First Eternal Second
Much has ben made over the deaths of celebrities such as in the case of actor Robin Williams, who commited suicide at age 63 some years ago. Truly, he was a talented man, with the gift of making people forget the darker moments of their lives with his comedy. Sadly, he could not escape his own dark moments. He tried to do so on Monday, August 11, 2014, but learned in the second following the cessation of his heartbeat that eternity was there to either embrace or imprison him. Like all others throughout history who made the choice to end their own lives, the decision was final and forever.
Is this going to be a piece saying that if one commits suicide he or she is to suffer the damnation of eternal punishment? Absolutely not, for there is only one criterion for eternal bliss in Heaven or torment in Hell. His name is Jesus Christ, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world for mankind.
How one answers the question aimed at Jesus’ immediate disciples–and to each of us—determines where one spends eternity. It has nothing to do with what brings our life to an end.
Jesus asked each of those around Him: “But whom say ye that I am?” (Matthwe 16:15). This is the most important question ever posed to the individual human being. To repeat–how you and I answer this all-important question determines where we will spend all of hereafter. The answer to that question determines if your and my personal forever will involve never-ending joy and fellowship with God or never-ending torment, totally alone and in darkness beyond any that can be imagined.
Jesus asked the question to make His disciples–those present with Him, and those of us who would follow down through the centuries—understand the soul-salvation wrapped up in His coming to die, taking the sins of the world to the grave, then resurrecting to new life. He buried all of our sins that separate us from God the Father with His death and burial. The Lord assured with His resurrection a new spiritual birth (that one can be born again—John 3: 3). His sacrifice provides eternal life in Heaven for all who will do as Paul the apostle wrote later under divine inspiration: “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).
Peter answered Jesus’ question, saying, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Peter believe this with all his heart, and Jesus said in response: “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” (Matthew 16:17-18).
We have heard of many self-inflicted deaths within the Hollywood community and in the so-called pop-culture musical community. Many overdoses, both intentional and accidental, have ended the lives of some of America and the world’s most famous, and, in the worldly sense, beloved people. Each year these deaths dominate the headlines as Robin Williams’ did in 2014.
Today’s social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feed the young and not-so-young egos of America and the world with desire to achieve acclaim. They seem to sense somehow that they are destined to become the stars they worship. Many devote their every hour to telling all about their lives–even making up much of the “biographies.”
Psychologist report that there is growing fear that such instantaneous and widespread acclamation as the suicides of celebrities such as Robin Williams’ death produced is contributing to suicides within those communities of self-seeking self-aggrandizement. We have all heard the news reports of social media inducing teens to commit suicide because of being ridiculed by their peers in those media forums.
The threat to youth that promises one can instantly become celebrated rather than ridiculed by taking one’s own life is real and growing. Satan, the destroyer, lures the young and not so young to the glitz and glitter of entertainment celebrity. He is a liar and the father of lies, God’s Word tells us. He stalks about seeking whom he may devour.
The devil tells us to do what is right in our own eyes, but the Bible tells that the wages of sin is death. Tragically, it is a broad way that leads to destruction, and many choose that pathway of least resistance.
There are two first eternal seconds, as the title of this commentary headlines. One is the first second after the heart of a Christian stops, and the other is the first second after the heart of a person who doesn’t know Christ for salvation stops.
I can speak firsthand for the Christian’s first second after the heart stops. Mine stopped three times and required defibrillation paddles to restart it on Good Friday, April 22, 2011. Each time my heart ceased to beat, I was in the presence of heavenly young people instantly in that spectacular moment that is in my thoughts constantly. It was a glorious experience beyond any I can adequately describe–although, as many of you know, I have tried to do so.
For the person who doesn’t know Jesus Christ as Savior, I can only pass along what the Word of God has to say about the one whose heart stops beating for the final time. Jesus, who died on the cross at Calvary so that no one has to go to the horrible place of punishment for eternity, said the following in telling of an unbeliever who died:
And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seethe Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. (Luke 16: 22-24)
I’m not judging Robin Williams or any other person. I don’t know the disposition of their souls. Only the Lord in Heaven knows. I do know, however, that the first second after the heart stops beating is a matter of enormous eternal consequence.
