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From Rapture Forums

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Are We Evangelizing or Compromising?
By Howard Green

It should be clear to any born again Christian living in this generation that the return of Jesus is near. If we take a panoramic view and look at all of the geopolitical upheaval around the globe, we see that Bible prophecy is being fulfilled right before our eyes. Knowing that the hour is late, isn’t it time to get down to the business of evangelizing and making disciples? Instead of fulfilling the great commission, many believers are content with seeking ecumenical harmony and common ground with non-Christians. In our day marked by spiritual blindness, are we evangelizing or compromising?

Mark 16:15-16 [Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)] And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Go to a street corner, college campus, or workplace in almost any city and you will find a plethora of spiritual beliefs held by people. Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, Mormons, Gnostics, Spiritists and new age worshippers are just a sample of people you may meet. As Christians, we will certainly come into contact with many people who don’t believe in Jesus as we do. Some of these people believe in an afterlife and some don’t but the fact remains that they will spend eternity somewhere.

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The Ascendancy Of Evil

Saturday, May 9th, 2015

Commentary by Jack Kelley

For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way (2 Thes 2:7).

The number of emails I receive from people who are discouraged, frustrated, even despondent, is steadily increasing. They point to current conditions in the world and wonder how much worse things can get.

You no longer have to be an astute observer to notice how rapidly our world is changing. It wasn’t that long ago when the standard measure was a comparison between what was acceptable to people in their time with what was acceptable in their grandparents’ time. Now we only have to compare what’s currently acceptable with what was acceptable just a few years ago to see measurable change. Not only are things changing, but the rate of change is accelerating.

A person with discernment can’t help but see a supernatural component in all this. It’s true that the heart of man is incurably wicked (Jeremiah 17:9) but these days society seems to be under a compulsion to see just how wicked they can become. All around us we see God’s Laws being conspicuously broken, His word being stifled, and His people, both Jewish and Christian, being persecuted. It’s like it doesn’t matter how twisted something is, as long as it’s a slap in God’s face, it’s bound to catch on.

This obviously couldn’t be happening without man’s active participation, but I’m becoming convinced there’s more to it than a natural progression of things. I think there’s growing evidence of a malevolent power accelerating this and to me that means the time during which the restrainer holds back the secret power of lawlessness (2 Thes. 2:7) is rapidly drawing to a close.

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FOUR BLOOD MOONS OR
FOUR RED FLAGS OVER AMERICA

By Pastor John Muncy

This is the single most deadly prophetic heresy in many years. It is based on something real, and on biblical Jewish feast days. But this teaching now promoted by John Hagee is profoundly heretical and violates the very words of Jesus Christ.

Just so you know my opinion from the start; I will spill the beans and say that I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the rapture WILL NOT occur on April 15, 2014, if you disagree with me, we can talk about it on Wednesday, April 16th. (Yes, there are some who are taking this blood moon theory way out of proportion, even though most who are teaching on this don’t believe that. However, some believe that the Great Tribulation could be started on one of the blood moons.)

 

I’m convinced that the first of the four blood moons will be like every other day, with no big significant change in our world. And again later in October, when the second one occurs, and then when the other two blood moons show up 2015, I’m convinced that they will not usher in the coming of Christ, nor will that be the beginning date for the Great Tribulation. Of course, not everyone who believes the blood moon theory believes that either, but there are a large number of people expecting “major” events to arrive on those dates. The blood moon dates are as follows:

April 15, 2014
October 8, 2014
April 4, 2015
September 28, 2015

Let’s go back to how this teaching got started…

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from Herescope

Old Biblical Prophecy

Note to reader: The article below is an example of what evangelical prophecy leaders and organizations used to teach 20-40 years ago. Not so long ago, before the postmodern prophecy paradigm era, this sort of article was commonplace. Writings such as this served as an encouragement to the reader to 1) expect the Lord’s imminent return and 2) be ready to meet the Lord “here, there or in the air.” Believers exhorted one another that He could return at any time because all events on earth were coinciding to fulfill Bible prophecy, and that before the end the Gospel of salvation should be shared far and wide, especially to family and friends. As yet another sign of the times we note that publishing such an article today, especially with this eschatology, is likely to be met with scoffings (2 Pet. 3:2), even open disbelief (2 Pet. 3:4). For some of you, this may be the first time you have ever encountered this (now) old-fashioned Bible prophecy teaching. Read and consider: what if it is true?

And as it was in the days of Noah, 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 Noah 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. In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. 

Remember Lot’s wife. 

Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.
(Luke 17:26-37)

A Recurrence of the Times of Noah and Lot

Johan Malan, Mossel Bay, South Africa (July 2014)

Read Luke 17:26-37.

The Bible draws a comparison between the utter sinfulness that prevailed during the ancient times of Noah and Lot, and a similar situation which will be evident just prior to the second coming of Christ. History repeats itself in various ways – also with regard to the divine wrath which is poured out upon people who blaspheme God by continuously despising and rejecting the spiritual and moral principles of His kingdom. The following aspects of the comparison between ancient and modern times are pointed out in the Bible:

