There is a sense among many at this moment in history that impending disaster presses against the fabric of life on planet earth from every side. This is not mere paranoia pushing against the collective anxiety-ridden psyche of a world uncertain about its future. The threat is real, and it is in Bible prophecy. A quick scan of issues, events, and anticipated actions testify to the reality of the threat and validates the angst.
Israel is ground zero for much of the fear pressing upon a world full of dread. The Jewish state is considered the trigger point for possible nuclear conflict in the Middle East–conflict that is sure to spread globally once unleashed. Iran is the antagonist that is the cause of the most immediate threat to regional and world peace–although the world diplomatic community seems intent on making Israel responsible for keeping war from erupting. This is the way it is, despite the fact that the Iranian regime’s leaders threaten to wipe Israel off the map.
Is puzzling to many as to why there hasn’t been an uncontrollable explosion there in the ancient Bible land. Israel’s restraint has been remarkable, considering the threat from its neighbors, particularly from Iran and its developing nuclear program. Rumors continue to fly of war-making against that program, thus to eliminate atomic weapons that will almost certainly be unleashed against Israel if allowed to come to fruition.
The world is in absolute economic chaos. Everywhere one looks, there are untenable fiscal circumstances that threaten not only national, but continental and even planetary economic implosion. Greece is the most pronounced of notable nations to require a $170 billion bail-out–done, incidentally, with money that doesn’t really exist. Debt forgiveness and other sleight-of-hand chicanery are at the root of the “fix”–a trick similar to the trillions-of-dollars, smoke-and-mirrors maneuvering employed to keep America’s financial ship afloat for these years since the current administration began to wrestle with the controls of power.
Like in the case of the Israeli/Iranian threat to world peace, it is dumbfounding to many as to why these economic pressures, pressing in upon the fabric of world stability, hasn’t ruptured the building bubble and collapsed the global monetary structure. The worldwide terrorism factor–wrapped up in militant, fanatic Islam and the ongoing jihad declared against anyone and everyone who refuses to bow to Allah–amazingly hasn’t broken through the fabric of the world’s relative stability. Tremendous pressure from that quarter is on the rise in a mighty way, however.
No matter at which of Israel’s enemy neighbors one looks, there is seen the arising of Islamist insurgency. The Muslim Brotherhood–which was viewed by mainstream news and the Obama administration as a benign embryo of democracy on the ascent— spread its malignant tentacles through the Arab Spring assaults on governments in the region. They sought to replace present dictatorships with other dictatorships, controlled by an oligarchy-like rulership. Somewhere along the way, however, ISIS (or ISIL as Barack Obama terms it) hijacked the militant Islamic drive toward Caliphate.
Why, many puzzle, has that incendiary movement not torched the combustible Mideast situation, igniting the conflagration the world’s diplomatic community fears?
I wrote at the beginning of this commentary that these pressures that represent a cataclysmic threat are in Bible prophecy. The end-of-the-age combination of absolute evil will, God’s prophetic Word says, comes much like the antediluvian age of Noah’s day, which ended with a great, destructive deluge.
Daniel the prophet put it this way: “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined” (Daniel 9:26).
Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection would, the prophet foretold, set in motion events that will culminate with mankind’s final war that will be fought this side of Christ’s return. The desolations of that era will be like a flood–i.e., the war of good versus evil will include many troubles, which God’s Word outlines for anyone who truly is a watchman in the last days.
Jesus told those watchmen (mentioned in Mark 13: 37) that when we see all of these things, including great wars and rumors of war, that we are to know that the end “is not yet” (Matthew 24:6). But we are to be looking up, because He is very near to His time of return (Luke 21:28).
When is the end coming, then? We know from Daniel’s prophecy that a flood of issues and events with evil at their core will mark the end. Jesus Himself prophesied that the time of His coming will be like it was in the times of Noah’s day and like Lot’s day in Sodom (read Luke 17:26-30 and Matthew 24:36-42). Things will be moving along relatively as usual for those times.
We must remember that those times were filled with godlessness and great evil, even though people were buying, selling, marrying, planting, etc. Jesus then said that the same day Noah went into the ark, and the same day that Lot was taken from Sodom, God’s judgment fell. He said it will be exactly like in those days at the time He returns.
That first phase of His return will be at the Rapture of His church–not at His Second Advent (Revelation 19:11). We can know that is true, because at the time of His Second Coming at Armageddon, it will not be business as usual. The earth will be almost completely destroyed, and nearly three-fourths of mankind will have been killed by that time.