Persia Prophecy Preparation?
My good friend, Bill Salus, published a book a few years back that continues to hold my fascination. The title is NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN IN IRAN: The Ancient Prophecy of Elam.
He presented a thorough treatment of a topic few, if any, writers about Bible prophecy have, to my knowledge, explored in recent times.
Today’s news headlines are dealing in serious concern with the most volatile area of the world at the moment. It is the same area of Planet Earth that has been the center of war, anger, and bloodshed for millennia. Bill Salus’ book, in my view of things that are developing, demonstrates a certain degree of prescience.
We have watched for a number of years the coalescing of military powers that look very much like the Gog-Magog force described by Ezekiel the prophet in chapters 38 and 39. We point out incessantly that this gathering to the north of Jerusalem and Israel looks to be a major part of preparation for fulfillment of Bible prophecy. This forming of Russia, Iran, and Turkey into an agglomeration that is an existential threat to the Jewish state, in combination with the convergence of many other prophetic signals, is well worth examination.
Ezekiel tells us this region of the Middle East he calls Persia will constitute a primary partner within the Gog-Magog coalition.
The news at the moment is particularly pointing the prophetic finger at Iran, ancient Persia. We begin by having a look at the forming alliance between the major players of the Gog-Magog force.
Moscow, Turkey and Iran are all sending symbolic messages to Washington that the Americans are out in the cold and the post-ISIS era may well be dictated by regional powers…
Turkish, Russian and Iranian diplomats will meet in Antalya on Sunday in the run-up to a major get-together in Sochi on November 22. The meeting is supposed to focus on Syria, but its real purpose is part of a larger effort by Moscow to illustrate its influence in the region…
According to Hurried Daily News, the foreign ministers from Moscow, Ankara and Tehran will meet in Antalya, followed a few days later by a meeting in Sochi between Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hassan Rouhani that is being billed as a “trilateral summit.” (Analysis: Russia-Iran-Turkey meeting is message to US – Middle East -Jerusalem Post Israel News, November 19, 2017)
The meetings between the prophesied powers is over the disposition of another prophesied power—Syria. The whole matter has Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exercised considerably regarding the threat to Israel—another nation in prophecy about which you might have heard.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised on Tuesday that Iran would not gain a foothold in Syria by which to attack Israel. The premier spoke via video to American Jewish leaders just hours after Russia clarified it had no intention of pushing Tehran’s military forces out of the country. “Iran is scheming to entrench itself militarily in Syria.
“They want to create a permanent air, land and sea military presence, with the declared intent of using Syria as a base from which to destroy Israel. We are not going to agree to that. I have said very clearly that Israel will work to stop this,” Netanyahu told the Jewish Federation of North America’s General Assembly which is meeting in Los Angeles. “We must all work together to stop Iran’s aggression and its pursuit of nuclear weapons. If we stand together we will achieve it. But if we have to we’ll stand alone. Iran will not get nuclear weapons. It will not turn Syria into a military base against Israel,” the premier asserted. (BEWARE IRAN: PM Netanyahu vows Israel will act alone against Iran to destroy their nuclear capability if given no choice, JEWSNEWS, Nov. 13, 2017)
And that brings us to my admiration for Bill Salus’ expansive work on what looks to be a fulfillment of Bible prophecy in the making as I write this commentary.
Much of the Salus book involves the following prophetic passage. “‘But it shall come to pass in the latter days: I will bring back the captives of Elam,’ says the LORD” (Jeremiah 49:39).
Bill believes this is a prophecy yet future. God will make it possible for Christians to escape from this, one of the most hateful regimes on earth against those who name the Name of Christ.
He believes the forewarning is dire for those of Iran (Persia/Elam) who refuse to let God’s people go.
