To promote the truth of the Post-tribulation Rapture belief.
It's important what you believe about the timing of the Rapture of the Church.
If you believe in a Pre-tribulation Rapture: that you're not going to be here on earth during the time of Tribulation, you will be in serious danger of losing your soul. You will most likely not be ready to deal with the Antichrist when he rises to power and establishes the Mark of the Beast.
The Mark of the Beast will be the salvation issue of the end time: in the days that lie ahead. If you're not prepared to refuse to take the Mark, you will be damned forever. Once you take it, there's no turning back! You cannot change your mind! It won't matter how long you've been saved. It won't matter whether you're a "spiritual midget" or a "spiritual giant," if you take the Mark the Antichrist will offer, you will lose your salvation. You will no longer belong to God. You will belong to the Antichrist and his system.
God is trying to wake up the world. Look around you at the wars and rumors of wars, the unusual signs in the heavens, the extreme weather, and the steady increase of evil and violence at every turn. As these things continue - and as they increase in frequency and intensity - it is our duty to turn to God; and to realize that God's people will be on earth through what the Bible calls the time of Tribulation or trouble.
God's people, the true Church, will be on earth until the battle is done. His army will not leave this earth until it's all over and Christ - through His people - have won the final victory against Satan and his right-hand man on earth: the Antichrist.
The Power of Christianity
by James C. Taylor
The power of Christianity is in the Resurrection.
Without the Resurrection, there would be no Christianity. Without the glorious, powerful victory by Jesus Christ, our Lord, Savior, and Master over death, there would be no Christianity. There would be no "blessed hope." There would be no expectation of that "blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior JesusChrist" (Titus 2:13). Without the victory over death and the power it demonstrated, Christianity would be just another dead religion looking to empty words and false promises.
If Jesus had not won the victory over death demonstrated in the power of the Resurrection, there would be no hope of his returning in victory to raise the rest of us from the dead, and from the living, in the Resurrection of the Last Day - at "the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ."
Jesus told the Jews - who would not listen - "He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is,when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: andthey that hear shall live" (John 5:24-25).
Later on, Jesus explained himself further. He said, "This is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. This is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I willraise him up at the last day" (John 6:39-40, 44).
Without total submission to the Father's will, without submission to the suffering of persecution, without submission to the cruel death on the cross, there could be - and would be - no Resurrection. Without suffering and death to himself and to the world, there could be no victory. There could be no Resurrection. There could be no victory over death. There could be no "blessed hope." There could be - and would be - no Resurrection "at the last day."
The Early Church
The power of the Early Church was in the Resurrection, and in the preaching of the Resurrection.
Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, knew that truth when he said, "Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know... Him, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that heshould be holden of it" (Acts 2:22-24).
Stephen, the first martyr for Christ, just before he was stoned to death, saw the risen Lord standing on the right hand of God: "He, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God" (Acts 7:55-56).
And, in a synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia, Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, preached of the Resurrection to the Jews: "God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Savior, Jesus... They that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because theyknew him not... though they found a cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate (the Roman Governor) that he should be slain. And when they had fulfilled all that was writtenof him, they took him down from the tree (the cross), and laid ihim in a sepulcre.But God raised him from the dead" (Acts 13:23, 27-30).
Even at his trial, Paul stood firm in his knowledge of - and belief in - the Resurrection from the dead. To King Agrippa, he said, "I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers... I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles" (Acts 26:6, 22-23).
The Church of Today
The Church of today has lost its power. It has lost ifs focus. It has lost its purpose. No longer do the people of today's professing Christian Church look to the heavens for the fulfillment of God's promise in his Son. No longer do they long for "the hope of thepromise made of God unto our fathers." No longer do they eagerly look for "that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ."
Christianity today has given up the power of the Early Church. They have moved from the power of the promise of the Resurrection - the victory over death through Christ - to a soft, kind, gentle Gospel that looks to empty words and false promises. They have moved from the power of Christianity to a dead Christianity steeped in escapism and the promise that they will not suffer as did the Christ. They have moved to a belief in a Resurrection that offers them a soft, kind, gentle way out of the truth of the Gospel: the truth that the Resurrection is intrinsically linked to suffering and death - without which the raising from the dead would have no meaning - no power.
To be honest and to be true, the Good News of the Gospel must include the Return of Jesus the Messiah, and the victory of his saints. It is a fslse Gospel when it does not go all the way to the end: to the Resurrection of the dead and living in Christ. It is a false Gospel when it tries to divert the truth of the suffering of Christ - and the suffering of his saints - into a Resurrection that excludes that suffering. It is a false Gospel when it tries to turn the simple, hard, difficult truth into a soft, kind, gentle falsehood.
