As I begin, I want to be sure that you understand I am not trying to make a statement or judgment about anyone's faith or their theological doctrine. I respect everyone's right to make up their own mind. God is the real author of this blog, and my thoughts originate from Him. So as I write each day, I try to discern what the Holy Spirit is revealing to me. Maybe this is a discussion we need to have. So here goes.....
In both the comments on this blog and in personal conversations, I am hearing a wide range of reactions from Christians as to what the future might hold. On one end, there are those who are on the verge of despair because of the wickedness and evil they see approaching. On the other end, are those Believers whose default response is "I'm not really worried or concerned, because I know I'm saved. And besides, we Christians will be raptured out of here before the bad stuff happens." Of course, across that broad spectrum are many others who are struggling to understand just what the ramifications will be for Christians.
Before I go any further, I'm going to give you my disclaimer. I do not profess to have the answers. I don't have a direct line to God or proclaim to know His timeline. Far from it! I firmly believe that "about that day or hour no one knows", so I am just like you, trying to determine what my proper response is to the threats on the horizon. I'm just one woman thinking out loud, if you will, and having a discussion with those who will listen.
First of all, I believe that the time in the Bible, known as The Great Tribulation, is real. I'm one of those Christians who believes that the Bible reveals to us what is meant to be taken as literal, and what is meant to illustrate a spiritual lesson. It takes prayer and discernment to try to know the difference and it is no easy task. Unfortunately, throughout time, different "translations" of the Bible have brought us to this time in history when many Christians are confused as to how we are to interpret Scripture.
The Darby and Scofield Bibles, written in the 1800-1900 time period liberally changed Scripture and are responsible for many of the Modern Church's doctrine. (Please do your own research on John Darby, Cyrus Scofield, and such topics as dispensationalism and premillennialism. The doctrine of the Church has undergone many transitions and it is our responsibility to seek the Truth). I have also been astounded at the progress of the current Emerging Church in convincing Christians that their "paradigm" needs to shift once again. God's standards never change, so why should the meaning of the Bible? OK, back to the premise of this post.
I'm concerned from two different perspectives. I so want to encourage those on the despairing end of the spectrum (whom I will call the Anguished), while I want to warn those on the unmindful end (whom I will call the Secure). Please do not take offense at these descriptions; they are not meant as insults.
I have mentioned in the past that I led a group of seekers in a year-and-a-half of studying the Book of Revelation. And you might think that, after that amount of time, I could tell you every single thing about how the End of the Age is going to come about. And you would be wrong! But that study was such a blessing, and I did learn a lot about different theories of God's plan for the world. I studied various commentaries and theologians, and ultimately came back to the Bible and its revelation to me. I want to urge you to study this often-dismissed final Book of the Bible yourself. The time spent in communing with God will be a blessing in itself. Through my own study, I learned what I want to pass on to all you of the "Anguished" Group. Please hear me clearly! First, I learned in more detail about just what tribulations and trials we will encounter. That was important. I can watch for them and help others to understand what is happening. I want to reiterate that we can't predict a timeline, and that isn't even the point of the Scripture.
What was more valuable was the underlying message that the Book wants us to hear; it is a Book of encouragement and support for Christians during a time when Evil will reign on the earth. It tells us loud and clear.... it will be bad, but endure! And it is actually a Book of such hope because it is revealed to the Apostle John, so that we might know that Jesus is coming back to settle the score and Evil will be defeated! It is written to encourage and strengthen our faith; to help us persevere and persist through those times you know are coming. So take heart! Don't live your life waiting for the worst to happen. But shore yourself up, and be prepared when the trials come, so that you will be able to stand for Christ and to endure.
But thanks to the popular theology originated by Darby and Scofield in their annotated versions of the Bible, many of today's Christians, in the Secure Group, think that we will escape the persecution that centuries of Christians have endured for the sake of their faith in Jesus Christ. They believe in the "rapture" of the church before the Tribulation as presented in The Left Behind series. Therefore I fear this group will be unprepared for the coming difficulties and will find these times grim and dark. I do not want them to succumb to hopelessness or readily accept a tempting "way out" offered by the Enemy.
