A Pause to Begin Something Old

I have a burden. I’m going to hit the pause button on the “Life in the Millennium” series I’ve started and interject a few thoughts I’ve been having. Because I can, there are no rules on the blog sphere world, and my readers consist of 3 people (whom I very much appreciate).

Anyone with a computer could tell you that we are seeing a resurgence of interest in the end-times. From blogs, twitter, and CNN, articles on the “end of the world” are popping up like Chinese carry-out restaurants in shopping malls. Believers all across the earth are beginning to respond to the trumpet alarm of Matthew 25:6 “Behold the Bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!”

Christianity, as with any religion, believes in an ultimate reckoning for mankind. This reckoning (called eschatology) will sum up all things, bring an end to evil, and usher in a glorious age where God will dwell with man as He originally intended.

Now we make a quite large, non-conformist, leap ahead to an event of considerable division – the Rapture. The revelation of the rapture is an odd thing because the rapture isn’t in the book of Revelation – yes, that did sound like Willy Wonka. In fact, the word “rapture” doesn’t appear in the inspired word of God. The meaning is derived from the Latin word “rapturo” meaning “caught up“. The rapture of the saints is an amazing revelation intended to instill hope in believers enduring persecution. The premier verse concerning the doctrine of the rapture, 1 Thess 4:14-18, was written to a church to whom Paul said a few verses prior, “[You] received the word in much affliction (1:5)…we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation…(3:4)” The believers in Thessalonica were undergoing significant persecution at the hands of both Jew and Gentile antagonists. Paul wrote them because he had concern for their faith lest his “labor [be] in vain” (3:5).  He was giving them a hope of the things to come. The doctrine of the rapture was meant to enable believers undergoing persecution to fix their eyes on their ultimate glory in Christ, not give them a false escapism mentality.

If one were to look at church history, specifically the early church, one would see that there wasn’t a message of escaping the onslaught of wicked adversity, but rather, the message was to stay strong in adversity. The early church fathers, the martyrs of the Reformation, and the modern day martyrs in China and the Middle Eastern nations all bear witness to the deception of the pre-tribulational doctrine. This doctrine understands neither the mercy of the Lord, nor His wrath, but rather misconstrues it into a false hope. On top of that, it reassures believers that the teacher is infallible and that the flock need not fret nor read their bibles. Corrie Ten Boom said in her letter addressing the rapture:

“In America, the churches sing, “Let the congregation escape tribulation”, but in China and Africa the tribulation has already arrived. Now things like that never get into the newspapers because they cause bad political relations. But I know. I have been there. We need to think about that when we sit down in our nice houses with our nice clothes to eat our steak dinners. Many, many members of the Body of Christ are being tortured to death at this very moment, yet we continue right on as though we are all going to escape the tribulation.”

Beloved saints, we have been hoodwinked, taken for the lethargic, prayerless Christians we are. Out of touch with our suffering brethern. Out of sync with the Holy Spirit. Closed to the teaching of the apostles and Christ. Useless to the kingdom of God. Susceptible to error. Instructed in comfort. Bred for deception. We are bent, but not broken. What will it take to awaken the church in America to the coming storm?

7 thoughts on “A Pause to Begin Something Old

  • Amen. The coming storm is beyond human comprehension. Being caught up in the midst of tribulation is walking in Kingdom reality in Christ while walking through works yet to be finished through taking up our cross and following His lead. Extreme storms mean extreme moments in Christ. To live is Christ, to die is gain –counting it all loss, to be with Him. Lord wake me up, wake us up.

  • Great point Isaac!

    Having grown up in a church that taught that a pre-trib rapture would happen, there are a couple of other scriptures used. One is Matthew 24:40, 41 -about two people walking together, one is taken, the other is left and two others working, one is taken, the other is left. The context here is about the end times. Another argument is indirect in that the church is mentioned several times in the first few chapters of Revelation, then is not mentioned for the rest of the book.

    As with any teachings based on one or two scriptures without strong backing from other contexts in the Bible we need to be very careful on how strongly we build a case. The case for a pre-trib or even mid-trib rapture is not strong and thus, it behooves us to be prepared. Which, as you pointed out, is not happening in many places.

    Additionally, some of my students mentioned a theologian or historian who says all of the scriptures we consider indicative of the end times have already been fulfilled with the fall of Rome. I pointed out that Jesus did not return on a white horse yet so not all have been fulfilled. It concerns me that that man’s teaching would make their generation even more comfortable and less likely to be prepared.