  • Apostatising. In the times of Noah and Lot spiritual decline was widespread as virtually all people had forgotten God and gave free reign to the dictates of their depraved nature. They were wicked in every intent of their thoughts and not inclined to pursue God’s righteousness (Gen. 6:5). The same situation is characteristic of our time: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons (1 Tim. 4:1). Under the influence of the devil, extreme evil will prevail in the lives of people, and they will be “led away with the error of the wicked” (2 Pet. 3:17).
  • Moral depravity. In the times of Noah and Lot the most licentious lifestyles were socially acceptable, among which was also sodomy. The men of Sodom took no interest in the daughters of Lot but were violently intent on sodomising the angels (Gen. 19:1-10). Sexual perversion, particularly with reference to homosexual relations and practices, will again become the socially acceptable norm rather than the exception (Rom. 1:26-27). The family structure of society inevitably starts crumbling when government and church leaders also condone and openly accept these practices as the natural consequence of the freedom of choice which is seen to be part of basic human rights.
  • An apostate culture becomes dominant. In the times of Noah and Lot, the extensive apostatising and moral decline in society gave rise to an utterly sinful culture which was completely averse to God and His holiness. These wicked people persecuted those who promoted God’s standard of honourable conduct. When Lot tried to oppose them they shouted at him and said: “Stand back! … Now we will deal worse with you … and [they] came near to break down the door” (Gen. 19:9). Lot had to lock his door and hide himself in the house. In the end-time, an extremely sinful culture will again become dominant and people will generally be “without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, treacherous, rash…” (2 Tim. 3:3-4). These distorted inclinations will move the nations to conclude a covenant with the Antichrist who is described in the Bible as “the man of sin” and “the son of perdition” (2 Thess. 2:3; Rev. 13:3). During his reign, sin and unrighteousness will proliferate. The small minority of true believers will be heavily persecuted and forced to hide from the perpetrators of evil behind locked doors, while also trying to evade hostile governments that will hunt them down.
  • Anarchy and violence. In the times of Noah and Lot anarchy prevailed as people in these lawless and promiscuous societies did just as they pleased. Violence was the most common means used to resolve conflicts: “… the earth is filled with violence through them” (Gen. 6:13). That means that there was no central government with the capacity to maintain law and order, and for that reason people took the law into their own hands. Gangsterism, robbery and terrorism were the inevitable consequences of this state of affairs. In the end-time, communities will also become disorganised and lapse into a state in which nobody would be safe – not even children on their way to school, or within the school premises itself. Terrorism, military coups, wars and rumours of wars will dominate the news scene (Matt. 24:6-7). Violent behaviour will occur in conjunction with other forms of immorality and apostasy, and even when God starts punishing and judging these wicked people during the tribulation period they will not stop sinning and rebelling against Him: “But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues … did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts” (Rev. 9:20-21).
  • Materialism and vanity. In the times of Noah and Lot people were excessively materialistic and only lived for the things of this world – particularly with regard to making big investments, amassing wealth, attending parties, revelling in eating and drinking and enjoying all the pleasures of life. They did not come to their senses before it was too late: “Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed” (Luke 17:28-30). In the end-time, many people will also indulge in drinking and licentious pleasure-seeking in an effort to forget the sorrows of life. To them, the sudden coming of the heavenly Bridegroom for His bride will be like a snare which will take them captive for the judgements of God during the subsequent tribulation period: “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth” (Luke 21:34-35). The wealth of rich people, who practise corruption and exploit others to achieve their goals, will be of no avail when the judgements of God are poured out upon the earth: “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! … You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the labourers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter” (Jas. 5:1-5).
  • Scoffing at believers and at the Word of God. In the times of Noah and Lot people scoffed at the believers and chose to ignore the prophetic warnings of forthcoming judgements. They regarded them as far-fetched speculation and continued with their reckless lives of fleshly pleasures and covetousness. Only Noah and his family (eight persons) were not guilty of this attitude and were worthy to escape God’s judgement of the Flood. A similar situation of the despising of biblical prophecies will repeat itself in the end-time: “… knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming?” (2 Pet. 3:3-4). Those on the narrow way are a small minority.
  • Despising the time of grace. In the times of Noah and Lot God gave the degenerate sinners reasonable time to repent of their evil ways. They refused to repent and thereby sealed their own fate. They had only themselves to blame for their downfall and punishment. In the end-time, the great majority of people will not repent from their evil ways but rather embrace the false hope of manmade peace initiatives until it will be too late to escape divine judgements: “For when they say, Peace and safety! then sudden destruction comes upon them. … And they shall not escape” (1 Thess. 5:3).
  • The escape of believers. In the times of Noah and Lot God offered a way of escape to the believers at the critical moment before He turned on the wicked with wrathful punishment (Gen. 6:13-14; 19:15-17). The order of events was: First the prophetic warnings about the impending judgements, then the safeguarding of the believers who took heed of the appeal to repent, and ultimately the outpouring of wrath upon the wicked. Now, in the end-time, the world has repeatedly been warned against the impending judgements of God during the coming great tribulation. Since believers are not destined for these judgements we should prepare to escape them by expecting God’s Son from heaven, “even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thess. 1:10; cf. 5:9).
  • The tragedy of religious formalism. In the times of Noah and Lot there was no security for nominal believers whose hearts were still devoted to the things of this world. Lot’s wife was a type of those believers who only have an outward form of godliness, but are still spiritually dead. This false pretence cost her the loss of her life at the last moment (Gen. 19:26). At the time of Christ’s second coming a similar situation will prevail. For that reason we are warned in the parable on the ten virgins that those among them whose hearts are not filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit will be left behind when the Bridegroom comes (Matt. 25:1-13). Self-justifying, lukewarm Christians who are deceived and erroneously regard themselves as “very good” are abominable to the Lord (Rev. 3:15-17; 2 Cor. 11:2-4).
  • Sudden disaster. In the times of Noah and Lot an awful disaster struck this world soon after the evacuation of the believers. Death and destruction occurred as never before in history (Gen. 7:4; 19:24-25). After the rapture, God’s judgements will again be poured out upon the wicked: “Behold, the day of the Lord comes, fierce, with wrath and raging anger, to make the land and the whole earth a desolation, and to destroy out of it its sinners” (Isa. 13:9; AB). The Lord Jesus warned that shortly before His second coming there will be a great tribulation as never before on earth, and if those days had not been shortened nobody would survive that terrible time (Matt. 24:21-22; 29-30).
  • The blessing offered through withholders. In the times of Noah and Lot the wicked did not realise how many privileges and blessings they enjoyed due to the presence of a few believers in their midst. God was prepared to pardon a whole city if there were only ten believers in it (Gen. 18:23-32). When this small group of believers were suddenly removed to a place of safety, the wicked were rapidly enfolded by the darkness of divine judgements. In the end-time, true believers also act as the withholders of evil, but the world will only appreciate the value of their role when they are gone. The church dispensation will continue until “he who now restrains [the true church indwelt by the Holy Spirit] is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one [the Antichrist] will be revealed. … The coming lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, … that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thess. 2:7-12).
  • Prophetic blindness. In the times of Noah people scoffed at the builders of the ark, and in their ignorance were unaware of their peril “until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matt. 24:39).

Significance of the rapture

God’s end-time judgement upon sinners is a fact which cannot be denied. The physical deliverance of believers before the beginning of judgements is an equally important biblical fact which should always be kept in mind: “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36). Paul further explains this wonderful promise: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:16-18). What a wonderful future to look forward to!

We should react to the promise of the rapture in a number of ways if we wish to enjoy its full blessing. People who deny this promise are out of touch with the prophetic word, they forfeit many of its blessings, and are in danger of remaining behind and mistaking the Antichrist for the true Christ. We should watch out for spiritual deception and always be ready to stand before the Son of Man: “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming” (Matt. 25:13). “Therefore also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him” (Matt. 24:44).

The following are the blessings that are in store for believers who heed the command to be ready for the rapture:

Good news in the prophecies

The pretribulation rapture is the good news element in a dark scenario of end-time prophecies. Without this promise Christians would be left only with the bad news about the coming of the Antichrist and the tribulation period which they will have to face before Jesus comes. Their chances of surviving all the apocalyptic disasters of the great tribulation, as well as the battle of Armageddon, will be slim indeed. A situation like that can be equated to the Flood without the ark, or the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah without any provision for the escape of the believers from the scene of God’s wrath. Such a situation would be highly demoralising and contradict a clear biblical principle that true believers are never the objects of God’s wrath: “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation …” (1 Thess. 5:9). The righteous will not be destroyed with the wicked (cf. Gen. 18:23).

People who are cynical about the promise of the rapture and do not heed the exhortation to be prepared to escape the coming tribulation period reveal a very irresponsible attitude. What would have been the consequence for Noah and his family (and for the future survival of the entire human race!) if Noah had argued as follows: “God is a God of love and I do not really believe that He will send a flood to judge all people; therefore, I am not going to build an ark to escape this so-called judgement.” Or what would have happened to Lot and his family had he taken the following stand: “I think the prophesied judgement upon Sodom and Gomorrah should be interpreted symbolically. I do not have to escape for my life. Even if the disaster does occur I believe that God will protect us from His wrath here in this place.” Similar arguments are often heard today.

The coming judgements during the tribulation period are irrefutable biblical facts. Jesus said there will be great tribulation such as has not been since the beginning of the world (Matt. 24:21), and that we should be ready to escape it. The rapture is part of the good news of the gospel of our Lord Jesus. He came to this sin-indulging world to pay the price for the salvation of sinners. He then returned to heaven to prepare a place for us, and will come back to take us away to our heavenly abode. If we are truly born again we will be worthy to escape the horrors of the coming tribulation on earth by way of the rapture. We do not have to despair at the knowledge of what is coming upon the world since there is a wonderful element of good news in the prophetic word.

A correct future expectation

If we believe in the pre-tribulation rapture we have the assurance of a truly biblical future expectation. This belief does not in any way contradict other biblical truths. This end-time perspective honours the Lord Jesus and recognises Him as the key to all prophecy in Scripture, “for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10). Christians should remain focused on Him and wait for His sudden appearance – not for the Antichrist’s. Those who deny Him will remain behind after the rapture. Having rejected the way of escape and salvation offered by the true Christ, they will have to endure the Antichrist’s dictatorship and the terrible judgements to follow. What they experience on earth will be a direct result of the seals broken by the Lamb in heaven. Never deny Jesus Christ His central position in biblical prophecies. To expect His imminent return, and to arrange your life accordingly, is a command which is intended to be a strong, positive motivation to all Christians of all ages.

