To preface this article is all-important. This is because I’m fully aware that many who read it will be skeptical of the validity of things herein represented.
I, myself, have been among the most skeptical when entertaining such reports as I am revisiting in thinking on the eighth anniversary of this profoundly strange event – an event that is constantly in the forefront of my mind.
The matter I am about to address is intensely personal, and I have striven over many years to keep the personal pronoun – “I” – out of my commentaries as much as possible. It is an especially difficult struggle to keep from insinuating one’s-self as a commercially published writer, because the writing process itself is such an intensively personal endeavor. But, in the case of the eighth anniversary of my visit to somewhere on the periphery of Heaven, it isn’t possible to avoid use of the “I” word.
So, off-putting as it might be, let me proceed with the most prayerful hope that the reader will consider things expressed here in the first person as not self-aggrandizing, rather as intended to give Glory and Honor to the only Person deserving of such adulation – that is, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Dreams, visions and delusions
While not a secessionist in the purest sense, I have always viewed dreams and visions that are extra-Biblical (not in Scripture itself) with a very critical eye. That is, I have been most often prone to think of those reports as ingesting too much pizza before dropping off to sleep, overactive imagination, or deliberately manufactured stories to get attention for one reason or another. In the case of near-death experiences, I have most often thought of these as brain glitches caused by the dying process, not as true spiritual encounters.
So, it is with realization as I address this personal anniversary that you, the reader, might think of this in a way mentioned just above. Having been Prompted, I believe, by the Holy Spirit to write this, however, I do so without hesitation or apprehension that my motive will be construed as in any way impure.
Resurrection Day drama!
The approach of Easter this year is at the heart of the Prompt for revisiting my Heavenly visitation’s eighth anniversary. In addition to Easter as central to my writing are the consistent emails and other messages we receive that rail against the PreTribulation Rapture view we hold.
Recently, those rants have been mostly of the pre-wrath view. This is the belief that the Rapture will occur basically at the halfway mark of Daniel’s seventieth week. That is, God’s wrath will begin three and one-half years into that seven-year period that we term Tribulation. We, of course, believe and teach that the Rapture of the Church (all born-again believers of the Church Age) will take place before the seven-year Tribulation period begins. This is because God’s Wrath and Judgment begins when the Antichrist (prince that shall come) confirms the covenant of Daniel 9:26-27. This action sets in motion the entirety of Daniel’s seventieth week which then runs to the end of the seven-year Tribulation era that concludes at Armageddon.
God’s Word promises that He will keep Church-Age believers out of the time of His Wrath (Revelation 3:10).
Easter (Resurrection Day) 2019 falls one day short of 8 full years since Easter 2011. This was the time that I believe God Intervened in my life in a way so profoundly that I suspect even some of my closest colleagues and friends will have difficulty embracing the things I’m here writing regarding what I believe God Performed that Good Friday, leading up to Easter 2011. While I sense this will be the case, I nonetheless must relay the Message I believe is what the Lord wants told.
One of the key criticisms I have heard most frequently from those who attempt to debunk the preTrib view of eschatology is that we who know the preTrib to be the Biblical view are too clinical. That is, we interpret scripture too literally in believing that the Rapture will occur before the opening of the first seal of Revelation chapter 6. We are also accused of twisting that scripture to fit our preTrib needs.
Some of these pre-Wrath proponents in particular tell that they have had dreams and visions that the pre-Wrath view is correct – while we of the preTrib view believe all such extra-Scriptural enlightenment has ceased. Thus, they have been supernaturally given the Heavenly heads-up that their view is the right view. They accuse those who teach the preTrib view of being false teachers, who are causing Christians whom they say will go through the first half of the seventieth week of Daniel to be misled into possibly accepting the 666 mark of Revelation 13:16-18. These Christians, therefore, will lose their chance for ever going to Heaven according to Revelation chapter 14.
I.e., the pre-Wrath position, by its very nature, denies the Eternal Security of the believer in Jesus Christ. Christians, they say, must face either accepting or rejecting Antichrist’s marks and numbering system. They must reject it during Daniel’s seventieth week – prior to the time of God’s Wrath at the midway point of that 7-year period.
We of the preTrib Bible Truth believe that the Christian of the Church Age (Age of Grace) will be kept out of that 7-year period (Revelation 3:10.)
Again, the pre-Wrath teachers as of late have made the comment that their group’s personal experience in having dreams and visions advocating for the pre-Wrath position and condemning the preTrib view confirm for them that theirs is Truth and ours is falsehood. Their views, using their carefully chosen scriptures, confirmed by their dreams and visions, should supersede any scriptural gymnastics we of the preTrib ilk might employ to confute their position.
It is with this as preface that I will forego the use of scriptural proof of the preTrib view to some extent. I, personally, and those who know the preTrib view to be the Truth Given in God’s Word, have gone over these scriptural proofs many hundreds of times. All one must do is go to our website, raptureready.com, to find precisely – through careful, scriptural presentation – why we know the preTrib view to be the Biblical View of eschatology.
Instead, I want in this article to meet the pre-Wrath and other anti-preTrib view antagonists on their own dreams and visions level.
Let me make it clear that the following exposition in no way supersedes scriptural proof. My words are simply to explain that I am absolutely certain the preTrib view of the Rapture of the Church was, for me, Validated on Good Friday in 2011.
Like indicated earlier, I am aware that even colleagues will likely glance with a wary eye at this experience. I can say this because some who are close friends have chosen to make no reference to what I’ve written about my trip to somewhere on the periphery of Heaven on that strange day. These ministry friends are understandably reluctant to acknowledge in any way my telling of what happened, despite that they, I believe, trust me implicitly as one who has a solid understanding of Biblical issues we mutually teach and preach.
I am not miffed or disturbed by their remaining silence in their ministry commentary in this regard. I would have, before having actually experienced what I experienced, likely have remained silent, too, upon hearing such a thing from one of them.
All of this does not negate the fact that what happened to me, in fact happened. I awake most every morning with the experience as fresh in my thoughts as the time right after it happened those 8 years ago.
While I can’t present visible, tangible evidence that my Heavenly experience actually happened, the medical evidence that something strange happened is plentiful. I will explain in the following account – as I have written about in depth in my book HeavenVision: Glimpses Into Glory and in numerous commentaries over the intervening years.
I want to make clear to the utmost degree that my visit to the Heavenly Realm on that Good Friday is not explained here in order to prove that the preTrib View of the Rapture is absolute Truth from God’s Word. What I present in this article is intended only to say that the visit to that place on Good Friday 2019 validates in the deepest reaches of my own spirit what scripture has to say about the preTrib Rapture. It is Scripture from the Bible that contains absolute Truth, and I am Assured by that scripture that the preTrib view of the Rapture is God’s View. The Lord Validated that Truth when I visited that Heavenly Realm on 3 separate occasions – each time my heart stopped and the heart monitor showed the flatline.
