– A primer for beginners/A reminder for waverers –
(with editing help from a sister in Christ, Lynda Janzen)
LEADING TO THE LAST DAY ARE TWO SHATTERING EVENTS:
1: Prelude: (The Rapture)
Jesus, having spared His true Church of believers from the ‘wrath to come,’ that is, the Tribulation, has suddenly snatched His Church away. And with the true Church of believers now removed as promised, the restraining work of the Holy Spirit is finished. It was the work of this Great Counselor to delay the emergence of Anti-Christ until the Church was safely taken.
The ‘true’ Church is not one of the existing denominations known as ‘church.’ The ‘true’ Church consists of believers who, at this time, have given themselves to Jesus in the personal brokenness of contrite repentance. With our previous denial of God forgiven, we are then become ‘one with God.’
Please note that this is not yet the time set for the ‘Second Coming’ of Jesus as King of Kings and Judge of the Nations. This is a separate and distinct call to the ‘sheep of His pasture.’ Jesus calls the ‘true’ Church from the clouds that have assembled to mark his presence. A mighty trumpet blast will herald the call to His Church, yet only we, both the dead in Christ Jesus and those living in Christ, will hear the trumpet and His call to them to ‘come up here!’
Dead or alive in the flesh, we have earned admittance to the wedding feast, and Jesus, the ‘bridegroom’, comes for us.
KNOWING THE HOUR:
Matthew 25: The Parable of the Ten Virgins
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you; I don’t know you.’
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
HOW DOES SCRIPTURE DESCRIBE THE ‘SNATCHING AWAY’?
1 Corinthians 15:51-55 “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written:
‘Death is swallowed up in victory.
O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?'”
Risen to meet him in the clouds, we who chose the atoning grace offered by Jesus are now transcended/translated to the same state as was Jesus when he rose from death, assuming a glorified body. This is the mystery that 1 Cor. 15:51-55 describes so accurately.
This event takes place immediately before the years of the Tribulation commence in earnest. And everyone who studies eschatology, the study of the Last Days, believes that all the scripturally relevant signs spoken of are now in place.
Again, I emphasize that Jesus does not descend to Earth at this time. The Rapture is not the time of His Second Coming.
WITH THE CHURCH TRIUMPHANT GONE:
Hereafter, to seek and repent in Christ will be a trial of tears and unfolding horrors. The full weight of Satan, through Anti-Christ and his minions, is to be fully directed upon any new followers of Christ who emerge following this truly amazing event.
Among those ‘Left Behind’ will be many who may have identified themselves as Christians but who had not truly committed to Jesus. These will include people who may have grown up attending church every Sunday but who never received Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. There will be some who, having been baptized as babies, figure there is nothing else they need to do to be a ‘good Christian.’ Some will have been raised in good Christian homes but never truly got themselves ‘right with God’ by repenting of their sin and asking for Salvation in Christ.
2: The ‘World’ Begins to Pass (The Second Coming of Jesus)
All people, who have so far survived and remain on Earth, will bear witness to the return of Jesus in His Second Coming. Not a living soul will be able to avoid seeing Him. Even those in their graves will hear His voice. And His Second Coming will herald the passing of this world of depravity and soullessness.
John 5:28-29 “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.”
Note: Both believers and evildoers are resurrected for either reward or sentence.
RESURRECTION FOR DENIERS:
– Resurrected are those who died in denial of God.
– Resurrected are those remaining in the flesh. They will rise with their denial of God confirmed.
RESURRECTION FOR THOSE WHO COME TO CHRIST DURING THE TRIBULATION:
– Resurrected are the many who have suffered unto death, many by beheading. Their ‘crime?’ Refusal to accept the ‘mark of the beast’ in order to interact in the New World Order ruled by Anti-Christ. They have paid for their refusal with their very lives.
– Resurrected will be the many who, suffering intense persecution, still remain living in the flesh at the time of the Second Coming of Jesus.
The purpose of the total resurrection of ALL mankind is in order that judgment of our souls may be completed. All of us are transformed/translated within the process of resurrection itself.
This is a literal truth. It means ALL of us stand before God, either for reconciliation (reward) or condemnation, sentenced for denial of God. Those of us belonging to God are home at last. For those whose lives were lived in denial, sentence is passed, and they enter the Second Death of eternal damnation, torment and suffering forever.
Friends, nothing makes a person automatically right with God. Only your personal confession of repentance as you call upon the atoning grace of Jesus to save you, and your joyous sharing of that with at least one other person, will bring you home with ‘His’ Church.
When the call, ‘come up here,‘ heralded by the trumpet blast heard only by the true Church, is sounded, many will simply NOT be ready. The tapestry of their lives has remained tainted by their reluctance to end true denial in the repentance of their sin/s. And the question is, ‘Did they call upon the atoning grace of Jesus, the Christ of the Living God, to save them from their respective lives of sin?’