A motivation for steadfastness

The coming of the heavenly Bridegroom will occur during a time of religious compromise and worldliness. There will be a great falling away from the truth of God’s Word. A relatively small group of evangelical Christians will shine like lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation (Phil. 2:15). As in the times of Noah and Lot, the earth will be filled with violence, materialism, and sexual perversion. Unfortunately, the spirit of unrighteousness and immorality will also take its toll among Christians. They will relax their vigilance and make downward adjustments to their spiritual standards: “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matt. 24:12). Some Christians will become backslidden or discouraged in the work of the Lord.

Inactive Christians often compromise their dedication to the Lord and their responsibility to serve Him faithfully. Their spiritual decline may manifest itself in various ways. The most common way of backsliding is to abandon the need for sanctification and to become pleasure-seekers who attend worldly parties where people eat and drink to excess. They also become critical of evangelical Christians who do not approve of their depraved ways. The Lord Jesus warned against such sinful behaviour and countered it by using the prospect of His sudden, unexpected return as a positive motivation to remain steadfast to the end: “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. … But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites” (Matt. 24:45-51).

Correctly determining and prioritising works

To expect the coming of the Lord Jesus before the tribulation period, guides your actions in the right direction. You prepare for His coming and not for the coming of the Antichrist. The concept of the rapture explicitly confronts you with your responsibility to give account of yourself before the judgement seat of Christ immediately after being caught up to heavenly places (2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 14:12). The following crowns will be awarded to the faithful:

  • The incorruptible crown for holiness (1 Cor. 9:24-27). A life of this nature is characterised by the power of the Holy Spirit which enables a believer to abide in Christ, resist the temptations of sin and spiritual deception, and to keep on serving the Lord despite severe adversity and opposition. All the other crowns are dependant upon the believer’s sanctification.
  • The crown of rejoicing for soul-winners (1 Thess. 2:19). When the saving grace of the Lord Jesus is proclaimed, people are invited to accept it by faith, thereby obtaining the promise of eternal life. We were commissioned to be Christ’s witnesses everywhere on earth (Acts 1:8) but not all believers are engaged in fulfilling their calling.
  • The crown of life for Christian martyrs (Rev. 2:10). All those who have suffered or even died for their faith, will be rewarded. This category also includes believers who were severely tested but carried their cross with perseverance (Jas. 1:12).
  • The crown of glory for faithful shepherds (1 Pet. 5:2-4). Peter makes it clear that the faithful shepherds are those who did not fulfil their ministry by constraint, or for dishonest gain, or for status considerations. False teachers who proclaim lies will not share in the rapture to appear before the judgement seat of Christ, since they do not belong to Him and are destined for perdition (2 Pet. 2:1; 2 Tim. 4:3-4).
  • The crown of righteousness for those who loved the appearing of the Lord (2 Tim. 4:8). To love His coming calls for dissociation from the depraved world and its (mostly) corrupt leaders while pursuing the kingdom of Christ. Believers are citizens of this heavenly kingdom over which Christ will reign as King on earth after His second coming (Phil. 3:20-21).

The fact that our works will be judged after the rapture, and that only those with eternal value will be rewarded, is of great significance in helping us to devote ourselves to objectives that are higher than the material things of this perishable world. After conversion, our lives should yield the fruit of the Spirit and we should not waste time and resources on earthly things, pleasure or futile works. After the foundation of faith in the Lord Jesus has been laid in our lives we should take care to walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh: “… let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. … Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble, every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire” (1 Cor. 3:10-13).

Will you be found a worthy servant or will you stand before the judgement seat of Christ on that day empty-handed, saved as by fire? (1 Cor. 3:15). If you lose sight of the possibility of the Lord’s imminent return you may lapse into complacency, spiritual inactivity, and even into sin: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. … You therefore, beloved, since you know these things beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and for ever” (2 Pet. 3:10, 17-18).

The faithful and wise servant keeps himself busy with the work of the Lord, always realising that the time to work for his Master is running out. The Lord Jesus Himself said: “I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4). The night of God’s judgements during the great tribulation is fast approaching. Spiritually speaking, the tribulation will be one of the darkest periods in the entire history of humanity – and that should motivate us to work with greater dedication and commitment to the Lord while we are still in the day of grace.

Motivation for holiness

One of the strongest motivations that the promise of the rapture instils into a Christian is that of holiness. As members of the bridal church we should commit ourselves to the challenge of being presented to the heavenly Bridegroom as chaste virgins. That implies the responsibility to be vigilant by not allowing the wicked one to pervert or corrupt our minds and lives (2 Cor. 11:2-3). Jesus Christ gave Himself to sanctify and cleanse the church that He might present it to Himself holy and without spot or blemish (Eph. 5:25-27). We have a distinct responsibility to use the means of grace at our disposal to walk in the ways of the Lord and to become holy in all our conduct (1 Pet. 1:15). “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord” (2 Cor. 7:1).

If we abide in Christ, we will have confidence when He appears and not be ashamed before Him (1 John 2:28). However, should we lose sight of His imminent coming and fail to live accordingly we may lapse into complacency, spiritual passiveness, and even into sin (Matt. 24:48-51).

Hope during trials and afflictions

Under the dark shadow of trials and afflictions, when our prospects on earth look bleak, the belief in Christ’s coming for us at the rapture is a light at the end of the tunnel. Through many sorrows and suffering, millions of Christians have clung desperately to the promise of the resurrection and our union with the Lord at the rapture. It gave them strength to endure, counting earthly things and even their own lives as of no account so that they might win eternity with Christ. So, take courage, lift up your head, and expect the coming of the Lord, knowing your future is safe and sure in His hands.

A sense of destiny

Like Abraham we should see ourselves as strangers and sojourners in a world that “lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:18). Since our future is not here, we need a vision of the city with foundations, whose builder and maker is God (Heb. 11:10). In our pilgrimage through this world, we need a strong sense of destiny. When the Lord comes for us at the rapture, He will take us to our eternal home in the new Jerusalem (1 Cor. 2:9; John 14:2; Rev. 21:2).

We should not identify ourselves with this world and become one with its materialism, pleasure-seeking and moral and spiritual depravity. We should proclaim the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvellous light. The unbelievers around us are in spiritual darkness, but through our testimony we should show them the way to the Saviour, who is the light of the world.

While serving the Lord as faithful witnesses, we should always keep our eye on Him as “the bright and morning star” (Rev. 22:16) that shines above the dark horizon of a troubled and hostile world. The morning star tells us the night is far spent and the day is at hand. Before Jesus appears as the Sun of Righteousness, when every eye shall see Him, Christians will have an awesome meeting with Him, the Bright and Morning Star, in the air!

”Take Heed That No Man Deceive You” – Jack KinsellaWhen He was asked, ‘what will be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?’ (Matt 24:3) one of the first things Jesus said was: “take heed that no man deceive you,” but He warns us not to follow them.

He also warned the Church that in ‘the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33).

That is not to say that the Church plays a role in the time generally referred to as the Tribulation Period. There’s plenty of tribulation in the world for the Christian right now already, but Jesus is letting us know its all according to Plan, so don’t worry.

I believe the Bible makes it clear that the Tribulation Period is the Seventieth Week of Daniel, the time of ‘Jacob’s Trouble’.

It is for this reason that I believe the pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine to be correct according to the Scripture.

To follow the flow of Bible prophecy during the final hours of the Church Age, there must first be an understanding that there IS a ‘Church Age’.

There are few Christians who deny the existence of a ‘Church Age’ — the Bible is divided into Old Testament and New, after all — most churches acknowledge the Birth of the Church at Pentecost, and so on.

But when it comes to the Tribulation, understanding Bible prophecy and the signs of the times, conflicting doctrines are often preached within the same messages by the well-meaning who solemnly pronounce the conflicts as ‘mysteries of faith’ — or they ignore Bible prophecy altogether.

