The Rapture and the Second Coming are completely separate events. With some exception, much of the worldwide Church is slumbering and unprepared for the rapture. If we carefully examine what Jesus had to say about the last days just before he returns, you might be surprised to know how few people will be prepared for this event. Most believers will miss the rapture and enter into the tribulation. How could this happen and why?

Christian theology mirrors a historical evolution of contentious doctrinal differences of opinion that scholars and theologians embrace. The attribution for this, in part, is due to human values, perception, and our interpretation of the Bible. Scripture offers metaphoric, symbolic, and literal meanings. Our understanding of scripture impacts how we apply it to our lives. This is no less true today when it comes to prophetic eschatology matters such as the Rapture and the Tribulation. 

Representing the gospel of Jesus Christ are numerous denominations of Protestant doctrines and Catholicism that formulate the genre of Christianity, each promoting their own idiosyncratic doctrinal views of theology and statements of faith. Various differences in views are to be expected. Often times they are also polarizing.

Some of our differences are salient and so axiomatic and foundational that they become deal breakers in our moral belief system. Being inclusive and respectful of each other is wonderful, but when it comes to our beliefs, the reality is that all roads don’t lead to heaven any more than all roads lead to Rome, a popular idiom in which we forget that Rome collapsed.

A good education promotes the so-called ‘scientific method’ of critical thinking, which is to say, does it hold water? Is it well grounded in fact, substance, verifiable, and well supported? Does it hold up to bright light, scrutiny, cross-examination, and can the results be replicated in independent studies? If we are even remotely interested in pursuing truth, we weigh the evidence. All things cannot presently be proven but we can still approach them and study them with critical thinking.

My goal is to approach the Bible and its prophetic scriptures in much the same respectful way as I have just outlined.  There are some things in the Bible that are clearly metaphoric, and offered as parables, while there are other passages that represent idioms of language and culture. One of the ways in which I have chosen to read and interpret the Bible for myself is to read it, first of all contextually, but also literally, except for where the context of scripture makes it self-evident and clear that the words are intentionally meant to be metaphoric, or otherwise symbolic.

An example of this is when Jesus said to Nicodemus, ‘you must be born again’, a metaphor of having a new heart and mind-set for life, a statement not intended in a literal sense of physiology, being born a second time from his mother’s womb. Where it is written in scripture, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, I take that literally, by examining my own life and the world around me. Where the Lord spoke of his coming back for his Church disciples I take that literally as well. I have come to the position that reading scripture in its literal context and meaning is the most accurate and effectual way of reading and understanding the Bible, and I base that, in part, on what I have read and heard from other scholars and people that I respect and hold in high regard. There is a whole school of theology just on this issue in which the absence of clearly intended symbolism compels me to the methodology of literal interpretation.

In studying doctrinal views, theological arguments, and symbolism, I try to connect the dots, and carefully weigh the evidence.  In weighing the evidence I want to carefully ask myself whether the substance of what is submitted for the truth of the matter is also consistent with other foundational scriptures and truth. In other words, dig deeper than just the first level. Is there a principle of truth that goes beyond just the first application level? Does the truth apply to mankind in general, or was it intended for a select group, or a single individual? Are the conclusions that we draw consistent and representative of what we know to be God’s character and love? Does the evidence support the truth?

In the pursuit of truth, we also need to consider our own human nature and weakness, at least I do. In fallen human nature, we tend to be dishonest with ourselves and with our thoughts toward God. We need to ask ourselves, if we are once again trying to sell ourselves another snow job, or used car. In this context, I prayerfully ask the Lord to open my mind, spirit and understanding and give me wisdom to make sense of what is unclear, not only in reading his word, but in my thinking patterns, motives, and self evaluations.

I don’t have all the answers, and my intention is not to suggest or prove otherwise. In fact, I am not intending to prove anything, nor change your point of view, or win debate points. I simply offer my perspective, commentary and best understanding of what I strongly suspect is likely to take place in the very near future.

If anyone claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ, or is interested in becoming a follower, then arguably they should be familiar with what Jesus had to say about the rapture, the tribulation, the Second Coming, repentance, obedience, and who can be a disciple of Jesus, just to name a few spiritual issues. These are life defining, eternal matters that impact our destiny. Jesus said the gate that leads to destruction is wide. The world loves to say as long as you believe in God you will be fine, because all religious roads lead to a universal higher power that we generically refer to as God. Nothing could be more specious or untrue.

One of the most staggering things Jesus had to say about those who make it into heaven was this: straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it (Matt 7:14). The absence of any caveat makes this statement very sobering. Jesus doesn’t say, for example, except for the Church, or except for those who love me, or except for my disciples who follow me. It covers everybody and ‘few there be that find it’. The Church has largely ignored this teaching because it is unpopular and difficult to talk about. Jesus also said, referring of those who do love and follow him, that many would not be ready for him when he returned, and that many would wax cold in the last days. The following commentary explores this issue further. If you missed the boat, you need to recalibrate.

The Bible reveals there will be a specific and designated period of tribulation on earth in the last days. The instability and present conditions of the world make it easy to visualize this. The tribulation is mentioned numerous times in the Bible and described as a 7-year period of time.

The second half of this period of time, 42 months (or 3 ½ years) is described as the “Great Tribulation” and it involves the appearance of the Antichrist, unprecedented tumultuous evil, along with catastrophic cosmic, geophysical events taking place on earth in which the wrath of God is unleashed on the world. According to scripture, the Great Tribulation culminates with the Battle of Armageddon, and the Second Coming of Christ. These events are described partly in Old Testament books, such as Daniel, and in the New Testament gospels, and the book of Revelation.

Christian eschatology, based on interpretation of biblical scripture, promotes two different, momentously defining events: the rapture and the Second Coming of Jesus.

In good company with others I stand in faith, embracing the apologetics that the Bible is the inspired, infallible, authoritative word of God, which does not contradict itself. There are enigmatic scriptures that we don’t fully understand at times, which seem contradictory, but I believe that is only because we fail to understand the proper context and other connecting scriptures that often illuminate the subject matter.

As in the case of science or other disciplines, what appears at times to be contradictory at the onset, sometimes manifests itself with greater or even perfect clarity just down the road as our understand-  ing opens. I believe this to be true when it comes to understanding the Bible. There are scriptures which, at first glance, seem to be in conflict with each other. Further research has been known at times to disprove the perceived conflict, such as in the case of archeological discoveries. In the alternative, while some scripture is meant to be clear, guiding, and prophetically assuring, other scripture, by design, is not meant to be entirely clear until the appropriate fullness of time is come.

There has been much argument about the rapture and the Second Coming. One school of thought is that the rapture will take place before the tribulation begins. This represents a Pre-Tribulation theory.  Others argue that Bible doesn’t even mention the word ‘rapture’ and so the only event that will occur will be the Second Coming of Christ, and that takes place at the end of the tribulation, so this theory is called the Post-Tribulation doctrine. Other scholars persuasively argue that scripture reveals the elect (followers of Jesus/disciples/the Church) will be spared the wrath of God before the worst part of the Great Tribulation. This school represents a Pre-Wrath Tribulation viewpoint. The dramatic period wherein the Antichrist comes into power and the abomination of desolation occurs delineates Mid-Tribulation events.

The way in which scripture reads, it becomes easy to see how there could be confusion with some of these events. Only by studying these issues with an open mind of humility, and by asking the Holy Spirit to open our understanding, will these things begin to make sense; and some of them probably won’t make sense until they actually unfold. In this regard, it doesn’t matter how things unfold if we are truly born again, and fully committed to Jesus. This isn’t about who holds the best doctrinal view, or who is right or wrong, or whether one is a vegetarian who avoids red meat. It’s really all about whether people are truly saved and ready to meet Jesus. If you are not ready, you need to get ready! If you completely missed your flight, you need to make new reservations. The last call is approaching.

Many Christian believers today are so apostate, they will openly and quite matter-of-factly tell you they don’t even believe in the rapture anymore. This came as a surprise to me. They used to. What changed their minds? Some claim that the word ‘rapture’ doesn’t even appear in the Bible. I had to dig deeper. Was there any truth to this?

The Bible (lest we forget) was not originally written in English. So, if we do a computerized word check looking for the word ‘rapture’ it will not appear, neither in the English translation of the King James Bible, nor in Strong’s Concordance. On the other hand, scholars who have studied this in great depth, will tell you that the Bible was originally written in Hebrew, then Greek, then later in Latin. In those original translations the words and meaning for ‘taken, snatched away, removed’ or raptured were in the original language of scripture throughout the passages of scripture that dealt with the Lord’s return, where it speaks of meeting Jesus in the clouds. The precise meaning was there all along, just not the English word rapture. Here is an excellent link that provides a scholarly, analytical overview of this issue: http://www.soundchristian.com/prophecy/.

The meaning of the word rapture, and its linguistic functional equivalent, is indisputably found in scripture. Focusing on the fact that English word rapture is not in the Bible seems purposely disingenuous, and representative of what I would argue to be slothful due diligence, delusion, lack of knowledge and a complete disregard for truth, along with a unwillingness to even search for it.