He describes the land of Elam.
The prophet Jeremiah issued an interesting prophecy that could involve Iran’s highly controversial nuclear program. The subject of Jeremiah’s prophetic utterances is Elam. During the prophet’s time, Elam comprised what consists of the central western portions of Iran today. Elam basically hugged much of the northeastern coastline of the Persian Gulf, while Persia encompassed much of today’s southern and eastern parts of Iran. It was bounded by Elam to the west and Media to the north. (Bill Salus, NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN IN IRAN: The Ancient Prophecy of Elam, chapter 3)
The author believes the prophecy indicates Iran’s prime nuclear facilities in Bushehr, a mountainous region, could be struck by Israel’s military force. He also thinks it could be struck by a major earthquake, nuclear disaster, or directly by the hand of God in a supernatural cataclysm. In any case, he believes, as I take it, that believers of the region will be freed to go into the world to carry the gospel in a mighty way.
Bill sees the prophecy about this region also as proclaiming that Elam’s military will suffer destruction. This, he believes, is found in Jeremiah 49:34-39.
The prophecy says that Elam’s “bow” will be broken. He believes this might mean that the missile launching capabilities might be destroyed. The arrows (missiles) can’t fly to their targets, if there is no launch facilities.
We have looked before at how the Gog-Magog force comes to destroy Israel, but it seems to be a conventional force, not one that involves nuclear weaponry. Certainly, To today’s Israeli prime minister and the Israeli people, this prophecy should be welcome news.
It is fascinating—and reassuring—to be a “watchman” while the Persian prophecy is in process of preparing for fulfillment.
A flood of stories continues to pour upon us. It’s as if a cesspool of salaciousness is in process of being purged and it’s all gushing into our eyes and ears.
If the things with which we are deluged aren’t true—and there is more than enough that is true— then the news media will make it up and throw it into the mix for their own nefarious purposes. I’ll let you think on what you consider that which is real sludge and that which is fake news.
Hollywood has always provided fodder for the tabloids to fill ears and eyes more than willing to take it all in. Now, however, even Hollywood seems to be regurgitating the sick things that have become worse and worse.
Wait! There’s a prophecy about such sickness. Oh, yes. Here it is: “But evil men and seducers shall [become] worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13).
The apostle, in his second letter to Timothy, seems to have been pointing to a time near the end of the dispensation of grace that would see an increase in the number of evil people who become worse by the day. He called them “evil men and seducers.” At the same time, he said they would be being deceived while deceiving others.
The rumors have been around for ages about the so-called casting couch. This, of course, is the term for those in the movie industry or the acting profession in general who misuse their power to give roles to the actresses seeking the jobs. They provide jobs for sexual favors from those seeking the available roles.
Until a few weeks back, this was all kind of looked at by the public and by the movie and acting industries in general as something that elicited a wink and a chuckle. It was all a consensual thing…no harm done. Just compromise one’s self a time or two, and many a budding starlet was on her way to fame and fortune.
The Harvey Weinstein story has suddenly changed all that. Now, we know details of the alleged crimes involved. Underage sexual contact, abuse, blackmail, and a number of other criminal actions make the casting couch no longer a thing about which to only give a wink and a chuckle. It is as if the Lord, Himself, has taken the cover between thumb and index finger and peeled back the lasciviousness. Suddenly, the evil of Hollywood has been exposed for what it is. Bible prophecy again is validated in our time as is revealed for the world to see, the evil-day seduction that has been going on among the much worshipped elite—the idols media and fans have made of those under this blanket of iniquity.
Pulling back this blanket has exposed such debauched evil at every level. It now is in process of exposing politicians at every level.