If there IS a Church Age, then there was something before — and something that comes after. That is the basic premise of Dispensationalism. Dispensational theologians divide human history according to the way God interacted with man at that time, into seven ‘dispensations’ of God’s grace.

The time before the Fall was the Age of Innocence, after the Fall, but before the Flood the Age of Conscience, and so on.

Of interest to us at this juncture are the Ages of the Law and the Age of Grace (Church Age).

Don’t get pulled down a rabbit trail, stay with me here. Forget all the clever but somewhat cloudy arguments from those who’ve ‘dug deeper into God’s truth’ and just follow the simple map for now.

You can always go back later if you get lost. I’m not trying to deceive anyone.

Either there was an age under the Law of Moses that ended with the introduction of the Age of Grace at Pentecost, or there was not. If your Sunday School doesn’t teach that, better take another look at your Bible.

The Bible teaches there is a purpose FOR the Church Age. The Jews first, then also the Gentiles.

“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in,” Paul writes in Romans 11:25.

The blindness of Israel to the coming of the Messiah Jesus is ‘in part’ and conditional — ‘until the fullness of the Gentiles is come in’ to the Church.

I needn’t go into exhaustive exegesis — it is either clearly what God intended to be understood as written, or it is not. Truth needs no propping up — it can stand by itself nicely, thank you.

Paul pictures the three kinds of spiritual human beings — Jews, Gentiles, and the Christian redeemed out of each group. There is no fourth option in Scripture. Every human falls into one of these three categories, according to the Scriptures.

What happens when ‘the fulness of the Gentiles be come in’ then?

According to Daniel, the Dispensation of the Age of the Law was limited to seventy ‘weeks’ (of years) totaling 490 altogether, starting from the command to rebuild the temple given Ezra by Artexerxes.

Daniel said the time would run concurrently until the Messiah is ‘cut off’ after 69 weeks (483 years). The seventieth week resumes sometime in the future with the introduction of antichrist.

The ‘fullness of the Gentiles’ is the conclusion of the Church Age. It is hard to see that any other way.

Misunderstanding the Dispensations allows one to end the Church age in the middle of the tribulation with the Rapture. But then there is no sense to Daniel’s 70th Week, since it is now just three and a half years.

Set aside all the deep thinking and careful, painstaking calculations and tortured interpretations for now and just look at the obvious, clear and logical flow.

If there IS a point when the ‘fullness of the Gentiles is come in’ AND there is a point in which the 70th Week of Daniel resumes, then there is a point BEFORE and a POINT after. Just like beginning of the Church Age. There was a point BEFORE Pentecost, and a point AFTER.

Since the Church Age is for the gathering of the saints, and Daniel’s 70th Week is set aside for the national redemption of Israel (the purpose specifically given by Daniel FOR the 70th Week) and for the judgment of God against a Christ-rejecting world (the purpose from the perspective of John) why, logically, would the Church Age end with any less definition than it began?

Why would the Age of the Law resume while the Church is still here? What then, is the ‘fullness’ of the Gentiles? Logically, I mean, following the simple path, not the contorted one that creates so much friction and division.

Ignoring the clear pattern of dispensational truth in the Scripture in favor of something more complicated and therefore, somehow, deeper, appeals to the human propensity for pride. (“I know something you’re too stupid to figure out”)

But does it make clear sense? Where does it lead?

Christians are exhorted to walk ‘by faith and not by sight’ but I’ve heard pre-tribulationalism decried as ‘the Great Escape’ and its preachers called false teachers who were not preparing the Church for the coming tribulation.

From this perspective, if I don’t teach that we are going to go through the Tribulation, you won’t be prepared to stand. So you need survival gear, a year’s supply of desiccated food, some gold (money won’t be any good) and maybe a nice underground shelter.

THEN, you will be ‘prepared’ for the coming troubles, during which time you’ll walk by faith and not by sight when the antichrist is about to kill your children in front of you unless you take the Mark. Uh-huh.

My favorite argument is that Dispensational pretribulationism is a new doctrine first introduced by Margaret MacDonald in 1820. So how come I’m quoting the Bible instead of her?

Regardless of when you think the Rapture happens personally, did you ever notice how MAD people get if you don’t agree with THEM?

There is no profit in preaching a pretribulation Rapture and eternal security. I can’t sell you desiccated food, gold for the coming catastrophe or even a book on what to do if you get left behind, because if you are saved, you won’t need it and you won’t get left behind. No money in that.

And if you believe me — then neither can anybody else. (Maybe that’s why they get so mad, who knows?)

We are living in the last days. The signs of the times are all around us. The Lord is coming soon, and when He comes, the Bible says that the dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with the Lord in the air. (1 Thessalonians 4)

When Jesus ascended into heaven, an angel appeared to the Apostles, (not to the Gentiles) “Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven. ” (Acts 1:11)

To the Gentile world at the Second Coming; “Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.” (Revelation 1:7)

Unless you have different definitions for the words “every” and “all” then what would Christians be ‘wailing about’ at the Lord’s 2nd Coming? It’s what we’ve been waiting for since His Ascension.

A pre-Trib Rapture leaves nothing to sell to see you through the Tribulation. No motive to deceive. Like the Gospel, it’s simple and direct.

First, the ‘fullness of the Gentiles be come in’ and the Rapture, then the pouring out of God’s Wrath on those who make war against the Jews, then the national redemption of Israel at the Second Coming, and finally, the destruction of antichrist and introduction of the Millennial Kingdom.

Simple. In harmony with Scripture.

The only incentive for preaching it is to tell people they need to get saved — NOW, not later when the antichrist hands them his calling card.

“And as He sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.” (Matthew 24:).

EMERGENCY! THE UNPREPARED WILL SHORTLY BE “THE LEFT BEHIND” (Eight things you must know if you are “Left Behind”.)

IF YOU ARE NOT GOING TO GET READY FOR THE RAPTURE THEN YOU MUST GET READY FOR THE ANTICHRIST, THE DEVIL AND THE RELIGIOUS MOBS. You cannot afford to suddenly be left after the Rapture and not know what you are going to face and how to deal with the darkness you will endure and not be eternally lost. You must know the kind of powers and destruction coming on this world. If you cannot serve the Lord now then you will need to understand how much worse it will be when the devil actually rules the world with no restraints.

Let me list eight things you will encounter and how you must prepare.
1. Prepare your mind to deal mentally with absolute darkness from the Spirit realm.
2. Prepare to pray with no great emotional relief.
3. Get prepared to endure hunger and thrist to the point of starvation.
4. Get ready to suffer the ravaging of your life from those old friends and family members that will be ashamed of your commitment to Jesus Christ.
5. Prepare for attacks of fear that will be relentless and devastating.
6. Prepare for grotesque creatures out of hell attacking, mutilating and tormenting you.
7. Be prepared for a World Health system so overloaded and inadequate as to be helpless.
8. Prepare for death and murder, rape and molestation, the absence of police protection and mobs of mindless people driven crazy by the out of control world.

Full Article HERE

 

 

TEXAS GOVERNOR’S UPCOMING LEADERSHIP EVENT INCLUDES CULT MEMBERS

By Marsha West

August 3, 2011

NewsWithViews.com

The prayer event I’m speaking of is The Response: a call to prayer for a nation in crisis. The cult Gov. Rick Perry has involved himself with is the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). The NAR has dozens of offshoots and an assortment of names such as Dominionists, Latter Rain, Kansas City Prophets, Third Wave, Joel’s Army, Manifest(ed) Sons of God, Five-Fold Ministry, to name a few. Another offshoot, and the one I’ll deal with here, is the International House of Prayer (IHOP), a splinter group of the Kansas City Prophets. Confusing? You betcha!

