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"About the Rapture"

I want you to turn in your Bibles today to Psalm 118 verse 8. Now I've been told by people much wiser than I, that this verse is is in the exact center of the bible. I have no reason to doubt that this is true but what amazes me, is the message conveyed in this the "very center of the God's word". I'll be preaching from the NKJ version and It says: "It is better to trust in the Lord Than to put confidence in man." Now that sounds like pretty good advice doesn't it?? So, what if I told you that there are people (men) out there in the world tonight LYING to you, would you believe it?? Sure you would!!

We see beer & booze companies do it everyday in their advertising don't we?? Diet product ads, nearly every "self help" book ever marketed, and the so called "psychics" who claim that they can improve every aspect of your life including your love life, how 'bout EVERY "get rich" scheme known to mankind. All of these LIE to get you to buy their products, goods, or services. Mankind is sooo gullible, they will fall for just about anything,ONCE !!!! Well ok, maybe a bunch of times. So let me ask you, is this YOU today?? Are you buying into someone's lie today?? Odds are very good that you are, and depending on what lie it is that you are buying, that lie can not only kill your body, but perhaps even be kill your soul and your right to eternity in heaven. Do you believe that?? You should!! Let's pray :

We've seen throughout history that what man believes may not always be true, amen?? There was a time when everyone believed the world was flat. There was a time when everyone believed that man would NEVER fly. People believed that The Empire of Rome would stand forever, that the third reich of Nazi Germany would last 1,000 years, etc. These and countless statements like them were not outright lies, they were beliefs, that proved to be wrong. Time and again mankind has had to adapt their beliefs to new found truths. It is my sincere prayer that we can discover some truth here tonight.

We hear alot of talk these days about the Rapture of the Church, Jesus's sudden "secret" return, to remove His saints from the earth. You've heard of this haven't you ?? It seems that most main stream denominations teach this don't they?? Well, when it comes to this subject of "the rapture" who can we believe?? There are three main views on this "alleged" event, known as Pre Trib, Mid Trib, Post Trib. Which one is true ?? HOW, when it comes to Almighty God's word can there be such confusion on such a vitally important event?? If we study God's word on the subject, we find that there isn't any, someone appears to be LYING church. "Now hold on preacher, men of God lying???" No beloved , wolves in sheep's clothing trying to DESTROY you and me, OR well meaning folks who will also perish with those they are unwittingly lying to, because they too BELIEVE an apparent lie. Now, before you break out the wood and torches to burn me at the stake, hear me out, ok?? Good !!

"Establishing Absolutes"

Before we delve into these opposing views let's establish some absolutes shall we?? These are things that we all SHOULD be able to agree upon ok?? #1. God's word is TRUE, yes?? (Rom. 3:3&4) #2. That God's word is GREATER than man's word. Yes?? (I John 5:7-11) #3. That God's word is NOT "MYSTERIOUS" it IS straightforward. Yes?? (II Pet. 1:19-21) #4. That God and Jesus NEVER CHANGE. Yes?? (Heb. 1:10-12 and Heb. 13:8). If we can agree on these absolutes, our efforts to reveal the truth concerning "the rapture" will become so much easier. What is hard, is putting away pre-conceived notions and things we have been taught by those we've come to respect and trust. So PLEASE bear with me awhile, and open your hearts and spiritual ears, as well as your minds.

We KNOW that God's word is true, don't we?? Then it MUST stand to reason that God's Word is greater (more trustworthy) than man's word RIGHT?? Well then, if God's Word is more trustworthy, and it is not mysterious but STRAIGHTFORWARD, then why do we need MEN to interpert what God's word is trying to tell us??? God and His Son Jesus NEVER CHANGE right?? Therefore the message and its methods should remain the same shouldn't they??? Then can someone, tell me why the "modern day church" has CHANGED the message ??? What's this apparent "NEW AGENDA" about??? REDEMPTION is in the works of Christ Jesus on Calvary's Cross, NOT-- I SAY, NOT in a "secret sudden rapture" of His Church. Ask yourselves, NOT if you are ready to go in "the rapture", BUT are you PREPARED to die at the hands of the "antichrist??" Why?? Because that is what is plainly stated throughout the scriptures, and if you don't believe that can happen, then you don't believe in the 4 absolutes we established at the beginning of this discourse, and therefore you are in danger of calling Almighty God and His Son Jesus Christ LIARS.