People don’t always want to know the truth, otherwise they would diligently search for it, dig, and investigate.  Mankind’s disinterest in the truth and propensity to avoid it, or look the other way, describes the condition of the heart.  Jesus pointed out men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil (John 3:18-19). Those who seek truth also embrace light because darkness covers the truth, but light illuminates the truth.  In this regard Jesus is indeed the light of the world. For the few that do ask, seek, and knock, God’s word offers us this wonderful promise: And ye shall find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13).

One of the research materials I came across offers a clear and compelling distinction between the Rapture and the Second Coming. The Pre-Tribulation Rapture-What does it Mean and how does it Differ from the Second Coming of Christ? By Prof. Johan Malan, School of Social Sciences, University of Limpopo (Feb. 2005) http://www.bibleguidance.co.za/Engarticles/Rapconference/3%20Rapturedoctrine.htm

There are various theological views of eschatology but in the final analysis there are two major subdivisions: those who, based on interpretation of scripture, believe that the Church will go through the tribulation, and at the end of it, be taken to heaven when Jesus returns at his Second Coming, while the second major school of thought is that the true Church will be raptured before the Great Tribulation occurs, or at least before the wrath of God is poured out upon the world. The timing of the rapture depends upon whose school of thought you follow. 

After carefully studying scripture, searching for truth, and reading the biblical commentaries and argument of scholars I respect, I have come to personally believe in a Pre-Tribulation rapture. My views on this, however, probably differ from those who embrace conventional mainstream western theological teaching on this subject.

I believe scripture shows that a Pre-Tribulation rapture will occur, but that not all Christians will be taken. Many Christians will be left behind to go through the tribulation by reason of default, apostasy, lack of readiness, and lukewarmness, but some also by virtue of divine appointment. There is a strong scriptural basis for such thinking. Some Christians escape tribulation and some don’t. The reality is some Christians go through the tribulation and some are raptured; both of these events will occur.

On the surface, some scripture seems to contradict other scriptures. I do not believe the scriptures are contradictory, neither is the written word of God duplicitous. It’s our understanding that is problematic.

Weigh the evidence, examine scripture, and see for yourself what is written and draw your own conclusions. I personally believe that a thorough analysis of scripture elucidates both a rapture event, and a second coming.  These are two separate events. Jesus had a lot to say about end times.

The timeline for when the rapture occurs is far less important an issue than whether people will be ready for it. 

RAPTURE ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY

Jesus analogously compared the season of his return to leaves budding on a fig tree in spring, which tells us summer is nigh. I believe Jesus is near, even at the door. The rapture is at hand, the 7-year tribulation (final week) is about to commence, and this week will conclude with the Second Coming. The rapture and the Second Coming are separate events. It has bothered me greatly that most of us collectively who claim to be followers of Jesus seem unaware of the season, and if we are not oblivious to the season, and we sense the end is near, why isn’t the Church talking about this, and preparing people for these events? This is analogous to the days of Noah (as Jesus himself pointed out). The flood came suddenly and swept people away. Only Noah and those with him survived. Jesus warned that the coming of the Son of man would be as it was in the days of Noah (Matt 24:37). This refers to the rapture, not the Second Coming. There will be people left behind. Why are we not better preparing people for this event?

There are three biblical areas of scripture that give illuminating insight and prophetic warning of what is to come. Most prophetic scholars that offer commentary on end times all incorporate these three areas and they include the books of Daniel, Revelation, and portions of the gospels wherein Jesus addressed end time issues.

In Matthew Chapter 24 the disciples privately asked Jesus when the end of world (age) would come. The answer Jesus provided to his disciples is sometimes said to be a private briefing, considered the most detailed exposé of end times, and the longest answer to any question in the Bible that was posed to Jesus.

In this briefing, referred to as the Olivet Discourse, Jesus specifically points to (and thus validates) the prophetic words of Daniel, describing the abomination of desolation, which is a mid-point period in the 7-year tribulation (Daniel 9:27). This is important for several reasons. It identifies specific time periods associated with events that unfold during the tribulation, not the least of which is a specific event that starts the 7-year tribulation clock. Daniel delineates the exact period of time the tribulation will last (Daniel 12:11). Daniel’s prophetic timetable is further corroborated in the book of the Revelation.

While the words of Jesus found in Matthew 24 are the most well recognized and quoted scripture of the Bible dealing with end time events, there is another gospel reference in the book of Luke that is being corroborated by present day science. This is exciting because it offers tangible evidence. Jesus said there would be signs in the sun, the moon, and in the stars, and also with the roaring oceans, before his Second Coming (Luke 21:25). These things are happening right now.

Back in 2009 NASA knew and predicted we would have severe global bombardment of solar storms comprised of CMEs that would hit earth toward the end of 2012 and the early months of 2013. They commissioned a scientific study on the potentiality of this, and a scientific research panel that they put together came out and published their findings. The study reported there could be 2 trillion dollars with of damage to property and up to 1 billion lives lost by what was approaching. http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2009/21jan_severespaceweather/

NASA subsequently down played some of these findings to ostensibly prevent panic, but the truth was already out there and a matter of record, and scientific reality. A few weeks ago, during August of 2014, NASA released information to the press that they had concealed from the public. NASA is a governmental entity. Our government officials, including the White House failed to tell us or warn us of what transpired back in 2012. NASA released this information to major media networks like CNN, FOX NEWS, and ABC News, as well as other global networks. The information was published all around the world, reporting that the earth nearly sustained catastrophic damage by solar CME storms back in 2012. No one said a word. Well, Jesus did! He said there would be signs in the sun…

You can Google solar storms to find all sorts of information on this but here are a handful of documented examples.

CME solar storms nearly destroyed the earth in 2012 http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1155421

FOX News https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0MKhja5vwA

NASA reports perilous CME near miss of earth two years after the fact. http://www.cnet.com/news/solar-storm-almost-fried-earth-two-years-ago/

ABC News-Solar storms http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/solar-flares-disrupt-flights-15881197

These solar CME storms continue to be a threat even today: September 10, 2014: http://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/solar-storm-warning-sun-shoots-x-flare-outburst-earth-n200321

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/technology/2014/06/solar-flares-disrupt-communications-on-earth-could-send-shockwave-on-friday-the-13th/  http://abcnews.go.com/topics/news/solar-storm.htm

Sun Will Destroy All Satellites in 2014 [Here’s a sobering prediction] By Tap Vann on November 22, 2013 http://weeklyworldnews.com/headlines/23038/sun-will-destroy-all-satellites-in-2013/].

There have been world wide hurricanes, tsunamis, and floods such as Sandy Storm, that flooded subways in NYC, and other storms across the globe that have caused catastrophic damage. Ocean fish have died by the millions all around the world for no apparent reason.

There are signs in the moon, that NASA tracks that will soon produce rare blood moons and solar eclipses, just as described in the book of Joel and Revelation 6:12. There are 4 blood moons occurring that are rare. NASA refers to them as a tetrad. There have only been 7 of these tetrads in the past that fall on biblical feast days, but they hold great significance because the fall on historically important days, like when Israel became a nation, and when Israel won the Six Day War recapturing Jerusalem. Moreover, these blood moons fall on Jewish holy days like Passover, and other Feast of Tabernacles, so they have great spiritual significance as well. You can find more information on these blood moons and solar eclipses at: www.redmoon.com.  The 8th "Biblical Tetrad" occurs in 2014-2015 and there will not be another "Biblical Tetrad" for almost 600 years.

http://www.jesusonmymind.com/services.  We are in the time of this tetrad right now. Other experts I have read said this precise cycle of solar and lunar alignments won’t happen again for another 525 plus years.  Regardless of whether is ‘almost 600 years’ or whether it’s closer to 525 years, it won’t make any difference. We will all be long gone by then.

Jesus was not the first one to speak of signs that would appear in the stars, and by the way, this has nothing to do with astrology or magic. This has to do with astronomy, and that is why NASA can predict blood moons and solar eclipses. There is a precise science to this. The mention of signs goes all the way back to the book of Genesis where Moses wrote the following: And God said let their be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years (Genesis 1:14).

God does things at appointed times. We see this repeatedly in scripture and warning comes before judgment comes. All the signs we read about that occur during the Great Tribulation and that we read about in the book of Revelation are part of God’s warning that specific events are coming our way. The specificity of prophecy delineates an exact timetable that will help people know there is an end in sight, and that the Lord will be returning. Daniel prophisied the time apppointed unto the 7-year tribulation is exactly 2550 days. Immediately thereafter the Second Coming will take place. This is depicted by the Day of Atonement.

There needs to be a scriptural caveat here regarding signs in the sun, moon, and stars. All of the signs that Jesus (and others biblical prophets like Daniel) spoke of just before and during the tribulation relate to the Second Coming, not the rapture. Jesus spoke of this in Matthew chapter 24. The exception to this, regarding the rapture, is that we can know the season, and if we look to Daniel, just as Jesus pointed out, the start of the tribulation begins when a covenant with many is made (Daniel 9:27). Jesus said: when you see these things, know that it is near, even at the doors (Matt 24:33). When we see the covenant with many take place pursuant to Daniel 9:27, the rapture will be linked by close proximity to this event, even at the door. What we still won’t know is the specificity of the exact day or hour as it relates to the Feast of Trumpets.

Tribulation events leading up to the Second Coming are full of signs: earthquakes, solar eclipses, signs in the moon (four blood moons), signs in the stars, the sea and the waves roaring (Luke 21:25). Revelation depicts lunar and solar signs, a great earthquake, along with asteroid meteorites of fire falling upon earth (Rev 6:12-15; 16:21). There are no ‘signs’ for the rapture except for knowing the season, and its proximity to the covenant with many in Daniel 9:27).

