The Rapture - Fairy Tale or Biblical Fact?
In the Twinkling of an Eye?
Comfort or Dread?
It is a shame that so many have to spout their own beliefs while belittling anyone whose doctrines do not parallel their own. I have noticed recently on some social media that the non-"rapturites", as I call them, resorting to name calling and impugning one's salvation as being questionable at best. They are treading on dangerous ground for our Lord protects the name of His own as a parent would their child or a bridegroom would his bride-to-be.
- One such accusation I have read is that those who believe in the rapture are weaklings in the faith, if a believer; as if those who do not believe in the rapture are the strong and more mature believer. Remember, God did not choose the strong, the wise or the important of this world to be His bride; quite the opposite, so "That NO flesh may glory in His presence". Those who glory in "their" spiritual strength, wisdom and self-importance to the Word of God are themselves suspect or very immature in matters of the Spirit. If anyone should believe they were saved because they possessed a redeeming quality in themselves, they are greatly deceived and sadly I know of Christians who actually believe this to be true. After nearly 47 years as a believer, everyday provides proof that I am an unredeemable sinner saved by grace through His faith alone. Any spiritual strength we now possess comes from Christ and Him alone.
- Not only do these non-rapturites accuse me and many other of being weaklings but that we use the doctrine of the rapture as a form of escapism, hoping to avoid troubled times or persecution. Those who seemingly want to face the tribulations coming upon this earth prior to our Lord's return have no idea what is coming. The word "comfort" is used mostly in New Testament letters to the Corinthians and those at Thessalonica. The Thessalonians were suffering great persecution and Paul wrote them a letter to strengthen and comfort them. The persecution did continue but their dread was that those who would die prior to being "caught up" would miss the return of Jesus. They were comforted in the fact that whether dead or alive at HIs return, the dead would go first; they would miss NOTHING and their dread of dying prior was erased. They became even MORE fearless in the face of persecution.
It is easy to put on a brave face before the battle begins and to use self-aggrandizing words, but when the heat of battle rages, it will be those who have found great comfort in Christ, for we have the Comforter abiding within. "Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
Abraham - A Man of Faith
The Theophany - Abraham Meets Jesus
It is Jesus Himself that sets the doctrine surrounding His own when the full wrath of God is about to strike the ungodly of this world. In Genesis 18:16-33 it is Jesus that leads Abraham to display the heart of God where judgment and justice are concerned.
- vs 17 to 19 "Shall I hide from Abraham......for I know him," He knew of Abraham's love of his nephew Lot and his family; what Abraham did not fully understand was that Jesus' love for Lot exceeded his.
- vs 23 Abraham's questions, "Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?" Think about it; destruction of the righteous made NO sense to a man of great faith.
- vs 24 to 32 Jesus answers NO, for the sake of ten, Sodom will stand. Abraham's faith is confirmed; the righteous will NOT suffer the fate of the wicked.
Obviously, there were not ten righteous within Sodom's gates or it's neighboring cities. In the days of Noah, only eight were saved from the flood, for only he found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Judgment and justice are served unmixed to the ungodly but justice1 preserves those who have put their trust in the Savior. In both cases, Noah and Lot along with their immediate families were whisked away prior to the devastation. One with their lamp trimmed, safely tucked away in the ark, waiting for God's wrath to come, while the other literally had to be snatched away at the last minute. Noah, like us, had plenty of warning, and was busy about God's work and preaching the Truth up until the end. Lot, on the other hand, found out the night before Sodom was to be destroyed and like many of us was unprepared for what was about to befall their home. It makes NO difference, whether we are prepared or not, it is God's faithfulness to His own that will remove us prior to His judgment upon wickedness.
1 When I address the security of the believer, I will expound on why it 's foundation is based upon the justice of God.
Sampson - A Judge to be Reckoned With
Principle of the Judges
When the godly are removed, sin dominates the will and purposes of the individual as well as the state.
The Book of Judges are stories of a nation who vacillated between following a godly leader and reaping the peace and prosperity of the times and when godliness was not found in the nation's leadership, sin then abounded with troubles replacing the peace they once savored. Does this sound familiar? As it is written, there is nothing new under the sun. In chapters 17:6 and 21:25 it is written; that during those times all sought to do that which is right in their own eyes. Three problems follow those who pursue their own dictates:
- No one is righteous in themselves. Psalms 14:1-3
- A man's heart is deceitful, even to himself. Jeremiah 17:9-10
- Christians are not immune either for we cannot go it alone lest we will fall by the wayside. Hebrews 10:23-25
There is going to be a great spiritual vacuum created by the rapture for the sole purpose of the rise of a godless empire to rule the whole earth. The good news is that God has forewarned us and has armed those who will come to Christ in the latter days with the Truth. Out of the massive spiritual vacuum will come the greatest revival mankind has ever witnessed.
For those who become the martyrs of the 70th week of Daniel, even they though suffering death due to persecution will NOT be present when God unleashes His full wrath on the kingdom of the beast. Though the sheep of Matthew 25 survive the judgment as did Rahab when Jericho fell, they will witness an event beyond their comprehension and they will carry it into the millennium. All of this according to the sovereign will of God.
I Didn't Forget Enoch and Elijah!
Will We Follow His Path?
The Raptured Ones - Enoch & Elijah
Why a picture of palm trees? Heaven shall be filled with them for the hundreds of millions of us worshipping our lord in heaven shall be waving palm branches. Read the instructions to Solomon concerning the temple and you will find that palm leaf engravings were in abundant supply. As a prelude to heavens worship; when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the people were waving, you guessed it, palm branches. As you read this article, Enoch and Elijah are surrounded by palm trees...and countless other beautiful flora, awaiting our arrival.
Enoch the preacher, who prophesied to the world of his day of the impending judgment was a man who pleased God (Hebrews 11:5) and man of great faith, for the following verse states that it is impossible to please Him without faith. On the other hand, Elijah was a moody but fiery preacher to whom God saw fit to work miracles in the presence of His enemies among the ten northern tribes of Israel. What they have in common is that neither saw physical death; they were raptured. If it was only Enoch, you might get away with making an allegory out of his story but add to him the events surrounding Elijah and a point in doctrine is established. The interesting thing about Elijah is that he was raptured in plain sight of a witness on the ground; Elisha. So many people have the idea that during the rapture, people will just vanish. It does sound like Enoch may have just vanished but it is hard to come to a sure conclusion. The word "translated" in Hebrews 11:5 means to exchange. He exchanged a body of sinful flesh for a new creation? As far as Elijah is concerned, we do have another passage of one being taken to heaven in plain sight of a crowd: Jesus. Maybe our bodies will be changed in the twinkling of an eye but quite possibly we will go and be seen. As I stated in an earlier article, if the rapture should occur around noon to three in the Middle East, all of Europe, North and South America would be in the dark of night. An event of this magnitude would very likely go unnoticed by the majority in the West and believers in the rest of the world, who are among the poorest of peoples (but rich in the things of God) would not be missed. Whether instantly, with dramatics or a mixture of both; the stage will then be set for a worldwide rapid decline into every man for himself mindset. Even that, is beyond my puny intellect to fathom.