Prophetic observers of God’s Word are witnessing that end-times onslaught of pressures from evil that Daniel called a flood. But, that flood hasn’t broken the dam holding it back. This is amazing even to many who watch and believe in prophetic stage-setting. Why hasn’t the Middle East completely exploded in war? Why hasn’t the world economy imploded, bringing about worldwide financial collapse? Why have the Muslims been allowed to continue to set up their long-desired, worldwide caliphate, while Israel more and more is viewed as the troublemaker that might be the instigator of war?
Paul the apostle, through inspiration of the Holy Spirit, told us the reason things haven’t yet completely come apart–why evil hasn’t yet taken over: And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 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. (2 Thessalonians 2:7-10)
The KJV word “withholdeth” in the Greek language is katecho. It means to “restrain.” So, this prophecy by Paul is about the one who will “restrain” evil, until He is taken out of the way. The Restrainer is God the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Holy Trinity. God Himself is restraining the evil, which can’t take over the world and be ruled by Antichrist.
How can God be “taken out of the way” so evil and Antichrist can take over for a time? This will happen only when the church–all believers in Christ (the born again) are taken to Heaven in the Rapture. The Holy Spirit indwells each and every Christian at present. When the Church is raptured from the earth, the Holy Spirit will serve a different purpose in God’s plan for the consummation of human history. He will no longer restrain the evil thoughts of mankind. He will no longer govern the consciences of those left behind to endure the Tribulation–the final seven years of history before Christ’s Second Coming. It is no wonder that Jesus said that time will be the worst that has ever been, or ever will be (Matthew 24:21).
It will be hell on earth when the Restrainer no longer restrains evil as He does in this present hour. Jesus says that at the time the Holy Spirit leaves His restraining office, judgment will fall that very day (again, reread Luke 17: 26-30 and Matthew 24:36-42).
That stupendous change for all of mankind can take place at any moment. Here is what Jesus told us further: “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:44).
This one will likely land me in trouble. The commentary might be pointing the bony finger of condemnation in a direction many will possibly insist it has no right to be poked.
However, we are at the very end of the Age of Grace (Church Age). Every signal for the soon return of the Lord Jesus Christ is becoming more visible by the hour. We are, when we see these things begin to come to pass, to look up and lift up our heads, because our redemption is drawing near. These words of the Lord Jesus, as recorded in Luke 21:28, are further affirmed in Mark 37:13 where we see His command: “What I say to one, I say unto all; watch.”
Therefore, in the spirit of “watching,” we must look at what God’s prophets tell us to watch for as the end of the age comes more and more into view. The apostle Paul, in that regard, gave some quite specific things that will mark the end of the age. He did so particularly as recorded in 2 Timothy, chapter 3.
I often refer to these many prophetic indicators as the characteristics of end-times man. Paul, in describing these signals, puts them within a time-frame he calls “perilous times.” He describes many of these characteristics in this prophetic segment of his second letter to Timothy. It is the very first of these characteristics of end-times man I will touch upon here. As I said, it will be more than enough to get me in some trouble, most likely.
The reason I say that is that I believe the most popular thing in all of our culture in America today is involved directly in this condemning characteristic. The younger generation–the Millennials-–are the most into exhibiting this characteristic, but they are by no means the only segment of the culture that is involved. The president of the United States, for example, has engaged in this end-times characteristic on a number of occasions as gleefully reported by his fawning press–and by that I mean most all of the mainstream news and entertainment media.
I’m talking about the phenomenon known as the selfie.
The selfie is but the tip of the proverbial iceberg in pointing out this end-times characteristic. The bulk of that iceberg is made up of the vast social networking services such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The selfie, if I really need to define it, is a self-photograph taken by one’s cellphone or other device–usually from above one’s head so that it presents what, I presume, the selfie-taker believes to be the most flattering angle.
The selfie then is disseminated through the above-mentioned social network services–thus to enhance whatsoever the total self-image and desired celebrity the individual wants to present to his or her, hopefully, geometrically progressing, cyberspace world.
See, I told you I would be in trouble–probably with you the reader.
I know that my view of this is just reaching for application of the apostle Paul’s perilous-times condemnation, in the opinion of many. I still believe this is a primary indicator of where we are on God’s prophetic timeline. People are becoming increasingly “lovers of their own selves,” as Paul prophesied. It might seem like an innocuous charge–even a silly one. But, I think it is relevant much more than any of us can imagine.
In my new book, Rapture Ready…Or Not: 15 Reasons This Is the Generation That Will Be Left Behind, I point to the serious ramifications such self-love has produced and will likely further produce to a greater degree as Christ’s call to His Church in the Rapture nears. Here is an excerpt from that part of the book:
Psychologists and sociologists have for years planted in the minds of Americans that self-esteem is something that is important to making a successful life. These point to the fact that at the center of most every problem of the human condition resides the feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing.
