Rapture Near

         by Terry James


 

"How near do you think the rapture might be?" This or similar questions issue from people, both believers in Christ and nonbelievers. The queries come during question-and-answer sessions at prophecy conferences, and from interviewers such as my History Channel interviewer last June during filming for a series of documentaries on prophecy (The Nostrodamus Effect).

Foreboding feelings

Despite innate skepticism, even within believers, one senses that there flows just beneath the surface of decorum in posing the question a visceral trepidation that there will be such a thing as "the rapture." While those who attend prophecy conferences and secular media types seem genuinely to want an opinion on how near the rapture is, there is almost zero interest in that great event within Christ's church in general. This singular reality is, by itself, a factor worth examination while contemplating the question: "How near do you think the rapture might be?" More about that in due course.

Strange goings-on

To begin considering matters involved, the question can't be adequately entertained to any degree of understanding without analyzing our strange times—this bordering-on-bizarre generation that Jesus himself was most likely prophesying in the Olivet Discourse and other places in Scripture.

America presently has a collective nervous twitch. Worry about the diseased economy is the instigator of the societal surface spasms. Uncertainty about what direction—and how quickly—will be movement into the changes President Barack Obama promised and is trying to deliver has, rather than put minds at ease, caused a form of national schizophrenia. The schism separates Americans in crucial areas of politics and morality, which are in most aspects inextricably linked.

Those divisions threaten to raise the national temperature to a fever pitch. There is a sense that, as radio talk-show host Glenn Beck says, a powerful crisis event lurks in the immediate future. It will be the crisis, Beck believes, that will cause government to snap its voracious, all-consuming, lust-to control jaws shut on liberty.

So, it is more than a matter of curiosity that leads me to think upon the many issues and events swirling about this generation that seem almost certainly of biblically prophetic significance. This, while there is the obvious disconnect of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, for the most part, from those foreboding issues and events that are everywhere we look.

Money worries and  changing national/world order

Pocketbook issues almost always lead the way with the adult American citizen. This is a fact, whether talking about those who produce income or those who don't. And, therein lies much of the division in America today. The great political—and cultural—schism, like it or not, is provably engendered and perpetuated by those who work, pay taxes, and contribute to the nation's economic progress, versus those who don't work, but receive the taxpayer-funded largesse of growing government that is devoted to taking care of and growing exponentially its voter base from cradle to grave. This is not to say society—particularly private charity—should neglect the truly needy, those who can't work because of physical or mental incapacity.

Cynical? If so, it is cynicism steeped in provable statistics, the presentation of which isn't the thrust of this essay. Such thought—at least in a general sense—is necessary, however, in order to understand the role the riches of this fallen world play in setting up today's prophetic alignment and the nearness of the rapture.

Control/power the goal

The wallet issue that is front and center—that is most intensely focused on—is the “healthcare for everyone” debate. Universal coverage so that no person will go without healthcare is the proclaimed great concern the politicians parade before the sycophantic mainstream media microphones and cameras. But, in the cabals of behind-the-scenes power politics, it is ever-increasing governmental control—not equitable health care for all Americans—that many within government seek. Congressional leaders, as we know, have not been leading the way en masse to give everyone the same premium healthcare system they themselves enjoy.

Control, then, is the operative word in thinking on the question: "How near might be the rapture?" Control of economy, of monetary matters, is the thrust that impels human leaderships within government toward the time of absolute power that will corrupt absolutely. The Antichrist regime is the ultimate government that lurks in the dark haze of the prophetic future.

In the twinkling?

Glenn Beck, although I'm convinced he hasn't a clue of what will be the true paradigm shift that will fling open the gate to enslavement, is on the mark in sensing that there hovers an unprecedented moment of crisis somewhere just ahead. That crisis just might be created on Planet Earth in the twinkling of an eye, as-a-matter-of-fact!

The Rapture will, with unbelievable swiftness, sweep everyone left behind on earth into its vortex of soul-rending calamity.

Love of money Key to Satan's Scheme

"It's the economy, stupid!" is the infamous slogan spewed first by Democrat operative James Carville as a rallying cry for Bill Clinton's presidential bid. The declaration was picked up and echoed, seemingly with glee, by mainstream news pundits and other media types. The electorate's almost total absorption with money matters, as those matters affect their day-to-day lives, continues to plague attempts at bringing about consensus in America that we come together as one mind, one people.

Money is the central point of interest, but it is also the societal element that most widely separates we the people. Therein lies the nucleus of the problem for Lucifer's plot to usurp the throne of God. He knows it isn't possible to usurp the heavenly throne, but he observably has a blueprint for ruling on earth. Jerusalem and Mt. Moriah are his ultimate objectives in this regard, but more about that later.

Humanism is at the heart of Satan's plot for achieving the installment of his man, Antichrist, on that earthly throne. He will succeed in doing so for a very brief time. To accomplish this, economy is the ingredient within the human condition that must be brought into governance under Lucifer's authority in order to close the great schism that monetary chaos has produced and continues to perpetuate. The chasm must be breached--not in order to make life better for humanity, but to give Satan a system of buying and selling that will enslave ALL mankind.

“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:16-17).

To avoid any misunderstanding, I am not saying that the people and their obsession with pocketbook issues is a good thing in order to throw the proverbial monkey wrench into Satan's plans to rule on earth. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, the Bible tells us, and Americans are obsessed, probably more than any civilization that has ever existed, with money and the deadly materialism with which it infects this generation. Point is, economy--monetary intrigues--will power the engine of humanistic drive from this point forward, as never before. Anyone with any sensibility to look at what has been happening over the past months with regard to the economic dynamics shaping things in America and the world should be able to know that doing business has forever changed. The economy of the United States continues to be deliberately dismantled--and I believe it is being supernaturally accomplished--by forces determined to restructure the world for setting up the ten-kingdom governance prophesied for the time just before Christ's return to planet earth.