No church, you can't have it both ways, either God's word is true or God is wrong and man's word is true. It is my sincere prayer that by the end of this message you change your mind, IF your are believing in man's word. SALVATION is the promise of an eternal home with Jesus, after the events of this world play out, NOT an "escape pod" to heaven, unscathed. According to Acts 10:34 God is no respecter of persons, millions have died "in the name of Jesus." Look at the world today and tell me, what could possibly make US think we are so special as to ecscape a similar Christian fate??? Jesus Himself told us that we aren't any more special than the early saints, and "CLEARLY" warned us of what was to come.....If you had been studying your bible, instead of trusting somone else's beliefs, you would have realized this, and would quite possibly be living your lives quite differently.

"So We Begin"

There are but a smattering of verses sprinkled here and there throughout the scriptures that Pre and Mid tribulation rapture theory buffs love to quote, to espouse their "beliefs." I Cor. 15:51 & 52 are a couple (but they never bother to explain the significance of the "last trumpet" why?? Because the TIMING of the "alleged" event is wrong. ) Rev. 4:1&2 are a couple more, but this isn't the last trumpet, now is it? They twist this verse so that it appears to be a trumpet, but it's clearly a voice that John hears, NOT an actual trumpet. So these verses in no way support the verses in I cor. 15:51,52. Also, you will note John is transported to heaven "in the spirit" a much different event than our being PHYSICALLY "caught up" when Jesus returns. No my friends as much as they may want these verses to be PROOF of "the rapture" they aren't. Then there's the ever popular, I Thess. 4:16& 17. (but if you look at vs. 15 it talks about those who are alive until "THE COMING OF THE LORD".) Now I believe that this would be His 2nd. Coming, not some secret Pre trib Rapture event, and we will prove this in just a moment.

"What Does the Aposlte Paul Say?"

God entrusted the apostle Paul to write about 70% of the N.T. so it stands to reason that he might have had something to say about "a catching away of the saints" ("the rapture") and he did. Turn to I Cor. 15:20-24 (notice vs. 23 says "those who are Christ's AT HIS COMING." ) Now hold on here, if the body of Christ has been raptured, how can there be members of the body still here at His second coming?? You can't have it both ways, we are either ALL gone or still here. When does this 2nd. coming occur?? vs. 24 says "then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the father." I Cor. 15:51-58 speaks of death being "swallowed up in victory". If you go back to vs 26 you find the "last enemy" to be defeated is "death" and when is it defeated?? At the end, when we are "caught up" with Jesus and put on incorruption and immortality (the first phrases in vs. 54) How can this be a Pre-tribulation event?? So one might ask, "aren't people going to die during the tribulation period"?? Of course they are !! They just aren't going to be "caught up" before hand. Verse 58 encourages us to "be steadfast, IMMOVABLE, always abounding in the work of the Lord....." Why would we need encouragement to be steadfast and immovable in our work for God, if we are safely raptured up to heaven and NOT going to experience real persecution, trials and death as described during the tribulation???

BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE !!!!

Read I Thess. 4:13-18 concerning the dead in Christ. Vs. 15 qualifies the timing of the event with "the coming of the Lord" not a pre tribulation event. Vs. 16 speaks about the "voice of an archangel" and with the trumpet of God," not a VOICE that SOUNDS like a trumpet, there are two distinct sounds here announcing this event. And finally, Vs. 18 says "to comfort each other with these words" why?? Perhaps we are going to be in need of comforting words?? If we DO face the tribulation, we are going to need all of the comforting words we can get to remain steadfast, and continue to do the work of God, under extremely difficult circumstances. Pastors, are you preparing your flocks ??? According to God's word you SHOULD be.