As a caveat, I note here that I realize many who read this believe that the crucifixion did not take place on a Friday. Nonetheless, this happened to me on what is traditionally called Good Friday.
I have absolutely no doubt that the Lord was, on those 3 glimpses into Glory on that Good Friday of 2011, Validating that the preTrib view of eschatology we teach and preach is Truth Presented in His Holy Word.
The moment my heart stopped that Good Friday, I was in a Spiritual Dimension. The Apostle’s words are absolutely true in every sense.
“Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him” (2 Corinthians 5:5-10).
The very instant my heart stopped – and I know, upon reflection, exactly when that happened – I was in front of a cheering group of young, beautiful, Heavenly beings. Vibrant young men and women, looking to be in the prime of life, bid me to join them. Their jubilance was infectious. I never wanted more to be a part of something than at that moment.
But as I began to move toward them, things faded to black, and I was again on the heart cath lab table. Someone said, “I had to hit him with the paddles.”
My heart stopped 2 more times during a 45-minute period, I was told, and each time I was again in front of that same, wonderful group of cheering young people.
The third time I was among them, we were running. They were looking over at me and laughing with great joy. They had their hands raised at full-arm’s length in a signal of victory. It was like running a victory lap, I thought at that moment.
The Holy Spirit has shown me that it was Hebrews 12:1-3. We were running toward the Throne. Great Rewards Awaited.
Because I have written in depth before a number of times about this Good Friday Heavenly experience, I will repeat here some of the previous report I believe the Lord Gave me to present. Much of it is excerpted from portions of my book HeavenVision: Glimpses Into Glory.
There are no coincidences in God’s Dealings with His children. And, the only children He has, in terms of human family, are those who are born again, as Jesus explained. Jesus said: “Ye must be born again.” (Read John 3:1-21 for the full explanation of what it means to be born into God’s Family.)
As mentioned previously in this book, God’s Word says further in regard to God’s dealing with His Family:
“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. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Cor 2:9-10).
So it was that God, my Heavenly Father, has Dealt with me through the clinical death I experienced Good Friday, April 22, 2011. I went through that ordeal, and I am here, now, writing about it for Purposes He has Determined. It is not a coincidence that brings me to this point of writing what I am about to write and your being here at this point, reading what I have written. God has shown me, without the slightest doubt in my spirit and mind about these matters, exactly what the near-death experiences when my heart stopped three times mean. Therefore, without any reservation whatsoever, I am putting down for the record the message I know my Father in Heaven wants me to deliver at this time – in this book.
I write these things with a profound sense of humility, however. I am nobody special, other than a child of God through the shed blood of my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.
On second thought, I guess that does make me someone special –in God’s Holy Eyes. But only because of what Christ did for me on that old rugged cross. Like the apostle Paul framed his own relationship with God, the same applies to my case. Terry James would be the chief among sinners if not for the Righteousness God the Father Sees when looking at His Son, Jesus the Christ, in evaluating my life now that I am His child.
Believe it or not
There is a scripture that many who major in teaching and preaching miracles and wonders today use to launch into stories of great ecstatic pronouncements:
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions” (Joel 2:28).
The time spoken of by Joel the prophet, as recorded in this passage, has not yet been reached. The word for when this era will be reached is in the Hebrew achar, afterward in English. This prophecy of miraculous visitations, when old men will dream dreams and young men and women will see visions, is scheduled for after Israel, God’s chosen nation, will as a people recognize that God is their strength and their Provider. The people of Israel today do not look to the God of Heaven. They haven’t received Reconciliation through Repentance as yet. This prophecy is for when King Jesus Rules and Reigns upon the throne of David atop Mount Zion during the Millennium. (The Millennium – 1,000-year Reign of Christ – is in view in Rev 20:1-5.)
The world certainly hasn’t reached the time of the Millennium. Jesus is still at the Father’s Right Hand upon the Throne. So, I did not have a dream or vision because we have not reached that spectacular future time prophesied for the Millennial Reign of Christ. However, the Lord can and does reach into any and all time-frames (dispensations) He desires to reach into; and God, the Holy Spirit, it is Affirmed in my spirit, did so on April 22, 2011.
I could, in order to sound self-deprecating, tell you that the Lord just on the spot decided to use my widow-maker heart attack – when it happened in the course of unfolding time in my life – to say, through the experience I had, what He wants to say. But, I can’t tell you that was what really happened. It was much more specific and pre-ordained than that description.
God reached down and took my spirit into…where…I’m not certain…but for sure from this earthly dimension, and stood me in front of those young, beautiful, wildly cheering, jubilant young beings. It was no coincidence of timing. It was done for an absolute Divine Purpose. God chose the likes of me –a blind, aging sinner Saved by His Grace— to go through this extremely brief, but spectacular visit to the fringes of Heaven.
Some of what this all means came to me almost immediately upon being hooked to wires leading to monitors and tubes of intravenous apparatuses while in the cardiac intensive care unit. Other aspects of what the heart stopping those 3 times and being instantly in the presence of those Heavenly beings is all about were, in some cases, revealed much later while thinking in directions totally unrelated to the experience. It has been confirmed in my spiritual heart that it was the Voice of the Holy Spirit I heard, almost audibly, on each and every occasion.
Believe me, I am among the most reluctant of people to embrace in any sense metaphysical, experiential expressions of the Christian Faith. By that, I mean stories of supernatural intervention by God into the lives of believers today through such things as dreams, visions and miraculous healings – like missing limbs being replaced, or…well… people brought back to life after being dead and embalmed.
Do I believe God performs miracles today? Absolutely. He performs them every hour of every day. But, they are very rare in the truly spectacular sense of performing miracles. For example, I have never read or heard of a single case in modern history – a documented case – where someone whose arm was totally withered –atrophied to the point that it was a useless blob of flesh – was restored to full size and usage like the person’s other arm, simply by a faith healer or other person touching it and praying over it. I’ve never seen documentation verifying that one born without a leg, foot or eyes suddenly have those miraculously added to his body through a faith-healer’s touch.
I’ve heard a lot of stories about this happening, told by those who teach and preach miracles as the centerpiece theology of their belief systems. But, not one case has been recorded by medical documentation or through scientific empiricism. I’m a Believer, and Trust my Lord implicitly. But, I’m also a rational being who finds it prudent to, when it comes to dealing with human beings, do what President Ronald Reagan said about dealing with the Soviets: “Trust, but verify.”
So, with spectacular Miracles from on High being rare to the point of being almost undocumentable in these days, why should you – or anyone – believe me and my recounting the wonderous visit to that Heavenly Dimension on Good Friday of 2011? All I can say is that I know it happened, because I was there among that Throng of Heavenly beings each time I heard the computer-like blip and my heart stopped. The Lord has told me in the deepest reaches of my spirit to report to you that visit. He has also given me what it means – and in remarkable detail, considering the brevity of the trip to and from that Realm.