Why are there not any specific signs for the rapture like there are for the Second Coming? I was very puzzled by this. As I read Matt 24 I began to understand this better. Jesus spoke about this. He specifically talked about the faithful servant who ruled over his house and all the master’s goods. If the good servant of the house had known in what hour the thief would come he would ensure the master’s house was not broken into (Matt 24:43). Therefore, be ye ready also, for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man will come.

The absence of more specificity has to do with our [fallen] human nature. If Christians knew when the Lord was coming, they would disingenuously live as many do, duplicitously playing both side of the fence, half-heartedly committed to servanthood, thinking to themselves, my Lord has delayed his return (Matt 24:48). Live a little, enjoy life to its fullest, I will get right with God just before he returns and repent, and I will be ready. The righteous, faithful servant, on the other hand, is completely committed to serving Jesus, and except for the joy that we will have when he comes, the hour of his return doesn’t make any difference. The faithful servant will be diligently serving their Master, watchful, vigilant, prayerful, and fully committed, even as Jesus commanded. If we knew when the big earthquake was coming, we would all run out and buy insurance.

There has been contentious debate and contumelious rancor among members of the Body of Christ regarding the rapture, the tribulation, and the Second Coming of Christ. With regard to the rapture, there has been vehement vitriolic argument that only some Christians will be taken in the rapture. Those who claim all Christians will be taken in the rapture argue there is no scriptural evidence for a ‘partial’ rapture and we are all under grace, and no one is any better, or more deserving than anyone else.  Some denominational faiths today reject biblical teaching on the rapture, and they denounce the rapture as a false doctrine.

The Body of Christ is suppose to manifest the fruits of the Spirit, and live in harmony with each other, because one member is not more important than the other member. Christ is the head of the Church, and we are members of the Body. The Church has failed to do much teaching on prophetic events. The Lord will return whether we are ready or not, and many will not be prepared.

Avoiding difficult topics or completely ignoring scriptures that deal with end times is an abdication of leadership responsibility. I believe it is perfectly O.K., and even unavoidable, to have differences of opinion when it comes to some of these things, and we should be respectful of each other even if we disagree with the views of some of our brothers and sisters.  On the other hand, being completely unprepared, and living in the dark and not having the courage to ask questions, or seek truthful answers, would be a crying shame. Read the scriptures with an open mind and weigh the evidence.

Bible eschatology presents a conundrum. Jesus said: Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be shaken: (Matt 24:29).  Many have argued the Church will go through the tribulation because the word ‘after’ provides context. Other scriptures offer a more compelling argument/glimpse of Christians in the tribulation (Rev 12:11 / 17:6 / 20:4).

Even so, other scriptures offer a compelling argument the rapture will occur before the tribulation. Since we are not appointed unto wrath, some postulate Pre-wrath tribulation rapture, or Mid-tribulation rapture. Human intellect alone promotes uncertainty with this. Yet, God is not the author of confusion or uncertainty. All scripture is inspired, but all scripture is not meant to be perfectly clear. Daniel prophesied this (Daniel 12:10). Jesus spoke in parables for this very reason. Revelation and understanding come from the Holy Spirit by humbly asking, seeking, and knocking on God’s door with a sincere heart (Jeremiah 29:13 / 33:3).

In the final 70th week of Daniel, the bride of Christ will celebrate the Marriage of the Lamb, while the earth goes through the 7-year tribulation. This scenario is consistent with a one-week wedding celebration practiced in Jewish biblical culture, and with the New Testament teaching Jesus gave depicting the sudden rapture of his bride in the middle of the night (Matt 25:1-10).

Jesus said, For as a snare shall it come [the tribulation] on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man (Luke 21:35, 36). The phrase ‘worthy to escape’ is revealing.  This implies it is possible for one to be found worthy to escape all these things that are to come. Jesus would not have said this if it were not possible. Thus, by virtue of deduction and logical progression, we may reason that some will escape, and some will not. Some Christians will be raptured, and some will not. Jesus speaks of this clearly: Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be in grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left (Matt 24:40, 41).

Obedience, faithfulness, and readiness are behavioral choices in our spiritual journey that have an influence on the outcome, right now on earth. It will be possible to miss the rapture if one is not in a state of readiness. Jesus said so! Indifference and faithful stewardship both have consequences. Even though sin is forgivable, rewards are not limited to life in the hereafter.

God rewards righteous behavior and stewardship even before we get to heaven! There can be earthly rewards and consequences for behavior, both on earth and in heaven. King David is a perfect example of this. His willful disobedience resulted in severe earthly consequences that he endured, even though his sin was forgiven. Forgiveness is being spared the second death in the lake of fire; it doesn’t mean there are no earthly consequences.

Jesus spoke of earthly and heavenly rewards when he said: Verily I say unto you, there is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, but he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time, … and in the world to come eternal life (Mark 10:29-30). God said to Abraham, I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward (Gen 15:1). The language here is present tense. I am thy shield… [right now!]. Abraham’s exceeding great reward was not limited to heaven. The same should hold true for us. God blessed Abraham here on earth, and made him a father of many nations. The blessings will continue into eternity.

The Church has largely failed to offer teaching on end times, how to avoid entering the tribulation, or anything having to do with the Second Coming. When has your church offered any pragmatic, expositional teaching on Luke 21:36, on how to prepare yourself that you may be found worthy to escape all these things? Very few churches have tried to tackle this subject, so very little teaching, if any, is given on eschatology. In a recent conversation I had with a senior pastor at my own church, he acknowledged that there has not been a message dealing with the rapture or the Second Coming in more than 40 years. This void holds true for churches all across our nation.

Did you know the world senses the end is near and Hollywood is making movies about these things? The Church seems oblivious to the season we are in and appears to be sound asleep, at least when it comes to the issue of the Lord’s imminent return. Hollywood has recently made movies depicting the Antichrist, the rapture, and the tribulation, and HBO has produced a series on the rapture called the Leftovers. Nicolas Cage is starring in a movie Left Behind that deals with the rapture, which comes out Oct 3, 2014. Another movie that was just released in some areas is called The Remaining, and it deals with the rapture and the ensuing tribulation that follows. This is something the Church should be talking about!

I am not endorsing these movies but rather pointing out even the world knows has a sense of what is unfolding. Why isn’t the Church all over this, preparing people for such events? The Church has avoided the subject as though it were the plague, ostensibly because it does not sense what even the world grasps. The very ones who should be sounding the alarm, to get ready, are completely silent on the topic of the Lord’s soon return. Those who are not silent, many of them are contentious and vehemently critical of anything having to do with the rapture, and they apparently have little interest or desire to talk about the Second Coming.

There will be some who take offense to any criticism made against the Church. There are a number of honest defense arguments that can be made that put this into perspective. If you do a word study on ‘anger’ the Bible is full of material on this, and examples of it, including where God has been angry. Anger is a real, and often legitimate emotion, and it’s certainly a part of the world we live in, even in cases where the anger is misplaced. Healthy people who efficaciously approach life examine human emotion, and engage in conversation and discussion that is geared toward conflict resolution. God doesn’t annihilate people simply because they get angry. There is such a thing as righteous anger and indignation. There are things that should make us angry if we love Jesus, and there are injustices that should moves us to action and greater involvement with the world we are suppose to care about. 

Being angry at the Church is not being angry at God. Let’s get that straight. Who is the Church? Is the Church simply a brick and mortar building? No, of course not. The Church is made up of people who follow Jesus and live for him. My own contumelious anger toward the Church is really directed toward Church leaders, and more specifically, shepherds and pastors who are suppose to lead and be more concerned about what Jesus thinks, than what people think. Pastors have become people pleasers. They worry more about email complaints from their own congregations than they do over what Jesus might think about their Church.

Constructive criticism is vital to keeping us all honest, and on theologically sound footing. Examine the criticism, and see if there is any merit to it. Ask God, how are we doing in this area.  Are we ignoring important biblical teaching because it’s difficult to talk about? Are we more concerned with accommodating people than we are in allowing them to go to hell?  I’m not just concerned about people going to hell. Who wants to unnecessarily enter into the tribulation? There will be family members we love who will enter into the tribulation because we failed to teach them, challenge them, or given them the opportunity to turn things around. We should not be indifferent about these important issues.

There are many Christians today in the body of Christ who could not tell a fellow co-worker what they believe about the rapture or the Second Coming, if they were sincerely asked about either of these events. Most people would probably refer a person asking a hard question to their pastor, but your co-worker doesn’t care what you’re pastor believes, they want to know what you believe, and why. What’s your authority or reference base for your thinking and conclusions?

The lack of clarity regarding what it means to be worthy to escape all these things (that will occur in the tribulation) unfortunately occurs for two fundamental reasons. We don’t earnestly seek to read or rightly divide the word of God and seek knowledge, discernment, and understanding on our own; and we obsequiously swallow and accept at face value everything our pastors typically tell us. After all, we respect our pastors, and they know more than we do about these things, and we trust them to lead us, so we depend on them and accept what they tell us. A perfect example of this is the pervasive teaching ‘no man knows the day or the hours’ so what’s a matter with you? Don’t you read the Bible? We don’t dig any deeper and we jump to conclusions about what some scriptures are thought to mean.

