Regarding the ongoing Rapture debate...
What if the answer is so incredibly simple? What if this is just a faith issue like all the other fundamental tenets of faith in Christianity? Think about it for just a moment.
First, what do we already know?
Mark 10:15 - - "Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein." (emphasis mine)
Receiving it all "like a child" with a "childlike faith" is something that I think shouldn't be lost on us. In fact, there are many other verses that speak to this idea such as: Matthew 18:3; Matthew 19:14; Luke 18:17; 1 Corinthians 14:20; 1 Peter 2:2. Personally, I take this to mean that we should always approach the literal, simple interpretation of God's Word first and foremost. It's kinda like a warning against doing what you did when you were in school and you would "over think" simple problems and the teacher would give you advice to simplify things. I also take it to mean that, as a child, we should trust Him and His Word blindly and completely at face value. Face value.
Here's what I'm starting to think this whole Rapture debate all comes down to: What if whether or not a Christian is "raptured" is entirely dependent upon one's faith about, and faith in such an event? Seriously. NO, THIS IS NOT A SALVATION ISSUE AT ALL. Besides, that is something that's already secured the very moment you make a decision for Jesus Christ. However, a closer look reveals it might be very similar.
Just as one's faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on our behalf at Calvary determines where we will spend eternity when we die, maybe one's faith in the Rapture (which not only includes a belief in it as a literal event, but what we believe about it's timing during the end times) determines whether or not we escape the horrors of Daniel's 70th Week, or determines when we get to escape the horrors.
An escape from all is coming - - guaranteed it is coming - - and it's right at the door, but do you have the faith for it? Will the faithless be rewarded for faithlessness? Will you have enough oil to not have to go "buy some" when the Lord shows up (Matthew 25)?
I've made it very clear throughout my work here that I try to approach Biblical prophecy (and all things really) with an open mind. Always have, always will. Just because we can't fully explain or understand something doesn't mean that it's not true, or that there's not a small piece of truth to it.
Speaking of truth, one important note about my approach here that I would like to mention. I believe it is a common, but very serious MISTAKE, for us to think that just because we may disagree on some points when it comes to interpreting the Bible and its prophecies, that another Brother or Sister in Christ Jesus, in the Body of Christ (in their perceived "error"), cannot ADD MANY OTHER IMPORTANT NUGGETS OF TRUTH that will ultimately help us in growing in grace and knowledge of our God and His big picture regarding what is happening all around us, and what will happen in the very near future.
Besides, we know from Proverbs 25:2 that "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter..." Christians are supposed to be lovers of truth, and I'm hoping we can all consider that our current interpretations of prophecy may be slightly incorrect since we know that 1 Corinthians 13 tells us we see "through a glass, darkly" and that God told Daniel in Daniel 12:4, "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased."
I put these news items, commentaries, interviews, research, theories, and information here as a public service, and in an effort to bring all the glory to our common God. It is up to you to seek the Lord and pray, while using the Holy Bible as your guideline. I do not, and I never will, suggest that anyone should seek me (or any other man or woman) for the answers we crave. We must take all things to, and seek and rely on the Lord, because we are warned to watch, pray, and not be deceived in Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21, 2 Thessalonians 2, and elsewhere.
The question we need to constantly ask ourselves is whether or not we're willing to admit when we're wrong. I'd like to think that I can. With that in mind, I want you all to know that I've taken many of your excellent and thoughtful responses in the Comments Section to heart. Today, I just want to go on the record in response to some of them.
Everything I'm reading and seeing lately had to do with Him keeping his promises, about fundamentals of the faith, about us holding onto His promises without wavering. In the Book of Isaiah it says "if you do not stand on your faith you will not stand at all," to which I say AMEN!
Look, I'm not denying that there are some "problems" with my current position on the Rapture, but does that mean we should completely ignore it then as having no merit whatsoever? I mean, the same could be said for just about EVERY position you could have on the Rapture, right?
There are many voices in the world today who would have you believe that there is no "escape." Forget about what that escape is referring to for a moment. Those who claim there isn't an escape of any kind would have you believe that Noah went into the Flood, not into the Ark. They would have you believe that Lot never left Sodom, but stood there to be burned alive by the fire and brimstone. They would have you believe that the coming of the Son of Man would occur during a time of tribulation and distress, of judgement and gloom.
Yes, it could very well be that we will see some kind of "faith testing" event BEFORE the escape occurs. This faith testing event will lead many more to think, "Aha! I knew it! There is no 'escape' after all!" and they will give up their faith and hope in such, and will no longer support their inclusion in the escape when it finally comes - - and it is coming.