Some used to chuckle, wink, and revel in stories such as when Senator Edward Kennedy, the lion of the Senate, and Senator Christopher Dodd reportedly visited a certain D.C. restaurant and made “waitress sandwiches” in private dining rooms. Many other stories of orgiastic activities in D.C. and other halls of power have entertained the news-consuming public for decades. But, it is no longer funny. And, the same entertainment and news media types that have for those many decades secretly enjoyed knowing about the debauchery and/or engaged in it themselves now find it all an outrage.—Especially when an avowed Christian is accused by supposed victims from some thirty or more years ago.
And, indeed, it is not funny. It is an evil that is going to add to the horrors of God’s wrath and judgment in the near future. The following excerpted story illuminates the evil-day seduction taking place on a worldwide scale.
It’s not just pimps and escaped convicts involved. It’s the people we’re expected to respect or “look up to” the most: the politicians, the elite, the wealthy businessmen, your neighbours, and oftentimes the people that you’d least expect
In this particularly devastating case, it’s the people we’re supposed to trust to help others: the United Nations’ peacekeepers. As it turns out, these people are anything but “peace keepers.” Instead, they’re the ones wreaking havoc in these villages and causing children to have nightmares for the rest of their lives…
Many of the children living in poverty in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, are left to fend for themselves, scavenging for food and struggling with hunger on a daily basis. Their lives drastically changed when the UN peacekeepers moved to their village, as they were offered snacks and cookies.
However, this food came with a heavy price no one should ever have to pay. In exchange for food, the UN peacekeepers demanded sex from children as young as 12. In regards to the child sex ring run by UN peacekeepers in Haiti, nine children were being passed around from 2004 to 2007…
There was another pedophile ring in the Democratic Republic of Congo that the UN was involved in — UN police officers in Bosnia paid for prostitutes and were caught trafficking young women from Eastern Europe — and the UN was involved with child sexual abuse and rape in the Central African Republic as well. [“SHUT IT DOWN: United Nations ‘Peacekeepers’ Caught Running A Child Sex Ring: 2,000+ Cases of Sexual Abuse Reported,” JEWSNEWS, Rapture Ready News Nov. 12, 2017)
Many stories available at present contained reports much more graphic, disgusting, and heart-wrenching. They were quite difficult for me to read, much less bring before you in this column.
Evil men and seducers are becoming worse and worse, to be sure. They have been in the process of deceiving and being deceived by hiding much of the evil going on in America and the world. The uncovering of these things taking place now is long overdue. I believe the exposure taking place at present can be seen as the Lord revealing exactly how far along this generation is on God’s prophetic timeline.
These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. (Jude 1: 19-20)
Colorado Springs is a beautiful and fascinating place to be sure. My brother-close friend, Mike Hile, and I had a “room with a view,” as is said in hotel rhetoric.
The fourteen-thousand-foot peaks filled the skyline just outside our seventh-floor window in the Marriot. Of course, being blind for many years due to a hereditary retinal disease, I couldn’t see the scenery, but the descriptive I heard from Mike and others filled my memory and imagination with more than enough visual reality to convince me of the vista that lay just outside.
We were there for me to speak at the second annual Prophecy in the News Pike’s Peak prophecy conference. The rarified air–and I mean literally as well as spiritually– was troubling on the one hand and fortifying on the other. Literally, I could just not adjust the second year to the thinner oxygen level as the first when I spoke there. It seemed almost as if the air had changed–that my body just couldn’t quite catch up to the oxygen intake level required to be comfortable.
However, the human ambience and fellowship were fortifying and refreshing. The speakers were up to the task of filling our need for rejuvenation of mind and spirit. The renewing of friendships and acquaintances more than met our expectations.
The conference, held at seven thousand-plus feet above sea level, seems, in retrospect–for me, personally–a sort of metaphor for this strange moment of history. With all of the powerful dynamics going on in the world at this moment, life for the prophecy student is both troubling and at the same time exciting. The times that are pressing in on us sometimes make it hard to breathe in the sense of the anxiety produced when thinking on what’s coming down the proverbial pike that might adversely affect our lives.