We are told that the radical Islamists who attacked on September 11, 2001 did so because they felt inferior due to U.S. treatment that looked down upon them. The whole matter involving the attacks that took the lives of more than three thousand that day, therefore, convinced those in charge of the U.S. State Department to employ a study group designed to help determine how to make those who hate us, particularly in the Middle East, no longer hate us.
So ingrained is self-love in our nation that we in delusion covet the admiration of those who hate us with satanic rage born out of our support for Israel, not out of envy and low self-esteem on the terrorists’ part.
The terrorists, murderers, gang members, rapists, and all other of those who commit crimes these days are analyzed by the woolly-minded psychologists and sociologists based upon the premise that the perpetrators hate themselves, thus all others who they see as deserving of their victimization.
God’s Word says, “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh” (Ephesians 5:29a). In other words, self-loathing is not part of our DNA. Quite the opposite is true. The Bible says that those who have not the Holy Spirit are of their father, the Devil. Satan is the ultimate example of self-love.
The social engineers tell us the secret to ultimately producing a healthy cultural environment is high self-esteem. A sense of self- worth will make man live up to his own great expectations.
Rather than love of self, however, God’s Word tells us to love others, to esteem others more than ourselves, to humble ourselves before God. This generation is obviously doing none of these.
That we are in perilous times can’t be denied, except by the most willfully uncomprehending. I’m afraid that many of this selfie-immersed generation fits within that universe of those destined to be left behind when Christ calls the Church in the Rapture.
We are very near that time. The prophetic evidence is flashing in every direction one looks today. We must lift Christ at every opportunity so many will come to Jesus for salvation when the Holy Spirit draws them to the Savior.
With the Fourth of July soon to be upon us and American independence under assault by the globalist minions, the Brexit, as it is termed, interjects most spectacular prophetic prospects into the end times equation.
Satanic forces—the principalities and powers of Ephesians 6:12—have in recent days been moving the U.S. toward European style socialism and humanism at break-neck speed. It is amazing, really, to think of the duality of methodology employed by the Luciferic orchestration.
While America is pushed forcefully by the progressive political architects toward that European model, the European Union at the same time is in some ways being hammered into the shape of the U.S. federal prototype.
Now, the process is suddenly put on hold—a pause because of the gut-punch all those globalist gurus absorbed with the vote of the British people. —Saying “no” to staying in the EU by a vote margin of 52% to 48%.
The people have declared in this totally unexpected referendum result that they prefer British sovereignty over rule by a central, unelected European bureaucracy dictating from Brussels. The huffing and puffing from that punch has the new world order types bellowing in great pain and issuing threats of ramifications that will now befall the British people and the rest of the world.
Presidential candidate Donald Trump, who sort of predicted this would be the actions by the Brits, rather modestly, I thought, reacted in an un-Trump-like way to his seemingly prescient prediction coming to pass. “People are just fed up with politicians lording it over them,” was his tone in reacting to the results, by the way I viewed it. Nothing more complicated than that…
One thing sure, other politicians—Trump’s foes—as of this writing—are still getting up from their knees after the punch. Both Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton were soundly rejected in their, as usual, over-bearing warnings to the people of Great Britain if they chose the route they ultimately chose—to pull out of the European Union.
Pundits on the side of sovereignty, of secure borders to staunch the flow of unchecked immigration—of a sane policy in the matter of national autonomy—believe the EU to now be unraveling, coming apart at the seams. It is conjectured that the EU will now dissolve and become less of a threat to engender dangerous developments perpetrated by a central governing authority upon the entire western hemisphere.
On the Bible prophecy front, many are saying Brexit greatly sets back the development of the reviving Roman Empire, that geopolitical entity that must form before Christ’s return. Franklin Graham, Dr. Billy Graham’s son and head of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, is one who has stated that the development of this prophecy seems to have been greatly hampered.
He said: “We don’t know what the EU Referendum vote means long-term, but I know that this is at least a temporary setback for the politicians in this country and around the world who want a one-world government and a one-world currency. The Bible speaks that one day this will take place…”
I’m of the opinion, however, that it is a mistake in perception to believe things taking place in the British exit from the EU spells a postponement, or even a slowdown in prophetic progression. On the contrary, the jolting rearrangements occurring at present, I believe, are likely putting Bible prophecy on the fast-track to fulfillment. The dynamics are not putting the Antichrist incubator in a comatose condition, rather are actually putting the smelling salt under the European nostrils—actually speeding up the reviving of the Roman Empire. My thinking in this regard is based upon the other Bible prophecy developments observable in every direction upon the end times landscape.
Economic problems are building on a world-wide basis. All monetary matters are intricately linked. One economic movement in any part of the world creates ripples that threaten to bring the whole system crashing down. Yet the bubble hasn’t burst. An unseen force is without question, to this observer, holding back the flood of fiscal destructiveness.