In some cases, pastors don’t know what to teach or preach, because the truth isn’t perfectly clear, and there is theological disagreement when it comes to subjects like the rapture, the tribulation, and the Second Coming. Understanding it is a matter of interpretation, and honest, good people have differences in their views when it comes to prophetic scripture. So, do we just avoid difficult areas and not speak of them?  What do you tell your co-worker? I have no clue as to what I believe or why; just be happy, Jesus loves you!

Jesus tweaked the Great Commandment that was originally given by Moses (Deut 6:5) and he modified it. Jesus said we are to love God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all your mind. We like to view all behavior through the lens of redemption and grace, because salvation is not by works alone, less any man should boast. Salvation through Christ is what we call the “Good News” but we need to look at and understand other areas of our faith, and know what we believe and why. We need to practice some critical thinking.

Grace alone is a safe theology that, if not perspicaciously applied with great wisdom, has the potentiality to circumvent and nullify individual responsibility and consequences.  Church pastors don’t like to speak of accountability or consequences. They love to tickle peoples’ ears with the make me-feel-good doctrine of grace. God loves you and he wants to give you a yacht and make you rich. It’s all good brother! Have another glass of wine. After all, Jesus paid the price for our salvation.

This is true, but it does not mean there are no consequences for human behavior, nor does it mean there are no requirements that go along with discipleship. God rewards righteous behavior and stewardship, and there can be severe earthly consequences for willful disobedience. Consequences are not limited to willful disobedience or vile behaviors. There are consequences for being lukewarm, indifferent, and not fully committed. There can be consequences for simply being careless. You can get hit by a truck crossing the street if you don’t look both ways; you can drown if you don’t know how to swim; and you can miss the rapture if you’re not ready. There are earthly consequences for just about everything in life. This is a spiritual principle, and the Bible speaks of it clearly: we reap what we sow.

This doesn’t mean we are all going to hell because we were late for church or because you told the pastor’s wife that her dress made her look fat. God truly forgives people who make mistakes, and who ask for forgiveness, (maybe not the pastor’s wife) but he also looks at our heart and our sincerity, and how much effort we put into our relationship with him. He doesn’t unjustly reward bad behavior or look the other way to pretend it isn’t there, just because he has the capacity to forgive sin. 

If I cheat on my wife and sleep with another woman, my wife may forgive me, but that will not remove the pain I cause her or myself, if I have any honor or sincere regret. If I am simply careless, and inattentive, and my 3-year old child drowns in my swimming pool, the earthly consequence of unintentional behavior will haunt me for the rest of my life. The laws of nature and the laws of God work all the time, and they don’t excuse indifference or careless inattention. Electricity can electrocute and kill people without regard to race, creed, color, age, or gender. If you aren’t looking for Jesus, you probably won’t be ready when he dispatches his angels to the four corners of the earth to snatch his bride.

God is just and his word is reliable. If we read the word of God and carefully examine what Jesus said about who makes it and who doesn’t, we would better understand consequence is a spiritual principle linked to surrender, obedience, and faithfulness. Readiness has application to the rapture and the Second Coming, and we should not take a cavalier attitude toward any of this. If our life produces no fruit, we are in grave danger (John 15:5,6) of catastrophic failure, and we need spiritual CPR. The entire gospel of Matthew offers a sobering overview from Jesus regarding who will enter heaven and who won’t. This principle represents the other side of the coin from grace. Grace and accountability both exist. Pay attention to the fine print.

Jesus warns and chastises those whom he loves. We see this in the book of Revelation where Jesus speaks of the 7 Churches. He warns the Church of Laodicea for their apostasy, and for allowing their love for him to become lukewarm. We see this again in Matt Ch. 24 and elsewhere where Jesus warns and commands us to be watchful, vigilant, prayerful, and steadfast, and he spells out that there are consequences for those who do not look for his return, but live as though they had all the time in the world. Many believers have grown lukewarm in their love for Christ, just as Jesus said they would. They have waxed cold in what Jesus described as falling away in the final generation (Matt 24:12). Should we be surprised then that there will be Christians that miss the rapture for lack of readiness? Who will be held most accountable for a lack of leadership? Who is the shepherd who cares for the Lord’s sheep?

There are rewards right here, right now, for those who ‘watch and pray always’ even as Jesus commanded. Unto them that look for him shall he appear (Heb 9:28). There is a special crown for those who look for Jesus to return. One might be saved from the lake of fire because their sins are forgiven, but that doesn’t automatically mean we are all faithfully and equally living for Jesus, watching and praying, yearning for Jesus to return to snatch his bride. We are not all ready to meet Jesus or yearning for him to return. In Matt 25:10 the consequence of not being watchful and ready meant five of the ten virgins missed the wedding. Scripture reveals earthly cost factors for Christians suffering in the tribulation. The cost of spiritual warfare is depicted in Rev 12:11 / 16:6 / 20:4.

In Revelation Jesus addresses the 7 churches. He rebukes and chastises 5 of them!  Jesus gives encouragement to the Church of Smyrna, and tells them they are rich, but he tells them they will endure ten days of tribulation, and to be strong and faithful unto death (Rev 2:7-10).  The Church of Smyrna will go through the tribulation, but not because they have failed, but because they have been chosen to witness/suffer for Jesus. The ten days apparently refers to the ten days between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement. Some saints will go through the tribulation and suffer for Christ by divine providence. The gospel will be preached, people will be awakened, and many will be saved, as they put their lives at risk and choose Jesus. The only church that escapes the tribulation is the Church of Philadelphia.

Here Jesus speaks of an ‘open door’ saying: I know thy works: behold I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. (Rev 3:7,8; 10).

The phrase ‘you have not denied my name’ is not meant to describe denying Christ, as in his existence. It has to do with having not denied our communion and intimacy with Christ. This ‘open door’ phrase has great significance and it is linked to the open door of the temple on the Feast of Trumpets, and it’s symbolic of the ‘open door’ of the ark that Noah entered to escape God’s wrath from the flood that would destroy the wicked left behind. Jesus links Noah in Matt 24 to his return and compares the days of Noah to end-time days and the season in which the Son of man returns to rapture his bride (v37, 39). The season Jesus spoke of and the open door are directly linked to the rapture, providing an escape from the judgment of God poured our upon the world during the second half of the 7-year tribulation just before the Second Coming.

The ‘open door’ I have set before thee (Rev 3:8) is the bride’s rapture described in Matt 25:10 and the escape Jesus speaks of in Luke 21:36. Jesus speaks of escape again when he says: I 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 speaks of the rapture, removing the bride from the Tribulation. Blessed are they, which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:9). Not everyone is called, but rather ‘they’ which are called. In Matthew 25 the wording describes it this way: and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut (v10).  Jesus said, Watch therefore and pray always that you might be accounted worthy to escape all these things…(Luke 21:36). Our behavior, state of mind, and our faithfulness are choice related variables of the heart, independent from redemption and grace, which saves us from eternal separation from God.

In the parable of the ten virgins they all wanted the groom to come and be in the wedding. They knew he was coming. Jesus comes at midnight for his bride according to Jewish custom, and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the [open] door was shut (Matt 25:6,10). For those who are caught unprepared and left behind, the groom comes like a thief in the night. The open door is the rapture, linked to the Feast of Trumpets in Revelation 3:8. The Feast of Trumpets represents the rapture and it’s the next feast to be fulfilled! I have been breathlessly awaiting this moment with eager anticipation.

In Matthew 24 Jesus describes tribulation events, the abomination of desolation (Daniel 9:27), and various signs in the tribulation leading up to his Second Coming. And then shall appear ‘the’ sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall ‘see’ the Son of man coming with great power and glory (v30). In Revelation it reads similarly that every eye shall see him, and they also who pierced him: and ‘all’ kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him (Rev 1:7). Both scriptures make it clear that ‘all’ kindreds and tribes of the earth will see Jesus returning in the Second Coming, and they will mourn and wail because of him, and for the judgment that is to follow. The redeemed will rejoice!

Jesus also spoke in Matthew 24 of the bride’s rapture (v31-42). We see in v31 Jesus does not return to earth, and no one sees him, but the trumpet sounds (the last trump on the Feast of Trumpets), announcing that the groom has come for his bride. The angels are dispatched to ‘gather’ [snatch/rapture] his ‘elect’ the bride. This depicts the rapture, not the Second Coming.

Jesus compares the rapture (open door) to the days of Noah, where the world was busy eating and drinking, and giving and taking in marriage/so shall the coming of the Son of man be (Matt 24:38,39) [Again, this relates to the rapture]. Jesus said: But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no not the angels in heaven, but my Father only (Matt 24:36). Jesus used a well-known idiom of the day. The phrase ‘no man knows the day or the hour, only my father’ is an idiom related to Jewish wedding customs where the father set the wedding date, and only the father knew when the wedding would occur. This was a Jewish custom of the day, which Jesus adopted and applied to his own wedding plans for the church, his bride.