I offer these thoughts because I think it is important for each of us to know what we believe and to prepare ourselves for coming trials and persecutions. Whether we are the generation that sees the End Times or not isn't as important as making sure that fellow Christians embrace the hope and anticipation that comes through our faith in Christ. Equally crucial is the necessity of strengthening and encouraging fellow Believers to endure and persist in our faith. We need to know what we believe so that we do not fail our fellow Christians in their hour of need.
The desire of my heart in writing this post is that all people, rather than concentrating on predictions and timelines, will instead turn to fortifying their faith. Throughout the centuries, Satan has attempted to alter the Word of God through the different interpretations by man. Seek the heart of God and discern His message for the Ages. The one thing I can tell you is that our future will neither be hopeless nor a walk in the park. But we can know that He is forever Sovereign and in control!
Revelation 1:3 "Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near."
I am in a class that just began on the study of Revelation. We are just two weeks in. I love the way it is being taught because the prophecy and end times are coming out as secondary and I have never heard that before. The first thing we learned was that it is one revelation and that the keypoint of the book is the revelation of Jesus Christ coming as king and conqueror in all his splendor. He is coming to do as he promised. It just put in to perspective for me that the focus should be on his Revelation and not on the hard times coming. I believe as christians we will have to live through some of that and to what degree I am not sure but I pray my heart will lean upon the Revelation of Him.ReplyDelete
Yes, I agree that the overall message is the revelation of Christ; the whole revelation having been given to the Apostle John. I believe the purpose is clearly stated in the very first verse: "The REVELATiON from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to SHOW HIS SERVANTS WHAT MUST SOON TAKE PLACE." Jesus tells John: "Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later." Jesus is coming back as King and Conqueror over Evil, and will execute His judgments as He sees fit. How much of that judgment we Christians will be witness to, nobody knows. But you can bet that Evil will not sit idly by and let us escape without persecution. We must focus on worshipping Him as did "every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (Rev 5:13) We should focus on His throne! But since His revelation (through John) includes what happens to the apostate Churches, and the persecuted Saints, I also think it is a revelation and a heartfelt message of encouragement to endure in our faith. I cannot ignore that part of the revelation as I simultaneously praise Him as King! For me, the Book is not scary at all, as it is for so many. I praise Jesus for preparing me for some possible bad times, while reminding me of his glory and honor and wisdom and strength and power. I pray that all Christians will have the strength to remain focused on the coming Victory!Delete
I believe the church will be raptured before the Great Tribulation, however no one knows when that will be. Could be today or 1000 years from now. To think because we are Christians living in America we won't suffer hardships is foolish.ReplyDelete
God blessed America with great abundance and we have taken it for granted. So many think we will always have prosperity and freedom.
As a nation our virtue has given way to degradation and we are spiraling down into degeneracy. As Americans we have neglected our heritage founded in the word of God. We are being disciplined.
I don't believe all is lost yet. If believers will wake up and return to the word of God and make their spiritual life a priority God will bless us again.
Whatever happens, with God's word deeply rooted in our souls we can have courage, peace and tranquility to survive any adversity.