War is straining to breakout in so many places and at so many levels around the globe that the world could explode at any moment from the slightest miscalculation. Russia is on edge, agitating with military maneuverings that threatens Soviet-style aggression. China is seeking to shut down freedom of the seas with its island building and harassment of U.S. naval forces. North Korea sends missiles in test firings that obviously are meant to intimidate its neighbors, while selling its offensive military technology to Iran and other diabolist nations. Iran continues with its nuclear weapons program while shaking its angry Islamist fist in the face of America. Israel continues to be the target for destruction for all of its terrorist-spawning neighbors. Yet the unseen force holds back man’s final thrust into all-out warfare.
So, it is reasonable to consider that the Brexit is but one more example of the unseen force exerting influence over developments in prophetic progression. It all means, I think, that the progression is speeding up, not slowing down.
In thinking on America’s independence on this Fourth of July, and considering the British decision to take back its independence from the liberty-restricting European Union masters, it is good to realize one thing more.
The God of Heaven, in holding all of these planetary power players in check is declaring His own Independence as the Person who will have the last word on the final disposition of His creation.
It is He, alone, who will bring man’s foolish, rebellious plans for one world order crashing down.
I’m convinced that it is the Rapture of the Church that will begin that crash. It could happen today!
Tragic Misconceptions Unscriptural
As showed in Part I, the Christian sister makes a number of statements of misconception that are dealt with through hundreds of the thousands of articles on the RR website. This is my problem. Many criticisms of us who hold to the pre-trib rapture are issued forth by those who obviously have never mined the rich resources available to them, before making their criticisms/argumentations.
She writes that she is sure that she will be going through the tribulation, in order to stand for Christ and help God save people out of that horrendous time. She charges that she has disdain for those who twist Scripture out of context, with those (like us, I presume) using scattered and sporadic Scripture passages to make our points.
She, at the same time, provides no Scripture for any of her criticisms of the rapture “theory,” as she puts it. However, most who make this charge do so, using Scripture from Revelation that they declare shows saints in the middle of that time of tribulation. Thus, they conclude, the Church is right there, taking the brunt of Antichrist’s rage and God’s wrath.
Dispensational Discernment Required
Indeed, believers will populate that era by the millions. It will, many who study that period believe, be a time of the greatest coming to Christ in the history of man. What the writer of this letter–and others—fail to recognize, or even consider, is that God deals with man, including His children, in dispensations. There are saints of the Church Age at present, and there will be saints during the tribulation. Neither will be together in the same dispensation.
Jesus told us that He would build His church upon the gospel message the apostle Peter had just given, telling Jesus that he believed Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God:
“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:17-18).
Do you see that? The gates of hell –Satan—will not prevail against the church. That’s all about the Church Age saints.
The Revelation tells quite another story for God’s saints. The following Scripture is speaking, of course, about Satan’s great tyrant, Antichrist, during the tribulation era:
“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations” (Rev. 13:7).
The church will not be “overcome” by Satan, because it won’t be here. The tribulation saints (those who accept Christ after the rapture) will be overcome to a large extent –lose their physical lives for the cause of Christ.
Myth-Making Against Rapture
Our Christian critic-friend proves that she has at least done some study, but not from God’s Word. She has read the books and literature of those who incessantly and speciously claim that we who believe in the pre-trib rapture have learned our “false” doctrine from a 19th-century witch, who somehow influenced John Darby to later perpetrate the hated rapture theory.
The most ludicrous of the criticisms is that we base our view that there will be a rapture upon Margaret MacDonald’s vision in the 1800s. It makes me almost nauseous to have to even address this –for the thousandth time, when, if the critics would just read what is already written on the subject on the site, it should quell their proclivity to make such ridiculous claims. But, I will briefly answer again, those who are so intellectually and spiritually lazy.
The rapture, the “catching up” (harpazo) was revealed by Paul the apostle. It is a mystery he gave us through Holy Spirit inspiration, as recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:51-55 and 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18. The rapture was not the concoction of John Darby, who picked up this teaching, and gave it improved order of presentation centuries after the doctrine was believed and taught by the early church fathers (first two centuries AD).
The rapture isn’t built on one or two verses, but on the entire body of Scripture. When viewed in totality, and in context, the doctrine flows with prophetic signals we observe occurring in the world today–i.e., the world isn’t getting better and better as the “kingdom-now” people believe (that the Church will make the world better until Christ can return to set up His throne). The pre-trib rapture view puts forward that the world will grow worse and worse. The church will be removed from earth, then God’s judgment will begin to fall on rebellious earth-dwellers.
Which do we see happening today? The world getting better and better –or- are things looking worse and worse for Planet Earth? Read the daily headlines, or watch the hourly news, and you will have your answer.