"And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast" (Revelation 17:12-13).

One world economic order

In considering the question of "How near might be the Rapture?" I view the rush toward one-world economy almost the equivalent in order of importance to Israel being front and center on the end-times stage. A flood of other end-times-type issues only slightly less consequential than those two mentioned rage through this generation. It is difficult to prioritize them for purposes of determining their order of importance in looking at how near might be Christ's call to the church as prophesied in 1 Corinthians 15:51-55 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. I believe, however, that one prophetic symptom of our day has developed that stands out as being almost equivalent to Israel and the drive for one-world economic order in pointing to the nearness of the Tribulation hour: The mesmerized church.

Church deluded

Despite the claims that the church--all blood-bought believers in Christ for salvation--is rising to meet the challenges of this troubled age, one is hard-pressed to document any such massive movement. It seems just the opposite. Anti-God movements are on the grow, aided and abetted by news and entertainment media. Rather than opposing things going on that run counter to God's Word, there has developed entertainment-oriented, mega-church organizations that do their best to emulate the world's glitz and glamour. They teach and preach a feel-good, do-good pabulum that surely makes the Lord of heaven want to wretch. As a matter of fact, God said it would be just this way as the time of Christ's return nears: "And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth" (Revelation 3:14-16).

Antichrist spirit pandemic

The Antichrist spirit is alive and infecting everything in todays world system. No big surprise, right? But the demonstrable fact that it is alive and well at this very moment within so-called Christian church organizations across America is a staggering reality to consider.

Here's what John the apostle, through divine inspiration, had to say two thousand years ago:

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (1 John 4:1–3)

End times church sickens God

The Laodicean church is symbolized as the church that will at the very end of the Church Age (Age of Grace) literally make the God of all creation sick at His stomach. The Lord describes through John that organization's true character, and why He is sickened: Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. (Revelation 3:17)

Jesus spoke to the very things that mark the Laodicean church in foretelling the end of the age. The prophecy is prominent—is, as a matter of fact, the very first characteristic Jesus lists in His Olivet Discourse for the time just before His return: And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the [age]? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:3-5)

Only one who denies that God's Word is truth can miss the importance of the Lord's words here. Jesus is speaking to the deception that will be tied up in false teachings and false prophesying at the time just before He returns. Please understand that I'm not meaning next that all large, even mega-churches, are evil. Some still adhere to Bible truth in their preaching and teaching. However, the "if-we-can't-beat-'em-we-will-join-'em" false religionists of recent years have expropriated the church’s personnel and presented a compromised message before the senses of the glitz-mad American public. The tactic has worked. The mega-church super-complexes under whose roofs the masses continue to swell mark this generation, almost certainly, as the Laodicean church. I believe these church entities are organizations or multiple level of organizations filled not with the Holy Spirit, but with the spirit of antichrist.

A primary tactic chosen by most of these organizations to draw the masses is to give people an entertainment spectacle every time they sit in the plush theater pews. Nothing wrong with being physically comfortable while sitting, but to be always spiritually comfortable sitting under preaching and teaching that should point to the more abundant life conviction of the Holy Spirit is devastating to the soul. The compromise is in the "Let's talk about it," feel-good, do-good message of "God loves you, and would never condemn you to a hell, which in any case, doesn't exist." God DOES love us—so much so that He sent His only Son, Jesus the Christ, to die as the once-and-for-all sacrifice for the sin in which we are otherwise lost forever.

The thesis-antithesis-synthesis psychobabble theologizing—“Let's talk about it" compromise—is proof that these organizations of religiosity deny that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation—to reconciliation with God the Father. They are of the Antichrist spirit. These believe they are indeed “rich, and increased with goods, and think they have need of nothing; and know not that they are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked,” in God's holy view.

True Church'es willful ignorance breaking God's Heart

Troubling as these unredeemed type of churches are in these fleeting days of this age, the overt, deliberate ignorance of things of God's prophetic Word in those true Christian churches who still adhere to Jesus as the only Way must be heart-wrenching to the Lord of heaven. Most Christians are without any understanding of the times in which we find ourselves.

To those who study the times in light of Bible prophecy, the seminaries, pastors, teachers, and Christians in the pews of America are observably, for the most part, happily ignorant of the astonishing fact that Israel is being put in the position of Zechariah 12:1-3—that the Jewish state is being forced toward a peace from which will come Antichrist and the Tribulation.

Christians by and large have no idea that the European Union is shaping to be the matrix out of which Antichrist will come, that the Russian/Iranian/Turkey/other nation alignment is configuring for the Gog-Magog war of Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39.

Today's church can't discern that powerful spiritual as well as geopolitical dynamics are forcing the economies of America and the world into a one-world mold that will eventuate in the ten-kingdom rearrangement of Revelation 17:12-13. They don't see that we are in the "perilous times" of Paul's forewarning in 2 Timothy, chapter 3. They don't understand that this nation and the world are filled with the spirit of Antichrist, and that God's judgment and wrath must be near.

As they go through their routines of life, Christians today are doing anything and everything except heeding the words of forewarning of our Lord: “And what I say unto one, I say unto all, watch" (Mark 13:37). He said also: "For when you see all these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your head, for your redemption draweth near" (Luke 21:28).

A Big Surprise coming!

Jesus said one thing more. He forewarned that a great many believers will be caught by surprise at the time of His return in the Rapture: "Be ye also ready, for in an hour ye think not, the Son of man cometh" (Matthew 24:44).

Seems to me we are in such a "think not" time at present.