Believe it or not. Do with it what you will. The following is my faithful execution of the commission I’ve been given – that of reporting what my HeavenVision means to this generation.
HeavenVision – the interpretation
Near the end of the year 2010, two projects came into my thought processes. The first was for our raptureready.com website – a series of articles I soon gave the title “Scanning a fearful future.” The second project that came into my mind was, as stated earlier in this book, a book on Heaven my mother and her sister wanted me to write.
I began writing the series for our Nearing Midnight column – 10 articles in all – the last one which I completed and we posted January 24, 2011. Sometime in Late December of 2010 or early January 2011, I decided to soon start the book project. My subsequent notes indicate I actually named the book HeavenVision: Glimpses of Glory. The date in my notes for beginning the book project was February 4, 2011.
I also made the note to consider building the HeavenVision book around near-death or clinical- death experiences of individuals –if we could find some that rang true, according to what the Bible has to say about life, death, and Heaven.
One of the primary reasons I wanted to write the “Scanning a fearful future” series was to try to help provide answers from the prophetic Word because so many who visit our raptureready.com website were concerned about where the national and worldwide economic upheaval was leading.
Also, we were getting an increasing number of emails accusing us of being heretics who were leading people to hell with our preTrib teaching. Christians should be prepared to face the coming Tribulation and Antichrist, we were told in the scathing diatribes. By not preparing Christians to face the beast of Revelation 13, they would not know to reject Antichrist’s mark and number. We were leading people to Hell with our false teaching of the preTrib Rapture.
As a matter of fact, we were already in the Tribulation, many of the quite excoriating emails were telling us.
Along with the two projects going through my mind were the thoughts, which became persistently prayed requests: Lord, I know what your Word says. The PreTribulation view of the Rapture is the correct one, I believe. But, nonetheless, please give me absolute confirmation of this Truth. We don’t want to lead people astray.
The second thought was: I have written the “Scanning a fearful future” series. I would also like to have affirmation in my spirit that what I believe You gave me to write, I have faithfully written.
These were matters I took before the Throne constantly. One other was in my thoughts, if not my prayers. I’ve mentioned it before in this book. It went something like: “Wouldn’t it be interesting to have a near-death or clinical-death experience, myself? Just die briefly, then be brought back to tell the story of a spectacular experience the Lord allowed. That would really give the book credibility!
The Lord has a Sense of Humor – I now have no doubt. The old adage “Be careful about what you wish for…” definitely applies.
The fact that I clinically died, not once, but three times – on Good Friday, no less, was in that other place with the cheering young people, then was Resurrected in a manner of speaking, was the Lord making a Statement, I’ve been shown.
The first thought to penetrate my realization while lying in the hospital bed was that the throng of beautiful, joyful, cheering young people that greeted me each time my heart stopped was –and is – the cloud of witnesses of Hebrews 12:1-3.
The second thing that pierced my spiritual understanding, several days later, was that the cheering that greeted me in that Heavenly setting was Approval of my writing and teaching Bible prophecy in these end of days. But, it was burned deeply into my understanding that all of this cheering was Affirmation from the Heavenly Father, not just for me, but for all of His children who believe and disseminate Bible prophecy in these last of the last days before His Son’s calling His Church to Himself (Rev. 4:1; as He Promised as recorded in John 14:1-3).
My commission, it was seared into my realization, is to pass along that God, through the cloud of witnesses I saw, was Giving His Nod of Approval to His people for getting out His prophetic Truth whenever and in whatever way opportunity is presented to us.
Later, over the weeks and months of recuperation, I’ve been given deeper understanding of those Good Friday Glimpses of Glory.
My series of articles, “Scanning a fearful future,” – concluded with the January 24, 2011 article – is key to the HeavenVision, the Lord continues to Impress upon my spiritual understanding. The articles were begun to, I prayerfully hoped, help allay the fears that were coming to my email inbox fast and furiously around the time when America’s and the world’s economic collapse looked to be imminent.
The question that was in every email on the topic of the “coming economic collapse” was based upon a well-known TV pundit’s declaration that Americans could awaken on any morning and find that the world had changed completely. The U.S. dollar would be no longer of any value. Worldwide depression would quickly bring changes that would in its course bring Martial Law and imprisonment for all who didn’t toe the mark of what Big Brother demanded.
I was prompted, I’m convinced, by the Holy Spirit, to write the series, examining carefully what the Bible prophecies for the end of the age have to say.
Most all emails at the time expressed fear that Christians in America would be put in FEMA interment camps—which were said to be proliferating around the country, according to many blogs and conspiracy-laden websites.
Would Christians in America face martyrdom – maybe even have to face the Antichrist regime? Maybe the preTrib Rapture view wasn’t prophetic Truth after all. Maybe we were already in the Tribulation!
The series covered 10 weeks, so there isn’t room in this section of the book to put all that was presented over the course of those articles. However, the bottom line in answer to the fear-filled emails was and is the following – the conclusion to which the series came.
Jesus Provides Answer
The series of articles, “Scanning a fearful future,” in examining Truth about where the apparent building economic cataclysm will lead, and what will cause the world-shattering bubble to burst, brought me, in the final analysis, to the Words of the greatest of all prophets – the Lord Jesus Christ:
“And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed” (Luke 17:26-30).
Another Gospel account expounds further upon Jesus’ Prophecy about conditions that will be prevalent at the moment He next Intervenes into human history:
“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. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (Matthew 24:36–42).
The conclusion reached in the “Scanning a fearful future” series – based upon the above prophecy by Jesus – was that there will be no catastrophic man-made or natural event that will throw the nation and world suddenly into the time of apocalyptic chaos. It will be Christ’s sudden Call to His Church—His Bride—that will bring on God’s Judgment.
It will be business as usual according to Jesus’ Words in this prophecy, with people buying, selling, building, marrying, etc., right up until the moment when born-again believers instantaneously go to be with their Lord, when He calls them in the Rapture.
Jesus could not have been prophesying about the time of His Second Advent (Rev 19:11). At the time He returns, as Armageddon is raging in the valley of Megiddo, it will not be business as usual, as is indicated by Jesus’ Foretelling in Luke 17:26-30 and Matt 24:36-42. At the time of Armageddon, as many as two-thirds of humanity will have been killed by the events of the Tribulation era (the last 7 years of human history before Christ’s Second Coming).
I have had confirmed in my spirit through the cheering of the cloud of witnesses that what I wrote in “Scanning a fearful future” is the way things will unfold. The Lord of Heaven, Himself, is preventing the total collapse of the world economic system, as He is keeping all-out war from breaking out in the Middle East.
