Friday, August 24, 2018
God said that love “rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor. 13:6), which is necessarily true because Jesus said He is “the truth” (John 14:6). Therefore we who know Christ by faith rejoice in His truths. But if our rejoicing is based in traditions of men and not Christ’s truths, we’re deceived and rejoicing is futile, laying the seedbed of offense and “the falling away” (2 Thess. 2:3).
We hear a lot about love and unity these days, but our culture has redefined those by allowing whatever pleases. But true love teaches, chastens, reproves and corrects in the righteousness of Christ because He is “the truth”. For example, true love trains up a child in the way he should go, so that, “when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6). But in these evil days the world scourges Christians for disciplining children according to God’s command that “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly” (Prov. 13:24).
Likewise, true love teaches Christ’s end-time truths so that when the tribulation is revealed one will not be “offended” or “betray” and “hate one another” (Matt. 24:10). Love does not hide the testimony of Jesus for the end-times but boldly declares all end-time truths taught by Him, that His followers not be caught unaware in the snare of offense. Similar, then, to Prov. 13:24, it is hate and not love for mankind that silences Christ’s post-tribulation rapture of Matt. 24:29–31.
Yet, due to the traditions of men, the Church largely silences the testimony of Christ for the times of the end which will cause many to fall away from the faith. So, consider: “Who is he who truly loves his fellowman – he who defends the false pre-trib rapture tradition of men for which not a single verse of Scripture can be found, or he who teaches, instructs and warns his fellowman according to the testimony of Jesus Christ? Surely, it is the latter who truly loves!
What one believes matters greatly, as one’s faith, hope, love and expectation is based on what he believes. If we rejoice in the truths of Christ we are overcomers and prepared to stand firm in the coming seven-year tribulation, and to find His promised safety and provision for the final 1,260 days of great tribulation, because the true Church is “the Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16). However, if our rejoicing is based in the false pre-tribulation rapture, we are deceived, believing a tradition of men based wholly in assumption and conjecture, which does not abide in the love of Christ.
Satan, our enemy, is overtly and covertly arrayed against humanity and especially against the saints. And the ever-popular pre-tribulation rapture narrative is also covertly arrayed against the saints, but few are wise to it, preferring their own desires in fulfillment that “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Tim. 4:3–4).
What causes your rejoicing – the truth and testimony of Christ, or the traditions of men? The former, in truth, leads to eternal life, but the latter leads to offense, betrayal and hatred. At the first sermon of the New Covenant God said “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that He may send Jesus…whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:19–21).
The Scriptures plainly reveal that God does not restore everything until immediately after the seven-year tribulation, else there would be no tribulation. God also plainly reveals that Christ must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, at which time “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thess. 4:16). Yet, false teachers, loving the praise of man, draw many away from the truth into their false teachings.
There are numerous false teachings and doctrines of men in the Church, and the saints are tasked with having holy spiritual discernment to identify and expose them, and to more importantly flee from those who promote falsehoods and their enticing influence. In the judgment one’s rejoicing and love will either be proven to be for Christ and His testimony, or for the traditions of men. In the meantime, God is giving people time and space to repent of unbelief and hardness of heart.
The Holy Spirit warned that “he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36). Yet, in the face of this truth, thousands of pastors and teachers in the evangelical Church, continue, undaunted, to preach and teach the utterly false hope of the pre-tribulation rapture, and it will sweep many to a departure from the faith when they realize they have been led to believe a lie. And their reasoning will be justified: “If you lied about the tribulation, the first resurrection, and the return of Christ, in what else have you also lied!”
Truly, love “rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor. 13:6), and Jesus Christ is “the truth” (John 14:6). But if rejoicing is based in the traditions of men that neither Christ nor His Spirit taught, then rejoicing will turn to anger, weeping and mourning. In the tribulation the pre-tribulation rapture hope will become hopeless as what tens of millions of Christians had been promised by false teachers falls fruitlessly to the ground. You can change that by removing yourself from false teachers and turn to faith in the testimony of Jesus, putting to flight deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.
While many will fall away from the faith because false teachers led them to hopelessly believe in the pre-tribulation rapture, that fact will not excuse any for their personal responsibility to Christ for having disbelieved Him. Jesus promised that “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matt. 7:22–23).
Matthew 7:22–23 is one of God’s extremely sobering promises, for it refers to workers in the Church, but who work errantly, not actually believing Christ, yet using His name, and teach in His name, not to exalt Christ, but to gain the favor and approval of man and to gain a following for themselves. But God commands to, “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:17–18).
Marlin J. Yoder