The idiom no man knows the day or the hour ALSO refers to the Feast of Trumpets, the only feast of seven in which the exact day is uncertain, because it could fall on either one of two days, depending on when the new moon is detected. The idiom is directly linked to Jewish wedding customs (Matt 25) AND the Feast of Trumpets. http://johnfaulkner.blogspot.com/2012/09/no-man-knows-day-or-hour.html

http://www.ltradio.org/articles/?admin=linkto&link=109&&quick=y

http://waitingforjesus.com/jewishfeastsprophecy.html

In Jewish culture the groom’s proposal and bride’s acceptance involved a wine toast. If the bride accepted, the groom went to prepare a place for the bride, often a period of one year. He would then return in the middle of the night and ceremoniously snatch his bride.

We see this wedding and communion principle at play at the Last Supper. This marriage proposal is a covenant of eternal life. In the wedding custom, the groom laid out the price and terms he was willing to pay for his bride, and if she accepted, they both made a ceremonial wine toast, after which neither one of them drank wine again, until the groom returned to snatch his bride at the day of their wedding. Jesus followed this custom at the Last Supper. Jesus took the cup and said to his disciples drink ye all of it: for this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many, for the remission of sins (Matt 26:27,28).

Jesus then paid the cost for our redemption on the cross. He went to prepare a place for us, and told us that he would return for us.  Jesus said he would no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until he returned for us. How beautiful! This is all part of Jewish wedding culture, which Jesus observed and followed. His return will follow exactly what he outlined in Matt 25:1-10. This passage of scripture depicts the rapture. The rapture is the ‘open door’ on the Feast of Trumpets!

Some escape tribulation and some don’t. Some enter the tribulation by default and lack of readiness, while others are divinely appointed to serve in the tribulation like Symrna.

The time allotted for the tribulation is designated with great specificity in Daniel/Revelation as being 1260 days, plus 1290 days, for a total of 2550 days. The Second Coming will occur on the Day of Atonement. The Feast of Tabernacles represents the millennium.

The rapture will take the dead in Christ, and a very small percentage of current living Christians who are ready and looking for Jesus, perhaps as few as 2 percent of the Church. Much of the global church will be left behind to be refined through the tribulation. This will cause many Christians left behind to initially deny the rapture has taken place! A ubiquitous argument will emerge and prevail that those who are missing are not any better than those who were left behind.

We tend to judge ourselves based on what others do, rather than the word of God. We convince ourselves we’re better than the other guy, rather than asking Jesus, how am I doing Lord? If we only looked at our failure and this argument through the lens of sin, and the fact that we are all fallen, and saved by grace, this would seem to make sense. I’m not more sinful than the other guy, so how could he be taken, and I left behind? This is not, however, solely an issue of sin and redemption. This is an issue of readiness that Jesus spoke of and there are earthly rewards for those who are found worthy as Jesus described in Luke 21:36. The standard for who is found worthy is not based on some fallacious argument that some of us are without sin. We are all full of sin, and saved by grace. Yet, being worthy to escape tribulation requires readiness, and arguably an inner yearning for the groom to come for his bride.

Imagine how you would feel if you are the groom, coming for your bride, and she isn’t all that excited about your coming. Who decides those who are worthy to escape? Jesus does! He looks at the individual’s heart and sincerity. Were we yearning for him to come? There will be confusion, denial, deception, and argument about the rapture. Jesus warned that many will be deceived. The world has always had to deal with deception but there will be increased deception in the last days, and many will be divided over the rapture for lack of knowledge and understanding of the Word.

The tribulation will produce a purifying trial by fire that redefines many Christians who have been lukewarm and not fully committed in their love for Christ. There won’t be any untested people in heaven. Much of the church is unprepared for Jesus, and certainly not looking for him. The faithful churches that love Jesus passionately and are on-fire for God represent the Church of Smyrna in my opinion. Smyrna has been chosen to preach the gospel.

A geopolitical agreement is taking place right now with Israel and the Vatican that will allow Israel to rebuild their temple and reinstitute animal sacrifices. The temple is just waiting to be rebuilt, and its construction will happen very quickly in just a matter of a few months, once the covenant is confirmed. Forty-two months down the road this covenant will be broken. The covenant with many will be made at its appointed time. This may happen with a simple handshake between parties, before it is ceremoniously signed, or publicly announced to the world, but I expect this to occur soon and within close proximity to the Feast of Trumpets. Israel is ready to rebuild the third temple and the politics and details that will facilitate this have been secretly taking place for months. I believe the rapture will occur on the Feast of Trumpet, that day in which no man knows the day or the hour. I look forward to this wonderful day.

And the Spirit and the bride say: Come! (Rev 22:17).


OTHER FOUNDATIONAL ARGUMENTS AND CONSIDERATIONS

IS SALVATION AND ENTRY TO HEAVEN CONDITIONAL? YES.

This is about as important a question as any of us might ask ourselves. We should have a clear understanding of the terms, conditions, and eligibility requirements. In the same way we understand not everyone makes it into Harvard, Yale, Princeton, or Stanford University, the same will hold true for heaven.

Jesus said: For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matt 5:20). To put this verse in present day context, the scribes and Pharisees of old would be like Ph.D. educated pastors today who successfully pastor very large churches. They know the Bible inside and out because of their head knowledge and high levels of education. Many of them hold multiple doctoral degrees in areas such as divinity, psychology, administration, or counseling. Their credentials are very impressive by any worldly standard. Many of them are thought to be brilliant theologians and scholars. They are indisputably successful and highly respected. In today’s world these elite scholars would be the types of religious leaders that presidents might turn to for advice. What makes the statement Jesus made on this issue so important is the fact that it reveals our heart is the critical component, not our credentials. One could be brilliant but not necessarily righteous, and one could be educated and successful but not devoted to Jesus.

Enter in at the straight gate…(Matt 7:13) Wide is the gate that leads to destruction.

Ye shall know them by their fruits (Matt 7:16), said Jesus.

A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire (Matt 7:18,19).

Salvation is conditional for other identifiable reasons. It requires repentance and sincerity. Imagine if you only wanted to go to heaven so you could continue to live an ungodly earthly life in a better environment with a luxury suite, simply to avoid hell. Only the pure in heart will enter heaven.

Scripture outlines other conditions from the vantage point of making a public profession of our faith: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God had raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved (Romans 10:9). One has to confess their love and acceptance of Christ and truly believe in Jesus to be saved. Jesus said you must be born again. If you haven’t been born again, then none of this will mean anything at a deep heart level. If you don’t intend to follow, obey, and serve Jesus, then none of this will mean anything. If you prefer to live in sin and have no desire to turn away from it, then none of this will mean anything. If you are contentiously half committed, then none of this will mean anything (Matt 22:37). If you plan on entering heaven on your own terms with anything less than unconditional surrender and full commitment, then none of this will mean anything.


ARE THERE TERMS AND CONDITIONS ATTACHED TO DISCIPLESHIP? YES.

Every covenant has terms of agreement.

Discipleship begins with repentance, surrender, obedience, and a willingness to pick up our cross and follow Jesus. This is the beginning. As we crucify our flesh and mature along the way through submission, obedience, and service, our lives will produce ‘much fruit’ (John 15:5).

The enduring august love of Jesus, his healing, forgiveness, grace and promise of eternal life invariably attracts people. These wonderful benefits, however, don’t mean any of us love Jesus at a deep level. The pursuit of purity and sincerity to worship God in spirit and in truth is prerequisite (Matt 5:8/John 4:24). God examines and tests what lies deep in our heart (Proverbs 17:3).

Thus, while we are all invited to be disciples of Jesus, we can’t all be disciples of Jesus!

Why not? The reasons are varied but they include: sincere desire and willingness to accept terms and conditions, surrender, obey, and follow Jesus no matter what the cost. Bluntly stated, most people are simply not committed and they don’t accept the terms and conditions.  Many who believe in Jesus are also fascinated with Jesus, but they are disinclined to follow Jesus. The cost factor turns many would-be followers away (Luke14: 26,27,33).

Finally, there is no halfway deal or partnership with Jesus (Matt 12:30). Tons of mistakes and failures can be made along the journey with forgiveness and restoration, but unless you have a sincere desire to pursue Jesus, and love him with all your heart, discipleship will be quite impossible.

One Scribe told Jesus, “I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.” Jesus told him the foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. We never hear from this Scribe again. Likewise, the rich man chose not to give up his wealth to follow Jesus. Cost must be weighed (Matt 8:19-20/Mark 10:17-31).

The law of inversion applies: the last shall be first and the first shall be last. Many are called but few are chosen (Matt 20:16).

As in the case of good citizenship, there are requirements and responsibilities for discipleship. Salvation deals with forgiveness and grace. Discipleship deals with death and dying to our own carnal nature and flesh (Matt 16:24-25). The narrow gate that leads to life has a cross.  We must bear it daily (Matt 6:21).

As you read the following commentary, examine and consider the distinction between the bride of Christ and the Church of Christ, then search your own heart to decide which term best describes your own faithfulness, obedience and state of readiness.  Common sense, combined with critical thinking, would suggest all believers are not equally ready to meet Jesus.  Jesus spoke of this. Read what Jesus had to say about who enters heaven, and who does not.


MISSING: RAPTURED, GONE WITH THE WIND

And at midnight the bridegroom came...(Matt 25:6).