    BTW, I was just reading the first chapter of the book, “You are Here”. It discusses how the karst topography around the wailing wall and mosque is being eaten away by acid deposition. I wonder if this will lead to the ground under the mosque collapsing.

    If you have ideas on preparing college students for the times to come – let me know. I’m inspired by Corrie TenBoom’s testimony and writings.

  • Rosanitida, thank you for taking time to respond to the article.

    After a long conversation with a friend who is involved in reaching American youth with the message of the end-times, I came away pondering a question that hasn’t been fully answered in my heart. How do we prepare the teenage/college age youth concerning the return of Christ? Do we throw our trust upon the sovereignty of God and hope it will all pan out? Partially. We can’t effectively change the human heart, but we can condition our own to respond to the Lord’s dealings with grace and humility.

    The scripture is laden with instruction from apostles, prophets, and Jesus himself concerning the preparation of the heart for crisis. I’m specifically thinking of Matthew 25, Joel 2, Rev. 10, and Mark 13. Each of these, among tens of others, deal with the, “Ok, what do we do now?” This question is the golden question when confronted with the enormity of the last days message, for it displays both humility and sincerity that truth has struck the human heart (cf Acts 2:37). In fact several times scripture poses the question of “who” can endure Christ’s coming? The passages above, namely Mark 13, speak of developing a lifestyle of watching and praying. Watching is NOT a stagnant activity devoid of urgency and practicality. Rather, it is the watchmen of the city who were both alert and prepared for trouble. Their duty was to alert others within the city to the coming trouble.

    The scripture is also filled with the message of both trusting the sovereignty of the Lord, and being the steward of one’s own heart. It is foolish to not trust in the Lord, it is also foolish to throw it all to the wind. The virgins in Matthew 25 were the ones responsible for getting oil. The Bridegroom did not give them oil (directly), their companions could not give them oil, and they could not buy oil at the late hour.

    Generally, a college age student will not become attune to the message of the end-times from someone who isn’t living it themselves. Meaning, it starts with us – the older generation. We pray, fast, give to the poor, and ingest the Word with passion. It is through these things that we develop intimacy with the Lord, and secondly, impart urgency to others. Start prayer and worship gatherings throughout the week. Have a time to discuss the end-times. Pray that your words don’t fall to the ground like Samuel’s (1 Sam 3:19). If there was ever a time to have effective words that time is now. We do what John was told to do, “Eat the scroll” (Rev. 10:8-11).

    Blessings in Christ

  • Isaac,

    It still amazes me that men interpret the meaning of these words in (2 Sam. 7) toward their own and only understanding. Not always by anointing but through the tutelage of men. This is not to say that the Christ is not here revealed, but God’s Word eventually seeks to teach and ask questions and reveal answers and feed to nourish. Isaac, I will only seek answers to questions, please provide me nourishment.

    The word body in the Word (V.12 kjv) seems to be more correctly interpreted as bowels (which I understand to mean after the heart). If this be so, this man or another one hidden in the verse seems more after the heart of David, than his fleshly (bodly) Jewish lineage.

    It further states if he (the sinless Christ?) commit inquity, the Lord will chasten him with the rod of men and the stripes of the children of men; (children) symbolic of the last or latter generation in appearance of the age. I believe this is the prophetic meaning of the chastizement of that Job of the latter yrs. That man child (hidden) caught up to his seat (throne) (Rev.12:5). (Job.23:3) Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat (throne)!

    I do not see David recognizing at all, this servant who is being discussed . As a matter of fact David makes the profound statement and asks the question in (V.19 kjv) “And is this the manner of man, O Lord God?”. David did not know if this was a man or not, that he should be elevated to such height in God’s eternal kingdom. This is the same mystery that laid in the lack of the understanding of Balaam when he declares “what hath God wrought!” (Num.23:23,9; 24:4). Now, David recognized the Christ and prophecied of him many times throughout his life and sung songs and praises of his future appearance. Yet, David was so unsure of who this man (servant) was, who was revealed in the words of the prophecy, that he finally left it in the hands of the Lord God, who alone knew this future servant (V.20).

  • John V,

    I think you meant to comment in the above article so I’m moving this comment to the “Life in the Millennium (Part 2) – the King”



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