I’m not alone in my view that much of the NAR and IHOP theology and doctrines are unbiblical, most conservative Bible scholars, apologists and pastors agree. According to Brannon Howse:

The Response…is being promoted as a time of prayer and repentance. However, how can Christians and Christian leaders gather together in a spiritual enterprise and a spiritual service, with individuals that embrace a theology and doctrine that teaches a different Jesus and a different gospel? I, and thousands of pastors and theologians, believe that the Word of God reveals that the teaching of the New Apostolic Reformation, (NAR) the Word of Faith movement and the prosperity gospel is completely unbiblical. (Online source)

The American Family Association (AFA) is sponsoring the event. AFA is part of the Religious Right a.k.a. the Christian Right (CR). Is the fact that cultists are involved just a slip up or a failure on the part of AFA to fact check? No. They know perfectly well who these people are and have decided to unite with them anyway.

So why would a so-called Christian group pal around with members of a Christian cult? In a word, pragmatism. This is the philosophy that “the end justifies the means.” In this case the end is getting people motivated to show up at a prayer rally. The NAR has the resources to accomplish this task because a large part of what they do is planning global prayer events. Although I have no way of validating how this project was conceived it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the NAR wanted to do a prayer event in Texas that included the governor so they presented the plan to the AFA and a partnership was created. Since it benefits politicians to have the support of the Religious Right, Perry also jumped on board. Another possibility is that AFA’s leadership has Dominionist leanings and they, feeling comfortable with this group, sponsored the event. Finally, it very well might be that the governor’s staff came up with the idea and presented it to the AFA, they liked the idea and agreed to sponsor it. Although it would be interesting to know how the idea for this event was conceived and how this group of organizers was put together, the fact remains that Gov. Perry and the CR are involved with cultists.

Full Article HERE

Red Flags of Deception

This article is being shared by many blogs right now because of the Harold Camping debaucle. Please pray for those who may be discouraged and turn away from God because of the harm done by this man. He is a deceiver and deceivers turn people away from the true and living God by misquoting or twisting scripture. The video showed Camping with a Bible in his lap, and this made Christianity look foolish. This will become old news soon, but the impact will always be felt because false prophecies demean the church.

Many Christians well-versed in scripture knew that the rapture was not going to happen on this particular day and time, and that Camping is a false prophet. The most popular verse quoted by those secure in God’s Word and His truth was Matthew 24:36. “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” 

 Many of us patiently wait knowing that Jesus will come like a thief in the night and will come when we do not expect Him.

No one seems to know who wrote the following article because it was from a blog that has since been taken down. I thank the author who wrote:

Red Flags of Deception

The following is a list of ‘Red Flags’ that are symptoms of deception in a person or group. In developing this list, I was concerned, not so much with addressing specific doctrines, but in identifying characteristics that are symptomatic of deception. I started writing this list when I noticed the many similarities between the Walk and the prophetic movement gaining momentum in Vineyard/Charismatic circles. These characteristics of deception predominate in Charismatic/Vineyard groups and in the Walk.

1. Spiritual elitism. This is the root of many delusions. Any kind of elitist belief is a certain indication of deception. Elitism is the belief that God has given a certain group special revelation/power/anointing that other Christian groups or previous generations have not entered into. They are on the spiritual cutting-edge, rising to spiritual levels not attained by other groups. It’s often dressed up as “Joel’s Army”, “Gideon’s Army”, and Elijah Companies of super anointed end-time warriors. Elitism is seen today in the ‘this-is-the-greatest-generation-ever’ kind of preaching we often hear. It can be found in the need to search out so-called ‘deeper’ truths and discover new, hidden mystical insights.

2. A tendency to marginalize the written Word. Watch out for any talk that plays down devotion to Scripture, such as “God is bigger than the Bible” or “God is doing a new thing, so put away your Bibles.” Marginalizing the written Word can take many forms:

a) Ignoring the Word. Neglecting private Bible study in daily life is a strong symptom of deception.

b) Disregarding the Word. A careless attitude towards obedience. I’ve seen examples of this in wild revival meetings in which people mockingly quote the verse, “Let all things be done decently and in order”, while they enjoy a good laugh over their disorderly and drunken behavior. Any teaching that plays down our requirement to be doers of the Word is a sure sign of delusion.

c) Deceived groups that marginalize the Word are often those who have an emphasis on prophecy. Beware of any emphasis on the revelatory, prophetic word, especially where there is a sidelining of the written Word. We are not to despise prophecy, but the real meat of the Word that nourishes the saints and builds them up in the faith is the written Word of God, not the prophetic. Teaching that would make Christians dependant on prophets or apostles for ‘current’ truth effectively marginalizes the Word of God.

d) “Fools despise knowledge.” Any kind of talk that does not give the Word the high regard it is due, effectively marginalizes the Word and is a sure sign that deception is at work in the group. As the Word says, “Choose my instruction instead of silver.” Love it more than anything else.

3. Prayerlessness in private. Neglect of private prayer time, alone with God, is a strong indication of deception. If it is prevalent across a church or movement, it indicates deception is taking hold of that group. Please note that deceived people will often continue to attend and even enjoy public church functions, especially when there is good sound, light or music – but private quite time loses its appeal.

4. Disdain for Berean[31] spirited searching of the scriptures. Any kind of anti-Berean, anti-discernment teaching that discourages people from questioning what is going on or being taught is a sure sign of deception. If you ever hear the leadership of your church group say anything along the lines of “put away your Bibles”, or “don’t worry about being deceived”, then head for the exit as fast as you can.

5. An inability to separate Godly criticism of their words from personal attack. Equating ‘Berean’ (Acts 17:11) activity with criticism. Such leaders may often talk about the ‘Jezebel spirit’ and the ‘accuser of the brethren’ and warn people about moving in a fault finding or critical spirit. What they are driving at is that if you question what is going on, or challenge what is being taught, you are being critical and run the risk of incurring the Lord’s disfavor.

6. Lack of accountability. One common trait among the new wave of apostles and prophets rising to prominence these days is that they do not like to be held accountable for their teachings and failed prophecies. Any criticism of their teachings and prophetic utterances is taken as an attack against their ministry.

7. Discernment primarily the prerogative of leadership. A tendency to see discernment as a special gift or anointing not available to everyone to the same degree, or that increases with higher spiritual office. The ‘higher’ you are on the prophetic ladder, the more discerning you are. Since leaders supposedly have better discernment as per their higher office, followers tend to trust the opinions of their leaders over their own, since the ‘apostle’ or prophet must have better understanding anyway due to their higher standing in the spiritual ranks[32]. Believers are not encouraged to trust their own discernment, or are encouraged only so long as it agrees with the overall word as set forth by the leaders. Discernment among the ranks becomes little more than a faculty (an inner witness of the spirit) that confirms what the Apostle or Prophet is saying.

8. Any form of Mystery Religion. A mystery religion is a religion that has successive levels of knowledge and ‘deeper’ truths, which are not necessarily available to all, at least not at first. Those in higher levels will know things not revealed, nor available, to lower levels. A new ‘believer’ comes in on the ground floor, and then progresses up through successive levels of spiritual understanding and empowerment as he is introduced to the ‘deeper’ truths.

9. Heightened interest with spiritual levels and rankings. Higher ‘spiritual’ rank is equated with greater closeness to God. Gifts and callings are typically ranked, and those higher in rank are seen as closer to God in some practical way, such as hearing from God more frequently and being more privy to God’s inner secrets. Those on higher spiritual levels have a privileged access to God that is not available to those holding lesser callings. As a result of their higher standing or special calling, God visits them more often and they receive greater mystical experiences than the rest.

10. Heightened interest in dreams, visions, new revelations and novel insights. This may not necessarily be explicitly stated in their Creed, and they may claim to believe the Bible as the Word of God. But in actual practice dreams, visions and revelations are the preferred stock-in-trade over sound Bible teaching and exposition of the basics.

