Saturday, October 15, 2011

Rapture: When Will It Occur? Is The Doctrine Of Imminence A Fable?

     There is much confusion today concerning the Rapture or the gathering of believers in Christ a.k.a. "Blessed Hope".  The confusion that exists today is centered around the specific timing in which the Bride (represented by the Church) is caught up or translated/received by the BrideGroom (represented by Christ).  The common theme today being taught is that the Rapture is an imminent event, that it can happen at any moment, this teaching is known as the Doctrine of Imminence and is widely taught among believers in the Pre-Trib camp of theological thought.  Pre-Trib is a desigination of those that believe that the bodily translation of believers both dead and alive will occur prior to the Tribulation or "Time of Jacob's Trouble", represented as the final 7 years in which the wrath of God will be poured out upon the unrepentant and ungodly populace of planet earth.

     The Apostle Paul documents the event known commonly as the Rapture in several passages, 1 Corinthians 15:51-55, 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3.  During the ministry of the Apostle Paul he established many churches in Greece, both in Corinth and the seaport city of Thessalonica, there he shared the gospel with many Greeks and established the faith among the Gentiles.  During the second missionary journey of the Apostle Paul to Corinth, he received word that some of the believers in Thessalonica had become confused concerning coming of the Lord to gather them unto himself.  Letters were being ciculated from others that these believers had not only missed the Rapture yet were now in the Time of Tribulation.  The second epistle of Thessalonians was recorded and sent by the hand of the Apostle Paul to reveal their error.

     The following passage in 2 Thessalonians 1:4 reveals the situation of the Church in Thessalonica at that time; "So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulation ye endure".  It was clear that this Church established by the Apostle Paul was coming under fierce opposition and being persecuted for their faith, the response sent to this Church was one of comfort and exhortation to continue the work set before them.  The letter was also a message of warning to those that were persuading the believers to follow fables, refusing to work with their hands while expecting the brethren to support them, walking disorderly, elevating themselves as kings over them.  The Apostle Paul addresses this plainly "For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you; Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves and example unto you to follow us.  For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat"-2 Thessalonians 3:7-10.

     Many scholars today have taught that the Rapture is a signless event, that it can happen at any moment, yet in the address of the Apostle Paul to the Church in Thessalonica, we see clearly that this is not true and that we are not to be deceived.  The following text provides the order of events that must precede the time of our gathering to Christ (Rapture).  "NOW WE beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition"-2 Thessalonians 2:1-3.  The Apostle Paul designates that two key events must occur prior to our gathering, the text in 2 Thessalonians 2:1 corresponds with 1 Thessalonians 4:16.  "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 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".

     The first event to take place prior to our appointed gathering is the "falling away" followed by the next event known as the revealing of the AntiChrist or "Son of Perdition".  The falling away or "departure from the faith" is also identified by the Apostle Paul in his address to his protege Timothy.  This passage is found in 1 Timothy 4:1, "NOW THE Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils".  2 Timothy 4:3-4 also identifies with this Latter Days apostasy, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables".  This clearly illustrates the time we are now in for apostasy is spreading like a cancer in many churches today.  With a rampant departure of the faith and the acceptance of fables we can expect that the rise of the AntiChrist, the greatest deceiver of all (2 Thessalonians 2:9) will soon take place.

     The revealing of the AntiChrist to the world will be as a peacemaker, promising "peace and prosperity" to a shattered world.  The enevitable global economic collapse that is to come, coupled with a great conflict recorded in Ezekiel 38-39 involving many nations, will create the precise scenario required for this seed of the Serpent to take his position.  "Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders"-2 Thess 2:9.  It is also clear that at the conclusion of this battle of Gog/Magog recorded in Ezekiel 38-39 that the Lord God will then turn his full attention to Israel, a concrete identification that the Church, will be translated during this aftermath.  Ezekiel 39:29 identifies with a transition from the Church that began with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, to the Holy Spirit being poured out upon the House of Israel after this great battle, providing clarification that the end of the Church Age, coincides with the restoration and redemption of Israel.  In conclusion, we can see clearly that the Rapture is not a signless event, nor, could it happen at any other moment then what we are seeing currently develop. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Coming Earthquake: Shaking Of All The Nations