And while they went to buy [oil for their lamps] the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut (Matt 25:10/Parable of the Ten Virgins). Emphasis added. There should be no surprise that the world is not ready to meet Jesus since it doesn’t profess to love him or serve him. Why would the world be expecting Jesus? It is not! The real shock, however, comes from the fact that the Church has not, is not, and most will not be ready when the Lord comes, and the Church represents those we would expect to be the most prepared. In the parable of the ten virgins Jesus purposely depicts future events in which those who were expecting the Lord to come, and who were looking for him, all fell asleep and slumbered while the Lord tarried (Matt 25:5). This parable is not about a sinful world that doesn’t profess to love Jesus; it symbolically depicts the Church. In Matthew 25:10 only those brides who were ‘ready’ were taken to the marriage supper of the Lamb. This is why Jesus emphasized that we should watch, pray, and be ready.

Notice that in the rapture (Matt 25:10) the door gets shut. Doors are meant to restrict and control entry. Open doors are open only for a season of time and then they close. Entry cannot be made at any time of the day or night when we feel like going in. Special events are by invitation RSVP. In the parable of the ten virgins, all ten arguably loved the bridegroom, but all were not ready to be taken. Those who are ready, vigilant, and looking for his appearance, represent the bride of Christ. Those who are not ready with oil in their lamps, and who are not eagerly looking for him, and yearning for his appearance would symbolically be well represented by today’s worldwide Church. Many nominal Christians are ‘called’ but few are chosen and found worthy to escape the great tribulation.

Is there anything in scripture that would suggest one could be worthy to escape the great tribulation? Yes. Jesus offered a direct answer to this in Luke 21:36 identifying two specific behaviors that could help us. One of the eligibility factors is readiness. Jesus said ‘watch and pray always’, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things. What we do has influence on the outcome. Jesus stated that we should be watchful and ready (Matt 24:42,44, Matt 25:13).

In Rev 3:10-11 we see other eligibility related factors wherein Jesus said: Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, 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. Behold, I come quickly; hold fast which thou hast, that no man take away thy crown. [the phrase ‘kept the word of  patience’ intrinsically implies obedience, faithfulness, stewardship and perseverance] Associated with the concept of faithfulness is a purity and holiness factor described in Ephesians 5:27 which speaks of a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that which is holy and without blemish.

For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be (Matt 24:27)

The rapture will happen like a bolt of lightning. Boom!

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed (1Cor15:52). 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 (1 Thes 4:17).

Most people will be caught off guard, completely unprepared, unready, and not looking for him. Scripture makes this very clear. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark (Matt 24:37-38). People will be absorbed with life, their jobs, weddings, life’s cares, surfeiting and preoccupation with life’s pleasures, busy running to and fro! (Luke 21:34).

The rapture is also likened to the parable of the banquet invitation which Jesus gave, and the ‘I’m too busy replies’ that were offered to RSVP (Luke 14:16-24). The verses in Luke 14:26, 27, 33 represents the paradigm of Jesus being all-important in our lives, above everything else that is precious. If his return is not all-important, you will miss him when he appears.

Love has different depth levels. We know this from our own lives and relationships here on earth. One can love Jesus but not want him to return just yet. For those wanting to catch one more season of American Idol or The Bachelor, rest assured, the Lord won’t kidnap you! You can be guaranteed that when Jesus appears, he won’t take anyone who is not breathlessly awaiting his arrival, yearning to be taken.

Those who miss the rapture are not necessarily unsaved, lost souls who can  never make it to heaven. Yet, one should carefully examine their heart on this matter. If you missed your flight, was it primarily a lack of readiness? Was faithfulness a related reason, or obedience? Were you loving and enjoying the world more than the Savior’s appearance? Those who do not enter through the open door of the rapture will enter the door that leads into the tribulation.

The rapture is an event, completely different from the Second Coming. In the Second Coming every eye shall behold him (Rev 1:7). The rapture is the groom appearing in the middle of the night to secretly rapture his yearning bride (Matt 25:1-10). If you are sleeping (metaphorically speaking) you will miss him.  If he is not your first priority (literally speaking) you will miss him, even if you are doing his work.  He must be all-important, for if not, you won’t even hear the trumpet. It is written: For unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time…(Heb 9:28).  Most of the Church is not looking for Jesus or even excited about his return. The slumbering, unenthusiastic, and disengaged believers are not watching for his appearance.

The whole world wants to go to heaven, of course, and most of them, in a delusional way, actually think that they are on their way; but they want to go on their own terms. Many look forward to another episode of their favorite T.V. drama while others want to see if their favorite NFL team is going to the Super Bowl this year. Thus, the concept of postponing the rapture until they are ‘a little more ready’ fits comfortably into their scheme of worldly interests. Many will miss Jesus when he appears.

How do we extrapolate that someone who wants to go to heaven could be delusional? Isn’t that a little harsh? What comes out of our mouth indicts us, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Luke 12:34). People tell you what is in their heart. You don’t even have to ask them. Jesus said that the words which come out of our mouth will either justify us or condemn us, and that we will be held accountable for every idle word that comes out of our mouth (Matt 12:36-37).

Wanting to go to heaven is not delusional, for we ought to want heaven, but thinking any of us might be able to get there by being purposely (intentionally) unfaithful and completely uncommitted is delusional. The gospel of grace can be perverted. Often times we stop putting serious effort into living righteous lives and we may even stop bearing fruit because: after all, we’re only human. That’s the common excuse we hear over and over again. We’re under grace, so just have another glass of wine. We shouldn’t be surprised that many miss the rapture.

Even the ungodly claim they are going to heaven. Here again, this is delusional.  People seem to think it’s like going to small claims court for a civil dispute, where if you prove 51% of your case, then you win. The good out-weighs the bad; you’re in! Some people think all they have to do is help a couple of old ladies cross the street once or twice, or perhaps donate $500 to a charity, and they will be ‘good to go’ and heaven bound. We should remind ourselves that even evil people practice quid pro quo.

People who have never repented, walked with God, served him a day in their life, who brag about their sin and exploits, who have never even claimed to be a Christian, but who use Christ’s name in vain, will tell you that they think they are going to heaven. Such people are often eulogized for their ungodly lives by those who survive them. Friends of the deceased who speak at the funeral service will often boldly proclaim the ungodly that departed has ‘gone to a better place’. Really? People believe what they choose to believe, (as we all do) but often it is delusional, and it lacks substance.

Our beliefs should be well-grounded with critical thinking, based upon something that offers credible hope.  If we paint a picture of a drunken sailor who is cheating on his wife, or perhaps a bank robber, it might be easier to imagine how someone might not make it into heaven. The problem here is the delusion that impacts all of us, including Christians like you and me, who are committed in concept, just not fully committed perhaps in our daily lives. The sailor and the bank robber might repent but that doesn’t mean you and I have.

We end up believing that being half committed and lukewarm is O.K. with God, so we live that way, thinking at least we’re better than the drunken sailor who cheats on his wife, or the bank robber. We are not any better! Most Christians have never robbed a bank; they have done worse! They rob God of their tithes and offerings (Malachi 3:8,9).

When it comes to our spiritual marital fidelity to God, we are no better off than Israel, and God considered Israel to be as unfaithful as a harlot (Hosea 1:1,2). The Church suffers from moral confusion as it turns away from God in voting booths, and at the same time it embraces or tolerates homosexuality. The Christian faith is not a democracy that evolves over time, requiring amendments that modify the corner stone of our faith to accommodate social trends. Our faith is about surrender and obedience, and it is all about ‘thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’.  The world doesn’t care about morality, or what the Bible has to say about marriage, it puts deviance into the political arena where it makes politicians afraid that they won’t be re-elected if they are viewed or labeled as being intolerant.

If enough people were to promote pedophilia to their legislators, given enough time and marketing, along with the absence of any godly values of political resistance, all sexually deviant behavior would eventually be decriminalized because changing social values would reclassify it as merely orientation and preference. That is not going to happen because the Lord will return soon, but if he did not return, evil would choke out all righteousness in due time because Christians are not standing up against such things. They are apathetic and indifferent. We know the world is not following Jesus, but neither is the Church. Pastors are afraid to stand up and speak about righteousness for fear of offending the world. 

Does God promote and reward marginality and disobedience? He may forgive it, if we sincerely repent and ask for forgiveness, but he doesn’t promote and reward deceitfulness, nor does he look the other way and pretend he doesn’t see our behavior. Would you expect the Lord to come for a Church that is indifferent, lukewarm, completely preoccupied with life here on earth, and enjoying the world just as it is, sleeping from time to time in the world’s bed? Or, would the Lord be returning for a bride that is in the world, but not of the world, a bride which is anxiously awaiting the Lord’s return, diligently watching and ready for his appearance?

I would not want to rapture and take my own fiancée if she was indifferent or lukewarm about our marriage or my appearance. Why would the Lord of Hosts take a perfidious Church that even I would not accept? You’re not completely sure if you want to come with me? Well, if you need a little more time to think about this, see how you feel at the end of the tribulation.

The last few years of my life have been a metamorphosis, altering and awakening some of my deepest spiritual views and perceptions. I have felt a deep sense of urgency that the days we have left on earth are precious few. The Lord will be returning soon, and most of the so-called Body of Christ [global Church] won’t be truly ready for that day. The sense of urgency that I have felt and the intensity of my perception have made me want to become more ready and more committed in my own personal journey. My own duplicity and selfish desires have made me realize I better get very serious about my beliefs and attitudes and re-evaluate my own heart. Be prepared! Be prayerful, watchful. Get my house in order. Get ready!