Today's so-called "Christianity" would have us believe that regardless of what a person believes about the Rapture/Escape, they will go up in the escape when it happens. Is that Biblical? I mean, for something as important as this why wouldn't it be a "faith issue" just like everything else is? It doesn't make sense to me. How about you?
Maybe it's true, maybe we'll all get Raptured no matter what we believe about it, but let's use the Bible to interpret the Bible. Take, for example, the woman with the issue of blood. Let's assume she was a model Jewish lady who did everything right in the eyes of the Lord, except...she didn't believe the Lord could/would heal her.
She believed everything else mind you - - just not that Jesus would heal her. Do you think she would have been healed? You know the answer to that don't you? The answer is unequivocally NO! Her faith drew power from the Lord, and He felt it leave Him. She believed beyond any shadow of doubt that the Lord both could and would heal her, and because of her unwavering faith it happened exactly the way she believed it could and would be done! Friends, I think this is a critical point to consider.
Matthew 7:21 tells us that many will say "Lord, Lord" to him on that day and he will send them away with a rebuke saying "I never knew you." I cannot imagine anything worse than being told by Jesus "I never knew you." My heart shatters in a million pieces when I imagine the scene that will be that day. Where are the servants of the Lord today who are taking people by the shoulders and shaking them saying "WAKE UP! ONLY A FEW WILL MAKE IT!" before it's too late?
Nobody wants to hear it, but everybody HAS TO HEAR IT. Why? Because Jesus, not me, sent that warning in his Word, which like so many other things in the Word of God, are hopped, skipped, and jumped over as "inconvenient" for church growth, "tithes and offerings," the "pastor's" popularity etc., etc., etc.
People say "we weren't given a spirit of fear so I'm not listening!" That's great, but they better figure out soon what the fear of the Lord means.
Matthew 10:58 - - "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (emphasis mine)
Psalm 111:10 - - "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments;" (emphasis mine)
This was written to YOU and ME in our dear Lord's love letter to us - - His Holy Bible. Now, this next part will no doubt be very unpopular with many of you so I pray that the Holy Spirit helps me deliver it in the right way so that the point is not lost on all of us.
There is no question, that the people who preach and teach a "Pre-Wrath" and "Post-Trib" Rapture have nothing - - zero - - to boast about over those who believe the there is an escape from all that is imminent. Why?
(Here's the "unpopular" part) Which point of view develops more holiness? The view that tells you Jesus will come for you 3.5 to 7 years from now (where one can say to themselves, "I have plenty of time yet to 'get right' with God..."), or the view that tells you He could show up today at this very moment for you (where one has to say to themselves, "Oh dear! I have to repent, repent, repent and seek His face now!)?
Please understand, I'm NOT saying that I'm more "holy" or "righteous" than you because I believe in a "Pre-Trib" position and you don't. Not at all! All I'm saying is that after seriously looking at this painstakingly, I'm seeing it all in another light now. How can we as believers not admit this to be the case?
Which view is 100% in line with the Bible when it tells us to be watching and ready today for the Lord's return? I think it's pretty clear. Could this be an indication, a message to us, about which position we should be putting more faith and trust in because of its subsequent effect on our own spiritual health? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Food for thought though.
Friends, I know how unpopular this section is going to be as well as the firestorm it will probably cause and I'm sorry. But if I'm being honest and true to myself (and all of you) about what my personal studies are revealing then to not share it with all of you by writing about it here in this space would make me a fraud and go against everything I claim I stand for.
The Pre-Wrath and Post-Trib teachers completely disregard that entire line of instruction from the Lord's own mouth. They specifically do not believe that Jesus, our Master will show up today, or tomorrow, or even next year for us. They willfully defy the very Scriptures they quote in a buffet style serving to mankind. "Here..." they say, "...take a little of this and a little of that, but let's just disregard everything written about this like the pre-Flood, pre-brimstone escape from all."
It has been written here before that we must be prepared to leave this Earth today. We also must be able to patiently wait as long it takes for the Lord to show up. Possibly for years. We are ready to leave, we are ready to stay. Fairly simple in theory, not so easy in practice.
The Word of God tells us that He could show up for us at any minute. We are servants who must be ready for our Master to return - - right now. All one needs to do is read Luke 12:40, Matthew 24:44, Matthew 25:10, Luke 1:17, and the list goes on and on. Notice what these do not say. They do not say "be ready when..." They just say, "Be ready!" That means be ready now.
Those who tell you that you don't have to be ready right now are wrong. Again, I'm sorry but how can anyone say that to say so isn't denying what Scripture plainly tells us? They ignore what Scripture tells us plainly, and steal our blessed hope.