When Christ steps out on the clouds of Glory and shouts: “Come up here!” (Rev 4: 1), Judgment will begin to fall upon America and the world that very day.
Not long after Angie and I began the writing of this book, I was totally engrossed in listening to a television program. I don’t remember what the program was about, probably a ballgame of some sort. Out of seemingly nowhere, the inner Voice Spoke almost audibly:
“Terry, you remember praying all of those months, before the Good Friday experience, asking to have confirmed in your spirit that the preTrib view of the Rapture is the absolute Truth from my Word? Well…what do you think that cheering group of youngsters was all about?”
It was all I could do to keep myself from leaping through the ceiling from my sitting position, even without any assistance from the Rapture experience! The epiphany was stunning! I could almost hear the smile of Holy Amusement in that revelation.
The next moment brought the humbling realization that the Lord of all creation would be so Loving as to spend such an intimate moment with someone like me.
I was being cheered for teaching, specifically, the preTrib Rapture view. The PreTribulation Rapture, I was thus Assured, is the True meaning of the apostle Paul’s prophetic writing to the Corinthians in 1 Cor 15:51-55 and to the Thessalonians in 1 Thes 4:13-18.
Again came the prompting in my spirit that the cheering wasn’t for me alone, but for all who hold to and teach and preach the preTrib Rapture in these final hours of the age.
Sometime before that, another Holy Spirit Epiphany had illuminated my spiritual understanding of my Good Friday visit to what I believe must have been somewhere near the portals of Heaven.
While standing before that throng of vibrant, cheering young people each time my heart stopped beating, one face stood out from among them. Her smile was wide, her face beaming with joy, while she was thrusting her arms upward as if celebrating victory at a sports event. On the third and last visit to that other-worldly place of stunning beauty, and absolute peace, the young woman looked over at me while we were all running as if in a race, her hands raised in victory. She was laughing, her beautiful facial expression bursting with unbridled exultation.
That face was constantly with me for more than a month following the trip to that Realm. The image never left my conscious thoughts. The identity of the young woman emerged suddenly into my mind at a rare moment when I wasn’t thinking about my near-death event.
While the last vestiges of my eyesight were in process of fading to darkness, I had begun my first book of Bible prophecy. I called it Storming toward Armageddon.” During that time, I became friends with an elderly woman who could no longer attend our church because she had reached the advanced stages of Osteoporosis.
She was a great Christian lady who loved Bible prophecy, and also was a very good poet. Many of her poems involved prophecy from God’s Word, as a matter of fact.
Additionally, she taught several classes of young women each week in her home. They would sit on the floor surrounding her while she taught the Bible studies.
We talked on a regular basis by phone, and I visited her at her home from time to time. She was excited about the fact that I was about to become an author of a prophecy book. I asked her if we could use one of her brief poems in that book. She readily agreed, and we put the poem at the beginning of Storming toward Armageddon. We also put her poems in my next two books, and she lived to see them in print.
My friend began to lose her ability to see, so we could commiserate over our mutual eye problems. Her health declined quickly, and she died before she lost her eyesight totally.
The Lord has confirmed in the deepest reaches of my spirit that the dynamic, joyfully cheering young woman of my visit to the outskirts of Glory, whose beautiful face continues to be etched in my mind’s eye, is Arbra Carman – my wonderful friend and Christian Sister.
So, it is at this time of Resurrection Day 2019 that I reflect on the fact that the blessed hope of Titus 2:13 is on His way to fix this broken world. it will happen in less than a heartbeat!
Our news as Christians today is filled with trepidation. It seems all is bad news.
Every aspect of life at present appears on the brink of contributing to the bringing forth of the dreaded Tribulation predicted by God’s Word.
Geopolitically, the world is on the verge of war and freedom seems on the cusp of being snuffed. Even the great bastion of freedom–the United States of America–appears subject to a future of such oppression.
Sociologically and culturally, evil men and seducers are growing worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. Paul’s 2 Timothy chapter 3 “perilous times” are front and center in the news during our every waking moment.
Religiously, even the evangelical body of believers seems to be defecting–moving at breakneck speed into the apostasy of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 and beyond.
Economically, while the national situation in fiscal matters is pointed out by “experts” as going “great guns,” one doesn’t have to look too deeply beneath the surface of financial/monetary matters to know there is serious trouble brewing. With a national debt of $22.1 trillion and climbing exponentially, how can future prospects be described as looking other than bleak?
In every direction we look on the future’s horizon, we see the last seven years of human history quickly approaching.
So, the news is bad for the most part; there is no other way to put it.
It is with this fact in view that it was brought to mind the good news/bad news plethora of jokes that have assaulted the ears through my life. Here are a few of the clean ones just to give an idea of those similar to the ones I’m sure you’ve heard, too.
These are jokes aimed at pastors for the most part:
Good News: You baptized seven people today in the river.
Bad News: You lost two of them in the swift current.
Good News: The Women’s Guild voted to send you a get-well card.
Bad News: The vote passed by 31-30.
Good News: The Elder Board accepted your job description the way you wrote it.
Bad News: They were so inspired by it, they also formed a search committee to find somebody capable of filling the position.
Good News: You finally found a choir director who approaches things exactly the same way you do.
Bad News: The choir mutinied.
Good News: Mrs. Jones is wild about your sermons.
Bad News: Mrs. Jones is also wild about the “Gong Show”, “Beavis and Butthead” and “Texas Chain Saw Massacre.”
Good News: Your women’s softball team finally won a game.
Bad News: They beat your men’s softball team.
Good News: The trustees finally voted to add more church parking.
Bad News: They are going to blacktop the front lawn of your parsonage.
Good News: Church attendance rose dramatically the last three weeks.
Bad News: You were on vacation.
Good News: Your deacons want to send you to the Holy Land.
Bad News: They are stalling until the next war.
Good News: Your biggest critic just left your church.
Bad News: He has been appointed the Head Bishop of your denomination.
Good News: The youth in your church come to your house for a surprise visit.
Bad News: It’s in the middle of the night and they are armed with toilet paper and shaving cream to “decorate” your house.
When people approach with these good news/bad news matters, they usually ask: “Do you want the good news first, or the bad?” Most, I believe, answer: “Give me the bad news first.” –At least that’s most often my answer.
So, looking through Rapture Ready news recently, I found these headlines that fit in the bad news category. We will have a brief gander at these first.
* Diplomats at the U.N. commit anti-Semitic acts . Global anti-Semitism can best be observed at the General Assembly of the United Nations.
* Mystery E. coli outbreak sickens 72 people in 5 states, CDC says a multistate outbreak of E. coli has raised alarms and questions: As of Thursday, 72 people in five states have become ill, yet the cause of their infection remains unknown, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday.
