The Worn Out Warning about the Rapture
Each time the tornado siren goes off in our town during our sometimes stormy springs, I or someone else within our home will wonder aloud: “Are they just playing with that thing again?” By that, whoever makes the statement means that it seems like every time there’s a rumble of thunder in a darkened sky during the tornado season, somebody pushes the siren button. Finally, the tornado hasn’t struck, so we lose the edgy angst of what might be going on just to our west/southwest, the direction from which most thunderstorms assault at that time of year. It’s like the little boy who cried “Wolf!” The big bad wolf hasn’t come to the door, so we settle into a more comfortable configuration, turning our thoughts and attention elsewhere.
There is an end-time storm approaching. It is almost upon this generation. We at Rapture Ready, and many others who man God’s last-time radar scope for prophetic warnings, have perhaps been pushing the siren buttons for so long now that we’ve about worn them out. But, the warnings about the rapture have been warranted. The thunder is boiling, and the lightning is crashing on the horizon. But, with each warning has come the turning from the sirens of alert to things as usual. The big bad wolf hasn’t come to the door yet. No need to worry.
The European Union (EU) is forming into what looks to be the reviving Roman Empire, like Daniel predicted; Russia, with Iran (ancient Persia) and other nations north of Jerusalem are linking in ways that might bring forth the Ezekiel 38 and 39 Gog-Magog coalition. China is making noises of becoming a superpower to rival America’s superpower status, looking to very likely become the lead nation of the kings of the east forces of Revelation chapters 9 and 16.
Israel is in constant turmoil, with the nations of the world—as seen in U.N. diplomatic activity—singling out the Jewish state as the one country on earth that is most a target of vilification. Records are set constantly for the most high-magnitude earthquakes; strongest hurricanes; most terrible floods and droughts; devastating famines and horrendous pestilences. Great space feats have become humdrum, as have sightings in the night skies of Unidentified Flying Objects and space bodies that might threaten Planet Earth. Every one of the apostle Paul’s “perilous times” end-time indicators are present today just within America. Even formerly strong Christian ministries have degenerated to fit the description, “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.”
All are exigencies that meet descriptions given to end-of-days geopolitical, geophysical, and socio-economic as well as religious signals foretold by Jesus and the prophets to be prevalent and on the increase while the time of Christ’s return draws near. Thinking on these things, we need go back no farther than September 11, 2001 to understand how the rapture warnings have become worn out before a world of earth-dwellers who just seem to roll on as if nothing worse can possibly touch them.
Many can remember where they were and what they were doing when they first heard the news that a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade towers in lower East Manhattan. But, surprisingly –unlike the time when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963—there are some who were full-grown adults on that fateful Tuesday who can’t clearly recall precisely what they were doing when the reports of the attacks on the first tower occurred.
Whatever the reason for that terrorist attack not stamping quite the same depth of imprint upon the memory, the fact that the event held potential for even more portentous danger to America than did the Kennedy assassination was, and remains, a reality. Call it desensitization, or numbing, or something other, but the 9/11 attack and the threats that have flowed into this generation since seem to have made everyone less easily drawn to alerts of the dangers they face.
So it is with Bible prophecy –eschatology—the things of the end time.
We who believe it is our commission by the Lord to be watchmen on the wall during these times are seeing signals that our warnings about prophetic times are wearing thin with this generation. The issues and events that almost certainly are precursor convulsions of the prophetic birth pangs given by Jesus and the prophets of the Bible for the time of the tribulation are evident in all directions today. Yet each birth pang-like contraction within geopolitics, geophysics, global socio-economics, or world-wide religion brings less reaction than did the preceding contractions.
Church pews were full the Sunday following Tuesday, September 11, 2001. I, myself, was asked to speak to the situation that particular Sunday, as to what the attacks on New York, Washington, D.C., and the foiled attack that ended with the deaths of the heroes in the field in Pennsylvania might mean prophetically.
The Barna Group, an organization that examines and presents statistics of importance, reported that church attendance was exponentially up the Sunday following the 9/11 assaults. The attendees then dropped off just about as quickly as they had streamed into the churches. It was back to business as usual within several weeks –possibly with even lower attendance than prior 9/11/01.
We at Rapture Ready were inundated with media attention for several years following the attacks and the beginning of the war on terror. Our mention in Time magazine brought millions of hits to the site and requests for interviews on world conditions as they might relate to Bible prophecy. Although many interviews were to prove to be attempts to put the pre-trib view of prophecy in the category of absurdity, there was a sense of a certain kind of apprehension by those doing the interviews in many cases. They wanted to pooh-pooh the whole Armageddon thing, but, after all, these terrorists did come from the place where that prophesied war is foretold to take place…
And, modern Israel, after all, did represent the nation the Bible says will be back in the Holy Land, surrounding the city of Jerusalem, at the time Armageddon is supposed to take place…
Better not get too far afield in pooh-poohing those who study and preach on the rapture and those end-of-days things, was the sense I got, while being interviewed from news teams and documentary crews from, literally, all around the world.
And, we who are the watchmen did, indeed, press the warning siren buttons—while examining, analyzing, dissecting the strange issues and events going on all around this generation, under the light of God’s prophetic Word.
A strange thing was happening, in my view. The world, and even local media, grew more and more interested in what was predicted in the Bible to happen while the end of the world grew near. All the while, the churches, the pastors, the people in the pews of fundamentalist, evangelical churches—not to mention the seminaries out of which the pastors and leaders come—grew less and less interested in Bible prophecy yet future. Instead, these turned more inward than ever, and seemed to be bent on replacing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a gospel of entertainment and feel-good motivation sessions. And, church growth exploded into mega-churches with glitz and glamour befitting a Las Vegas hotel.
Seems the words of warning from God’s end times siren had about worn out the itching ears of what had been even the most evangelical, Bible-centered local church bodies of the not-too-distant past. The trend has not abated. We see church leaders of the mega-churches kneeling and praying with Muslim clerics. The ministers are praying not that the Islamic will come to Christ, but that their people and Christian people will come to common ground of understanding. That we will all be accepting that we are all God’s children.
And, all the while, the father of lies smiles wickedly. He sneers a hiss of approval, watching the “love fest” he is orchestrating, while he gleefully causes the luciferically-desensitized ears of his willing victims to become deaf to the warning: “The rapture is going to happen! The tribulation is approaching! Christ is coming!”
— Terry James