Most Christians will miss the rapture. Many of them won’t even realize it happened for a period of time, and when they do, they will be bewildered, confused, frightened, angry, disillusioned, and subject to further deception and uncertainty. Jesus warned the world about end time events with great clarity. We’ve simply ignored most of his words.

Few Christians today even know what is written in the Bible. They don’t have time to read it and the Bible is not that interesting or important to them. They have time for all sorts of other things. They go to the movies. They go out to dinner. They watch T.V; they take their kids to soccer and baseball practice, and do crossword puzzles. There is nothing wrong with any of these things, if they don’t replace or weaken our commitment to Christ. Christians sometimes say they want to be like Jesus. The assertion is disingenuous because it completely contradicts our behavior. God said, through the prophet Jeremiah: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9).

We often delude ourselves, because our hearts are desperately wicked, just as the scripture reveals, and I am absolutely guilty of this as well. My heart is a sin factory! In fact, I could say I am an expert at this.  If I didn’t see weakness in myself I wouldn’t be capable of writing about it, nor would I probably notice it in anyone else. We need to get honest with ourselves. We’re not fooling God, just ourselves.

Most of us will not make it, but it won’t be because sin isn’t forgivable. It will be for other reasons. I am simply pointing out what is written in scripture, and I am pointing out that collectively we look the other way and completely ignore God’s word. We complain about gun violence, and we should, but then we murder babies by the hundreds of thousands through abortion and we call that Pro-Choice. We live deceitful lives, and we excuse our sin becauese we claim to be under grace. Grace is wonderful, but we need to also be honest, repent of our sin, and as Jesus told the adulterous woman, sin no more.

The purpose of this expository writing is to provoke some thought on this subject matter of how so many Christians could miss the rapture, but also to offer some insight and perspective on how to navigate the difficult times just ahead, which people will face. Avoiding further deception will make it easier to make sound choices in the days ahead, and make it easier to use wisdom for decisions that will impact eternity.  Understanding how these events transpired may help you avoid making the same mistake again, but it will cost you. The cost is one you should gladly pay.

WHAT JUST HAPPENED?

One of the first questions you will have to deal with will be whether the ‘events’ that just transpired are actually attributable to the rapture.  Everyone who missed the rapture won’t go to hell, in my assessment. I base that on specific scriptures. Many will repent, standup for Christ, turn their lives around, get dead serious in their commitment, witness for Jesus, suffer persecution for him, and be saved in the last days. The tribulation will test them unlike anything else before, by offering both the world and Jesus, and they will choose to suffer for Christ, but many will become rock solid and committed for the first time. At the end of the tribulation Jesus will return at his Second Coming to collect his followers who have been refined through the testing pot of fire. The fining pot is for sliver, and the furnace for gold: but the Lord trieth the hearts (Proverbs 17:3). If Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tested, you’ll be tested too.

When the rapture occurs, only those who are ready, yearning and watching for Jesus will be taken. They will constitute the bride of Christ, not the worldwide Church. The church loves Jesus also but it has not been eagerly awaiting and watching for his return. The global Church has been preoccupied with life here on earth, and its love for Jesus and that of a lost and dying world have been lukewarm at best. I didn’t make this up. Jesus warned the love of many would wax cold. The Church has been asleep.  Jesus describes a slumbering/sleeping  bride in Matthew 25:5. The Church has been unprepared and in some cases unfaithful, just as Jesus described five of the seven churches in Revelation chapters 2-3. The rapture will take the awaiting, yearning bride. Jesus said: they that were ready went in with him to the marriage. (Matt 25:10).


HOW THE WORLD WILL EXPLAIN THE RAPTURE

Political and spiritual world leaders will attribute the rapture to unprecedented cosmic phenomenon, which the world has never seen before.  This will be partially true, but world governments will collectively offer similar explanations through press releases all around the world. Government leaders will have to acknowledge the disappearance of people all over the world. Leaders will attempt to calm and reassure people by pointing out that those who are missing represent a small percentage of the total world population. Such statements will implicitly promote a positive spin, or a bright side to the picture, that while these disappearances are terribly disturbing, those who remain should take comfort in the fact that the whole world has not been destroyed by these phenomenal events.

One by one governments will begin to acknowledge that UFOs and extra terrestrial life were thought to, or known to exist all along for many years, but such facts were not acknowledged or made public for a variety of reasons.  World governments will tell their citizens they did not fully understand or appreciate the scope or threat of UFOs, and that they wanted to avoid public panic and hysteria.  The public will be told that based on what was considered to be good cause, advice from the intelligence community, and the fact that the world had little control over ETs anyway, world leaders collectively agreed on a policy of non-disclosure regarding extra terrestrial information.

Some will argue that missing (raptured) people were taken by abduction and that such an event constitutes a terrorist attack against the world: an attack by extra terrestrials in which people were kidnapped by aliens. Don’t you believe it!

Other views will invariably surface. I can almost hear political and scientific conjecture that these aliens have never harmed the earth or its inhabitants before, therefore we should not conclude their motives are destructive, or that we will never see loved ones again. Some will argue that extra terrestrial motivation could be based on scientific desire to study humankind, and as such, their intentions could be peaceful, otherwise such highly advanced technological life forms could have easily destroyed the entire planet. World populations will be told that every effort is being made to establish contact and dialogue with these extra terrestrials. 

Christians should consider that except for invitational and consensual encounters that may have occurred with nonbelievers, Satan does not have power to abduct people, or cast anyone into hell.  Only God has such power. Neither Satan, his demons, nor any alien (fallen angel) have authority over God’s children, to abduct Christians. If Christians knew what the Bible had to say, they wouldn’t entertain such nonsense. God’s word says in James 4:7, resist the Devil and he shall flee from you! It does not say be careful or Satan will kidnap you.

Nevertheless, a universal perception will exist that the whole world has been attacked and this, in itself, will promote a compelling argument that a New World Order (NWO) is necessary as well as a new world leader. The perceptual global threat of extra terrestrial terrorism, economic world crisis, and unprecedented fear and instability will set the stage for the Antichrist.


HOW COULD MOST OF THE CHRUCH MISS THE RAPTURE?

A fair-minded analysis will reveal the Church was not ready! Even more sobering, evidence will show the global Church was not only unprepared, the Church wasn’t looking for Jesus’ return, yearning for his return, preparing followers for his return, and some didn’t truly want Jesus to return, at least not at the appointed time. Jesus warned us of the iniquity that would prevail, and the apostasy and falling away, but we paid little attention. Many who once loved Jesus lose their first love; they fall out of love with Jesus. It will be very important to understand how and why these things could happen for those who miss the rapture. While God may choose to send certain individuals into the tribulation to help the lost and preach the gospel, most of the Church will have earned its own way into this venue through default, by virtue of apostasy, disobedience, indifference and unfaithfulness. All of these conditions are characterized by a state of unreadiness.

Those who miss the rapture need to get ready for the Second Coming. Those left behind will have to choose whom they will serve during the tribulation, either the Antichrist or Jesus. In the end Jesus will separate the goats from the sheep, the chaff from the wheat, just as he declared (Matt 25:31-46).

The supposition that most Christians will miss the rapture and be left behind is not a preposterous argument based on wild imagination. The assessment for this comes from compelling evidentiary human behavior all around us, including warning from Jesus himself recorded in scripture.  Jesus provided clear context and specificity for why people won’t enter heaven. We need to carefully look at what Jesus had to say about this. His words give us a standard by which to measure and assess (judge) our own hearts, and make changes in our behavior where necessary.

Consider the following:

  1. 1. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind (Matt 22:37). In other scriptures, the phrase with all thy ‘strength’ appears. This verse alone indicts all humanity, for we have loved the world and other things more than God for most of our lives. Jesus needs to be more than just a Facebook friend; he needs to be King of kings, ruler of our lives.

  2. 2.O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh (Matt 12:34). The heart is like a spiritual barometer. What emanates from the heart flows out of the mouth, and most of the time it has little to do with the things of God, and even less about hunger for, love or commitment to God. When most Church people talk about what fills their heart it isn’t talk about Jesus. People in love with each other talk about the one they love, and they show signs and evidence of it. The global Church isn’t talking that much about Jesus, nor are they showing signs and evidence of it. Where there has been talk, there has generally been an absence of behavior, obedience, service and sacrifice to back it up.  Jesus said: If you love me, keep my commandments (John 14:15). The church has loved the world more than Jesus. To profess anything less than this would be dishonest. I am guilty of this!

  3. 3. There is no ‘limited partnership’ or limited liability partnership (LLP) with Jesus. Jesus covers all the liability of your sin with his blood, which he shed for you. Jesus offers full partnerships, but he requires full surrender, and he wants your whole heart, not just a controlling 51% interest of it. The benefits of being a partner with Jesus are wonderful beyond measure or words to describe, and the joy is unspeakable, and full of glory. Did I mention eternal?

If we carefully read the words of Jesus outlining discipleship, one cannot, as a righteous course of action, be contentiously half-committed or surrendered to the Lord as a matter of choice, any more that a woman could be ‘sort of ’ pregnant. In the state of pregnancy either you are, or you are not! We can sin and make mistakes, to be sure, and be forgiven when we ask for forgiveness, but we shouldn’t be intentionally indifferent, or lukewarm in our love for Christ; neither should our obedience, commitment, and surrender to Christ be up for grabs.

