you are in crisis–and there is not much hierarchy or organic links between the main players and the main institutions…Really, this is a problem,” he told a gathering organised by European Movement International on Tuesday [May 25]…

The tentative proposal comes after the EU’s often torturous approach to the Greek debt crisis–a protracted response that widened the problem to the eurozone and almost made it a global crisis.

As market-induced panic looked set to gain a foothold, and following the intervention of US President Barack Obama, the sixteen-member eurozone agreed on a €750 million EU/IMF package earlier this month.

But it is widely agreed that this is only a stop-gap measure and that the EU’s budget discipline rules need to be tightened. (“Van Rompuy Wants Clearer ‘Hierarchy’ to Deal with Future Crises,” EUobserver,5/26/10)

Since that time, the manipulations have only made things worse–-much worse.

Bible prophecy again asserts its truth into our daily headlines regarding breaking developments. Like the peace efforts that pressure Israel to give the international community and the Jewish state’s enemies their way dominating news headlines, powerful global economic rearrangements involving the reviving Roman Empire at the heart of the process now also command top headlines above the front-page folds of the world’s newspapers.

Reunited Europe, and its demands to have greatly increased powers to act in the present European and global financial meltdown, hammers home the point. This generation almost certainly is witnessing the groundwork being laid that will assure Antichrist’s eventual elevation to supreme authority prophesied in the thirteenth chapter of Revelation. The pace with which things are shaping makes one wonder whether that man of sin might step onto the stage of history quite soon.

As has been said before, one of the most-often asked questions we get at prophecy conferences is: Is America in Bible prophecy?” We most always answer in one form or another, “No, it is not mentioned by name.” Then, I, at least, must add that this, certainly the most materially blessed nation and one of the most spiritually blessed countries to exist on earth, is in Bible prophecy by implication. Our current president is at the very heart of influencing the two most critical news headlines of these troubled days, both of which are at the top of the list as being Bible prophecy indicators for comprising world conditions at the very end of the age. The U.S. thus seems to be in the lead in helping pave the way for the world’s final führer.

 

Why Obama’s Healthcare Is Wrong

A friend who has written to say he is in agreement with my view on most things says he must take exception with my opinion on the matter of the insurance program that has come to be known as Obamacare.

I haven’t addressed to any great extent in this forum what I indeed consider a program that moves America down a dangerous road. The loss of individual freedoms will be—indeed, already is—the result, to say the very least—but there are deeper considerations I want to address here.

The following is part of my friend’s expression of concern regarding my opposition to this, what I see as a great debacle the American people will one day regret profoundly:

I respectfully take issue with [your] stance on healthcare reform. Perhaps the health bill will [be] repealed by Republicans, and you’ll probably see that as a godly action, but lack of insurance leads to early death for many. If biblical social justice means that elderly widows get Medicare, it also should mean that orphans and the children of the poor get insurance that the rest of us have. For insurance to work, the healthy must have it as well as regulating insurers so they cannot deny it or cancel it when it’s needed.

The key words in this friend’s objection to my view are “biblical social justice.” There is simply nothing biblical about this grab for power and control by a government inebriated on the dollars it can print and spend almost by presidential fiat. If it truly were a biblically correct–rather than a politically correct–effort, I would have no problem with it.

Now to look more deeply into the reason Christians shouldn’t support this or any such grab for control that ultimately will enslave.

Human governance, we must remember, is not God’s Idea. It is man’s idea–to do things apart from the Creator. We see this from history given us in the Bible—and that’s the only history that counts in God’s dealing with us, in my understanding of the matters involved.

Adam’s first decision to disobey God and instead accept Lucifer’s way was rebellion against God’s governance, and it came to a crisis point when the whole world became filled with violence and was corrupted in every other way—producing total anarchy. The Flood provided a new beginning.

Then came the crisis on the Plain of Shinar with Nimrod and the tower of Babel. Again, God dealt with the crisis, and the whole of humanistic government was destroyed and the people scattered—Peleg and the peoples of earth were geographically redistributed, and all of the rest…

Israel was the next example. The chosen of God—the Jewish people—wanted human government, not God’s reign over them. The Lord let them have Saul. That is because He is a God who gave mankind volition. He wants His creation to love Him unconditionally; He doesn’t want robots engineered to adore Him.

Humanistic government is again building to a supreme crisis point. It has always built to crises points. Every civilization, empire, etc., has come apart, dissolved, or been destroyed because of the rebellion and determination to live apart from God.

This time, it is building like the Vesuvius of all rebellions. America is the apex nation of all nations, and is the head of this gargantuan boil that is filling with explosive corruption that will one day blow. All nations of the world are tied inextricably to the U.S.—the most materially blessed of all nations to have come to power upon the planet’s surface.

All of this corruption constitutes the Babylonian system, which Daniel and John prophesied in presenting the strange beast that comes up out of the sea in Revelation 1 and lumbers about in Daniel 7.

America is bound to Israel in a supernatural way, and it is all tied together by the incessant call for peace–not God’s peace and the Prince of Peace, but humanistic peace. The result is going to be exactly as God gives it in Psalms 2, then the “kings of the earth” will achieve the “peace” they desire, as given in Isaiah 28:15 and 18.

Man will get his humanistic government; the ultimately “evolved” man will be earth’s master for a brief time, God letting man have his desire to do what is right in his own eyes.

This current bubble of humanistic effort to build utopia, which supposedly can be achieved through a drive for humanistic socialism (that’s the only kind of socialism there is), will explode when the rapture occurs and the top is knocked off the boil. Only God’s staying hand has kept things from imploding—economic collapse, etc.

