While those who truly grasp the lateness of the hour and what the issues and events of these strange, troubled times mean, there is the overwhelming majority that hasn’t a clue. This is neither surprising nor unexpected, because the vast part of the world’s population is in spiritual darkness–without Christ, therefore without the Holy Spirit to guide thinking and comportment.
There are millions upon millions of others who are within Christendom–that is, who claim to be under the umbrella of Christianity. Most of these, statistics bear out, would not qualify as “Christian” under the definition of being “born again.” That is, they haven’t truly “believed” as given in Romans 10:9-10:
“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.”
It is not my place–nor the place of any other person to say who is and isn’t “saved” on an individual basis. However, we are to definitely hold to what the Bible tells us are the qualifications for becoming a child of God who will spend eternity with Him in Heaven. In the sense of discernment, we can say that those who hold to those biblical qualifications are “saved” and those who do not hold to those qualifications are not.
We will deal in this essay with those who fit within the category defined by the above prescription for being born again. I would like to get even more specific.
Among those who are truly born again, there are many views of how things will play out, prophetically speaking. At the same time, there are also many who don’t know and many who don’t care about prophecy–what God has foretold about their future. They are too busy living out their increments of life one heartbeat and breath at a time.
Sadly, the latter by far constitute the majority. That is, most don’t know about Bible prophecy, and most don’t care. They are aided and abetted in their willful ignorance by the pastors and Bible teachers within their church bodies in this disregard for the prophetic portion of God’s Word. That prophetic Word is almost one-third of the Scripture the Lord has given us through His Love Letter to mankind.
Even more specifically, I want to concentrate for the moment on the doctrine of the Rapture of the Church–that twinkling of an eye moment Paul wrote about as recorded in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:52-55.
Of those who have truly been born again, there are few in number who know about the Rapture in concrete terms or who grasp that there will come that moment of being called into Heaven by their Lord. In America, even those who do understand that the Rapture is an event prophetically scheduled according to the Bible resist embracing the promise intrinsic within the doctrine of that imminent call from Christ. That is, rather than desire to hear Christ’s call, “Come up here,” (Revelation 4: 1) these want to first live life on earth and fulfill all of the anticipated pleasures it offers. It is primarily this group of believers to whom I address the thoughts that follow.
Notice, please, that I wrote as a qualifier, “in America.. It is in America that this attitude of not embracing the Rapture among Christians is most pronounced. Proof of that statement is made clear through the thousands upon thousands of sermons that are preached each week. The number of prophetic messages amongst those thousands of sermons are infinitesimal. People don’t want to hear that Christ’s call is imminent. The pastors–in overwhelming numbers–demonstrate that they don’t want to delve into that portion of Bible truth–even if, indeed, they in fact believe that the Rapture is an imminent event.
Not desiring the Rapture is, for American believers, as natural as breathing. Life in the United States is not bad, and for the most part, pretty comfortable. Compared to living as a Christian in, say, the Middle East, Africa, or other parts of the world, being a Christian requires that no heavy price be paid. That is what I mean when I say it is as natural as breathing.
Christians in America, unlike their counterparts in less blessed, heavily oppressed, persecuted parts of the world, rather than worrying about whether they will be able to provide food for themselves and their children for the day, look forward to their upcoming marriages, vacations, or new purchases that will satisfy their latest comfortable lifestyle aspirations. These physical and psychological wants and needs are the natural outflow from abundance. Longing for the Rapture is a spiritual–supernatural–exercise that requires, for most, effort that seems to offer no tangible, immediate gratification. Such effort is just too taxing for most of America’s Christians and their pastors. It takes them out of their comfort zone, much as does prayer and Bible reading.
When American Christians in this category do think of the Rapture–which, again, they in fact believe is a thing that will happen, but somewhere in the hazy years of the future–they fear it will take them away from the pleasures of this earthly life. That event will, they think, snatch them from their comfortable American lifestyle. It will present a completely changed paradigm–one that will cause them to lose homes, family closeness, friendships, other relationships, and their “stuff”–all of which provides familiarity and pleasure.
This is especially true among the younger people. Their disinterest in prophecy in general and in the Rapture of the church in particular is more than obvious in the make-up of prophecy conferences. I can’t see any longer, due to a retinal disease, but am told that the conferences are almost without exception attended nearly exclusively by those with gray hair.
Now, I’ve been perhaps too harsh on Christians in America. However, we are approaching the very end of this Church Age. The perhaps overly stern exhortation is to focus attention on the reality that we might within months, weeks, days, or even hours, look our Lord in His holy, omniscient eyes. He said He was going to prepare a place for us and would come again and take us there with Him (John 14:1-3). That “place” is something we can’t even begin to fathom in its wonders and luxuriant surroundings. All of the relationships in this life we thought we might lose in the Rapture will be magnified in their joy and intimacy a million times over. We are going to find that all earthly treasures we so valued are as refuse compared to things the Lord has prepared for those that love Him.