How long with this "holding pattern" last? As Brother D observed recently, "we are in a holding pattern just like a plane circling an airport ready to land, but without permission from air traffic control yet." I'll be the first to admit, I have no idea when the Lord will come back for us - - none. And guess what? I don't need to know the day and hour because I, and you, and everyone else in the world has already been told to be ready NOW. Our Lord told us to be ready. Our Lord told us that it will be well for the servants who He finds doing what they are supposed to be doing when He comes back at an unexpected time (Matthew 24:42-44).
Be ready for the Lord to show up today. Also, be ready to wait for years for His return. It is a trap to not be looking for the Lord today, we have been commanded to be ready for Him whenever He shows up. It's also a trap to be so worked up by the events around us, that we grow weary of waiting. What happens when people get so excited about the Lord's imminent return that a week or a month from now, they say, "Bah! The Lord delays his return!" and they turn themselves to other things besides being fully prepared, ready and waiting? We need to practice patient endurance with our expectant excitement.
There is a price associated with disbelief. Don't take my word for it, read your Bibles. When the Lord speaks a promise to us, we are to believe it without wavering. A double minded man is unstable in all he does. What does the devil come to do? Introduce doubt. Remember this one "hath God really said do not eat from the tree?" Doubt.
You can be sure that many people will enter the Tribulation period. In fact, think about this for a second. With the majority of so-called "Christianity" today being apostate, and that same majority accounting for the bulk of the Pre-Trib view, what's going to happen when most of them are actually left behind, along with all the people who never believed that there was an "escape from all" (Luke 21:36)? Think about it. The apostate church is all left behind, and even people who are believers in most things, but do not believe there is an escape from all, and they get left behind too. What kind of situation does that create?
Satan already has pre-planned counterfeits, sleights of hand, magical ruses, signs and wonders, and every other attention getting scheme and device at his disposal to make the systematic working out of our God's promises almost invisible to those without the faith to see them.
The first thing our Lord said when the apostles asked him "when will all these things happen" is "be not deceived...." Deception, deception, and more deception is the order of our day! I hear all kinds of warnings, and they are well warranted, but where's the remembrance of His promises too? The Lord ALWAYS lays out both sides of His case - - the warnings AND the promises. Read THIS for more on that fact.
Most people did not go into the Ark with Noah. Most people did not leave Sodom with Lot. Most people will not leave this world in the escape that is coming. Just like the days of Noah and Lot, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be, right? In this light, I understand the growing voices of warning with no entreaty to the escape that's coming. Most people are not ready today, and won't be when the escape shows up.
Being counted worthy of the escape that is coming means being ready when it shows up. As we know from the Parable of the Virgins, those who were not ready at the time the Bridegroom appeared (who went to "buy some oil"), they were left out and told "I don't know you" by the Lord. That's some harsh language is it not?
Noah's preparation was building and Ark. Lot's preparation was to just gather his family together for the walk out. Our preparation is TO WATCH AND PRAY. It's really that simple, and we will surely do both if we believe and have faith that this promise is true and can be trusted. Childlike faith is the key.
We are told to watch and pray specifically for what? To be counted worthy to escape all that's about to happen. The Pre-Wrath and Post-Trib crowds today refuse to do this. How do I know they refuse to do this? To pray to escape all, while simultaneously arguing and debating until blue in the face that nobody will escape all would make them insane. Look, I know this is hard to read and hear, but it's the truth isn't it?
I want to encourage you today to keep watching, and be ready for the return of our Lord. Every day that passes, more people give up. Every day that passes, brings more scoffers out of the woodwork. There was a time when I said, "If the Pre-Trib view turned out to be wrong, then I would automatically become a Mid-Trib advocate," but today I withdraw that. Why is that my only option? I will hold to a daily watch and readiness for the Lord until He comes - - or I die - - whichever comes first.
How can we put off watching for Him when He specifically told us to watch? He didn't tell us to "start watching when this or that happens." No, He just said "watch and pray." What does that mean? It means "do it now" and "do it today" doesn't it?
Luke 12:37 - - "How blessed are those servants whom the master finds watching for him when he comes!" (emphasis mine)
What arguments can men make against this? How can men argue that we should not be watching for him today? How can they argue that His return is not imminent? How can they argue that it can't happen today or tomorrow? They do argue this, but they do it in vain. Anyone who is not watching for the Lord to return today needs to. On the day He does return, many will be caught not watching, and many will be caught not ready. They will scurry off to "go buy some oil" and the wise will go into the Wedding Feast and the door will be shut (Matthew 25).