* China is ‘threat to world’ says dissident writer. A dissident writer…said…that his homeland is a “threat for the whole world”. Liao Yiwu, who was jailed for writing a poem called “Massacre” about the Tiananmen Square protests, told AFP that it would be better for mankind if the economic superpower “splits up.”
* Sources: UN nuclear watchdog inspects Iran ‘warehouse’ Netanyahu pointed to the UN atomic watchdog policing Iran’s nuclear deal has inspected what Israel’s prime minister called a “secret atomic warehouse.”
* Convention at major U.S. hotels showcases extreme sexual depravity That weekend, major Cleveland hotels will host CLAW, the Cleveland Annual Leather Weekend It’s a large orgy of homosexual males focused on “sado-masochism.”
Well, we could have found even more significant signs of the approaching apocalypse. But you get the picture. Bad news is everywhere we look–and in every area of life.
Now for the Good News! Good News, of course, is the definition of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is that Jesus came to die for the sins of mankind so that all people, if they individually accept God’s grace offer of redemption, will not die apart from God, but will have abundant life for all eternity.
Those same Christians are promised that they will not have to endure the Tribulation that is sure to come. They will be kept out of that time of God’s wrath (Revelation 3: 10). –And that’s the entire seven years of Daniel’s seventieth week (Daniel 9: 26-27).
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3: 16)
The past number of weeks has brought a ramping up of vitriol against the doctrine of the pre-Trib Rapture to my inbox. The assault seems spearheaded by one blog thrust in particular. I receive as many as three long diatribes from this source in a single day. The accusation is that those who believe in the pre-Trib Rapture are part of what this blog entity calls the Rapture Cult.
A number of emails pour in from various individuals who, close examination uncovers, are likely in cahoots with the blog-entity initiating this latest strategy against pre-Trib Rapture teaching. These emails, without exception, use the “Margaret McDonald” accusatory proclamation. They claim that we who believe the Bible presents a pre-Trib Rapture have been taken in by the hellish vision of the nineteenth century false prophetess who is said to have also caused John Darby to fall for the lie of a pre-Trib Rapture. C. I. Scofield, the DeHaans, and the rest of us have joined and perpetuated this ” Rapture cult.”
The anti-pre-Trib blog writer points an anger-tinged condemnation of the ancient writings such as that of one called Pseudo-Ephraem. This writer from antiquity has been studied by prophecy scholars such as Grant Jeffrey and others in order to find extra-biblical validation that the pre-Trib view of Rapture was held by the early church fathers and by the early church in general.
The blogger insinuates that the very use of the title “pseudo” indicates this is a false teacher. The “genuine” Ephraem, he writes, apparently lived in the fourth century, while the “pseudo” lived in as late as the seventh. Yet he confuses his attempt to make his case by using both Ephraems to claim that they both, in the final analysis, write a firm denial of the pre-Trib Rapture.
The blogger writes of both Ephraems: “Both said the only thing ‘remaining’ is the arrival of Antichrist”–i.e., they both believed, according to him, that the Antichrist coming to power is the next prophetic event to take place. No Rapture is in view.
Grant Jeffrey plainly refutes that claim through his research. Jeffrey wrote the following in a chapter for one of my books:
- Ephraem’s manuscript lays out the events of the last days in chronological sequence. Significantly, he began with the Rapture, using the word “imminent,” then he described the Great Tribulation of three and a half years duration under the Antichrist’s tyranny, followed by the second coming of Christ to earth with His saints to defeat the Antichrist.
- Significantly, at the beginning of his treatise in section 2, Ephraem used the word “imminent” to describe the Rapture occurring before the Tribulation and the coming of the Antichrist. “We ought to understand thoroughly therefore, my brothers which is imminent or overhanging.”
- He clearly described the pre-Tribulation Rapture: “Because all saints and the Elect of the Lord are gathered together before the tribulation which is about to come and are taken to the Lord, in order that they may not see at any time the confusion which overwhelms the world because of our sins.”–Grant Jeffrey, “Rapture, Three Fascinating Discoveries”
The writers of those earlier times used the term “pseudo” as merely a literary device in order to not have their names made public for one reason or the other. The same devices are used today in modern literature, of course. And, there are other factors involved in why such pseudonym devices were employed, but that’s not relevant here.
The point is that very meticulous scholarship examining the writers of that ancient period has proven beyond doubt–to me and many others who study Bible prophecy–that there were many students of God’s Word amongst the early believers who held to a pre-Tribulation Rapture of the church.
Yet the blogger calls the writings by Ephraem the Syrian (A.D. 306 to 373) “false witness” and refers to the writer as a “forger.” This he does without actual proof of his charge, but with high-sounding, pseudo-scholarly phraseology, in my opinion.
The danger in all this is that these assaults on the Rapture deflect the study of many of the true children of God who have a desire to look into Bible prophecy these days. Believe me, these seem to constitute a group that is diminishing in number.
The bloggers that are virulently against the truth about the pre-Trib Rapture brought to us by Paul the apostle in his letters to the Thessalonians and the Corinthians, and indeed by Jesus Himself as given in John 14:1-3, send their seemingly well-studied dogma in mass mailings on an ever-increasing basis. People are all too quick to take the sophistry thus delivered, usually unsolicited, as factual. Like those who get their news from cyberspace venues who twist truth that is not news at all, but fable, those marginally interested in Bible prophecy often take the lazy way and choose the blog presentations from the purveyors of anti-pre-Trib Rapture propaganda.
This is a primary reason I wrote my book, Rapture Ready…Or Not: 15 Reasons This Is the Generation That will Be Left Behind. My prayerful desire was and continues to be to get the book into the hands of as many as possible in order to counter such satanically spawned attacks. My special prayer is that we get the book to as many pastors and teachers within churches that are still of the Philadelphian rather than of the Laodicean sort.
My thanks to all who have seen to it that your pastors and teachers now have this book in their possession. For those who haven’t yet seen to it that these ministers of your acquaintance have copies, I ask that you consider providing each a copy.
Time looks to be running out in this Age of Grace. Pray, if you will, that these will begin using their pulpits and teaching opportunities to deliver truth about Christ’s imminent coming for all believers. As chapter 1 of Rapture Ready…Or Not puts it: “The end isn’t near, it’s here.”
There is, according to some observers, a developing mindset among people in general that something wicked this way comes, as William Shakespeare put it. This developing mindset is particularly pronounced among the Millennials.
We can see this growing angst reflected in the words of U.S. House of Representatives Congresswoman Alexandria Ocassio Cortez (29, I think she is) and others of her politically ideological ilk. They are so concerned about the coming destruction of planet Earth–within twelve years, Cortez says–that they offer insane fixes to prevent the earth’s demise.