Two Phases of Second Coming
Again, Paul shows us the mystery –i.e., he reveals the mystery of the rapture in 1 Corinthians 15: 51-55. The mystery he is expanding upon is the wonderful promise Jesus made as shown in John 14: 1-3. Jesus is coming for us –before God’s wrath must fall.
A foreshadowing of that principle is seen in Genesis, chapter 19, when God said that He could do nothing in the way of sending judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah until Lot was first removed. Lot represented the only righteousness God recognized. It was Lot ‘s faith –as puny as it was– that kept him and the other few believers of his family from the time of God’s wrath–again, Revelation 3:10.
Our critic asks how all eyes can see Christ return, if He comes secretly in some rapture. She declares she just doesn’t believe anyone is going to be raptured away, and she states Christ will be coming down to earth, not Christians going up to Him. Again, she, and those who fill her head with anti-rapture rhetoric fail to, or willfully refuse to, see God’s dispensations in dealing with man. In the case of the return of Christ, Scripture makes it clear there are two separate returns. These are at least seven years apart, one from the other.
Jesus will return at some unknown time in the rapture. Jesus, himself, likens that coming to a thief-in-the-night experience for those on earth. They won’t know what has happened, and certainly won’t see Christ. Paul says it is a moment in time when all believers (the Church) will meet Jesus in the air:
“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).
Jesus will come the second time, following at least seven earth years, at the close of the tribulation era, known also as “Daniel’s seventieth week.” This time He will come all the way to the planet, and every eye will behold Him. There will be absolutely no doubt about this re-entry and landing:
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Rev. 19:11-15).
Scriptural Proof Required
As stated before, each of these things intended to deny the validity and credence of pre-trib rapture are dealt with at great length, and in tremendous depth throughout the RR website. All opposing views are carefully dissected, and with Scripture given at every point along the way in addressing any and every question. But, it DOES take determined research to seek out truth found in the articles –truth that is God’s Word, not merely ours.
And, here is the main crux of this dear lady’s problem in not discerning truth about Christ’s coming for the Church –for her. She presents not one Scripture to back up any of her assertions, declarations, or suppositions/postulations. She simply parrots things critical of the rapture doctrine she has read or heard from those who mock, without anything of spiritual substance to back her/their criticisms.
My intention is not to pick on her. I want only to used her method of criticism –a method used in almost every instance by those who listen to the anti-rapture crowd– as an example to show there is no foundation to her/their argument/denial that the rapture is a doctrine taught in God’s Word. This is our answer to such critics. Study the Word of God. Make your criticisms from His Word –as the dear woman says—not from just a Scripture here or there, but from the whole context of the matter, whatever the matter happens to be.
I have studied most all of the positions and variations thereof involved in these arguments for decades –which gives away my age, I guess. The pre-trib view of prophecy yet future is absolutely the only one that makes sense in the totality of scriptural context, and in terms of what we see unfolding today in things of geopolitics, global socio-economics, and religion.
Salvation – Rapture Inseparable
The Rapture is an issue incontrovertibly linked to salvation –something Jesus did on the cross, which puts us in God’s family when we truly believe. That faith keeps us from the time of God’s wrath –both in the coming tribulation, and in eternity. Wrath and judgment must fall upon rebellious mankind, because of sin. Jesus paid the price for that sin. He said on the cross “It is finished.” Sin was forever paid for at that moment, for those who would accept his sacrifice –the only sacrifice that God will accept –the precious blood of His Blessed Son.
We are told we as Christians, while in the flesh, will have tribulations (troubles). Certainly Christians have had troubles down through the years. Persecutions–genocide, martyrdom, etc. These horrors are still happening in some places around the world. But, this was not, and is not, God’s wrath and judgment, but was, and is, satanic rage against God’s people. The tribulation will include satanic rage, but it will be within the horrific storm of God’s wrath and judgment.
Christians (those who have been –as our critic says– saved following the rapture– will certainly suffer satanic rage, but not God’s wrath. Many will be martyred, as in the times of the early persecutions –like Christians are being martyred in some nations today. But, we are told that we (Paul denotes the difference between Christians of the Church Age and those who aren’t in God’s family by the use of pronouns) we aren’t appointed to wrath, but to salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. We are told by Paul to “comfort one another with these words”–not look to fear, but to comfort (read 1 Thess. 4:18, and 5:9-11). We will be kept out of “the time of testing (the apocalypse or tribulation), John was told by Jesus (Rev. 3:10).
Rapture Ready or Not…
Now, you might not agree, and that’s fine. If you know Christ you are going instantly to Him anyway, when Jesus says “Come up hither,” as He did to John in Revelation 4:1-2. You will have no other choice, if you are in God’s family. But, please don’t ever think –or claim–that there is only scattered verses here and there, or that there is no tremendously deep body of Scriptural evidence and proofs beneath the truth of the pre-trib rapture.