I don't happen to share your timeline for the rapture of the Church, but I fully respect your opinion. My purpose in writing this post is not to determine when that event will happen ... no one can claim to know. But it is my prayer that your last sentence will be the experience of all Christians .... Whatever happens, WHENEVER it happens, that we will have His Word so deeply embedded in our hearts and souls that we will not give in to fear. We will definitely need courage as well as peace to endure, and that will come through the Holy Spirit. And you are right, America needs to repent and make God a priority once again, or we will lose our blessed heritage.Delete
im afraid that it may be too late for this country. alot of the younger generation do not have their priorities in order in any way. they are too busy on cell phones, games etc, that they dont even want to work for a living. and ...they are being pampered by parents that give in to their every little whim just to keep them happy. im not saying all, but a good part. i dont hear many young kids talk about God. they are too preoccupied with other things and their social status to take the time. it is also the parents fault for not instilling, and appeasing them. i think its too late. dont mean to be a downer, but im just satating what i see. God bless us all....Delete
I agree that much of our younger generation has not been schooled in the Bible, and we are seeing the results of that in our culture. But I also personally know many that are even more passionate about their faith than I was at that age .... many of them home-schooled, which I think is such a blessing for our nation. So I continue to pray that God will use these young believers to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. Don't give up yet!Delete
Great word as usual...I am often distressed by those who believe that just because they are Christians, they will somehow be spared hard times. Over and over I have heard "well we will be raptured before it gets bad," and "why prepare, we won't be here." I find that foolish and refer them to the story of the 10 virgins and the five who did not prepare and their oil ran out while waiting for the Bridegroom and he said he did not know them. I have also had people say that those who believe in a different timeline are not going to heaven....WHAT? My Bible says there is one way to heaven and that is through JESUS CHRIST. I believe we have a clarion call to shout out to the nation to repent, there is still hope. Many are so busy looking for the signs of the return of JESUS, they have forgotten our great commission to share the Good News with the lost. There is hope and that hope lies in JESUS CHRIST! Leigh Ann ErdmanReplyDelete
Leigh Ann, I love your comment! Yes, we are to be aware, and prepare to endure, but ultimately we are commissioned to spread and uphold the Gospel. The Bible says there will be a great falling away and I fear that too many Christians, while rightfully focusing on the Gospel message, are forgetting to put on the full armor of God. We must protect and strengthen our faith. The Enemy will be looking to snatch our confidence and trust and trying to instill fear. We must resist and share the Good News with everyone!Delete
Be prepared - the ONLY way is through Jesus for sure....ReplyDelete
Read Matthew 24 from a LITERAL sense - not the scripture twisting sense of the pre-trib theologians - read and study for yourself, for the chapter is in a chronological order. It's pretty simple....
My personal theory is "plan for the worst, hope for the best" - (worst = post trib, possibly mid-trib - best = pre-trib) -
Scripture also states that many will fall away at the end. Wouldn't it be a 'lovely' ruse of satan himself to talk much on pre-trib - yet the opposite occurs - many will fall away from their faith as "they knew" it would be pre-trib ....
My wife has this thought - if the Jewish people were God's own chosen people, and they have suffered through history - see Holocaust..... why would it be SOOO EASY on Christians?
Plan for the worst, hope for the best.
Rory, you hit the nail on the head! Since we don't know exactly when Jesus will be returning, how can we know what we will have to go through for our faith? So it makes perfect sense to prepare for the worst possible scenario and pray for the best. If the pre-tribbers turn out to be right, what have we lost? We still praise and spread the Gospel of our Lord and celebrate his reign on earth. If the pre-tribbers are wrong, then we are prepared to support and sustain those who are in danger of falling away from lack of discernment. Your wife is very wise! God's chosen are in the crosshairs of Satan, and Christians and their message of Christ's Saving Grace and His Conquering of Evil must be stopped in order for his evil agenda to advance. We must be a witness to the world that even in the midst of Evil, our God is triumphant!Delete
Very much enjoyed reading this particular blog, especially the comments afterwards! No matter what happens or how it happens, always remember....that WE WIN in the end as seen in Rev 20, 21, & 22. It's getting to that point that we have to prepare ourselves for NOW, and it will be and currently is, one amazing journey. I'm working of trying to come out of the "Anguished" camp, put things in a proper perspective, and be more in the "ready for anything" camp. Doesn't make sense to me to be in the "Secure" camp; in my opinion, that could also be called the "false sense of security" camp. But no matter where anyone is, we have to support each other....be ready for anything!ReplyDelete
If I may be so bold, the fact that you are being prompted to move in your thinking, is evidence that the Holy Spirit is strengthening your faith. It only makes sense to me that as the history of the world has progressed, the Enemy has ramped up his opposition to God's inevitable victory, and the stakes are getting higher. We MUST be prepared to stand for the Word, come way may. And we must be ready to support other believers and be ready to witness to those who will have the scales removed from their eyes. And you're right, we DO win! Praise, Jesus!Delete
I believe in the possibility of a pretrib rapture, but i also think there are some verses that support a mid trib rapture. Regardless, things could get very bad before the King returns either way.ReplyDelete
Yes, it is that possibility that I want every Christian to consider. We must not be deluded into thinking we will escape the tribulation, but be prepared to endure and encourage no matter what we experience. That is my prayer for every Christian.Delete
Thank you for following the leading of the Lord in wrtitng this article. If the pre-tribs would read the 13th chapter of Matthew beginning with the 24th verse. Jesus speaks about the wheat and the tares. Later in verse 37 his disciples wanted him to explain what he meant. He told how that the wheat (children of God) and the tares (children of the devil) would grow together until the end. Then Jesus gave the order of what will happen. He said gather the tares first and burn them and then gather my wheat into my barn. According to Jesus, the ungodly will be taken first. So there may be a "rapture" but it is one that the christians don't want to be part of.
