Friday, March 29, 2019
Jesus warned of the end-times, “Take heed that no one deceives you” (Matt. 24:4). God’s Spirit followed that up with, “Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him…Let no one deceive you by any means” (2 Thess. 2:1–3). We will either respond to those warnings by faith and prepare accordingly, or redirect the warning to others which would be the worst possible choice.
Yet, the worst possible choice has been made by many Christians who have been deceived by false teachers ignoring the testimony of Jesus using dispensationalism, conjecture, assumption, and all its ear-tickling tradition, making the end-time testimony of Jesus Christ of no account for present day saints. And it’s been done by redirecting Jesus’ testimony to others, namely Jews.
For the pleasure of the people and self-profit, false teachers have defrauded the testimony of Jesus. They’ve taught the Church that the Olivet Discourse was intended only for Jews since He was talking to Jews when He spoke it. But if that were valid, (which it’s not) why do those same theologians preach that “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7 KJV), since Jesus said that to a Jew, Nicodemus, who was “a ruler of the Jews” (John 3:1), under cover and darkness of night?
Their testimony falls apart, as does their deceptive pre-trib rapture doctrine. Nearly all of Jesus’ testimony was given to Jews, for “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him” (John 1:11). Further, Jesus concludes His Olivet Discourse, saying, “And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” (Mark 13:37). He was speaking to “all” which includes the future Church, confirmed in His great commission to “make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19–20); “all things”, then, includes the Olivet Discourse.
Many pastors and churches unwittingly allow Satan to ravage their flock, now by deception, but will later be proven the pre-trib rapture terror! What believers don’t know can and will hurt them. In this case it can terrorize them to the point of “falling away” (2 Thess. 2:3). Those who believe in the pre-trib rapture believe a lie that restricts them from preparing in truth because they believe they won’t need to endure to the end, contrary to what Jesus taught at Matt. 24:13. Often, their favorite but highly misplaced responses is, but “God has not appointed us to wrath” (1 Thess. 5:9) as if that highly conditional verse settles it, which it doesn’t.
Consider: neither have the state’s governing officials in which you live “appointed” you to a vehicular crash. But if you ignore the signs and laws intended to keep you safe, and you cause injury or death to yourself or others, the fault is your own because you ignored the laws provided and intended to keep you safe. And so it is with the testimony of Jesus Christ. He will safely navigate you through the end times only if you believe His written Word and act accordingly. No, God has not “appointed” saints to wrath, but if we ignore His end-time Word of truth, He promised that we will reap exactly what we sow.
God said “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). He also said “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29:18 KJV). As believers, our vision must be that which is according to the end-time testimony of Jesus Christ, else we invite destruction.
Prayerfully consider the 4 global terrors that occur 42 months into the tribulation. First, Satan and his fallen angels are permanently cast out of heaven and onto the earth having great wrath because they know their time is short. But God has a place of safety and provision for those “counted worthy to escape” (Luke 21:36). God being eternally the same did this for ancient Israel when He metaphorically bore them “on eagles’ wings” (Exo. 19:4).
“Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke rose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace…Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth…and to them was given power like scorpions” (Rev. 9:1–3). Demonic hybrid beings “as it was in the days of Noah” (Luke 17:26) will cover the earth. This is 2 of 4 mid-tribulation events. But if saints are prepared, and “counted worthy to escape”, God has a place of safety and provision.
“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [the rapture] will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed the son of perdition…[who] sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thess. 2:3–4). This is fulfilled by the one the Bible calls Antichrist, at which time global terror reigns for the last 42 months of this present age. And dear saints, we will still be right here on earth! But “many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another” (Matt. 24:10). This is the 3rd of 4 mid-tribulation events. But God wants saints to metaphorically escape on His “wings of a great eagle” (Rev. 12:14).
And “in the middle of the week he [Antichrist] shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. [He breaks his false peace “covenant” (Dan. 9:27a)] And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate” (Dan. 9:27b). “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads let him understand)” (Matt. 24:15). Antichrist, “opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God” (2 Thess. 2:4). But those who believe God flee to His safety for “one thousand two hundred and sixty days” (Rev. 12:6).
“When they [God’s two witnesses who testify for 3 1/2 years during the first half of the tribulation] finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified…Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here.’ And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven” (Rev. 11:7–13). This 4th event signals to saints the time is NOW! to find God’s safety and provision. Read Jesus discourse at Luke 17:20–37 with special emphasis on verse 37.
These four events will strike terror into the hearts of most. The Jews’ messiah will be proven false. And many Christians, having ignored, nor being taught, how or when to escape on “wings of a great eagle” (Rev. 12:14) to enter God’s provision for the last 3 1/2 years will be terrorized and offended according to Jesus’ teaching at Matt. 24:10. With these events will come the mark of the beast, and the last 3 1/2 years will be so horrible that “unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matt. 24:22).
In times of judgment and great calamity, it has never been God’s Biblical character to remove His people from the earth in order to avoid those things, but what is His character is to warn His people in advance of what’s coming with commands to prepare accordingly. Therein, regarding the end-times, Jesus told us it would be like the days of Noah and the days of Lot. In both cases they had to first believe God, then secondly, act accordingly to that belief. And since God does not change, we have the certainty that He is not going to change His character for the end-times.
Next week TheFridayLetter.com will take a closer look at what it means to be “counted worthy to escape all these things” (Luke 21:36) on “wings of a great eagle” (Rev. 12:14), something that pre-trib rapture dispensationalists don’t think worthwhile bringing to you. Please be prayerfully prepared to receive from the Word of the Lord what the organized, denominational Church is refusing to teach you; “know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
Marlin J. Yoder