I Thess. 5:9 "For God did not appoint us to wrath (whose wrath? GOD'S) but to obtain "salvation" through our Lord Jesus Christ." Remember: God does not change, from Jesus and the apostles, on down thoughout history, the saints of God have suffered ...."as sheep for the slaughter." (Rom. 8:35 & 36) I'll say it again, our SALVATION is the promise of an eternal home with Jesus, why?? Because we asked Him to forgive us our sins, NOT that we will be saved from some horrible event, (tribulation) resulting in our eventual deaths. Millions of Christians have died at the hands of evil men, like Nero, or Hitler, Stalin or Mao. 7 million Christians as well as the 6 million Jews were killed by Hitler. 20 million died at the hands of Stalin and at least that many at the hands of Mao, and many other "forms of antichrist". Read Fox's Book of Martyrs, to get the idea. Study the main characters of the Bible. Was Job raptured out of his tribulation and trouble?? NO!! Was Joseph raptured out of the pit or prison?? NO!! Was Noah raptured out of the flood?? NO!! Was King David raptured out his tribulations?? NO!! Did God rapture the children of Israel before He poured out the 10 plagues upon Egypt?? NO!! Were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego raptured out of the firey furnace. NO!! Was Jesus or any of His apostles raptured out of their persecutions, trials, and eventual deaths?? NO!! Was Paul raptured out of his triblations and eventual death. NO!! Then can someone tell me WHY most modern theologians insist that we, who are living in the end times, have some "special favor" with God that exempts us from persecution and or death at the hands of evil men. Clearly we do NOT. Ask yourselves why this apparent deception??? I believe it is a craftily constructed lie to take as many souls to hell as possible, pure and simple!! There's more !!!

"God The Same Yesterday Today & Forever"

I Pet.4:12-14 basically says that we will suffer as Christ has suffered, and we should find joy in our suffering. Please note that this suffering is at the hands of "man" not from God. Time and time again throughout history we've seen "man's cruelty to man," often times "in the name of religion." Throughout history God has remained unchanged and allowed this cruelty to befall His children, but a whole lot of "men of God" today will try and tell you that SUDDENLY, without explanation God WILL CHANGE His behavior in dealing with mankind. I believe this is giving millions of us a false hope in an imaginary rescue from the antichrist's reign of terror. Ask yourselves what will MILLIONS of believers do, when they realize they've pinned their hopes on a MYTH and not on the protection found in God Almighty Himself, a great falling away perhaps ??? Would you prepare your heart and mind differently if you knew you were going into the battle and not ecscaping the fight??? Of course you would !!! It's not too late.

Well, Paul continues in II Thess. 2:1-5 in vs. 2 Paul says don't be troubled by "spirit" word, or letter AS IF FROM US as though The Day of Christ had come. (really?? folks in the early church tried to deceive others ??) VS. 3 and here's the clincher folks. "Let no one deceive you by ANY means for that day (what day?) will NOT come UNLESS the falling away comes first, and the MAN of SIN is revealed, the son of perdition." VS. 4 "who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God."

PLEASE NOTE : All you people who say "everything's ready for the rapture to take place" READ THESE SCRIPTURES CAREFULLY. Are you deceived by some foul spirit, OR are you purposely teaching a false doctrine that has NO BASIS in truth. Two key things to demonstrate my point. What does verse one SAY ?? What does verse 2 SAY?? And finally what do verses 3 & 4 SAY?? Ok,here we go, Verse 1 clearly is speaking of a gathering of saints together to be with Jesus. Verse 2 clearly states that this event hasn't happened yet, and (for the clincher) verses 3 & 4 clearly state that this event will NOT happen UNTIL "a falling away comes first, and "that man of sin the son of perdition is revealed, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God , showing himself that he is God." First, vs. 1 cannot be the Pre-Trib rapture, but it CAN be the "Day of The Lord" or the Last Day, WHY?? Because, Paul is warning us not to be concerned, not to be deceived, we won't be caught up until the "son of perdition" is revealed. Score one for the Mid-Trib folks. Verse 4 clearly shows us, that all of you "men of God" who preach that our redemption "draweth nigh" totally disregard these scriptures. Not only will the antichrist come to power, at some point he will sit in "the temple of God" (which has yet to be rebuilt) and we will witness him proclaiming himself to be God. The Pre-trib "theory" is starting to look a little foolish now isn't it?? But there is more !!!

"What does Peter Have to Say?"

II Peter 3:10-18 Peter says that "the day of the Lord" will come as a thief in the night." Now don't be confused here, Peter is NOT saying this will be some secret event, he is saying it will come at a time when we do not expect it. (When?) Look at vs 10. it says: "both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up" sounds pretty much like the "last day" or "the end" and it IS called "the day of the Lord." VSs. 13-15 Speaks of the promise of a new heaven and earth obtained through our salvation, as Paul also taught. Then in VS. 16 when discussing Paul's agreement on these issues Peter states that sometimes Paul's writings are a bit hard to understand, so those that are untaught or UNSTABLE twist these teachings to their own destruction. (Pre-trib Rapture--- perhaps ??) Pay great attention to vs. 17 as it is a caution to us: "to remain STEADFAST and not be led away with the "error" of the wicked." Well beloved, if we are here to the end, that pretty much blows Mid Trib out of the water too doesn't it???