Agreed! The Bible is full of examples like this: the wheat and the tares; the virgins and their oil lamps; the fig tree; seed sown along the path .... we must not take our "comfort" as Christians for granted. Our salvation is secure, but not deliverance from the troubles that will beset us. The Apostle Paul spoke of endurance through the persecutions he suffered, and of the rescue that our Lord provided. We don't know how our "rescue" will happen, but we know the persecution will be certain. Put on the full armor of God!Delete
Jesus did say no one Knows the day or the hour. True, but right after that he said he didn't want us to be ignorant either and gave us the the parable of the olive branch......when it puts forth it shoot, you will know the time is at hand.ReplyDelete
I was raised believeing a pre trib rapture, 1 1/2 Years ago during prayer and fasting I believe the Lord showed me through his word that thats not the case. We will be here through at least some portion of the tribulation and our God says that some saints will be Killed for the name of our Savior Jesus Christ during this time.
Paul addressed the timing somewhat in 2 Thes, Telling us that we Shouldn't be shaken about the time of Trib, not by an words we may here or even by word of our Lords apostles, Jesus our Lord will not return until that man of sin, the son of perdition be revealed in the Temple.
I will no longer use the word rapture as it's not in the bible and as an earlier post described, the popular exptectations of Pre Trib Rapture have proliferated through pop culture, Best Sellers, Movies etc. I don't know, but suspect that some tinkering has occured by the enemy and as a result some seeds that were sown may end up with the tares because of expectations.
After all God said that when the enemy tempted Our Lord Jesus, he used the Word of God....but twisted it just a very little. I am certain that when that son of perdition is revealed, he will use the same tactics.
I pray that our God Jehovah open the eyes of all of us true believers and show us the truth that we may prepare and Glorify his Holy Name and the Name of his Holy Son Jesus our Christ and Redeemer.
I couldn't agree with you more, and on every single point! The pre-trib "rapture" is a relatively modern concept (having come into favor in the last 150 or so years) and I fear that it has invaded our seminaries and our churches as biblical. I also fear that millions of Christians in America will be unprepared once that son of perdition reveals himself. As you say, their expectations could leave them woefully off guard and surprised at what confronts them. I also agree that Satan is capable of twisting the Word to delude believers that aren't secure in their knowledge and discernment. I am going to do a future post on how the modern translations of our Bible have omitted and changed Scripture, which subtly transforms the meaning. In the end, it doesn't matter about the timing of the Tribulation; we must continue to stand strong for our Savior and Redeemer and declare Him the One and Only King! Thank you for your insight and scriptural integrity. It is much appreciated.Delete
Thank you Belle for bringing up this very important subject. I'm under the belief that we should "ALL" prepare spiritually for these times we're in and those ahead. I don't believe just because you are a Christian that we will be exempt from evil and hard times. Only God knows the return of Christ and if we look around at our country and how Christianity is being attacked daily, right and left and seemingly increases by the moment, and other countries that have Christian beliefs and have suffered, I would say they haven't been raptured yet to avoid the death and persecution that some think that we'll be able to avoid. We don't need to look at "signs", we need to look closely at what the Bible states and read the book of Revelation to understand what we're going through now and what is ahead for all of us. Rory's wife made a very good point about the Jews. We need to stick together as Christians and move forward. I think about that old time song....Onward Christian Soldiers.......we will be fighting for our eternity, not just this moment. Don't get me wrong here for those who speak of the rapture, it's just that we need to be prepared for whatever happens before that time if it would happen. We should not allow ourselves to focus on that because I feel like we're giving into that fear by allowing that to disable us for what we will have to spiritually and physically have to deal with. Don't let the thief in the night come and rob us of that. Jesus is the way and I'd suggest that our some of our prayer time be on this very subject. The answer is with HIM. Ask HIM for guidance and you'll receive it.ReplyDelete
Lisa, I am amazed by the faith of all my readers. I feared that I would be ostracized for what I had to say, but I am moved and uplifted by the fact that others are receiving the same message I am. There is no guarantee in the Bible that Christians (at the End Times) will escape the persecution or death that the apostles and first century Christians endured. Indeed, the Enemy will be bringing all he has to bear upon those who testify about Jesus! We must encourage each other to persevere in our faith and our testimony.... the time of testing is near!Delete
We ALL LOVE YOU! You are a great inspiration and speak the very words that so many of us have on our hearts and souls and you just bring it all together so well! It's just great to know that there are many followers of Jesus as ourselves and the sooner we figure out we are all going to have to stand together to make a difference and do it for our Lord, to set aside our differences, the better for all of us. Strength in Jesus and strength in numbers. PRAYER IS POWERFUL! I think people are worried about voicing their feelings for possibly being targeted or ostracized. Certainly understandable. We are suppose to be missionaries to everyone, and that takes in sharing our testimony and WHY! That one little seed can grow lots of fruit that in turn will grow more plants and fruit. Thanks again Belle and God Bless...