Again, you can disagree, but, please don’t accuse us of not knowing about the other views, and, don’t just blindly accept what opponents falsely say when they lie, proclaiming that we just believe in something a 19th-century Englishman said, or that we follow some woman who dabbled in the occult. That isn’t true, and you should look more deeply into the evidence upon which we base these understandings, than just to take the word of those who make such shallow and deceptive accusations.
Put this Scripture in a place you can memorize it –and make it your model truth for avoiding the pitfalls of intellectual and scriptural laziness:
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).
Something sinister lurks just ahead within this world of darkening uncertainty. The forewarning thought simmers beneath daily life that change is coming—transformational change that will make these present hours seem like the good old days for the inhabitants of future earth.
Princes and presidents, potentates and populations at large sense gnawing dread spawned by the seemingly unstoppable spread of murderous, racial/religious hatreds. Proliferation of nuclear weaponry among the most violence-prone among us appears on the brink of unleashing man’s final war.
The term “Armageddon” is regularly used to describe man’s greatest fear during hourly newscasts. To quote Shakespeare, it is becoming clear that “something wicked this way comes.”
For the believer in Jesus Christ, however, the near horizon that is a harbinger of the worst of times in man’s history presents just beyond that apocalyptic storm front a magnificent future beyond imagination.
Indeed, glorious change is coming. It will happen in a stunning moment of absolutely dazzling transformation and transport for the born-again believer. It will be a catastrophic intervention by the one and only Creator-God of heaven—so long seemingly silent to rebellious mankind.
This author’s commission is to proclaim to this generation—at this moment—that the very end of the age is at hand. Heaven is trumpeting the final siren of appeal for all to come within the shelter offered by the Savior who died and resurrected so that all who trust Him for salvation will be spared the horrors about to occur.
“Don’t spend eternity apart from the Heavenly Father” is the profoundly important message that must be disseminated and accepted. He desires above all else that everyone comes into the safe harbor of His family through His Only Begotten Son—the Lord Jesus Christ.
Whether one is Rapture Ready . . . Or Not, the disappearance of all true believers is about to occur. The thrilling time of that long-ago prophesied call of Christians to join with Christ will happen at any moment!
That, of course, is the tenet of my new book Rapture Ready…Or Not. I believe with all that is within me that I was prompted to relay the urgent message that the door to the Age of Grace (the Church Age) is on the very brink of closing to a Christ-rejecting generation.
This presents no pleasure to the author. Neither, of course, does it give pleasure to the God of Heaven who must, following the closing of that door, unleash His wrath and judgment upon planet earth. Jesus shed His last drop of blood on the cross at Calvary so that no person need spend one moment in that hellish time on earth we call the Tribulation or spend eternity in the place prepared for the devil and his fallen angelic horde.
Being Rapture ready is 1) knowing Christ for Salvation through following this admonition:
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9-10)
Once a person complies with this way (the only way) to salvation, that person becomes 2) Rapture Ready through living life according to direction given in God’s Word, the Bible.
I think one of the best verses to summarize this Rapture Readiness is found in the following.
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
In this way we will hear our Lord say, “Well done, good, faithful Servant,” when we see Him face to face at the moment of Rapture. To avoid any questions about whether I am saying one has to live above sin in order to go in the Rapture, I will be absolutely clear.
Every person who truly accepts Christ is going to leave the planet at the time Jesus calls the Church (Revelation 4:1). Not a single believer, whether walking “worthily” or not, will be left behind at Rapture. But, to be truly Rapture Ready in the sense of being “worthy” (in order to receive each and every reward the Lord wants to give us at the bema–the Judgment Seat of Christ), each Christian must be walking according to God’s precepts as taught in His Holy Word.
In that glorious, twinkling-of-an-eye moment of translation–from mortal to immortal, from corruption to incorruption–we will each realize the magnificence that is our Lord and Savior: Bridegroom. We will know Him in the same way He knows each of us. We will, in that eternal moment, want to have lived righteously for Him.
The change that is coming is spectacular beyond all that our imaginations can conjure, the apostle Paul has informed us:
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9)
Let us do all we can in Christ’s service while opportunity is ours. Let us do all within our power to be truly Rapture Ready!
Note: This is a preview of a small portion of Terry’s newly released book: “Rapture Ready…Or Not: 15 Reasons Why This Is the Generation That Will Be Left Behind.”
This generation is full of scoffers, mocking the prophesied return of Jesus Christ to Planet Earth. This is as the great Apostle Peter foretold it would be at the end of the age of grace (Church Age): “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Pet. 3:3-4).