If they had, there would be at least one other person who, in witness, heard their freely confessed testimony. For this was the litmus test of faith. And those who were not sufficiently confident to make it ‘have simply not claimed Jesus as Lord and Savior.’
Romans 10:9-10 “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
In some religions, prayers are said over the newly dead ‘to usher them into glory.’ Too late! The beseeching had to come from within the person while life was in their flesh, not be entreated over a corpse by an intermediary.
-When you truly sought the grace of Jesus Christ, you ‘signed’ and completed a spiritual contract.
-You acknowledged it before at least one other witness.
-You know it, the witness knows it,
-and the Holy Spirit, in the name of Jesus, knows and acknowledges it before the Throne of the Living God.
None of us can lie about this. To do so is denial in the extreme.
THE IMPACT OF THE RAPTURE: (Snatching Away)
The Rapture will be a world-shaking event. Millions of us will disappear, and no one will know where we’ve gone. News media will spin stories fed to them by the governments of the world to calm those left and to minimize panic. These stories will be just that: made-up tales.
Disregarding the world’s version of what happened to the elect of God who were snatched away, many will now have had their eyes opened at last. Sadly, it will be too late to have joined the ‘rapturous’ removal of the faithful. It is these unfortunates, their eyes hitherto ‘wide closed,‘ who will at last awaken as they realize the truth. The truth will set them spiritually free as they commit to Jesus, but the personal cost is to be high. May God help them!
From the moment they truly confirm their faith in God through Jesus (in front of ‘others’), they will suffer terribly. Siblings will give up their parents, wives their husbands; the family unit will be torn apart. Such is to be the world of Anti-Christ.
Satan, through his Anti-Christ, will more than likely claim, ‘aliens wafted them away.’ This will, I believe, be greatly aided by the appearance of re-emerged demonic entities, some in human form.
This is not the first time that true believers of God have suffered dreadfully for their newfound faith in Jesus. I am reminded of the fate of those devout Jews who suffered similarly for their belief in God and the preservation of their right to worship Him as set down in their Torah. The Seleucid Alexandrian king emperors, filial descendants of Alexander the Great, had seized and attempted to rule the Holy Land. A virtual succession of their kings inflicted terrible punishment on the Jews. They forbade them their Torah, and they made it an offense against their kings for the Jews to call upon God.
Attempts were made to force them to eat the forbidden foods, particularly swine. The Temple dedicated to God was desecrated, and abominations in the form of Greek and other pagan idols were placed inside.
Monies collected for the care of the poor and upkeep of the Temple were seized for the king’s treasury. Finally, there occurred a series of the most horrific public executions with the intention being to wipe out every living trace of Jewish/Hebraic existence.
From the account written in II Maccabees 7:22
In one particularly vile incident, the King-Emperor, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, in a public display, put the aged and highly revered High Priest Elazar to the test and told him he would be saved if he would order the cessation of Jewish worship and publicly eat pork. He refused and was put to the torture and the flame. As Elazar would not recant, he died.
Then Hannah, a devout mother, and her equally devout seven sons, were subjected to ritual torture and, finally, death. These seven brothers were arrested with their mother during the same purge that claimed Elazar. They were then horribly tortured by the king to force them to taste of the unlawful swine’s meat. One of the seven young men made himself their advocate and said, “What do you expect to ask and learn from us? For we are ready to die, rather than transgress the laws of our ancestors.”
The king was infuriated and gave orders for the awful tortures to continue. And when the young man was utterly crippled unto death, and at his last gasp, he said, “You wretch, you release us from this present life, but the King of the world will raise us up, because we have died for His laws, to an everlasting renewal of life.”
Their mother saw her seven sons perish within a single day, and she bore it with good courage because of her hope in the Lord. And then, when the youngest son paid no attention to him, the king called the mother to him and urged her to advise the boy to save himself. After he had labored with her a long time, she undertook to persuade her son. She bent over him, and mocking the cruel tyrant, she spoke thus in the language of her ancestors:
“My son, have pity on me, who carried you nine months in the womb, and nursed you for three years, and brought you up and brought you to your present age, and supported you. I beseech you, my child, to look up at the heaven and the earth, and see all that is in them, and perceive that God did not make them out of the things that existed, and in that way the human race came into existence. Do not be afraid of this butcher, but show yourself worthy of your brothers, and accept death, so that by God’s mercy I may get you back again with your brothers.”
Before she could finish, the young man said to his torturers, “What are you waiting for? I will not obey the command of the king, but I obey the command of the Law that was given to our ancestors through Moses…. I, like my brothers, give up body and soul for the laws of my ancestors, calling upon God speedily to show mercy to our nation, and to lead you to confess, in trials and plagues, that he alone is God, and to stay through me and my brothers the wrath of the Almighty, which has justly fallen on our whole nation.”
So the boy passed away unpolluted, trusting firmly in the Lord. Last of all, the mother met her end, after her sons. None recanted. None ate the forbidden foods offered. None accepted the promise of the king to grant them immediate release and high status within the empire if only they would acknowledge him and his allegedly ‘divine’ right to insist that all nations within his empire would follow Greek custom, speak the language, and worship Greek gods.