Your friend and sister in Christ,
I am uplifted by the thought of combining our voices and hearts with the Saints in Heaven and interceding on behalf of all believers. Jesus is worth whatever it costs me and there are millions throughout the world who will stand with us. God Bless everyone!Delete
I read and choked a little on this article, and have embraced it. Time is short. I don't know anything about the author of the blog, yet this entry speaks volumes....
Hope it helps
Very good link! The bottom line of this blogger's essay was right on the money! We must rest on the Word of God, encourage each other, and strengthen each other. We should not get caught up in what our denomination or what our preacher espouses. What does the Word of God say? That is our ultimate source of Truth. Thanks for the referral!
I am encouraged to learn more and more people are opening thier mind to the possibility that what we in America have been taught, concerning the rapture, may not be as biblically sound as we thought. Like yourself, after searching the scripture for 2 years seeking an answer to when and how the rapture will happen, I feel that we are in for some tough times "such as has never been". I believe the USA was established and blessed by God to help reinstate Israel as a nation. We have done that. Like most other societies throughout history, we have risen valor and appear to now be falling. Our assignment complete or nearly complete. I am not suggesting God has discarded use but He does judge nations as well as individuals. Gods plan is timeless and His ways are not our ways making it very hard for us to see what is going on and how things can possibly fit into his will. Human suffering is as much a part of life as joy, peace, and love. It is just painful, kind of like child birth. The bible gives a lot of detail concerning tribulation and wrath. The child of God is not appointed to Gods wrath but we are told numberous times that we will face tribulation. I encourage believers to read for yourself, dig, study, and be willing to hear what the word says. The key phrase in this discussion, for me anyway, is "that day". His return and judgement work will last more than 1 day but I believe it begin in a single day. I understand that to be the rapture.Delete
I, too, am so encouraged by the responses to this post. It gives me great hope that Christians are digging into the Bible for themselves, and not just following what is (or isn't) stated from their churches pulpits. You state it so eloquently ... be willing to hear what the Word says. I'm afraid so many Christians are afraid to really listen to the message of wrath. But it's there! And like you said, it is important to note that the children of God are not appointed to that wrath, but we are encouraged to endure the persecution that will come from the Enemy BECAUSE we are the redeemed. I don't understand how you can read the words of grace, mercy and love, and then ignore the messages of endurance, persecution and perseverance. We should not cherry pick what makes us feel good and pass over Scripture that warns us. Thank you for your wise words.Delete
Have you listened to the David Pawson Book of Revelation sermon series he did while he was at IHOP-KC? If you have not, you would love it! http://store.ihopkc.org/store/product/986/The-Book-of-Revelation-Seminar-%28CD-Set%29/ReplyDelete
I have not listened to Mr. Pawson's series, but I used his book on Revelation, along with another book by an IHOP minister, Mike Bickel, as reference books for the study we did. It's always interesting to take a look at what scholars interpret, and note their differences. But in the end, the Bible is the final reference that I take to heart and try to discern. I could easily spend my days lost in the Word!Delete