She and some others have declared they will work to do away with all airplane travel. They are determined to stop, or curtail at least, the eating of meat. We need, they believe, fewer cattle on the planet because of the cows’ …ahem… flatulence, which, they believe, adds to the methane buildup and other things destroying the breathability of air. Their plans, if they were possible to accomplish and were implemented, would cost upwards of $100 trillion. This amount is considered woefully low in estimation by many who study such things.
The doing away with airplane travel, travel by automobile, and many other brilliant such stratagem for saving the planet are just the tip of the supposedly melting iceberg in their plans to change the way life is conducted on earth. Worries of future, worldwide, catastrophe isn’t confined to Ms. Cortez and her lot. A recent news item tells of a growing anxiety that something wicked this way comes.
On Wednesday, tens of thousands of residents of Oakland, California were shocked when their cell phones buzzed with a message: there had been no earthquake. Though intended to reassure them that the earthquake warning system was operational, many took it is an ominous reminder that they lived in a region with a history of seismic catastrophes… Earthquake drills were also held in other places around the U.S including Connecticut and Colorado.
On Tuesday, sections of the East Coast, including New Jersey and the Virgin Islands, held tsunami drills. Over the last month, a major drill preparing for earthquakes and tsunamis was held throughout the Philippines for the first time. Over the last two months, drills were held in Indonesia, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, and several other nations.
Israel was also part of this informal global seismic drill. Two weeks ago, the Home Front Command held a tsunami exercise in schools throughout the country for the first time. (“End-of-Days Expert: Disaster Drills, Sign ‘Governments Know Something Big is Coming’” by Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz, Breaking Israel News, March 29, 2019)
The growing alarm among those in Israel as well as among the people of the world at large was brought to the attention of journalists by Yuval Ovadia. He is an Israeli writer/researcher who has produced films on feared disasters that might be in prospect for the planet. Ovadia has been tracking such drills and government preparations as part of his research into the subject of the pre-Messiah astronomical event.
Ovadia commented, “Everyone, secular and religious, from every country, is talking about the end-of-days. It is clear that there is some knowledge out there driving this. So many governments are preparing for a global crisis, something unprecedented. The governments making these drills know that something big is coming.”
“It is understandable to hold hurricane drills or the like in a specific season,” Ovadia emphasized. “But there is no season for earthquakes. It is remarkable that so many countries decided to hold earthquake drills at the same time.”
While Ms. Cortez and her millennial brothers and sisters are looking for a coming calamity upon the planet within twelve years and the nations are expecting earthquakes and tsunamis of prodigious proportions, there seems no such mindset among–of all people–the people who call Jesus Christ their Savior and Lord.
I’m not talking about the fact that these people simply are not worried because they know they are safely within His wonderful arms. No. I’m saying here that these don’t seem to have even a clue–nor do they seem to think deeply enough on the matters to care–that there is in fact coming upon this planet a catastrophe so enormous that only a few creatures of flesh and blood will survive.
In America, the ignorance seems willful. It starts in the pulpits, with preachers who won’t touch Bible prophecy. Or, if they do touch on it, it isn’t even near the truth about what God’s Word has pronounced on this rebellious, judgment-bound world.
Of course, it is equally the fault of Christians who prefer to not think about the things we are supposed to be discerning, especially as the day of Christ’s return is appearing on the near horizon. Such things are gloom and doom–a downer. Best to just go about life ignoring such things. What will be, will be…
The end-of-the-world mindset held by those who are totally of the world–not Christ’s–is right, that something wicked this way comes. There is coming upon the earth the terrors they are expecting–and much worse.
But it will not be a tsunami that crashes across the upper east coast of the U.S. and destroys their precious New York City. It won’t be the man-made, climate-change, rising sea level that chokes the life out of them and all that is upon the earth. And it is not necessarily due twelve years from now. The catastrophe that is coming is from above. It is the harpazo–the snatching away of millions of Christians in the Rapture.
Jesus said that the very moment it happens, God’s judgment will fall–just like in the days of Noah and Lot’s day in Sodom.
Thankfully, God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. May all of those with the end-of-the-world mindset look to Christ, for He is the only salvation available to them. May the Church begin to truly watch for their Lord, who could call them to Himself, literally, at any moment. And may we who belong to Christ begin living life accordingly.
Doomsday talk is on the rise. It brings to mind the 1964 movie filmed in stark black and white on the topic of nuclear war, entitled Dr. Strangelove. This was a darkly humorous film that captured the fearful times at the height of the Cold War involving America and the Soviet Union.
A U.S. general, in this fictional account, went a bit nutso and ordered a strike on the Soviet Union by the B-52 bombers under his command. (Yes, Hollywood was liberal and saw the U.S. as more evil than the Communist world in those days, too.)
The president, played by Peter Sellers–who also played Dr. Strangelove, the former Nazi scientist in the employ of the U.S. Department of Defense–did all he could to direct the Soviets to bring down the final B-52 as it began its assault. But, alas, the bomber, although crippled by a nearby anti-aircraft missile strike, managed to unleash a multi-megaton hydrogen bomb.
This strike set in motion all-out nuclear war because the Soviets had developed a doomsday machine nobody within the U.S. Defense Department knew about. It became at that point a final war that could not be controlled or stopped.
Back to reality… President Ronald Reagan’s peaceful defeat of Soviet designs for world domination was believed to bring the Cold War to an end. Immediately the cries by the “progressives” went up to convert all of the Cold War military spending to social, do-good causes.
This call for ever-decreasing spending in America’s military roared during the Clinton years and again during the Obama administrations so that the U.S. military, in many of its aspects is now said to be at pre-World War II levels.
But, it is obvious to those who view things through the lens of reality that America’s old, Cold War foes–Russia and China–are building military war-making machinery. They are doing so technologically, if not in war-capable hardware, and now are reaching out to achieve super-power status. Other diabolist states are doing their best to establish their niches in the world’s nuclear power structure.
We know all about Iran wanting to develop nuclear weaponry and the missile capability to deliver them. The Ayatollahs have even forewarned time after time just who these weapons when completed will be used against.
North Korea, despite recent talks-engagement, still, it’s obvious to yours truly, wants to hit any target they can when they achieve the capability to accurately launch them.
All of this has brought the world to renewed fears of the world possibly meeting its end in fiery, nuclear doom within a decade or sooner.
European doomsday worry-warts are ginning up ultra-Cold War fears by warning citizens to prepare for disaster. With the prospect of the influx of millions of hostile militants migrating to Europe, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, as I once reported, said, “We must give priority to security, so let’s start setting up a joint European army.”
The German government instructed its people to prepare for disaster by stockpiling ten days’ worth of food and five days’ worth of water. Berlin also considered re-instituting conscription (a military draft) in view of the tremendous surge of Muslims entering Europe.
One thing we didn’t hear much about during the volatile 2016 presidential, political season was that President Obama was also speaking in such terms. In June of that year he said that Americans must be prepared “–by having an evacuation plan,” as well as “having a fully-stocked disaster supply kit.”