So, I am against man-made efforts in wanting to micromanage our lives. Such efforts comprise the grist for tyranny. You see where it’s going. It is nothing more or less than a luciferian grab for power–a voracious lust for control by his human agents and agencies.

God gave man, through the Bible, the formula for living life the way He intended. His Word says in effect that we should “let those who won’t work, not eat” (see 2 Thes. 3:10, 12). He gave us the way to take care of the widows, orphans, and the infirm–even the legitimately indigent. This is to be done through the largesse of God’s people, those who fully accept His way of governance. The Lord Jesus Christ is that only way. Man long ago decided to dispense with God’s prescription in dealing with matters of societal interaction. Burdensome, enslaving government seeks power through promising deliverance from social ills it can never produce. What it will produce, however, we can see in Bible prophecy’s description of humanistic government’s final attempt to usurp the throne of God. (Read Revelation 13:16-18.)

The Lie

There is coming, according to God’s Word and the Apostle Paul, a particular deception that will ensnare the world of people who oppose the Creator of all things. When thinking on 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 about “the lie” Paul mentions, it seems to me there can be but one sort of “lie” that Satan would be so determined to foist upon humanity left behind after the Rapture of the Church. Here is the prophecy:

Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thess. 2:9-12)

Lucifer, the fallen one, has always sought to separate man from the Lord and His governance. Satan was successful in accomplishing his goal when, in the Garden of Eden, Eve fell victim to the serpent’s seduction and then Adam willfully joined her, thus believing Satan rather than the Lord.

God then promised the supernatural seed through mankind that would eventually produce a Savior who would ultimately destroy the serpent and overcome his great lie that separated God and man. Jesus is that seed, the Redeemer of mankind. He said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

Jesus is the only Way to forgiveness of sin, which separates man from God. This is what is meant by the first Scripture I and many other young children learned in Sunday school: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Paul, the great apostle and prophet, foretold in the 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 account that the “lie” the Antichrist regime will impose upon those left behind on earth after the Church is taken to be with Christ forever will involve the refusal to believe “the truth.” They will reject God’s way to redemption. They will deny that Jesus Christ–the Truth–is the way to salvation.

The “lie,” then, will be wrapped up in a grand deception that Christ didn’t truly come–in Jewish flesh–to die for the sin of man. This, after all, is the “spirit of Antichrist” about which John warned:

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (1 John 4:1-3)

That “spirit of antichrist” lie was intrinsic within Hitler’s Nazi regime. The Jews were painted as “Christ-killers and the scourge of mankind,” not as the chosen people through whom God brought His Only Begotten Son into the world to seek and save lost mankind. That future Fuehrer–the satanically empowered son of perdition–will likely mesmerize the post-rapture world with a lie that denies Jesus Christ ever came to be the sacrifice for mankind. As a matter of fact, Bible prophecy paints him as the one who comes in place of the real Christ. He will claim to be the Savior. He will sit in the temple of God on Moriah in Jerusalem, declaring himself to be God! (See 2 Thess. 2:4; Matt. 24:15.)

I believe the groundwork is being laid today for the “lie” that will doom much of the world’s population after the Rapture. The lie will have to be part of a fearful crisis of some sort. The disappearance of millions will certainly provide a crisis that will have the attention of the peoples of the world. Any leader who can answer the question of what on earth has happened will get the instant attention and the adulation of a panicked world.

As mentioned above, Planet Earth is being prepared, I’m convinced, for just such an answer as the great world leader that will be one day recognized as Antichrist will concoct. A news story of a number of years ago, but which is still quite relevant today, gives more than an inkling of the groundwork being laid for that “lie,” I believe.

It has been the subject of movies for decades–but what would REALLY happen if aliens visited earth? This may sound like a topic for conspiracy theorists or mad UFO obsessives, yet this week, science’s finest minds gathered in London to debate that very question. The conference, The Detection of Extraterrestrial Life and the Consequences for Science and Society, was held at the high-brow Royal Society HQ in central London.

It is often said the discovery of other civilizations would shatter world religions. Delegates were not so sure. Professor Ted Peters, a theologian, briefed the meeting on some survey results that suggested that rather than undermine religious beliefs–whatever the faith–it would strengthen them, by making God’s creation seem even bigger and more wonderful.

Not everyone agreed. British physicist Paul Davies thought Christians would have a problem, given the central belief that Jesus died to save us. If we discover other civilizations, it would raise the awkward question: Why just us?

(Nick Pope, “If the Cosmic Phone Rings…Don’t Answer,” 1/28/10; http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/ufos/2828017/Should-we-be-offering-hand-of-friendship-to-ET.html).

The “lie” of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 could well bring into its orbit and make totally believable 1) universalism–the deception that all people are God’s children, and there are many ways to salvation; and 2) the notion that Jesus Christ couldn’t have been the Savior, else He would have to die on other worlds for those inhabitants and for others in other universes.

With the way psychologically and demonically paved for there to be a massive UFO invasion during the Tribulation, millions looking for explanation of why their world is upside-down will undoubtedly readily believe such a lie–the lie telling them that the ETs who have just removed millions of rebels from earth are now come to rescue the world from oblivion.

I believe the prophecy that tells of this very event might well be found in the following description given in God’s Word:

And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. (Rev. 13:13-14)

Our world is filled today with great deception. Lies come from many governmental leaders, media sources, and even from many people in the pulpits of America. It is incumbent upon each who names the name of Christ to be discerning in these closing days of the Church Age. Lost souls hang in the eternal balance.

 

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