I have received some criticism for my prepping by some of my Christian friends, I try to explain to them that I am prepping both Spiritually and Secular. My first priority if to God, being prepared upon His calling. I feel that prepping is also taught to us in the Bible, maybe not in some much scriptural, but if you study history, people prepared for wars, invasions and hard times by storing food for just those days. Noah was a prepper of sorts, he was warned of event that would take place, he prepared his "bug out" by building an Ark. Surely he secured food and supplies needed for the flood, not only for his family but the animals on board. So, if there is a pre-trib rapture, I will be glad to leave my supplies for the less fortunate, if there is a mid-trib rapture, I pray my foresight and supplies will last till then, and if not, I pray that I have the strength to resist the "mark". Our first priority is to God, be prepared, make sure our families and friends are prepared, remember His promise, that He will not forsake us,ReplyDelete
Once again, i am encouraged by your comment! I sense that God is revealing the same thoughts and understanding to so many Christians. I feel that we are coming to the same conclusions and relying on Scripture to guide us through coming events. With God as our priority and our guiding light, His will be done and we will be delivered --- whether it is before, during or after the Tribulation. The important thing is to "Watch" as Jesus commands, and not be caught unawares as by a thief in the night. God Bless!Delete
[Belle, I agree with you 100 percent! BTW, here's a fascinating article I ran across on the exciting web. Ashley]ReplyDelete
Margaret Macdonald's Rapture Chart !
"church" RAPTURE "church"
(present age) (tribulation)
In early 1830 Margaret was the very first one to see a pre-Antichrist (pretrib) rapture in the Bible - and John Walvoord and Hal Lindsey lend support for this claim!
Walvoord's "Rapture Question" (1979) says her view resembles the "partial-rapture view" and Lindsey's "The Rapture" (1983) admits that "she definitely teaches a partial rapture."
But there's more. Lindsey (p. 26) says that partial rapturists see only "spiritual" Christians in the rapture and "unspiritual" ones left behind to endure Antichrist's trial. And Walvoord (p. 97) calls partial rapturists "pretribulationists"!
Margaret's pretrib view was a partial rapture form of it since only those "filled with the Spirit" would be raptured before the revealing of the Antichrist. A few critics, who've been repeating more than researching, have noted "Church" in the tribulation section of her account. Since they haven't known that all partial rapturists see "Church" on earth after their pretrib rapture (see above chart), they've wrongly assumed that Margaret was a posttrib!
In Sep. 1830 Edward Irving's journal "The Morning Watch" (hereafter: TMW) was the first to publicly reflect her novel view when it saw spiritual "Philadelphia" raptured before "the great tribulation" and unspiritual "Laodicea" left on earth.
In Dec. 1830 John Darby (the so-called "father of dispensationalism" even though he wasn't first on any crucial aspect of it!) was still defending the historic posttrib rapture view in the "Christian Herald."
Pretrib didn't spring from a "church/Israel" dichotomy, as many have assumed, but sprang from a "church/church" one, as we've seen, and was based only on symbols!
But innate anti-Jewishness soon appeared. (As noted, TMW in Sep. 1830 saw only less worthy church members left behind.) In Sep. 1832 TMW said that less worthy church members and "Jews" would be left behind. But by Mar. 1833 TMW was sure that only "Jews" would face the Antichrist!
As late as 1837 the non-dichotomous Darby saw the church "going in with Him to the marriage, to wit, with Jerusalem and the Jews." And he didn't clearly teach pretrib until 1839. His basis then was the Rev. 12:5 "man child...caught up" symbol he'd "borrowed" (without giving credit) from Irving who had been the first to use it for the same purpose in 1831!
For related articles Google "X-Raying Margaret," "Edward Irving is Unnerving," "Pretrib Rapture's Missing Lines," "The Unoriginal John Darby," "Deceiving and Being Deceived" by D.M., "Pretrib Rapture Pride," "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty" and "Scholars Weigh My Research." The most documented and accurate book on pretrib rapture history is "The Rapture Plot" (see Armageddon Books online) - a 300-pager that has hundreds of disarming facts (like the ones above) not found in any other source.
Wow! You have give us a lot to digest and research! But anything worth understanding is deserving of such time and effort. Thank you for pointing us in all these directions. It will be fascinating to follow up your research. Thanks!Delete