For the last few weeks now, I have rejected the ideas of the "Mid-Trib," "Pre-Wrath," and "Post-Trib" escape, coming of the Son of San. Why? Each and every person who holds to these views purposefully, as an act of their own free will, refuses to look for Jesus to show up today. These people have chosen purposefully not to pray for the "escape from all." This is what I believe about it from what I've read in Scripture and from what I feel the Holy Spirit confirming within me. They have various reasons for why they refuse to do this, but it's all willfull disobedience isn't it?
Again, hard to hear, but how can we reach any other conclusion about it? If the Lord told you specifically to pray for something and you refused to do it because you believe something else about the Bible, what would you call that? Willfull disobedience, right? Do you think willfull disobedience will ever be rewarded?
Would Noah have been rewarded had he chosen not to build the Ark? What if Noah told our Father, "Sorry Lord, I just can't buy into this idea that my family and I get to escape this catastrophic Flood. What makes me so special Lord? But Lord, who is going to 'witness' to all the lost if I go into the Ark?"
But, but, but, but...Noah didn't argue with the Lord, he did what he was told to do. What if all todays so called christians were transported back to Noah's day, can you imagine all the bickering and debating with the Lord that would have gone on? It's just too much to ask for some people to do what the Lord tells them to do and leave it at that.
I find it amazing that the Lord tells us there is an escape from all coming, and people try to argue him out of it! "Nope, there can't be an escape from all because of this, that and the other..." Will those people be rewarded for holding this view themselves, and worse, teaching it to others?
I haven't heard a convincing argument yet for the downside of watching and being ready, day-in-and-day-out for the Lord's return. That argument does not exist because the Word of God torpedoes the argument before it leaves the mouth of man.
When the Lord returns, will He find faith on Earth? That's the question Jesus asked. At the time of the end, the love of most will grow cold because of the increase in wickedness. Many will depart from the faith, many already are departing from the faith, and the really bad times haven't even shown up yet.
If He doesn't show up today, then the next best day for Him will be tomorrow, and so on, and so on until the day He does appear.
Are you waiting for 3.5 years from today before you begin to do the things the Lord told you to do today? Will you start praying to "escape all that's about to happen" after you've already been through 50% of all that's about to happen?
I can guarantee you that if you are watching and ready for the Lord to return today, and tomorrow, and the next day, etc., you will never be sorry for it. Those who will be sorry will be those who have given themselves reasons not to expect the Lord today. We are entering a time that is unlike any other in the history of the world. It's starting to dawn on people that yes, this time it is different. This time, all the pieces that didn't fit into the end times puzzle do fit. The watchmen are crying out from every point on the wall to be ready!
An escape from all is coming - - guaranteed it is coming - - and its right at the door, but do you have the faith for it? Will the faithless be rewarded for faithlessness? Will you have enough oil to not have to go "buy some" when the Lord shows up (Matthew 25)?
The warning voices we hear today are well justified. I will be amazed if something cataclysmic does not happen in the coming days and weeks.
One last thing I'll mention today is that despite all the fear, bad news, layoffs, collapsing economy, flu pandemic, these days are still relatively "good" days and relatively "normal" days. When the people of the world see with their own eyes what's coming, they will beg to see days like today again. The contrast will be so sharp, the differences so profound, that men will look back fondly on days like today.
The world hasn't seen bad yet, but its coming. An escape from all is also coming, and only a fool would not take the Lord's word on this, and do what Jesus told us specifically to do, which is PRAY TO ESCAPE ALL OF IT. How many more times does it need to be said before it sinks in? One of the greatest tragedies of the days ahead, aside from the human suffering, will be the chance people had to avoid the suffering, but chose it anyway through unbelief. At least, that's what I'm beginning to think about all of this.
The men who think "it's escapist" to believe in an escape that Jesus told us to pray for, and mock it with derision, have a day coming that will test what kind of heroic Christians they really are. I count myself to be foremost among the "escapist" mentalities of our day. I hold doggedly, steadfastly, without moving an inch on the promise and command of our God to pray that we may be counted worthy to escape all.
Soon, very soon, we shall see who the wise and the foolish are. There is a price for unbelief and that price can be heavy indeed. Are you a wise or foolish virgin?
Keep the faith. Remain in Christ.
What We're Praying/Talking About
Our faith in action, or our small contribution in trying to apply what we're taught in Hebrews 5-6 and James 2:17-26 for the benefit of our dear brothers and sisters within the Body of Christ...
Look Up Fellowship Media [LUFM]
Fair Use Statement
This is a personal blog, but I've been told that I need to include a formal statement of this nature. So, here goes. This website may contain copyrighted material, the use of which may not have been authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in an effort to advance understanding of cultural, economic, environmental, human rights, political, religious, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml”. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use," then you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.