11. An increase in subjectivity. Looking for subjective impressions, personal ‘prophetic’ words and ‘revelation’ for guidance and direction. Seeking the mystical ‘inner voice’ as guide over the written Word. You can be sure that if a person is seeking new personal ‘words’, it is because they are not in the Word, and serious deception cannot be long avoided.

12. Detractors dismissed as having inferior vision. They see themselves as being in tune with God, and anyone who is also in tune with the Divine will agree with them. Detractors are obviously not in tune with God and have inferior vision. This sets up a very neat circular reasoning that is almost impossible to get past. It is a defensiveness which is very difficult to penetrate, because they are convinced that detractors don’t have the same level of anointing or discernment as they have. As they see it, if detractors did have the same level of anointing, they’d be in agreement. They dismiss any criticism of their teaching or conduct as bitterness, jealousy or fault finding, while they themselves feel they have very sharp spiritual perception. People are truly discerning only as long as they support their movement.

13. Dismissive attitude towards detractors. Detractors given derogatory labels, such as ‘religious’, ‘old order’, ‘old wineskins’, or ‘Pharisees’. Detractors denounced as not being able to ‘handle it’, or they have a ‘Jezebel spirit’, or a ‘spirit of criticism’. They are ‘accusers of the brethren’, that sort of thing. Threats of God’s judgment on detractors and critics are a sure sign of a cultic mindset and delusion.

14. A ‘get-on-board-or-else’ mentality. A fear that you’ll miss God’s new move and be left behind if you don’t join up. God is doing a new thing and if you do not go along with it, regardless of how long you’ve been faithfully serving God over the years, God will pass you by and you’ll get left in the dust.

15. New thingism. God is doing a ‘new thing’ and you’d better get with it. There is now a further requirement if you want to remain a first class Christian and in God’s highest favour, which is to be a part of the new thing represented by the group. If you don’t come along, you run the risk of God passing you by.

16. A special anointing. A certain person or group has been anointed by God to introduce something to the rest of the Body. God has given it to them, and other believers can come to them to ‘get it.’

17. A priesthood. Placing a person or group in an exalted status with God, so that they become special intermediaries, is a sure sign of delusion. False movements and false religions invariable try to interject some kind of priesthood between the believer and God. This is seen whenever a person or group claims to have received something from God that can be received from their hands. They become an intermediary between you and Jesus Christ if you want more of God, and people are encouraged to go to the ‘anointed’ of the Lord to get it.

We see this today in certain revival circles where it is necessary to get more from God at the hands of a specially chosen vessel. Worship leaders have ‘an anointing’ to lead us into the presence of God. Prophets and apostles have a privileged access to receive things from God that the rest of the church needs. False religion always reverts to some form of human priesthood.

18. “Don’t think about it, just jump in” type of teaching that encourages people to throw caution to the wind. Encouraging followers not to worry or think things through, that God won’t allow them to be deceived. Just jump in before it’s too late or you may miss the boat.

19. Glorification of the vessel. An excessive focus on the ‘anointed’ person of God.

20. Old Testament ‘typed’ anointing. (A ‘Phineas’ anointing. The mantle of Elijah, etc.)

21. An excited interest in peripheral subjects not central to the gospel. A de-emphasis on the central themes of the gospel. They claim to agree with the gospel, but the bulk of their teaching, writing and prophetic messages show a greater interest in peripheral topics, novel insights and new revelation.

22. May talk unity, but bring division along lines of gender, age, race or nationality.

23. Watch out for leaders who love to surround themselves with minions who affirm their special anointing.

24. More interest in breaking through to new levels and remaking the church along new lines rather than reaching the lost with the good news of Jesus Christ.

25. False spirits love to show off and love center stage. They love to parade their subjective impressions and experiences up front for others to see. Publicly sharing highly subjective impressions and insights that cannot be proved or disproved one way or the other is a real “Red Flag”.

26. Conference chasing. Running from place to place to meet God. Any emphasis on experiencing God corporately more than privately is a symptom of delusion. Whenever people need to go to a conference or certain location to receive a ‘fresh’ touch, something is very wrong.

There is a whole generation of believers now who are bored with ‘quiet time’ alone with God, who don’t know how to meet God in the prayer closet, and can only meet with God and experience Him in public settings that provide the right mood and atmosphere, usually involving the right music. The reason so many are chasing God at conferences is because they are not in the Word and prayer at home.

27. The ‘anointed’ leader has a privileged access, a hot relationship, with God that the rest have yet to attain. They get angelic visitations, dramatic visions and prophetic insights, and they publish ‘prophetic bulletins’ to keep others abreast with what God is doing. Because the apostles and prophets are in such a privileged position of receiving the latest hot word from God, the rest are reduced to second hand status, anxiously awaiting the latest prophetic bulletin. Watch for groups that tend to place emphasis on the leaders anointing or relationship with God. This results in Christians running to conferences for a ‘fresh touch’ from those who seem to have ‘it’.

28. The Holy Spirit is seen more as coming to bring an experience rather than a greater understanding of the Scripture.

29. A tendency to distinguish between people who accept their movement as a true move of God and those who don’t.

30. Beware of any dichotomy between the Spirit and the mind. Any anti-intellectual position, such as the belief held in many charismatic circles today that exercising the mind will hinder the Holy Spirit, is a real indication of deception. Deceivers like to parrot phrases like: “God will offend the mind to reveal the heart.” This cute little mantra often repeated in certain revival groups sounds very spiritual, but is very false. A careful reading of the Word tells us the truth: God will inform the mind to convince the heart. Jesus often did offend the Pharisee’s – by telling them the truth! The Holy Spirit leads people to Christ by shining the light of God’s Word into their minds and convicting them of its truth.

The following is enlarged from the Way of Life Advanced Bible Studies Course UNDERSTANDING BIBLE PROPHECY – By David Cloud

 

The word “rapture” does not appear in the Bible, but it is a term used to describe the catching away of the saints of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. The term “caught up” in 1 Th. 4:17 is also translated “pluck” (Jn. 10:28), “take by force” (Acts 23:10), and “pulling [out of the fire]” (Jude 23). It refers to a forceful seizing and a snatching away. It is used of the Spirit of God snatching away Philip after the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:39). This is exactly what Christ will do to the New Testament believers before the onslaught of the Great Tribulation.

Notes on 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18:

1. The Rapture is (1) a resurrection of the dead in Christ (v. 14-16), (2) a catching up and translation of the living New Testament saints (v. 17).

2. The dead in Christ are with Him in heaven (v. 14).

3. The Rapture is the believer’s hope (v. 13). It is what we are looking forward to.

4. The Rapture is certain. (a) It is as sure as Christ’s resurrection (v. 14). (b) It is the word of the Lord (v. 15).

5. The Rapture is a comfort (v. 18). If this translation did not occur until the end of the torments of the Great Tribulation, it certainly would not produce solace for the Christian standing on this side of the Tribulation.

6. The Rapture is before the day of the Lord’s wrath (5:1-5, 9).

This event is also described in 1 Corinthians 15:51-58.

1. The Rapture is a mystery that was not revealed in the Old Testament (v. 51). The Old Testament prophets taught about the resurrection, but they did not teach that some would be caught up without dying. The translation of the New Testament saints will involve an instantaneous change from morality to immortality. Those believers living at that hour will never see death.

2. The translation of the church-age saints is said to be a source of comfort and encouragement (1 Co. 15:58). Again, if this translation did not occur until the end of the torments of the Great Tribulation, it would not be a comfort.

Among those who believe in a literal Rapture of church-age saints, there are three general positions. All of these pertain to the timing of the Rapture in relation to the Great Tribulation. The three views are (1) Pre-tribulational, meaning the church-age saints will be raptured before the Great Tribulation. (2) Mid-tribulational (also called Pre-wrath Rapture), meaning the church-age saints will go through the first half of the Tribulation. (3) Post-tribulational, meaning the church-age saints will go through the entire Tribulation period.