All of this comes with increasing alarm by some military analysts who report that Russia is developing and testing new “hyper-weapons.” Russian TU-22M3 long-range Backfire bomber aircraft will now be armed with the new Russian Kh-32 cruise missile. The capabilities of this missile are astounding: It can fly at speeds of up to 600 mph to an altitude of almost 25 miles, and when it reaches the proximity of its target, fly downward at a speed of almost 3,000 mph with a total range of almost 600 miles.
There are unsubstantiated reports within some fear-forewarning supposition that “doomsday bunkers” have been prepared for Russian citizenry. Some of the fearful postulation is that many within Russian officialdom are taking to the especially prepared doomsday bunkers in the Yamantau Mountain complex that has been constructed.
Add to this increasing reporting that Russian President Vladimir Putin is in the process of purging all upper-echelon officers within his military that oppose future war with Europe and the U.S.
Turkey is said to be making tremendous changes within its military planning, in conjunction with Putin’s own maneuverings, as preparations for an eventual war in the Middle East and beyond are becoming more manifest.
Chinese leaders are all but declaring war on China’s neighbors in creating islands in the South China Sea–which it now claims for the most part to belong to China. The Chinese navy consistently challenges any commercial and other ships that want to pass through what the world still considers international waters.
China, like Russia, is believed to have produced weapons of a defensive nature that are designed to thwart nuclear missile strikes in retaliation for their own offensive assaults–thus in violation of longstanding agreements against such military technological development.
So, it looks like the old Dr. Strangelove Cold War fears are back. Despite the hyperbole and conspiracy theories, there is enough reality-based concern to be alert to the worries wrought by all this doomsday speculation.
All that said, the bottom line is that the God of Heaven will have the final say about the fate of nations–of planet earth. As a matter of fact, He has already given us all we need to know about that which this generation is now facing so far as the likelihood of doomsday is concerned.
This world is not at its end. It won’t be at its end until at a minimum 1007 years from now–and that is if the Rapture occurred within the next fifteen minutes.
“Doomsday” is a matter that must be viewed in terms of degree. It is true, biblically, that earth’s total obliteration will never take place by human use of the hydrogen bomb or any other device or doomsday machine. It is equally true, prophetically speaking, that earth as we know it will one day be done away with, then remade. That will perhaps take place through nuclear fission or some other phenomenon of natural physics. However, it is done, it will be God who remakes the heavens and the earth.
To most all of those who will be left behind and live through the Tribulation era following the Rapture of the Church it will be the time of doom. Most believers (those who accept Christ after the Rapture) will be martyred. Theirs will not be “doom” but severe persecution–and, in most cases, death. But, those who die will go instantly to an eternity of bliss beyond all imagination.
To the reader: You don’t have to concern yourself with “Doomsday.” Jesus Christ died on the cross at Calvary two thousand years ago to assure that your place of heavenly safety is forever secured. Again, the following is the way God has provided for you to escape the terrors the doomed unbelievers of the ages must face:
“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).
Our weekly commentaries on raptureready.com are written under the heading “Nearing Midnight.” There can be no better column title for Bible prophecy, in my view, in consideration of the gush of issues and events flooding upon this generation of Planet Earth’s inhabitants.
The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ “Doomsday Clock,” although an often-specious mélange spewed at us in order to persuade the world to accept globalist sophistry, is on the mark unknowingly. The minute hand is indeed nearing the midnight hour, according to issues and events moving forward under the template of Bible prophecy.
All we must do to see the nearness of midnight is to skim over headline matters appearing simultaneously at this very hour.
Time Ticks On Culturally and Socially
The Apostle Paul’s “perilous times” foretelling stares us in the face every time we watch the news. The prophecies contained within 2 Timothy 3 cannot be missed by those spiritually attuned to the apostle’s forewarnings.
As a society, we have become a people steeped deeply in self love. We are turned inward more and more, lost in our devices with the selfies and all other things that draw us into our inner sanctums. America’s divorce rate–most often with selfishness at its heart–stands at the center of the problems involving this indicator the Apostle Paul gave as that which will characterize mankind at the end of the age.
All that’s necessary to see that we are a generation ripe with those who are covetous, boasters, and proud is to consider the political process and those involved. And, yes, this cuts across all political ideologies and parties.
One party in particular, however, exhibits a specific indicator Paul gives in characterizing end-time man. Blasphemy has been made the very benchmark of this political party. We remember that, during the lead-up to the 2016 presidential nominating process, the Democrat Party gave a voice vote to remove the mention of God from their political platform. The politically wise moderator ignored the “yea” voice votes of the raucous attendees who wanted to throw God out and declared the much less vocal “nays” had won the vote.
Despite that politically expedient vote obfuscation, this party has become the champion of same-sex marriage, homosexual and transgender causes, and the murder of babies, even after infants have survived the abortion process. They are a people devoted to blasphemous ideology and exhibit that they are without natural affection by advocating the killing of the most innocent among us while in the mothers’ wombs. These are indeed unthankful and unholy in their comportment.
Their mantras fly in the face of the Creator. What God declares to be the natural order, they turn upside down in practically every instance. They are more and more manifesting the degeneration into the reprobate mindset forewarned by Romans 1.
Time Ticks On Geopolitically
Observers of these times in light of Bible prophecy have pointed time after time to the nearness of the midnight hour. They might not use the term “nearing Midnight,” but the observation is there. They consistently blow the siren of alarm. Every signal is front and center that Christ is about to call the Church to Himself.
The things we harp on most stringently are things involving the geopolitical world of issues and events. The American political process has been a most fertile ground for analytically plowing through these issues that are flooding every news cycle.
Again, the Apostle Paul gave what most believe were prophetic utterances for this specific hour. His declaration includes that men will be truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those who are good, traitors, heady, and high-minded. The last two years have brought to the forefront each of these characteristics, at least in my view.
Despite all of these nefarious intrigues by those trying to bring down a presidency, nothing significant enough to do so was found. This shows the evil and insidious nature of those who seem to possess “perilous times” traits.
The Lord–again in my view–has been the restraining influence in preventing things from going the way of the globalists elite. The prayers of His saints, imploring His intervention, is key, I have no doubt. The Lord of Heaven has continued to intervene to prevent the collapse of America for His own purposes. This is important because the rest of the world is intricately linked to this nation. A collapse of the US economy would surely bring about world collapse. I am convinced God’s purposes for preventing collapse at this time have at their center the desire to bring as many to salvation as will come to Christ.
When the Church–all born-again believers–go to be with Christ, the Restrainer will remove from that supernatural office and all will come crashing down.
Time Ticks On Economically
And, make no mistake, this nation and world will suffer a colossal crash once the Church leaves this world. None will be more catastrophic than that of the economic realm.