Knowing that just outside our cocoon of earthly angst, however, lies the most beautiful scenery imaginable– and knowing that we will soon be inheritors of the glory that vista represents–is exciting and uplifting to our born-again spirits.
Bible prophecy from the pre-trib viewpoint makes understandable much of the troubling aspects of things transpiring all around us. This viewpoint makes these troubling times negotiable–i.e., able to get through until Christ shouts “Come up hither!”
The speakers at that second prophecy summit described in vivid terms the vista that Bible prophecy presents. They spoke superbly of the things that are leading to the brilliant time that awaits the Christian. Like in the matter of my own inability to see the beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountains surrounding our hotel, our earthly, physical limitations prevent our seeing the magnificent reality that is our future. The Power Point words and pictures the speakers presented lit our imaginations the way the descriptive of those marvelous mountains I was given made my memory of once seeing those scenes come alive.
The stormy times we are currently going through serve only to make us know just how near might be Christ’s shout that will set us upon our journey with Him as recorded in John 14:1-3.
The conference presenters spoke to issues and events of prophetic matters both familiar and to those rarely explored. Some who study Bible prophecy are off-put, even disgruntled, when, for example, such matters as those of the Genesis chapter 6 story are fully explored. But, Jesus, Himself, spoke to the fact that times will be like they were in the days of Noah when He returns to planet earth. Despite the fact the seminaries teach almost exclusively that the “sons of God” of Genesis 6 are not fallen angels, even a cursory study of Hebrew terms show in crystal-clear fashion that the “sons of God” are exactly that rebellious horde. The giants of those antediluvian times, like it or not, believe it or not, were a part of Noah’s day. The very genetics of mankind were totally corrupted, biblical description affirms.
That particular Pike’s Peak Prophecy Summit addressed some of these lesser-explored things of earth’s past and what it all portends for earth’s future. At the same time, other prophetic indicators we see all around us were thoroughly explored. Chief among those signs of the end times examined was the nation Israel and its increasingly becoming the focal point of world hatred.
Anti-Semitism is on the rise, as shown by movement within Europe. Likewise, America is more and more exhibiting hatred for Jews.
One of my Power Point presentations at that Colorado Springs conference was on Israel and the satanic rage that is growing throughout the world today. This, I am convinced, is the number-one signal of just how far advanced this generation is in nearness to the Tribulation. All the Bible prophecy student who adheres to the pre-trib view has to do to know we are on the very cusp of entering that glorious realm just outside these bonds of this fallen planet is to observe treatment of God’s chosen nation hour by hour. We are almost there!
In God’s Face
One of the pleasures in life at my advancing age is to have what I have come to call conflab sessions. Yes, I know the legitimate word would be confab. Not conflab, but the sessions are so informal that I use the urban rather than the mainstream dictionary term.
These conflab sessions are especially enjoyable when between my sons and myself or between myself and my partner in the raptureready.com website, Todd Strandberg—the Toddster, as I sometimes call him. He is like one of my boys—thus the informality.
We often go over the most pressing news of the day. Most always we discuss things from the prophetic perspective.
When discussing the seeming endless string of absurd, anti-God things going on, the bottom line usually expressed by these younger gentlemen is that it’s a good thing they don’t have divine power and authority, else—well—there would be a quick resolution to the absurdity and evil.
Being considerably more mature and mellow, I usually say things like, “Yes. I, too, am thankful you don’t have such power and authority.”
They, of course, realizing my wisdom from this senior vantage point, ignore my usually offered remark. I’m sure they remain unresponsive to the opinion because they so profoundly respect my… ahemmm…even temperament and sound judgment.
We do get deeply into the issues of the day, and there are plenty of them to explore, to be sure. More often than not, we end up talking about how the Lord seems to be putting up with so much, with people, in effect, telling Him, “in your face.”
We discussed, for example, things like the actress who held up the award she had won, saying Jesus didn’t give it to her. She then made a salacious remark involving the Lord that, my boys thought, should have brought an instant lightning bolt to the top of her lovely head.
