Friday, October 2, 2020
God said “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). That assessment is just as true today as it was at the fall of mankind in Eden. When Adam and Eve fell “the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings” (Gen. 3:7). But then “for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them” (Gen. 3:21). And to this day mankind naturally tries to cover the shame of his own sin. However, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:13).
Death came to one of God’s own creatures from which the “tunics of skin” were made. And that act of judgment by God foreshadowed the Old Testament Law that required the sacrificial death of an animal for the remission of sins. And it foreshadowed the sacrifice of God’s Son to bring salvation to “whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). But to effectively “believe in Him” means to “believe the Son”, otherwise “he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36). But in today’s compromised churches, the wrath of God is highly unpopular and thus ignored.
Herein the incomparable glory of the cross of Jesus Christ is revealed! “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” (Heb. 10:4). There’s only one thing that takes away our sins, which involves the deliberate act of our will – an act of thoughtful repentance and confession, and faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, cleansing us from our sins and separation from God. Ever since the fall of mankind, judgment preceded salvation. And God said “I am the LORD, I do not change” (Mal. 3:6); and the Spirit said “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). And Jesus said “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30).
Remember, then, the numerous times of ancient Israel’s backsliding and turning away from God’s commands to follow the ways of the ungodly nations around them. God said, “One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, [the truth] even his prayer is an abomination” (Prov. 28:9); and “Why has this people slidden back, Jerusalem, in a perpetual backsliding? They hold fast to deceit, they refuse to return” (Jer. 8:5). God also said, “My people are bent on backsliding from Me. Though they call to the Most High, none at all exalt Him” (Hos. 11:7). And as a result God repeatedly delivered His people into tribulation and slavery to unbelieving Gentile nations. They rejected the Word and rule of God, so God delivered them over to the desires of their heart.
Consider, now, the state of the Western church today. Has she not largely backslidden from the truths and commands of God; and exchanged her first love for her own traditions? Has she not largely turned aside from true repentance to embrace the abominations of the ungodly? Has she not largely produced Hollywood-style sensational, of-the-flesh spiritually disquieting worship with all its glamour and manufactured smoke? Has she not largely exalted in human wisdom preaching a watered-down all-inclusive gospel wherein sexual immoralities of the LGBTQ+ agenda even stand in positions of authority in her churches? Indeed! So, how shall God get her repentant attention?
God will get the attention of not only the lost and unbelieving world, but also the lukewarm and backslidden organized church by the Seal and Trumpet judgments of tribulation. Jesus warned, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent” (Rev. 2:5). Ancient Israel often turned away from God, but He used severe tribulations to call His people to repentance, and He will do it again here at the end of this age. But if the church does not repent and persists in her lukewarm state, Jesus warned that “because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Rev. 3:16).
However, literally about ninety-five percent of the church has been deluded by the pre-tribulation rapture tradition, believing that she will be exempt from the end-time tribulations. That delusion, in and of itself, is a position of pride, completely disregarding the truth that “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34), and that “there is no partiality with God” (Rom. 2:11). Pre-trib rapture teachers have persuaded the large majority of Western Christians that the coming seven years of tribulation is for unbelieving Jews, and that the church is exempt, thereby making God a God of partiality in complete contradiction to His written Word. But unless they repent of their false and delusional teachings, they will be caught unaware in their own snare of deception.
Don’t forget that God said “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). God in Christ is not One to bow to the whims and wishful thinking of men, nor will man’s exchanging the testimony of Jesus to satisfy his traditions change any of the teachings of the Lord Jesus. We as believers have the obligation in faith to bow in reverent fear to Christ and His testimony…that is IF we actually believe Him. Otherwise all the spiritually careless, unbelieving and lukewarm conditions in the church today will embolden pride to remain unrepentant and self-sufficient, but will suffer the consequences of that unbelief.
Since June of 2007, God burdened my heart with getting out the truth of these end-times and the return of Jesus Christ for the rapture of His elect. Ultimately, I had to leave the organized church in June of 2014 in order to teach the truths of the rapture, praying and hoping that believers in the church would turn away from their unbelief and traditions of the pre-trib rapture that has literally infected the organized church with unbelief of the testimony of Jesus Christ. Of course, that’s what Satan wants; his mission is only to steal, kill and destroy humanity by destroying the truth of the testimony of Jesus Christ. Soon, however, men’s hearts will begin “failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Luke 21:26), as the harsh end-time, purifying, 7-year tribulation devastates.
Judgment precedes salvation – that’s God’s way. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, then you know that before you could become a Christian, God poured out His judgment and wrath on His own Son, that you and I could be redeemed by the sinless shed blood of the Lord Jesus who paid the penalty for our sin and unbelief. Having come to faith in our great High Priest, Jesus Christ, we are compelled by love for Him, to believe Him, and personalize His testimony, to defend His Word of truth that He gathers His elect “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31), and not before! That truth requires repentance from unbelief, plus spiritual and physical preparation. Noah proved his faith and prepared the Ark; Abraham believed and left his home; and Lot left Sodom; Joseph in Egypt believed and prepared for a seven-year famine; Jesus believed His Father and fasted 40 days and nights; Paul believed and spent 14 years learning of Christ.
Marlin J. Yoder