Peter is exhorting us to do God's work right up until the end, WHENEVER that end comes. Now let's ask ourselves a VERY important question?? Pastors the world over are proclaiming that Jesus is going to return "ANY DAY NOW" "ALL THE SIGNS ARE IN PLACE" "IT CAN HAPPEN ANY MINUTE." Beloved, this is what "man" is saying. They expect Jesus at any moment, but God's word says in Matt.24:44 "Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do NOT expect Him." Jesus Himself is saying that at a time that you do NOT expect Him, He will return. Ask yourself who is deceived here, is it the leaders of the modern day church, or is it Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior??

Is this you tonight?? Are you being deceived?? Next week we will delve even deeper into God's word about this so called "Rapture." But what about your soul tonight ?? If you stepped into eternity tonight would you enter the Glory of Heaven or the Torment of Hell. ?? Have you truly asked Jesus to save you from your sins and settle your eternity once and for all. You can you know, right here right now, you can bow your head and pray with me the sinner's prayer and make sure that Jesus is your Lord & Savior, will you commit to Him tonight??

Prayer for forgiveness: Let's Pray: "Jesus, I believe that you died for my sins, and that God raised you from the dead I'm sorry Lord that I have sin in my life. I turn away from my old life, and choose to follow you as my Savior and Lord. Create in me a new heart, living for you today and for the rest of my life. Thank you Lord for all you have done. In Jesus name amen.

Copyright 2010 Steve Burch. All Rights Reserved.

"About the Rapture Part II"

Last week we began laying the groundwork to discover God's truth regarding the question of the "Rapture." You will recall, that we established four absolutes that would aid us in seeking the truth. You will recall that every scripture we studied, used by Pre-Trib believers, was found to contain invalid proof of their position. We studied scriptures allegedly written by Paul. We studied scriptures written by the Apostle Peter. And all of them seem to contradict the modern day church's teaching of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture. Tonight we will conclude our study.

Let's pray..........

Let's start with the apostle John and how he weighs in on our subject. Let's look at John 17:14-21----- Jesus prays for "all believers" that God would deal with them just as He does Jesus and His apostles. Pay particular attention to vs. 15, He SPECIFICALLY says "I do not pray that you should take them OUT OF THE WORLD, but that you should keep them from the evil one." If this is a prayer for ALL believers, wouldn't that apply to us as well?? Remember, the Lord does not change. John also reports Jesus as saying in John 6:39 & 40 that Jesus will raise up ALL the Father has given Him at the "last day." VS. 40 He repeats the fact that all who believe in Him He will raise up "at the last day." Now beloved YOU may be planning to be caught up ahead of God's schedule, but Jesus says He will raise "everyone who believes in Him" up AT THE LAST DAY."

So let me ask you, do ya think that this "last day" reference, and "the coming of the Lord" and "the day of the Lord" could ALL possibly be the same day??? Is it possible that on the day that the Lord comes down from heaven with a shout, and the sound of the "last trumpet" (I Cor. 15;52) that THIS is His 2nd. coming?? Doesn't sound too secretive either does it?? On the contrary, this is an event that the whole world will witness, with a heavenly shout, the sound of a trumpet, and apparently a good deal of fanfare. No beloved There WILL BE NO MYSTERY, as to what has happened. The King of Kings has returned !!! WE ARE STILL NOT THROUGH!!!

"How We Got Here"

Now I realize that learned men throughout the centuries have embraced a "secret catching away" (ie. rapture) from about the 16th. century on, the likes of Immanuel Lacunza, and Francisco Ribera espoused a Pre-trib rapture. Most of these early theologians were Catholic (not a real trusting group to base your eternity on, as they clearly had their own agendas). Yet even before THESE "detractors from scripture" you had the likes of Ephraem of Nisibis (306-373AD) who may have been the first to espouse the Pre-trib theory. However, things really started moving in the1800's when Edward Irving translated Lacunza's book. J.N. Darby then ran with the idea, eventually teaching Cyrus Scofield (one of his students) this theory. Scofield then produced a series of notes on the topic, eventually incorporating the teaching into the ever popular Scofield Bible. The rest as they say is history. Today you have the likes of Hal Lindsey and Dr. John F. Walvoord (1910-2002) Tim La Haye and some others still carrying the torch.