Before that, there was the crucifix submerged in urine, for which the art critics gave great accolade. There has been since then the former New York City mayor who said when he reaches the pearly gates of Heaven, he will walk right in and demand his reward, because he’s earned a face to face with God—if there is one. Before him, a famous billionaire said that he didn’t need anyone to die for him, when asked about Christianity.
In the 1960s, we had people kicking God out of classrooms and throwing Bibles out the doors of those classrooms. We had a generation of if it feels good, do it trying to strip society and culture of all morality. In the 1970s we began to legalize the murder of babies by the millions while still in their mothers’ wombs.
We later had—and continue to have—men-with-men and women-with-women sexual-relations advocates. Much of the anti-biblical, anti-God activity was written into our laws or issued through governmental authorization by presidential edict. One president even gave a White House party, bathing the presidential residence in the rainbow colors.
—All of this, when the vast majority of Americans disapprove of such debauched activity.
Then came the official governmental declaration that homosexual marriage is the equivalent of heterosexual marriage, saying to God, in effect, “in your face!”
Now, we have the latest movement of the anti-God insanity down the broad way that leads into the abyss. Transgender, transsexual advocacy has trans-morphed into an even more rebellious, anti-God, anti-biblical proposal by the earth-dwellers.
There are those within the scientific and medical communities who see men carrying babies in the womb at some future date. The following news excerpt tells the story.
WOMB transplants could allow men to have babies “tomorrow”, an expert claims. They would not be able to deliver the baby naturally, but could give birth by cesarean.
Richard Paulson, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, said eight children had already been born to women after transplants.
And he told a meeting in San Antonio, Texas: “There’s plenty of room to put a uterus in there. Men and women have the same blood vessels.”
He said the next step would be trials involving transgender women to help them become natural mothers…
Doctors hope to perform the first UK womb transplant in 2018. (Source: Womb Transplants Could Allow Men to Have Babies “Tomorrow,” Victoria Fletcher, Rapture Ready News, 11/5/17)
Remember that movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger? His character was pregnant. The shocking movie poster had him, with his Mr. Universe body, with a swollen abdomen. He was smiling, being proudly with child. Well, that might not be mere fiction for too much longer.
Come to think of it, I’m glad I don’t have my finger on the trigger of divine power and authority, either! We can all be thankful that the Lord does…
Sure End-of-the-Age Indicator
It is my usual procedure to not respond to the virulent email I get almost daily from those who don’t believe in the pre-trib view of the Rapture. These days the hate email is coming from those who sometimes even write that they hope we who do believe that God’s Word teaches this doctrine be sent to Hell–the same place where they scream we are leading people with our “false teaching.”
There are a number of these anti-Rapture flame-throwers who send out their rants on a regular basis. They have extremely limited audiences, and they are no doubt hoping beyond hope that their angry protestations will somehow make it in front of the massive audiences such as that with which Todd Strandberg and my website ministry raptureready.com has been blessed.
Perhaps I am granting their wish by writing on the matter. However, the anger has reached such a fevered pitch that I sense it should be addressed. The rage is, I’m convinced, a sure signal that we are indeed at the very end of the age.
In fairness, there are those who have scriptural arguments for another view of the Rapture, or for the position that there will be no Rapture. These are, most generally, gentle and rational in presenting their cases. Those who present their cases in those instances are not of the group that I’m attempting to address in this column.
I will present here the full text of one email I have received. It is actually one of the milder of the sort of which I’m addressing. I prefer to not give those more radical than this one any space in this forum.
I’ve watched this particular blogger change from one who in earlier times seemed to at least present a scriptural case worthy of consideration to a person of scathing rants full of irrationality and outrageous invective. Again, he is one of the milder Rapture-position detractors I find in my inbox almost daily.
Here is his most recent commentary.