God’s prophecies are 100 percent accurate, so it doesn’t surprise in the least that there is the scoffing and mocking today, exactly as one of God’s prophets said there will be as time nears the Lord’s return. Many signals are occurring simultaneously, and with phenomenal frequency and intensity, pointing to where we are on God’s prophetic timeline. Chief among these are all of the geopolitical dynamic intrigues surrounding the nation Israel –God’s prophetic timepiece. The sneering at the thought that there could possibly be a rapture just throws fuel on the fire of the end-of-days deluge –the end that is coming in with a flood of last-days indicators as foretold by Daniel the prophet: “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof [shall be] with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined” (Dan 9:26).
Daniel was foretelling what would happen from the time the Messiah, Jesus Christ, would die for the sins of mankind until the very end of human history at Armageddon. Great, convulsing, prophesied issues and events would, near the very end of the age, he forecast, gush through the generation alive at the time like a flood.
Daniel’s End-Time Flood
One of those predicted events of the end-time flood is the level of anger that will be against believers who proclaim that one of the most stupendous events of all human history will one day –perhaps very soon—take millions upon millions from the earth’s surface in a fraction of a second.
We receive in our e-mail each week any number of messages declaring that the truth we champion regarding Bible doctrine and prophecies –particularly the pre-trib rapture of the Church– are everything from ludicrous to heretical. This criticism gets especially intense whenever the raptureready.com website is written or spoken about in a major media outlet. That is to be expected, because there can be no spiritual discernment among those of the lost world.
Believers in Jesus Christ can understand, while those who do not belong to God’s family through belief in His only begotten Son cannot understand:
“For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:11-14).
Defense of Rapture to Lost and Saved
Trying to explain or defend the rapture to the world of the lost is, therefore, fruitless. There is just no way they can come to understand or believe this doctrine, unless and until they repent, ask for–and accept–God’s grace gift offer of salvation through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross at Calvary nearly two millennia ago. We can go through the vast body of scriptural text, laying out the Bible facts as we are confident God’s Word presents truth about the rapture. But, unless and until one is capable of spiritual discernment from the Holy Spirit, a person, no matter how intellectually brilliant, can never come to believe those facts. They might even come to understand the facts in a purely cerebral sense, but never truly comprehend them to the point of knowing that the rapture is a cataclysmic event in the future of one particular generation of earth’s inhabitants.
So, our efforts to explain the rapture will meet with quite limited results, seeing as how there is a great spiritual discernment disconnect, when explaining to those who don’t know Christ for salvation. This we accept, thus can move ahead with limited frustration in putting the truth about prophecy and the rapture before these as best we can.
Dealing with the Body of Christ–all born-again believers–is quite another thing, when it comes to our frustration meter. It becomes a bit more disconcerting when our efforts to put out truth about prophecy, and the rapture in particular, is met with the same arguments, no matter how thoroughly and how cogently we organize and present what God’s Word has to tell His children about these matters.
Hard-Shell Rapture Detractors
There are, of course, the die-hard preterists (believing that most all prophecy has been completed or should be spiritualized) and the reform replacement theological enclaves (those who declare God’s promises have been taken from Israel and given to the church). These make their livings throwing mud balls–usually with stones at the centers—at those of us who proclaim the truth that Jesus will come for His Church –all born-again believers—BEFORE the tribulation era –the last seven years of human history that culminates at Armageddon. These, who refuse to see two programs of God’s dealing with mankind, Israel, and the Church –these two dovetailing into one magnificent prophetic culmination– castigate us who believe that God deals with His creation called man dispensationally (the ages of Adam, Noah, Moses, Abraham, David, the Church, Tribulation, Millennium, etc.). Sometimes, it seems fruitless to try to break through the thick spiritual iron wills of these, in trying to present truth about the rapture. But, these are not the most troubling that seem to fit the 2 Peter 3: 3-4 description, so far as scoffing is concerned. The more concerning, to me, at least, are those who, despite being given, time after time, the same tremendously in-depth explanation from God’s Word about the rapture and the truth that it will be a pre-trib one, continue to come to us with the same arguments to the contrary. This, despite the fact that they visit the Rapture Ready website, and can read more than 15,000 articles on matters of God’s truth, many dealing specifically with eschatology.
These are Christians who just seem to have it in their determination that they must go through –endure—the tribulation, the time about which Jesus foretold the following: “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).
The Tribulation, if we can imagine, will be worse than the concentration camps, torture chambers, crematoriums of Hitler, or the most terrible days of the inquisitions with all of the devilish methods of torture. Yet, there seems to be a need –they deludedly think—for some Christians to go through that time, during which Antichrist will do his dead-level best to kill every person who refuses to worship him.
I’ve chosen one letter from such a Christian. It is a simple and mild letter; no mud-ball throwing. But, it represents the most troubling of all of the critics of the rapture of the Church, in my view. It is most troubling that these types think as they do, because it shows an almost willfulness against accepting God’s promises, summed by this passage: “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:9).