Economic experts are baffled as to why the level of debt and other unprecedented, existential fiscal factors haven’t already collapsed the financial order because of the great weight involved. With America’s national debt at more than $21.1 trillion and its extrapolated debt at more than $150 trillion, normal, monetary principles should have long ago kicked in, causing catastrophic collapse. Again, the experts can’t understand what is holding things in place. That is because God is never figured into the equation for the inexplicable holding pattern this world is experiencing.
Time Ticks On Religiously
We witness daily the defection of even some evangelical Christians from scriptural truth. They seem to want to follow Pope Francis into the abyss of Laodicean apostasy.
Most illustrative of this defection is the betrayal of Israel. Many have become almost anti-Semitic in their anti-Israel biases. They sign onto the effort to treat the Jewish state as anathema in matters of international commerce, despite the fact that Israel is one of the most vibrant economies on the planet in every respect.
There is a religious fervor against the Jews developing in practically every nation on earth. The United Nations is almost completely comprised of Jew-hating nations. In America, the many Democrat Party presidential candidates refused to attend the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPC) meetings. This is because the Democrat base is now made up of young people who almost as one champion the Palestinian causes and see Israel as responsible for all the problems in the Middle East.
Thankfully, this president is a strong supporter of Israel and defends its right to the Golan Heights, recently declaring that militarily essential, elevated, territory to belong to the Jewish state. This has set the Muslim world and most of the diplomatic world into frenzy. While the stated frenzy is based upon political anger, the actual root of it all is religious. Satan hates Israel…the world hates Israel.
This is how God’s prophetic Word said it would be at exactly this time so near the midnight hour of the age.
The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. (Zechariah 12:1-3)
Nearing Midnight… A most apropos title for a Bible prophecy column, don’t you think?
Some time ago I received an email in which the correspondent expressed his adamant belief that there is no such thing as the “age of accountability–i.e., he declared that those under such a fictitious age will not automatically be transported into Heaven by Christ’s shout at the time of Rapture.
I replied that he had touched on a topic that is a hot issue with yours truly. On this, I give no quarter, whatsoever. But, through experience in dealing with the issue, I am fully aware that no matter what evidence I offer to the contrary, those who accept 1 Corinthians 7:14 as dealing with children and the Rapture consider it a verse that stands alone as proving their point that only children with at least one saved parent will go to Jesus in the Rapture. And, most won’t change on that.
Here is that Scripture: “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.”
Even the great Dr. John Walvoord believed this Scripture indicates that only the child below the age of accountability who has at least one “saved” parent will go to Christ when He calls the Church to Himself.
I’m name-dropping, I guess, but I asked my good friend, Dr Walvoord (he wrote a number of chapters for my books and we were indeed good friends and talked by phone and in person on occasion), if he could give any other Scriptures that backed up the contention that this verse indicated as he believed.
He thought for a moment and shook his head no. “No, I can’t,” he said somberly.
I no longer debate the matter when given a contrary opinion, but respond one time and one only.
This is a salvation matter between Jesus Christ and the child (an eternal matter–not a matter dealing with physical life and death). It is not a matter of earthly relationship (child to parent) and religion (to church affiliation) or morality (to personal conduct).
Children who have died physically and children who will be taken in the Rapture have in common the fact that they were/will be instantly with the Lord. This is because they are seen in God’s merciful economy as innocents, considering the factors as dealt with in this treatment of the subject.
Most importantly, it is an INDIVIDUAL matter–God dealing one on one, not collectively or corporately with the salvation issue.
Acceptance of Christ is based upon a decision to accept or reject. If a person doesn’t have–and has never had–the ability to accept or reject because he or she doesn’t have the mental capacity to understand, they cannot accept or reject.
The Bible says that those who know to do good and do it not–to them it is sin. Conversely, I believe that the whole body of Scripture presents the case that if one doesn’t know they are lost because of sin, they are not condemned. But, when maturity that brings understanding comes (and the Holy Spirit draws them, convicting them of sin), they must accept God’s offer of reconciliation.
The very character of God, as presented throughout the entire Word of God, is at stake. All in Christ will go at the Rapture. Paul says “all will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” What does this mean–“all” that are “in” Christ? It refers to the fact that all who are redeemed by the shed blood of Christ are a part of the Body of Christ–the Church. The child–even though born into sin because of Adam’s disobedience–is “in” Christ before he/she is able to comprehend God’s salvation provision. None who are in Christ will have to face the wrath of God during the coming Tribulation (Daniel’s seventieth week).
One area of Scripture regarding the wrath of God that addresses the position of all in Christ–thus the Rapture–is found here in 1 Thessalonians: “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him” (2 Thessalonians 5:9-10). During this Age of Grace (Church Age), all who are born and have not reached the age of understanding–thus accountability–will go to Christ when they die. This is totally in keeping with God’s character, again, as plainly laid out in God’s holy love letter to mankind.
All of the children who have died–before maturing to the point of being able to make decisions regarding salvation–are now with Christ. To God’s holy praise, that includes every one of the millions upon millions of babies this evil world system has aborted and continues to murder. This number of “innocents” includes every child who has been slain in wars throughout history or who have died due to other causes.
The Scripture that talks about the name being blotted out of the Lamb’s Book of Life deals with this, I’m convinced. The names of all who are born are in that book, I believe. Once the child reaches the age he/she realizes Christ is the way to salvation, but rejects God’s way (John 14:6) have their names blotted out. They are written back in when salvation does occur in the only way God prescribes.
And, I’m convinced that not one child born after the Rapture into that horrendous, seven-year era will ever reach that age. Thus, all children born following that event will go to be with the Lord–either upon their deaths, or during the sheep/goats judgments following the triumphant return of the Lord Jesus. As a matter of fact, read Jesus’ words here: “And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!” (Matthew 24:19).
Jesus is talking here about the Tribulation era–the last seven years of human history before His Second Advent. The Lord mentions two age classifications: 1) children who are in the womb, and 2) those who are so young that they are still at the mothers’ breasts.
There is no mention even of toddlers–i.e., these children have been conceived or born during the Tribulation period. And Jesus is talking here about halfway through the seven-year period.
All children below the age of being able to make decisions on the salvation matter will go to be with Jesus–I have absolutely no doubt, after studying the matter for forty-plus years.
I respect thoughts and beliefs of others on the matter. But as ol’ Dr. J. Vernon McGee used to say with a chuckle, “You have room to disagree, but if you want to be right, I’m sure you’ll want to come along with me.” ( I say this, even though Dr. McGee, like Dr. Walvoord, most likely held to the generally accepted seminary line that 1 Corinthians 7:14 indicates contrary to my position. I don’t recall Dr. McGee’s belief on this issue.)
We will see the truth of it when we stand before Christ. I believe that time is not far distant.