Christians cannot afford to ignore the truth of the persecution of Jesus and of his saints. To overlook - or to ignore - such an important truth leaves the Church weak and without defense. Jesus said, "If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you" (John 15:20). And Peter said, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fierytrial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you" (I Pet. 4:12).
The Church of today has lost its power. It has lost its focus on the suffering of Christ and on the suffering that has - and will - come to all who believe on his name. It has lost its purpose in preparing for that suffering. It looks no longer to the heavens for the fulfillment of God's promise in his Son. It now looks to the empty words and false promise of a Resurrection of the dead and living in Christ without the suffering that must come with that promise. It looks to a Resurrection that will remove death from the equation - and without death to self and submission to suffering for Christ - there can be no Resurrection to life: only Resurrection to death.
Any attempt to describe the truth and power of the Biblical account of the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ - without its climax in the suffering of the saints that will precede and accompany the Return of Jesus Christ and the Resurrection of those saints - is a failed and inadequate Gospel that is not fully true to the Bible.
The Majority View
by Dave MacPherson
Some pre-tribs and post-tribs agree on at least one point. They think that the pre-trib rapture view is held by the majority of Bible-believing Christians.
A few years ago, I received a scorching letter from a pastor which said in part, "What amazes me is that you and your father...are the only ones that I know who hold such an unusual theory." He was, of course, referring to the Post-trib view. In his letter, he also listed thirteen well-known Pre-trib leaders.
Later on, an associate of one of those thirteen leaders commented on that pastor's statement: "I would like to say that the man who wrote that letter certainly was not very well informed and certainly was out of step in calling it 'an unusual theory.'" Many Bible scholars, including some of Pre-trib persuasion, have admitted in their writings that the Post-trib rapture view is the majority view and always has been.
It was the only theory of the second coming before 1830.
John F. Walvoord writes in "The Rapture Question," p. 127, that the Post-trib view is embraced by a majority in the church and has been around for a long time. Herman A. Hoyt, past-president of Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana, says practically the same thing in "The End Times," p. 86. The executive editor of a popular Pre-trib monthly magazine wrote in a letter: "We are, of course, well aware that many find conservatives hold the Post-tribulation rapture view."
The editor of a widely distributed Southern Baptist publication said in a letter it is probable that there are more Post-tribs among Southern Baptist pastors today than Pre-tribs. And an article in the November, 1973, "Moody Monthly," entitled "Curious About the Future?" by Moody Bible Institute professor Louis A. Barbieri, Jr. declared that Pre-tribs are probably in the minority at the present time.
A top British scholar, a member of the Brethren, remarked in a letter, "In Brethren circles in Great Britain there are more younger men who do not hold the [Pre-trib] view than older ones who will not give up the cherished notion passed by John N. Darby through Margaret MacDonald."
Post-mills and A-mills believe in a single coming of Christ when He will catch away the Church and punish the ungodly. But did you know that most scholars in the Pre-mill division - where most of the controversy on this question takes place - are also Post-trib?
[From his book, "The Incredible Cover-up," pp. 121-122: Used by permission.]
I'm Right - You're Wrong
By Brian Goetz
"You'll see, God will reveal it to you some day. Then you'll see that I'm right."
Have you ever said that to a fellow Christian when arguing about the rapture or some other belief? It's easy to get into a heated debate over something near and dear to our hearts, isn't it? After all, we've dedicated countless hours of our time searching the scriptures and scouring websites for commentaries and articles to help fortify our positions.
"How dare they disagree with me on this after all the time I've put into it. They just don't get it."
No, they don't, but that's okay. We must be careful not to do more harm than good as we work to convince others of the error in their beliefs. Those of us who carry this banner, "Post-tribulation Rapture," should take the time to prepare ourselves with strategies for presentation and defense of our position. We've spent so much time gathering scriptures, and rightly so, but how much time have we spent preparing ourselves for the delivery of our work to the Body of Christ?
How we present our case can make all the difference. Though it is not our intention to create division, it can easily occur, and simply put, it's most likely our fault.
Consider these points. First of all, we are telling others that what they believe is wrong. No one likes to be told they are wrong, so immediately they become defensive. Secondly, we can be seen as being judgmental with our "decrees" as we make our case, thereby intensifying the attack on their weak position. But remember that their position, though weak scripturally, is firmly rooted due to the many years they've held it.
If we are going to reach them, we must keep ourselves in the right spirit, projecting a holy, quiet, patient, and open-minded atmosphere in order to facilitate a two-way conversation that produces fruit. "They" are not the enemy. Remember that Christ died for them, too. They are the victims of a false teaching, and have not yet taken the time to investigate the doctrine of rapture for themselves. That was me just a few years ago, so I can relate.