THE RIDER OF THE WHITE HORSE IS IDENTIFIED……………………. Revelation 6:2
This Scripture is describing a RELIGIOUS DECEPTION of a CROWNED rider on the deceptively WHITE horse having a BOW, which is a WEAPON OF WAR without arrows to kill the body, but rather to kill the mind with anti-Christian deception . He is CONQUERING MINDS with anti-Christian false doctrine. He is waging war, in the later years, against the doctrine of Jesus Christ as it is recorded in the Holy Scriptures.
The CROWNED RIDER’S name is C. I. Scofield. His BOW, without arrows, is the Scofield Bible. He has been CONQUERING the minds of ignorant Christians who are being deceived into believing the anti-Christian FALSE DOCTRINE OF THE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE.
Jesus explicitly states, in His Olivet Discourse, that the rapture will occur as recorded in Matthew 24:31 “AFTER THE TRIBULATION” which He states will occur before the rapture as recorded in Matthew 24:29, If your mind has been “conquered” by the rider on the white horse into believing the anti-Christian false doctrine of a pre-tribulation rapture you had better wake up and repent because “Many are called, but FEW ARE CHOSEN.”
2 John 1:9
“Whoever transgresses and does not abide IN THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST does not have God. He who abides IN THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST has both the Father and the Son.”
Well, maybe this writer is not so “mild” as I thought on a second reading. Seems we who believe in the pre-trib Rapture are, according to his thinking, headed… well, not headed to heaven.
C. I. Scofield–the Antichrist, huh? Perhaps Billy Graham, another teacher of the Rapture, is the False Prophet–you think?
Again, I feel that I should apologize for giving such unscriptural nonsense so much space before such a wide audience. But, there is a point in doing so. I believe this gravitation toward–a free fall, really—into hatred for the pre-trib Rapture position shows just where this generation stands on God’s prophetic timeline. We are, I believe, in a prophesied period of false teachers and false accusers among the flock.
The apostle Paul foretold that the last days would produce perilous times that would bring false accusers (2 Timothy 3: 3). The apostle Peter said there would come scoffers mocking Christ’s coming again (2 Peter 3: 3-4).
God’s Word forewarns those who make falsehoods their message: “Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).
The Scripture says further in defense of those–like C.I. Scofield–who proclaim the prophetic Word in truth: “Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm” (1 Chronicles 16:22 and Psalms 105:5).
Jude, through inspiration of the Holy Spirit, has ominous words for those who make it their priority to wreak destruction within the body of Christ. His words are given as what to watch for at the very end of the age, when Christ’s return nears:
“These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.” (Jude 1:12-13).
“But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.” (Jude 1: 17-19)
I prayerfully urge the angry, anti-Rapture detesters to reconsider their ungoverned use of rhetoric against a most important Promise made by the Lord Jesus.
“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).
Author’s note: Because I’m convicted that we are so near the time when Jesus will say “Come up hither,” I wanted to again present an article, somewhat revised, from my past commentaries. It is vital that the Church (all born again believers) be aware of the nearness of our Departure.
The Scripture is haunting. It echoes and reverberates throughout the spiritual hallways of the Church with each passing hour.
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Tim. 4:1).
This forewarning fits into the last-days pattern, also given by the Apostle Paul, in the familiar prophetic passage: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of Perdition…” (2 Thes. 2:3).
The “falling away,” apostasia in Greek, means a “departure from.” Paul prophesied in the 2 Timothy 4:1 passage that there will come a time at the end of the Church Age when people will depart from the “faith.” He foretells in 2 Thessalonians that this will be a general “falling away,” the apostasy of the endtime. What is this “faith” from which people will fall away, and who are the “people” who will fall away? Another crucial question is: Can the departure that God, through Paul, forewarned about be recognized when it occurs?
“Faith,” as here defined, must, by context, be the faith in the One who is at the heart of the Gospel–faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God, chosen from the foundation of the world to be the propitiation for the sin that separates fallen man from God. It is the faith you and I must have in order to confess with our mouths that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, and to believe in the deepest part of our spirits that God raised Him from the dead.