  The current dynamics now visible across the globe indicate we are living in the days just prior to the return of Christ our Lord as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  At present, we have economic turmoil gripping all nations across the globe, personal, corporate, and national debt are skyrocketing making the reality of a global economic collapse inevitable.  Natural disasters are growing in intensity and frequency, destroying property, lives, and vital food supplies bringing death to many by famine and disease.  The Middle East and Africa, center of much of the energy resources of the globe, is presently embroiled in political and national upheavals, while their citizens seek to dissolve the current leadership.  The protests have originated due to the rise in prices of commodities, prices of food and fuel have increased beyond their household income, leaving families hopeless.  Unemployment coupled with inflation are in the process of destroying both developed and developing nations.  As the leadership across the globe watch their citizens rise up against them, they quickly turn to nationalism and inspire their citizens to find another source for their hatred other than them, that source of hatred quickly becomes the Jew.  Blood libels and conspiracy fables are initiated yet quickly give way to armed aggression against Jew's individually across the globe until ultimately leading to a planned invasion of the Jewish State known as Israel.

  Modern science has determined recently that wind speeds and the elevation of waves are increasing across the globe furthering potential damage of heavily populated coastal communities, an ominous event also prophesied to occur prior to the coming of Christ.  The science community can not identify the reason for this occurence other than the possible interaction of the moon and sun in their gravitational dance.  The Word of God also identifies with this scenario "And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars, and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity (mass confusion); the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken."-Luke 21:25, 26.  There should also be little doubt that earthquake activity is increasing in both intensity and frequency as the Bible also instructs, one has only to examine the U.S.G.S. or United States Geological Survey and their real-time data on national as well as global earthquakes.  While we can clearly see the upheaval across the globe in all forms, political, economic, religious, and natural, we can not dismiss the fact that the spiritual realm also plays a valuable part.

  During the time of the Patriarchs, the Lord God would announce his presence with a great earthquake, this occurred on several occasions, such as this one with the Prophet Moses "And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.  And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount shaked greatly."-Exodus 19:17,18.  The Lord God will again make his presence known in the midst of his people Israel as well as all the nations as recorded in Ezekiel 38:18-20-"And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face.  For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground".  Here we can see clearly that the presence of God concerning the affairs of men, makes his presence known in the shaking of the earth.

  The nations of the globe are currently seeking to decide the fate of Jerusalem, to compell the leadership of Israel to divide the Holy City and all the Land, yet in all this they ignore the Word of the Sovereign Lord and God concerning this: "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the seige both against Judah and against Jerusalem"-Zechariah 12:2.  The belief of the international community is that if they resolve the Israeli-Palestinian issue in the form of current peace negotiations, the Arab/Islamic world will be at peace, and an age of utopia and prosperity can begin for the entire globe.  Proper clarity illuminates the fact that the nations will not rest until the Jew, chosen people of the Lord, is no longer on the face of the earth, the Land and in particular the Holy City is the Throne of the Lord and for this, they are filled with hate.  What we are seeing played out on this earth is a spiritual battle between the Prince of this World (Satan) and the God of Creation (Jesus) as the nations gather for the final conflict of the ages: "These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful"-Revelation 17:14.

  The same one that is Lord, King, and God will judge the nations for their determination to join with Satan in an attempt to usurp the title deed to planet Earth from its rightful owner.  In their foolish attempt to destroy the people of Israel, the Saints, and all those who are called according to his grace, they will find their end in the Lake of Fire being eternally damned.  A great earthquake is coming in which the foundations of the earth and the heavens above will shake violently as the presence of the Lord God returns again in the midst of his people.  "For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts"-Haggai 2:6,7.  The time has come, prepare, for the Lord is coming in strength and glory.