THE EVIDENCE FOR THE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE

For the following reasons we are convinced the Bible teaches a Pre-tribulational Rapture. In the following study, we are using the term “church” in a general, institutional sense:

1. CHURCH-AGE BELIEVERS ARE PROMISED SALVATION FROM WRATH (1 Th. 1:9-10; 5:1-9; Rom. 5:9; Rev. 3:10).

The Great Tribulation is expressly called the day of God’s wrath. Today the Lord is withholding His anger; He is seated upon a throne of grace, but the day approaches when He will take the seat of judgment. Then “the day of his wrath” will be upon all the world (Ps. 110:5; Isa. 13:6-13; Rev. 6:16-17). It is true that in every century, Bible-believing churches have been subjected to persecution, but this is quite different from the Great Tribulation. The general persecutions of the saints are caused by the wrath of wicked men and the devil, whereas the seven-year Tribulation is a period especially pertaining to God’s wrath (Rev. 6:16-17; 14:10). Some feel that the church will not be saved out of the time of wrath, but will be saved through it. This cannot be true, since the Bible clearly reveals that those who are on earth during the Great Tribulation will not be delivered from wrath but will be overcome (Rev. 13:7). The Scriptures that promise church-age believers deliverance from wrath must refer to salvation out from the very presence of the wrath. Concerning the Great Tribulation, we are told that “as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth” (Lk. 21:35). Therefore, church-age believers must either be physically removed from the earth, or they will be involved in the day of wrath. God promises removal. “… I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Rev. 3:10). This verse does not say that God will keep the church age saints through the temptation but from it.

2. THE HOLY SPIRIT IS TO BE REMOVED BEFORE THE TRIBULATION (2 Th. 2:1-8).

In other passages of the Bible, the Holy Spirit is said to be the restrainer of sin (Ge. 6:3; Is. 59:19). The Holy Spirit came into the world in His present dispensation at Pentecost (Acts 2), when He came to empower the church for the Great Commission (Acts 1:8). He will remove the church-age believers before the time of God’s great wrath. This does not mean the Holy Spirit will not be present in the world at that time. He is God and is omnipresent. It means that He will not be present in the same sense that He is in this age.

3. CHURCH-AGE BELIEVERS ARE PROMISED MANSIONS IN HEAVEN (Jn. 14:1-3).

When the Lord Jesus returns to the earth at the end of the Tribulation, He sets up His Messianic kingdom. If the Rapture occurred at the end of the Tribulation, the promise to church-age believers pertaining to Heaven would not be fulfilled. Church-age believers are a heavenly people with a heavenly hope (Eph. 1; Ph. 3:20; Col. 3:1-3). Some dispensationalists teach that the church-age saints will live in heaven during the millennium. I believe they will live both in heaven and in earth. Jesus promised the apostles that they would reign with Him over Israel (Matt. 19:28).

4. THE TRANSLATION OF CHURCH-AGE SAINTS IS SAID TO BE IMMINENT (it could happen any time) whereas the Second Coming is said to be preceded by specific signs.

Christ taught this (Matthew 24:42, 44; 25:13; Mark 13:33). Paul taught it (Phil. 4:5; Titus 2:12-13). James taught it (Jam. 5:8-9). And Peter taught it (1 Pet. 4:7). The early Christians were living in expectation of Christ’s return (1 Th. 1:9-10). The apostle Paul instructed the church at Thessalonica that they did not need to heed signs and times, because the New Testament believer has been promised redemption from the “day of darkness” that shall overcome the whole world (1 Th. 5:1-9). The church is not waiting for the appearing of the Antichrist, but for the redemption of the Son of God.

5. THE CHURCH IS A MYSTERY UNREVEALED IN THE Old TESTAMENT (Eph. 3:1-11).

The New Testament church has no part in the chronology of events foretold by the Old Testament prophets. They clearly foretold the first coming of Christ, His miraculous birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension. The same prophets described Christ’s Second Coming in glory, preceded by a time of unprecedented worldwide tribulation, and followed by the establishment of the glorious Messianic kingdom centered in Jerusalem. But these prophets did not see the present church age–“which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit” (Eph. 3:5).

Between the first and second coming, there is a time gap that was not seen by the Old Testament prophets. This gap is the church age. The prophets did not see that Israel would be set aside temporarily while God called out from among all nations a special body of people. After He has accomplished this purpose and the fullness of the Gentiles is come in, God will restart Israel’s prophetic clock and will fulfill all Old Testament prophecies in relation to His ancient chosen nation. “… blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25).

The Great Tribulation deals with Israel, not with church-age believers. This present mystery period will end with the removal of the church-age believers from the earth; and the Lord will then take up His plan for the nation Israel as He fulfills the Old Testament prophecies of the time of Jacob’s trouble, the coming of Messiah in glory, the regathering of the remnant, and the establishment of the Messianic kingdom.

6. THERE ARE EVENTS INTERVENING BETWEEN THE TRANSLATION AND RESURRECTION OF THE CHURCH AND THE SECOND ADVENT.

According to 1 Cor. 15:51, EVERY saved person will be translated at the Rapture. Yet Mat. 25:31-46 shows that when Jesus returns to the earth at the Second Advent He will find many true believers in their natural bodies. There must, then, be a period of time between the Rapture of the church-age saints and the Second Coming to allow for these folk to be saved. It is reasonable to believe that this period is the seven years of the Great Tribulation.

7. THE BOOK OF REVELATION SHOWS THAT THE CHURCH IS NOT ON EARTH DURING THE TRIBULATION.

(a) The church is not seen on earth in chapters 4-18.

(b) The witness for God in the earth during the Tribulation is Israel, not the church (Rev. 7).

(c) The prayers of the saints in Revelation 8 are prayers for judgment. Only Israel prayed such prayers. The church-age saints are instructed to pray for her enemies, not against them (Lk. 9:51-56). These prayers of Revelation are those of the Psalms and are based on God’s promise to Abraham to curse those that cursed Israel (Gen. 12:1-3).

(d) The scorpion-like creatures of Revelation 9 are given freedom to hurt all earth-dwellers except those Jews who were sealed by the angel of Revelation 7; if church-age believers were on earth, they would be subject to this horrible judgment of God.

(e) Revelation 10 identifies the events of Revelation 4-18 with those foretold by Old Testament prophets–the days of the Great Tribulation, the “day of the Lord.” The church age was never in the view of these Old Testament prophecies; it was an unrevealed mystery. The church has a different purpose and program than national Israel. It is Israel that is in view in Old Testament prophecy and in Revelation 4-18.

(f) The ministry of the two witnesses of Revelation 11 identifies them with national Israel and with Old Testament prophecies of the “day of the Lord.” The two witnesses minister from Jerusalem, Israel’s capital. The churches have no such capital, her hope being heavenly, not earthly (Col. 3:1-4; Phil. 3:17-21). The two witnesses are clothed in sackcloth, typical of Old Testament Israel, not New Testament believers. Nowhere are the churches seen in sackcloth. They are told, rather, to “rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (Phil. 4:4). The church-age believer’s judgment is forever past, and he is to keep his mind centered in the heavenlies where, in position, he is seated eternally victorious with Christ (Eph. 2:5-10). Revelation 11:4 identifies the two witnesses with Old Testament prophecy. Zech. 4:3, 11, 14 is a prophecy of Israel, not the church. Further, the two witnesses call down judgment upon their enemies in Rev. 10:5-6. Jesus rebuked his disciples for desiring to do just this and instructed the church-age believer to pray for the well-being of his enemies, not for their destruction (Lk. 9:54-56; Rom. 12:14, 17-21).

