THE RAPTURE HOPE
By Paul Proctor
February 8, 2006
There is an enormous controversy brewing among professing Christians today as to whether or not there is going to be a Rapture of the Church. Many who criticize those who believe in the Rapture do so, not out of an understanding of scripture but rather out of a zealous resentment for lazy, complacent and irresponsible Christians shirking their duty to resist evil in the world.
I couldn't agree more that there is a systemic failure on the part of the church today to confront evil and rebuke sin. It is a theme that has become a trademark of this column. Satan has clearly made capitulating cronies out of many postmodern Christians, convincing them that "turning the other cheek" actually means looking the other way, when it comes to addressing overt transgressions against God and man, leading the Church at large into an immoral pact of sorts that says: For the sake of Results and Relationships, I won't criticize your sin if you won't criticize mine.
But friends, this is nothing short of organized crime against The Almighty for the gratification, glorification, and justification of sinful man. It encourages us to convert God's grace into spiritual spinelessness so we can have our cake and eat it too and be called a Witness for Jesus Christ without actually having to act like one or suffer any personal loss or adverse consequences for our professed faith in the only begotten Son of God.
Scripture, in fact, teaches something totally different:
"Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear." - 1st Timothy 5:20
"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." - Ephesians 5:11
These scriptures illustrate with crystal clarity the illegitimacy of the church growth movement and its new reformation of sin-tolerant love; a seeker sensitivity that seduces Churchaterians into an effeminate faith that hides behind a positive-only, chit chat, save-my-self-esteem spirituality so as to protect and promote those sacred Results and Relationships that grow apostate fellowships into mega-mausoleums for the living dead by cordially inviting visitors and prospects to "connect" or "plug in" rather than "repent," and "take up thy cross" to follow Jesus as He commands. (Matthew 4:17 & Mark 10:21)
However, do not let those who have rightly condemned the reckless neglect of cowardly Christians convince you that there will be no Rapture of the Church. It is not a handy escape from persecution, but rather a glorious deliverance from God's Wrath. Persecution and Wrath are two entirely different things; so don't make the mistake of confusing the two even though they may seem similar. That's where much of the confusion lies.
"For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him." - 1st Thessalonians 5:9-10
It is said: "If you want to know what God will do in the future, just look at what He has done in the past." That is why it is so crucial that we study the scriptures for answers to the issues of life rather than cite the latest poll or embrace the latest church teaching. God's Work and Will among men are recorded there for our instruction. But one has to believe God and search the scriptures faithfully to know what that instruction is; otherwise they will likely be led astray by the fashionable theories and passions of renown men and find themselves ensnared by Machiavellian machinations that come from the heart of rebellion.
Noah endured the wicked world around him; yet when it came time for God's Wrath to be poured out upon the Earth in the form of a great flood, he and his family were delivered from it in an Ark that the Lord commanded him to build. This is a type and shadow of the Rapture - an illustration for our edification of God protecting and rescuing His Own from judgment.
"But as the days of Noe 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 Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come." - Matthew 24:37-42
A tormented Lot was patiently escorted out of Sodom and Gomorrah along with his family shortly before God's Wrath rained down fire and brimstone from the heavens. He too suffered for his faith in a wicked place; but in the end was Raptured away to safety in a Divine deliverance from God's Wrath.
"Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all." - Luke 17:28-29
The Lord didn't command Moses to return to Egypt to, conquer it, "transition it" or "transform it" into a godly place. Nor was he instructed to find common ground with Pharaoh, strike a deal, make friends or even learn how to get along with him for the sake of Results and Relationship. No, he was sent back to lead God's Chosen out of that wicked place because it was His Will that they be delivered; and it is still His Will today.
So as it was, so shall it be; the Rapture of God's Own; not from the growing persecution and hardship around us; but from the terrible Wrath that is coming upon the Earth as described in Revelation.
Those who endeavor to "change the world" and make it a better place for Christ and His Church or take it back by force or persuasion to build God's Kingdom here on Earth, by and large, reject or downplay the notion of a coming Rapture because it doesn't fit their global agenda or Dominionist worldview. Thinking they do God service, they in fact condemn those who look toward that glorious day of deliverance, not realizing, in their pride and delusion that the kingdom they build will soon be ruled by the antichrist, where many who call themselves Christians will worship and serve him thinking he is the Christ. Because they did not know or believe the Word of God but instead allowed themselves to be guided by their own pride, wisdom, emotions, ambitions and senses, they will be left to receive the "wages of sin."
"And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." - 2nd Thessalonians 2:11-12
But still our Savior returns; and in the Father's time, to deliver those of us who are not ashamed at His coming!
"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." - 1st Thessalonians 4:16 -17
The Rapture is not provided so Christians can sit smugly on the sidelines with a smiley face and wave bye-bye to a Hell bound world. It is the hope of deliverance from the Wrath of God held by those who courageously stand, speak out and proclaim the Word of God at the risk of alienation, persecution, torture and death that they may be counted worthy witnesses for Jesus Christ.
"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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." - 1st Corinthians 15:51-52
1. The Test of Faith
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