I sense that the newlywed couple who belong to Christ will find their relationship with each other dazzlingly more intimate than anything planet earth could have nurtured. The “stuff” left behind will be instantly forgotten when we behold the heavenly treasury that holds us spellbound. The best days of our lives in this earthly confinement will seem as a time of terrible, debilitating paralysis. The Rapture will instantaneously bring life unencumbered by gravity and all laws of what we know as physics. The Lord put us here to enjoy the many good things He provides. There’s nothing wrong in living life to its absolute fullest. But, this is not our home. We are but travelers in a foreign land. We are here for, at best, 70, 80, 90, or 100 years, then we slip these surly bonds.
We, as God’s children, should not resist the doctrine of Rapture, but anticipate that glorious instant when the whole purpose of our being born into this universe reaches fruition. We will at that incomprehensible moment understand what it means to be joint heirs with Christ. Even so, Come, Lord Jesus!
As one concentrates more and more on Jesus and His imminent return for His Church, one cares less and less about the concerns of this world. Not that there is no interest…just less, and things fall into their proper places. When you decide to put God first in everything you do, everything else comes into better perspective and you have less stress, worry, fear. If I indulge by looking at what passes for “news” now, I see angry, lost people among those who made the news and among those who report the news. By praying for them, I’m following Jesus’ admonition to pray and do good for those who despise you. It’s like we’re in a bottle and watching it fill up with liquid evil. When righteousness prevails, the amount of evil lessens or slows down advancing. When evil prevails, the bottle is filling up more rapidly than before. With every new Believer added to the Heavenly rolls, the bottle drains a good bit! We true believers are floating at the top, and when it is full, only we will leave the bottle. Anyone left behind in the bottle full of evil will experience that evil. Only God knows when this will happen. Although no one knows the day or hour of The Rapture, all the signs are there for it to happen very soon. It’s more important than ever to help bring others to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Thank you, Terry for this timely article written in your clear, unvarnished terms.
AMEN BROTHER ….. guilty as charged in this very well done article! Will Jesus find “faith”? That’s asked in the Bible. There are moments I feel myself looking back at this world as my husband and I try to repair our damaged relationship but he is not saved and I have to trust totally in God’s will and look above for my home and that’s difficult at times. I want so much for my husband to be saved and he’s been told but it’s his choice and I have made mine but still love him. We all have family members/loved ones who this is a daily struggle. God bless you and all my precious brothers and sisters and EVEN SO COME LORD JESUS! Praying for you all, always.
I’m one of those with gray hair (but won’t let anyone see it) who’s got the Rapture on my mind in great anticipation! Can’t imagine anything more exciting to look forward to. I’ve discussed this with my 18 yr old son over the years & he embraces the concept, even though he is just starting his adult life. Being grounded in Christ makes all our struggles & pains so much more bearable, knowing one day soon it will be no more… Maranatha!
I truly enjoy for postings! Especially the ones on the end times. Maranatha.
I so enjoy reading your posts regarding end times prophecy and The Rapture. I too am longing for Jesus to return and take me to Heaven. I think about it every day. It is constantly on my mind and I find myself thinking of the different scenarios in which our everyday activities will be suddenly interrupted and we are snatched from this evil world to be with our Heavenly Father forever and ever. There is nothing I want more in this world than to be with Jesus – He is all I need. However, I have found it very disappointing to find that other Christians I know, even some of my family members who are born again and believe in the Rapture, really just don’t want to talk about the Rapture. Some even scoffing at the idea saying “I have been hearing about the Rapture since I was a kid and it hasn’t happened yet”!! It seems that so many just don’t take it very seriously. It is like they believe in the Rapture but don’t really think it will happen? Thank you Terry James for being obedient to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit and The Bride say Come Lord Jesus – awaiting His return. “The King is Coming”
Jesus gave the parable of the seeds being broadcast wherein some landed in the road, some on the rocks, some among the thorns and some in good ground (Luke 8:5-15). The first represented those where the word barely affected because the devil just stole it away immediately. The second were those who initially received the word with joy, but quickly abandoned it when they ran into rough times. The third got the message but got sidetracked by the here-and-now. The last were those where the word took root and these people to grow their own faith and pass the message along. That sure hasn’t changed today as we can easily see.
My own impression is that a lot of nominal Christians fall into Category 3 and have let themselves get sidetracked by day to day life. It’s probably worse now because of all the electronic gadgets which a lot of people today just can’t put down. Distraction is a major fact of life in this century.
I mean, who has time for Bible reading?
It’s a case where what one doesn’t know CAN hurt one. Jesus, in his Olivet Discourse, told his followers to “Watch!” and it seems to me that a lot of those who profess to be Christians are just to distracted to do it.
When the Rapture does come, it’ll be a big surprise to the world – and perhaps most of all to what passes for organized Christianity today which not only doesn’t encourage its adherents to read the Bible for themselves, but all to often actively disputes its authenticity.
The clock is ticking, but indications are it won’t for much longer.
Reblogged this on BibleProphecyWatch.