(g) The devil persecutes Israel, not the church, during the Tribulation (Rev. 12). There can be no doubt that the woman in this chapter is identified as national Israel. Verse 5 shows the woman bringing forth Christ; it is obvious that Jesus was brought forth by Israel, not by the churches (Isa. 9:6-7; Rom. 9:5). Also, the symbols of Rev. 12:1-2 recall familiar Old Testament typology of Israel. She is referred to as a woman (Isa. 54:5-7). The sun and moon and the 12 stars of verse 2 remind us of Joseph’s dream regarding Israel (Gen. 37:9). The words of Rev. 12:2 are almost an exact quote from Micah 5:3, again referencing Israel’s delivery of the Messiah. These symbols are not used in the New Testament of the churches.

THE ATTACK ON THE PRE-TRIBULATIONAL RAPTURE

The doctrine of the pre-tribulational rapture is under severe attack today. Consider some examples from the emerging church:

Brian McLaren mocks the “fundamentalist expectations” of a literal second coming of Christ with its attendant judgments on the world and assumes that the world will go on like it is for hundreds of thousands of years (A Generous Orthodoxy, p. 305). He calls the literal, imminent return of Christ “pop-Evangelical eschatology” (Generous Orthodoxy, p. 267) and the “eschatology of abandonment” (interview with Planet Preterist, Jan. 30, 2005, http://planetpreterist.com/news-2774.html). McLaren says that the book of Revelation is not a “book about the distant future” but is “a way of talking about the challenges of the immediate present” (The Secret Message of Jesus, 2007, p. 176). He says that phrases such as “the moon will turn to blood” “are no more to be taken literally than phrases we might read in the paper today” (The Secret Message, p. 178).

Jonny Baker of Grace in London, England, rejects dispensationalism as “escapology theology” and “advocates that Christians need to invest themselves in the current culture, not live on hold until time runs out” (Emerging Churches, pp. 78, 79).

Tony Jones says that the emergent church, in contrast to the dispensational viewpoint, is characterized by “an eschatology of hope” (An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, p. 130). He says: “What I mean is that the folks who hang around the emerging church tend to see goodness and light in God’s future, not darkness and gnashing of teeth. While that may seem obvious to some followers of God, pop theology today is facing the other way. … Those novelists and the theologians who provide them their material take the view that we’re in a downward spiral, and when things ‘down here’ become bad enough, Jesus will return in glory. But those of us represented in this book take the contrary view. God’s promised future is good, and it awaits us, beckoning us forward” (p. 130).

N.T. Wright, who has a great influence on the emerging church, warns that the doctrine of an imminent rapture is dangerous because it interferes with kingdom building and environmental activities. “If there’s going to be an Armageddon, and we’ll all be in heaven already or raptured up just in time, it really doesn’t matter if you have acid rain or greenhouse gases prior to that. Or, for that matter, whether you bombed civilians in Iraq. All that really matters is saving souls for that disembodied heaven” (“Christians Wrong about Heaven, Says Bishop,” Time, Feb. 7, 2008).

Tony Campolo says: “I mean all of this stuff [about the imminent coming of Christ and a literal Tribulation] comes out of not only fundamentalism. It comes out of dispensationalism, which is a weird little form of fundamentalism that started like a hundred fifty years ago. … I think that we need to challenge the government to do the work of the Kingdom of God, to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord. That whole sense of the rapture, which may occur at any moment, is used as a device to oppose engagement with the principalities, the powers, the political and economic structures of our age” (“Opposition to women preachers evidence of demonic influence,” Baptist Press, June 27, 2003).

Mark Driscoll refers to the pre-tribulational rapture as “pessimistic dispensationalism” (Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches, p. 146). He has said that “eschatology-minded Christians” are not welcome in his church.

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE PRE-TRIBULATIONAL RAPTURE

The doctrine of the pre-tribulational rapture is not a peripheral one. As we have seen, Christ, Paul, James, and Peter taught that the return of Christ was imminent and was to be expected at any time (Mat. 24:44; Phil. 4:5; Jam. 5:8-9; 1 Pet. 4:7). The early Christians lived in expectation of Christ’s return the literal fulfillment of the prophecies. “For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10).

The doctrine of a pre-tribulational Rapture is a great motivator for purifying one’s personal Christian life.

1. It encourages the believer in trials and persecutions. “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18).

2. It keeps the church’s focus on the Great Commission (Mat. 28:18-20; Mk 16:15; Lk. 24:44-48; Acts 1:8). It teaches us that preaching the gospel, winning people to Christ, and establishing churches as the pillar and ground of the truth is the most urgent matter. D.L. Moody had it right when he said: “I look upon this world as a wrecked vessel. God has given me a lifeboat and said to me, ‘Moody, save all you can.’”

3. It motivates us to be busy in the Lord’s work (1 Cor. 15:58).

4. It motivates us to live obedient lives (1 Jn. 3:1-3; 1 Th. 5:4-7).

5. It motivates us to separate from evil (Tit. 2:13-14).

6. It keeps believers on the outlook for heresy and apostasy (2 Timothy 4:3-4; 1 John 2:24-28).

 

As you know I have posted many testimonies. This is a very important one.

kim

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My name is Donna and I am Bipolar.  About 10 years ago my physician had me on 13 pills a day.  The more I took the worse I became.  I don’t think my third eye opened but I was psychotic and at times felt like I floated out of my body.  Looking back I was absolutely tortured by demons.
Once I felt like two people, one being the real me and the other out to kill me.  I did not want to die of course.  I was on the end of the couch and for some reason I new this “other me” or demon was coming in for the kill.  I knew it was about to overtake “me” and kill me.  I called my mother and screamed, “please come over now!!!! I am going to die!!!”  My entire family came over and I had clumps of hair in my hands and bald spots on my head.  My best friend was there and said my face was so twisted and blue it did not even look like me!  She was scared to get close to me and stood by the door.  I began clawing my face and for whatever reason started screaming for my father to get on his knees and apologize.  My father would not.  I began clawing harder and blood was streaming down my face, and my mother was screaming at my dad.. “Don’t just do it” Looking back my father looked so humiliated on the floor saying he is sorry. HORRIBLE, I cant believe it.  It was like I was possessed and this demon was holding me hostage.
Finally my parents grabbed me, put me in the car, and fought me all the way to the hospital.  I hit the doctor, pulled my IV out and finally ended up in four point restraint.  Not many months after that, I was walking through the house when everyone was asleep and IT came over me to kill myself, a complete peace came over me I haven’t felt in ages, like an Egyptian, I prepared my body bathing, oils, and perfume, sat down at the kitchen table and began swallowing pills.  I was happy!  The next morning my husband found me on the floor blue.  3 days in ICU they said I would not make it, and by the grace of God I woke up!
I have been plagued by demons, alcoholic, and show signs of psychic abilities, and out of body experience.
I love the Lord with all my heart and I am off all meds now and I am much better.  I still struggle with alcohol, please pray.  I know for certain the third eye is a demonic doorway.  People that take dmt immediately see geometry, snakes, dragons, and aliens.  Aliens are demons posing as if they are from another “universe.”
Alister Crowleys’ “ascended master” was an alien and he drew a picture of it, it is an alien.  God said in the end times peoples hearts would fail (heart attack) them when they look in the sky.  I believe it will be UFOs covering the sky, their message, “we are your creators, we are back to EVOLVE YOU to the next level.”
The rapture will be explained by saying they cleansed the earth from the backward thinking individuals so the rest can evolve to the next level.  On you tube new agers all over the place have said their ascended master (demons) have told them they are from Sirius, Pleiadies, Orion, and they are their creator “creative intelligent creator” and the “Great Awakening has already begun.”  I know it sounds crazy but look at the History channel, ALL about UFOs. The Vatican has already put out the anouncement if aliens show up remember they are our BROTHERS!  Go ahead goggle it, Vatican Aliens, It was on Fox News, CNN, everywhere this past May. Crazy!
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