Jesus only gave us two commandments, and they are both the same word - LOVE. Anything we do, or say, should have that word as its foundation, its motivation, and its accomplished destination.
With a right spirit, we can plant the seeds of truth into the fertile soil of their hearts. If we attack their beliefs, we will have a difficult time getting past the concrete wall in front of us - with a jackhammer. Please, let's prayerfully consider our attitudes, preparing our hearts and minds before we approach our brothers and sisters with this most difficult persuasion. We have years of ingrained false teaching to undo. It is not our wisdom, intelligence, skillful oration, or fist pounding that will accomplish the Lord's purpose; but rather, the Word of God prayerfully spoken in love will accomplish his work, in his time.
Whether we change their minds right now today is not important. But, if we can cause them to question what they have been taught, then they will investigate it for themselves, opening their hearts and minds to the Word and the Spirit of God who will show them the way. Isn't that how we were changed?
So, let's not let our good intentions be the cause of damage to the Body of Christ through divisions. We have been given this task to rejoin the Body of Christ into a single mind by the truth of scripture. So, let us be faithful in this task, performing it to the best of our ability, knowing that it is the Lord who works in us to accomplish his will in his church.
By our faith in love, we can move mountains. Those Pre-tribbers are one massive hill on the horizon, but one by one, hearts and minds will be changed and the Lord will make a mole hill out of that mountain - if we let him do it his way.
"I beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation by which you are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." (Eph. 4:1-3)
The Next Generation
by Daniel Cox
The problem with the generation that is being born and growing up before our eyes is us, the current generation. How can this be? Our prophetically inspired brother, Isaiah, gives us the answer" "They have made crooked paths" (Isa. 59:8).
With sorrow, it has to be said that by and large, this is what we have done for the generation that is to come; and those who are becoming adults before our very eyes. Yes, we "have made them crooked paths." There is no doubt - no doubt at all - that if our young people are presented with the true "way of the cross;" if they are taught to spend part of their leisure time before the Lord and with the scriptutes, and are given opportunity to experience ministry under loving, caring guidance in the missionary corners still accessible, it will be seen that this generation will produce workers in the Kingdom "par excellence." They will be the equal of any of previous generations who have become "soldiers of the cross." All they need is straight paths; not crooked ones.
Speaking of God, one of the Psalms says, "He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments" (Psa. 78:5-7).
As this is being penned, the first decade of the twenty-first century is drawing to its close. For a sin laden earth, the sky is threatening, unparalleled storms are coming. Summer is long past. But there is still time to prepare this generation for what is to come. The Four Hosemen of the Apocalypse will rampage across the earth. The Antichrist will rise; and then totally dominate a shattered earth.
Surely, we have an urgent task to prepare this generation for what lies ahead. It is not just sufficient to regret and repent over the crooked paths that have been presented. We must offer them something that will be of great and lasting blessing. How awful if the accusation, "Why did you not warn us?" rings in our ears when all actions are tried at the judgment seat of Christ. If the right paths and the true way of preparation are presented to them, they may rise up and call us blessed for what we have done for them.
Earth's darkest hour has come. Antichrist dominates our planet. The earth dwellers gladly worship him. He sets up the abomination of desolation in the temple in Jerusalem. All who refuse to worship the idol and take the 666 Mark of the Beast are persecuted; even to death. There is a popular teaching of a pre-trouble rapture, which, if the interpretations this writer believes are correct surrounding the glorious event of Christ's second coming, holds no Biblical water whatsoever.
Most observers of the spiritual and world scene, linked with the prophet scriptures, agree we are in the time of the end. If correct then, the generation being born and growing up will have to face days of a severity never before experienced by Christian believers. When one considers the persecutions from the early church to the present time, that is a most solemn assertion.
However, there is a golden thread, all the more glorious because of the abysmal darkness that surrounds it. Let us first read the background scenario.
"Arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate; and such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt with flatteries" (Dan. 11:31-32).
Surely things could not be worse. The nadir, the very lowest point of human history has been reached. Never could there be a more horrendous time for a Christian to live upon the earth; but in the midst of these horrors, listen to how the account continues.
"But the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. They that understand among the people shall instruct many; yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. Some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed" (Dan. 11:32-35).
It could well be the coming generation that lives to see all these things. It could well be the coming generation that is presented with the ultimatum," Take the Mark of the Beast or face the consequences." Let us note that there will be some there who are written in the "Lambs Book of Life."
"All that dwell upon the earth, shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he tha killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints" (Rev. 13:8-10).
[From his book, "Last Days: Perilous Times," pp. 261-266: Used by permission.]