Here is what she wrote, in part:
“I know that the Tribulation is going to be extremely bad and even worse than I can imagine but I sincerely believe I along with you and other Christians that are living at the time, will be going thru the bad. I am prepared mentally and will do whatever comes my way to either get thru or stand up and say no when needed. If I am one that is to [be] beheaded, then so be it. I know GOD will be holding my hand and whatever comes my way, HE will see me thru.
“If I can be of any use to GOD to help save people then I am prepared to do as HE wants. I have many family members that are not believers now and pray daily that will change. I do believe that many souls will be saved. I know that I am a sinner and do not like verses of the Bible taken out of context.
“The whole book or at least the chapter needs to [be] read and understood not just a verse here and now to prove a theory that did not even come into being until a couple of hundred years ago. How is every eye going to see JESUS return if HE comes back in secret? Just don’t believe any are going to be “raptured away.” The Bible states that HEAVEN will be coming down here not us going up there.”
Next week will be a continuation of this small section of Terry’s newly released book.
With so much controversy involving the topic of the Rapture boiling today, I thought it good to look a little closer at that event internally. That is, it might prove interesting to examine the Rapture within the Pre-Trib view to look at a divide that exists.
Mostly, preachers don’t want to address prophecy or, in particular, the doctrine of the Rapture at all. Since the call of Christ to His Church is next on God’s calendar of events, in the view of Pre-Trib proponents, ignoring this great promise of rescue from human history’s most terrible time is something that both baffles and disturbs.
We who are familiar with that great future event know, at least cursorily, the differences within the various views of when the Rapture will occur. Whether it will happen Post-Trib, Mid-Trib, Pre-Trib, etc. is sometimes hotly expressed by the various proponents. However, the vast numbers of preachers in America’s pulpits today would tell you that the Rapture is a mystery to them, as is most of Bible prophecy.
Indeed it is a “mystery” to them, because they never have opened their Bibles with the thought toward looking into the Rapture–the very thing Paul said is a ” mystery” he was showing us–that is, showing believers. They like to use the joke: “I’m a Pan-Millennialist. I believe it will all just pan out in the end.”
Again, it isn’t the hot debate between the Pre-Trib, Mid-Trib, and Post-Trib views of the Rapture I wish to address. To me, the debate is over. The Pre-Tribulation view is the only one in total context of what the Bible says about that great promise that rings true–that makes sense. Paul’s “mystery” unveiled, from the Pre-Trib perspective, is what I hope to dissect a bit.
The Scripture, of course, that sets up this great event is as follows:
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)
Paul says he is presenting a “mystery.” That is, he is dealing with an heretofore unknown matter–unknown to (not understood by) believers in Christ. And this “showing” of this “mystery” is the nuance of truth I wish to examine within the Pre-Trib view of the Rapture–the view I’m convinced is the one the Bible presents through Paul’s unveiling of this most important doctrine.
The seminaries within fundamentalist-evangelical Christianity hold mostly that the Rapture was never dealt with in anyway whatsoever until Paul “revealed” it. The most academically inclined among these will tell you that this “mystery” was never alluded to in the Old Testament. They go on to say it was never mentioned in any way by Jesus and the prophets. It is, they say, only in the Pauline epistles that the Rapture is unveiled.
I believe this is untenable, except by those who refuse to consider that Paul was “showing” the mystery–the mystery of the Rapture that had already been made manifest. He was explaining it, not just pulling it out of the hat for the first time. Paul was unveiling the Truth about what Jesus, Himself, indeed had alluded to as given in the Gospel accounts.
The first mention of this “mystery”–the Rapture–by the Lord we look at was recorded by John:
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:1-3)
Jesus said that He will “receive” us to Himself, exactly like Paul reveals in 1 Corinthians 15:51 when he says we will be changed–transformed–for flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15: 50). That translation into Christ’s presence Paul further unveils in the following prophecy:
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 Thessalonians 4:7)
The next words of our Lord about this “mystery” Paul is “showing” us is found in the Gospel of Matthew–in what is known as the Olivet Discourse:
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. (Matthew 24:36-41)
Jesus further gave prophecy regarding that future, catastrophic break-in on human history as recorded in Luke 17:26-30. I think it is unfortunate that the most purely academic among fundamentalist theologians within the ranks of Pre-Trib Rapture proponents can’t see Jesus’ “mysterion” mention of the Rapture in the Gospels–the “mystery” Paul is plainly unlocking for understanding for all believers.
I believe that we are very near the moment of being the generation of believers who will be beneficiaries of that twinkling-of-an-eye moment when the Lord shouts, “Come up here!” (Revelation 4:1).