Dearest reader, do you for one moment imagine that the wrath of tribulation and the suffering now being prepared for those who come to Christ after the ‘snatching away’ will be any less terrible?
Think upon our dear brothers and sisters in Nigeria who now suffer so dreadfully for Jesus. They are murdered by Islamist raiders, and the women and children are seized and sold into the Middle East slave trade.
Hear the cries and the voices of the Martyrs: they cry not only for themselves but for those of this passing world as it prepares to enter tribulation.
Both the pre-tribulation and the tribulation ‘saints’ will be resurrected from the grave, their sins forgiven. Thanks be to Almighty God to Whom belongs the glory. Long has been His forbearance and the stay of execution in judgment. His love and mercy are reserved for the faithful, given Him.
For those that have denied and hated God down through the age of fallen man, only justice and righteousness, His personal prerogative, remains to be completed.
THE LAST DAY:
And this, ‘the last day,‘ is therefore, the reckoning day for the unfaithful deniers of God throughout the ages of fallen man. Among them are those who had scorned God both before the advent of Jesus and following his ascension to Heaven to sit at the right hand of God, ‘from whence He now comes to judge the quick and the dead.’
The ‘raptured’ church, which will have been previously removed or snatched away to spare them the awful tribulation wrath, will have already appeared before God to receive ‘their crowns of glory.’ These crowns, as we understand it, are symbolic of the rewards they will receive for the works rendered in Jesus’ name after they had been saved by his atoning grace. These ‘works’ did NOT gain them entry to Heaven; only their broken and repentant hearts and faith in God through the atoning grace of his Son did that.
WHERE IS THE RAPTURED (snatched away) CHURCH?
Among many, I believe that, following our ascension, we will be prepared to serve the King of Kings as ‘warriors of the host’ that will accompany the Second Coming of Jesus as He confronts the nations in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, outside the city of Jerusalem.
Scripture tells us that at this time, ‘Jesus pleads with the invading nations that have come to destroy, annihilate and take spoil and treasure.’ Upon their refusal to give up their invasion, the mighty battle which takes place will see the host of God accompanying Jesus play a significant part.
THE UTTER DESOLATION OF THOSE WHO STAND CONDEMNED BEFORE GOD:
Contemplate in your mind’s eye, ‘the thought of standing before the God you rejected when you rejected the grace He offered you through his Son, then hearing sentence passed.’ No glory, no crowns, and no gift of eternal life in a Heaven, whose magnificence is beyond all comprehension. ALL of that,’ prior to your death in the flesh,’ had been freely offered in gift toward you. Yet, still, you refused!
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CROSS OF CHRIST JESUS:
One pure sacrifice of one perfect human being — the God-man, Jesus Messiah.
He is the Christ King, Who made of Himself a redemptive offering for the sins of all who would acknowledge Him and the grace He offered, as they now stand before the Throne of the Eternal God. For, if you refuse the gift, dear children, what is left?
All that remains is the legacy of your personal depravity that now testifies to the wasted years of your life as you, having died and then been resurrected, stand to hear sentence passed.
THE CHILDREN OF SATAN:
There are those currently living on this earth who laud Satan as their chosen lord and master. As Satan himself is to be cast to damnation, so also are those who chose him and hated God in Satan’s name.
‘Enter now into the pit, O thou cast out ones!’ Enter thou eternal separation from God into the darkness of eternal ‘death.’
This, the ‘Second Death,’ is a death in which there is no final oblivion. It is death everlasting and of eternal torment. It is biblically attested as a place of everlasting pain, everlasting realization, with no end to the suffering of those so condemned.
We cannot contemplate it, but we accept the Bible’s description. And Scripture teaches that there is no way in which you may now reach out to God or beseech his mercy.
One more thing I offer.
By the perfect oblation of his sacrifice upon the Cross, Jesus defeated eternal death. Most significant to that victory, Jesus has won God’s steadfast promise of life everlasting for those of us who have ended our denial of God in full repentance of our sinful lives. We who claim Jesus and His atoning grace believe that Scripture instructs that we are shortly to be raised to share in Christ’s victory, though we did not suffer His Cross.
His Cross, His pain, His torment suffices for us. When we of repent our sins in His name, His victory, complete, becomes ours.
While we remain on this ‘mortal coil’ for just a little longer, we continue to lift our personal cross and walk on amidst trial and hardship. And when you think you are doing it tough, remember my recount of Elazar the High Priest and Hannah who witnessed before her own death that which befell her seven sons.
THE LAST DAY FOR THE CHILDREN OF SATAN:
They are to enter then the eternal death known as ‘damnation.’
But, for those who claim Jesus, for even though the hour be late, it is never too late while you draw breath. Hold Fast!
Maranatha – Come, Lord, come!
To be continued in Part V: The Accomplishments of Jesus