“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” (Rom. 10:9).
A person can’t fall from a position (doctrinally speaking in this case) he never has attained. The “people,” then, whom Paul the apostle is writing about in his prophecies of 1 Timothy 4:1 and 2 Thessalonians 2:3 are those who have believed in Jesus Christ for salvation of their souls.
This brings us to the question: Can the departure God, through Paul, forewarned about be recognized when it occurs? To recognize that “falling away”–that apostasia, or apostasy— when it begins to happen, will almost certainly give the Christian attuned to God’s will a heads-up on the nearness of the Tribulation era, thus to the nearness of the rapture of the Church.
We have looked at the “faith” as faith in Jesus for salvation, and at the “people”who will “depart” from the faith as being the Church–that is, the true Christians who are alive at the time of the end, when the apostasy takes place.
Although there are those who think this departure includes the possibility of one losing one’s salvation, the “falling away” of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 cannot include that meaning. A quick look at Romans 8:38 and 39, to name just one security-of-the-believer passage, shows that God’s Word teaches that the believer can’t depart from the Heavenly Father to the point of losing his or her family status. Jesus, in John chapter 17, makes that absolutely clear. I suggest that if you have questions about this, read the Scriptures I just mentioned.
What, then, is meant by “departing from the “faith”? Glad you asked. The “faith” mentioned in 2 Thessalonians and 1 Timothy 2:3 is a collection of faith principles wrapped up in the Lord Jesus Christ. These principles are doctrines put forth by the Word of God. The Word of God is none other than the Lord Jesus: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
“People” at the time of the “falling away” will “depart” from the “faith” –the doctrines put forth by the Word of God, who is Jesus Christ. This departure will mark the generation of Christians at the very end of the Church Age.
The question that applies most relevantly to us today is: Are we seeing signals of the departure about which Paul forewarned?
We have analyzed, dissected, examined, and inspected every endtime signal found in God’s Word many times in these raptureready.com webpages: Israel again in the land of promise; the EU looking to be the reviving Roman Empire; Russia, Persia (modern Iran) and other nations looking to be a nucleus that will one day form the Gog-Magog force of Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39. These, plus, all of the other endtime characteristics of this generation.
However, I believe the most insidious of all the things taking place under the clever, devious hand of the devil –Satan—is the falling away, the departure from the faith being currently orchestrated by Lucifer, the fallen one This departure is evident to the spiritually discerning when looking at the church growth movement. This “seeker friendly” approach to both the saved and the lost (all who don’t know Christ) through New Age, corporation-type seminar seductiveness and brainwashing techniques that water down or completely eliminate true Bible doctrine is leading in a profound departure from the “faith once delivered” (see Jude 1: 3).
The new paradigm instituted by the champions of the church growth movement is the shift from New Testament Christianity to “New Spirituality-Driven Christianity.”
Like in the modern corporate organization, invented in large part by German economic guru Peter Drucker, who mentored some of the leading designers of the church growth movement, the system is more an organism than an organization –adopting Drucker’s model based upon Freudian psychology and Darwinian evolutionary principles. The individual is assigned a value, and he must fit in, or be removed from the system. To put it as I heard one person of the movement say: “Pillars just hold things up. So, they need to be moved out of the way.” So, those who hold to doctrine must get out of the way so no one will have their feelings hurt by talk of sin, and blood atonement, and eternal punishment in the place called Hell, if repentance is not forthcoming. Again, the Apostle Paul wrote God’s view of this watering down of doctrine: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8).
Are we at the point of departure from the faith that is prophesied for the very end of the Church Age? Maybe we can get a better sense by looking at one more area of Scripture pertaining to the matter: “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Tim. 4:1-4).
There is another prophetically scheduled departure to consider. It’s the one to which we should be looking forward. It is a God-ordained departure that will remove every child of God of the Church Age –living and dead—from Planet Earth in one millisecond of time:
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Tit. 2:13).