True discipleship does not constitute a course of pursuing immorality, fighting against Jesus, voting against him, denying and defying what he represents and stands for, while being oblivious to what his word says, and yet think at the same time we are on the same page with Jesus, or that there are no consequences to following our own misguided ways. Such behavior represents duplicity, intentionally playing both sides of the fence.

Either we are completely for Jesus and with him, or we are against him. Most people would consider such a statement to be outrageous, or at the very least unreasonable. The fact is, most Christians probably couldn’t tell what Jesus had to say about the requirements for discipleship, so they would be hard pressed to explain to anyone else what they don’t know themselves. The world practices, tolerates, and accepts duplicity as a way of life, as though it were an inescapable reality of life that has nothing to do with choice.

We end up thinking our disingenuous spirituality works this same way, but that is not what Jesus had to say about it. There is choice. Once again, we can fail in our efforts and be forgiven, but we need to sincerely pursue Jesus and be committed in our efforts. We should not play both sides of the fence, where we love the world but practice a little Jesus once in a while to ease our guilt. When we catch ourselves doing this, we need to sincerely repent and change our behavior.

There is no halfway deal or partnership with Jesus: He that is not with me is against me and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad (Matt 12:30). He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me (Matt 10:37). The gospel of Luke includes the words: ‘wife, children, brethren, sisters, yea, even his own life’ (Luke 14:26-27).

So, likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsake not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:33). There are requirements we should gladly pay for being a true disciple of Jesus. If Jesus isn’t the most important thing in your life, then you can’t be his disciple. There is no other way we can honestly read Luke 14:33. If you refuse to pick up your cross and follow Jesus, then you can’t be his disciple (Luke 14:27). If you refuse God’s pruning, (to stimulate fresh growth and repentance) then you can’t be his disciple (John 15:2,6). Most of the Church only pretends to be his disciple.

When was the last time you heard a spiritual leader teach on the hard issues, or remind us of these important scriptures? The Church has been guilty of tickling our ears and only preaching the ‘good stuff ’ that we like to hear, i.e. the gospel of peace, prosperity, and unconditional grace. This doctrine promotes a culture of thinking that you can live any way you want and God will just forgive you.

In perverted grace, there is no assumed responsibility on our part for obedience, commitment, faithfulness, stewardship, sacrifice, or choosing to live holy lives. We embrace only the gospel’s blessings. It requires little or no effort: we’re only human. Have another glass of wine. These verses shed light on why most people won’t make heaven. One has to be committed AND surrendered and you can’t fake it and be insincere.

  1. 4. True ‘followers’ of Jesus produce fruit!

Jesus said, I am the vine, you are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast as a branch, and it is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned (John 15:5-6).

Many ‘believers’ produce little or no fruit. Jesus said: Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire (Matt 7:19).

The bottom line is, neither Jesus nor any of the Fortune Five Hundred companies are interested in absolutely useless employees who only consume the master’s resources, but they never produce good fruit.  We have to apply these hard scriptures to our own lives because you probably won’t hear any of this inside a church.

  1. 5.Jesus said: Enter ye in at the straight gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (Matt 7:13-14).

Jesus warned us that few would make it. Jesus didn’t offer any qualifying exceptions for the Baptists, Presbyterians, his disciples or those who believe in him, or even the Church. Jesus also did not endorse political affiliations as the way of changing the world. What he preached was repentance and circumcision of the heart.

The world advocates a notion that all religious faiths are equal and that all roads lead to heaven. In other words, you don’t need to carefully choose which gate you should enter; take the easy and wide gate: it’s all good, just be happy! This represents one of the greatest lies the world has known.

  1. 6.Jesus said, regarding the last days: And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold (Matt 24:12). Churches around the world have not preached about apostasy, repentance, or why most people will not make it. Preaching about sin, repentance, recommitment and the Lord’s imminent return has disappeared like black and white television sets. These topics are unpopular. People have not wanted spiritual truth or knowledge. It makes them uncomfortable. People prefer the make me feel-good-religion. The preaching of repentance, obedience, holiness, accountability, and sharing of resources for the sake of the gospel has been thrown out the window in many if not most churches. 

  2. 7. In context of his return and the future tribulation Jesus said: And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man (Luke 21:34-36).

The word worthy implicitly denotes we have some influence over the outcome by virtue of our choices and by our faithfulness.  It is possible to escape great tribulation when we are totally committed, obedient, and faithful to Jesus. The Lord would not suggest otherwise, nor would he urge us to ‘watch and pray always’ if there was nothing we could do to avoid failure.

  1. 8. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. (Rev 3:19).

HERE IS THE GOOD NEWS OF THE GOSPEL: IF WE CONFESS OUR SINS, HE IS FAITHFUL AND JUST TO FORGIVE US OUR SINS, AND TO CLEANSE US FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS (1 John 1:9).

Repentance, along with an honest, sincere effort to follow and obey Jesus is what the gospel has always been about. Jesus simply asked us to do this with all our heart, and with all our strength. Just be fully committed.

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Acts 2:21). Jesus said: But he that endures unto the end, the same shall be saved (Matt 24:13).

President Theodore Roosevelt said, “True greatness comes when you are tested.”  Build yourself up in God’s word; know what it says, claim it, honor it, obey it, and devote yourself to prayer. Choose Jesus and DO NOT ACCEPT THE MARK OF THE BEAST. Immerse yourself in God’s word. Read the words God gave Joshua and apply them to your own life (Joshua 1:8).

These spiritual points and arguments are not offered maliciously for the purpose of condemnation to beat anyone over the head, but rather as tools for failure analysis. The truth is offered to help us judge ourselves.  I don’t judge you. I don’t even know who will read this. I judge myself. These are the very things I struggle with. I have failed at all of them. Our sin is deadly and it will kill us unless we repent.

He who endures to the end, the same shall be saved! Trust in the Lord and not your own understanding. He who overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son (Rev 21:7). When you feel peace in your heart in the midst of the storm, and perhaps even while you are about to lose your life, you will know then that you are on standing on holy ground, and that the Lord is with you.

When the Antichrist implements the ‘mark of the beast’ (probably a bio-tech RFID) the world will embrace it for a variety of reasons, and world governments and financial institutions, banks, lenders, and creditors will embrace the concept and quickly facilitate its implementation. The whole financial world will accept the mark of the beast as a security precaution against identity theft, terrorism, and market it as a wonderful health benefit that provides all your medical information, history and medicine allergies to doctors who can treat you anywhere in the world and with instant access to all your history.

As world economies fail, they will collapse like dominoes, one right after the other. A New World Order (NWO) will probably establish a singular world currency requiring this RFID chip. This concept is already developing world interest and acceptance all around the world.

The mark of the beast will thus have practical use in the eyes of the world and its religious connotations will be dismissed as foolish religious dogma of fanatic Christians. Christians will become increasingly persecuted with vehement passion, probably in some of the same ways the Jews were persecuted during the Holocaust. The Bible makes it clear that people won’t be able to buy or sell without the mark of the beast. Imagine not being able to buy groceries at stores! Life will get hard economically everywhere.

FINAL CONSIDERATIONS AND TACTICAL PLANNING

For those who might find themselves in the tribulation, with the rapture having already taken place, there are a couple of things to consider that might be helpful.

Combine your resources with other committed people you trust. Support and nurture each other in every way you can, both practically and spiritually. There is strength in numbers. There will always be a black market for goods and services. You might have to buy food, gasoline or other necessities on the black market for a period of time just to sustain yourselves.

It will likely take a few weeks, perhaps even months before the mark of the beast can be implemented on a global, economic worldwide scale. Buy as much food as you can before then, as often as you can, and store it if you are able to. Think of this as a three-year camping ordeal in which you need three years worth of food to survive the last 3 years of the Tribulation. The Lord will return and deliver all those who have repented, accepted Jesus in truth and in spirit, and who have not accepted the mark of the beast. I would fill the bedrooms of your house or living quarters and storage lockers with canned goods, rice, noodles, and other non-perishable foods.

If you own a house, consider renting it, or one of the rooms, for cash or in-exchange for food. In the alternative, consider selling your home (pool your resources) if you can quickly and safely do so, and obtain some cash out of the deal, or trade some portion of your house, assets or equity for farm land where you can plant seeds, and farm for a couple of years. If you have chickens, goats, pigs, and seed, you can live off the land for a couple of years. Consider affordable places to live away from large urban areas. Crime will escalate to levels never seen before. 

Remember: God has never forsaken those who turn to him in sincere repentance and obedience. Knowledge and understanding represent the genesis of wisdom.  Far more important than trying to out smart the world, store food, or any other humanistic endeavor, turn your heart completely to God and commit to walking with him even if it cost you your life. DON’T ACCEPT THE MARK OF THE BEAST.     

One of the warnings that Jesus gave is that there will be great spiritual deception in these difficult days of tribulation, and many will claim that Jesus is here, or there, or in the desert. Christians themselves will be confused and uncertain about things that take place. This is why you need to read the word of God. It will illuminate your path and provide guidance, and it will help you get your heart reconditioned and ready for his Second Coming. The Lord’s Second Coming will be a public event in which every eye shall behold him.

                            

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. Even so, Amen (Rev 1:7).

He who endures to the end, the same shall be saved.

Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thous hast, that no man take thy crown (Rev3:11).

September 2016               

                                                                                                                          www.MarkMalmin.com