The version of Christianity that I grew up with was enraptured with the idea of The Last Trump heralding the Rapture of the Saved to heaven.
Guys, it’s not about us! We just get yanked out of harm’s way, like a parent jerking his kid’s arm to keep them out of the path of an oncoming car.
“The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly” (Revelation 11:14)
It comes suddenly, like a heart attack, which is not immediately after this woe any more than the second woe was immediately after the first.
And the seventh angel sounded...And I saw…seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.” (Revelation 11:15, 15:2, 16:1)
We are definitely going through tribulation.
Jesus Christ himself told us.
- “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you:
- and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake
- then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
- And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matthew 24:9, 21-22)
Paul repeats what Jesus Christ said.
- “we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22)
- “having received the word in much affliction
- ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
- And to WAIT for HIS Son from heaven
- which delivered us [when we turned to the living and true God] from the wrath to come [against idolaters]
- ye also have suffered
- no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.
- verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.
- Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake [rejecting Antichrist as the Son of God]. (Matthew 24:9)
- To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God
- But he that shall endure unto the end [never gives in to Antichrist’s terrorism], the same shall be saved. (Matthew 24:13)
- at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
- 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.
- Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (I Corinthians
- But of the times and the seasons, brethren…yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
- Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. (Matthew 25:13)
- [but very likely the month and year] For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
- 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 the heavens shall be shaken: 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 in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:29-30)
- But…God hath not appointed us to wrath, ” (I Thessalonians 5:9)
“flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.”
That’s the whole basis of our faith in YHVH’s salvation through resurrection of the dead. So what happens if you’re still alive when YHVH’s Savior returns to collect his saints?
Behold, I shew you a mystery;
- We shall not all sleep / as disembodied souls at the death of our bodies,
- 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.
These passages make it crystal clear that God’s people are not airlifted out of the war zone until the last trumpet sounds, at which point in time we are instantly transformed into hyper dimensional beings who join our Leader in battle.
In the meantime, we are here on earth.
The huge problem with American Christianity is the lack of willingness to fight and suffer for what is right, the conviction that heaven begins with earthly prosperity and superiority, and the cowardly conviction that believers escape the earth at the first sign of trouble rather than remaining to rescue so much as their own loved ones. There is no historical precedent of this whatsoever in the entire Bible. God’s people don’t retreat. We face the enemy, fearlessly!
when ye [his disciples] shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh…these be the days of [God’s] vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled….there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled…And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:20-24)
“be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.” (Philippians 2:15-17)
“the end of all things is at hand…think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you…For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (I Peter 4:7-18)
Quoting George Bailey, in EXHeroes by Peter Clines, a novel realistically describing the lives of the few survivors of a post-apocalyptic world:
We just save everyone we can…It’s about hope…my favorite show when I was a kid was Dr. Who…the old one…the doctor didn’t have super powers, or weapons, or anything like that…he always just tried to do the right thing, no matter what. That struck me when I was a kid. That no matter how cold and callous the world seemed, there was somebody who just wanted to make life better. Not better for worlds, or countries in some vague way, just better for people trying to live their lives…I want to give them hope.
Christians putting their hope in escaping from death through a rapture instead of sharing their hope of eternal life with people dying all around them should be be put to shame by fiction writers modeling their heroes after Nietzsche’s Superman instead of Bible heroes of the faith.
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children / followers to their fathers / godly religious leaders, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” (Malachi 4:5-6)
The dreadful future awaiting mankind can be somewhat conceived by Elijah’s return in the future. The LORD of hosts sends his most experienced general into battle against a reign of terror and mass slaughter of God’s people. In his first time on earth he thought he was the only believer left. He was so terrified of the unimaginably cruel torture Jezebel had in store for him and so exhausted from running from it that he pleaded with the LORD to end his life.
“Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them [slaughtered]…And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life…and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life…the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
“And the LORD said unto him, Go [rhymes with “No”, instead of dying I order you to]:
- return [back through Israel where horde of Jezebel’s minions like the wicked witch’s evil monkeys are scouring the countryside for him, probably with a bounty on their heads if they don’t find him!] on thy way
- to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria [What! Syria is the sworn enemy of both Israel and Judah. Worse yet, he is being sent to scheme a coup against the king of Syria by Hazael the top general of his army! I can just image the look on his face which the LORD ignores as he proceeds to yet a worse situation.]
- And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel [in a coup against Ahab and Jezebel! As if he wasn’t in enough trouble with them already.]
- and [finally for some good news] Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.
Elijah could only take action in faith that God would preserve his life until he finished the last of his battle instructions.
Follow the pattern.
- As in the days of Noah when only 8 people were saved from the flood,
- And in the day of Lot when only Lot and 3 members of his family were saved from fiery judgment,
- there will be pitifully few uncorrupted humans holding on to faith in God who delivers from death, either before or after the fact.
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war…he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean…he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.” (Revelation 19:11-16)
The armies of the dead but resurrected in heaven that follow him back to earth in this hyper dimensional battle went through boot camp on earth. You can’t seriously think that anyone who quailed at the idea of being scorned by friends and family, or losing a job, let alone losing their mortal existence, could possibly follow The Word of God with the power of creation into battle?!
John’s reiteration of Yeshua’s and Paul’s message to us includes the reminder that WE – united with Almighty God – can take EVERYTHING that the Adversary throws at us KNOWING that OUR CREATOR AND SUSTAINER IS SHOWING OFF HIS POWER THROUGH US!
“Be strong and of a good courage…be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee…This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success…Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (Joshua 1:6-9)