Well I'm sorry, as impressive as they all may seem, I am not impressed, especially when MY studies over the last 20+ yrs. lead me to a different conclusion. WHY??? Because I have simply chosen to believe that the Word of God TRUMPS the "words" of man. Rom. 3:4 (a) "let God be true, but every man a liar." With all due respect, these men are taking bits and pieces of scripture and twisting them to mean what they "want" them to mean. Whenever I hear a "supposed" man of God attempt to teach this Pre-trib rapture subject, he "cherry picks" a few scriptures and weaves his magic with the same bravado, "if it isn't in the Bible, you won't hear ME teach it." Yet the scriptures are very clear, that this "secret catching away" (the rapture) is really nowhere to be found, UNTIL we are very publicly "caught up" on the "last day."

Ok,I realize to a "congregation of sheep" too mesmerized to study for themselves, bravado like that sounds like (pardon the pun) the gospel truth. Never mind about God's warning about "false prophets" in (Jer. 23:16) ....If Brother so & so said it, then it MUST be true. You cannot believe how many times I heard those exact words. Well again I'm sorry, but I truly believe that multiple millions of well meaning Christians are gonna face the flames of Hell because they placed their eternal souls in the hands of brother so an so and false prophets. Are you one of them?? Ask yourselves, how can you remain steadfast until the end, if you haven't been prepared to do so?? Are you being equipped for battle in "the last days", or for the ultimate "get away" vacation?? Jesus said tribulation is coming, are you preparing yourselves to go through it??? Pastors, are you DECEIVED, or are you a part of the deception???

By now you are no doubt asking yourselves, who is this guy?? I am a nobody. I have no formal theological training, only attended a semester of Bible College, where I quickly learned that what I wanted wasn't what God wanted for me, so I left school. I was taught the Pre-tribulation Rapture theory, but from the very beginning I felt a stirring in my soul, that told me something was wrong. So, very much like my quest (as a sinner) to prove the Salvation Message was a "fairy tale" concocted for weak willed cry babies, which "ultimately" led me to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord & Savior on Feb. 10th, 1980, I pursued God's word with the same vengeance to prove that "once again" my gut was wrong. I failed !!!! Everytime I tried to prove Pre-trib, I came away convinced more than ever that "we aren't leaving until God is ready to pour out HIS wrath upon the earth." That's what the word says and I believe it.

So I guess I'm Pre-Wrath in my beliefs. Why ??? Because that is EXACTLY what God's word says. Jesus died for my sins and through His act, I can be forgiven my sins and can enjoy eternal life with Jesus and the Father. If that is true, AND IT IS, then why would I REJECT His teachings on the subject of His second coming. The answer is of course, that I wouldn't, nor would anyone else who knew the scriptures at least as well as I do. As I said, I'm no biblical scholar, I just trust Jesus over mankind. It would appear to me that there are millions of others trusting in something else, I find myself asking why??? Nowhere is it written in MY Bible that Jesus returns BEFORE the tribulation and then AGAIN after !!!

"What Does Jesus Say?"

Please turn with me to Matt.24 As I said before I am a nobody, I am not a clever theologian, a world renowned evangelist, or even a biblical scholar, I am a 59 yr. old believer in Jesus Christ nothing more. But I believe in God's word more than any of man's, and I believe that when Jesus spoke about a subject we should believe what He said, and not try to put "our spin" on it. So let's study what the Lord has to say about the signs of His coming, and the end of the age, and when will all these things be?? Those were the three very important questions asked by His diciples there on the Mount of Olives. Jesus answered them plainly, directly, not in parables, and so we begin. Vs. 4 of Matt. 24 (reading from the NKJV) Vs. 4 "And Jesus answered and said to them: " Take heed that no one deceives you." I find it absolutey amazing that the first words out of His mouth were a warning that we should see to it that no one deceives us concerning these answers. I find it equally amazing that this is EXACTLY what appears to be going on in almost the ENTIRE modern church today. Deception in the last days ?? It appears so. Vs. 5 " "For many will come in my name, saying I am the Christ, and will deceive many." Are people being deceived by false prophets today?? Of course they are, I believe this type of deception grows everyday. Look at how many folks have turned away from God when the man they "beleved in" fell from grace. And yes you do have the likes of Jim Jones, and David Koresh and many others, who have claimed to be God. Vs. 6 "And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet." Clearly since the 20th. century this seems to be the case. There was The Great War WWI, then came WW II, The Korean War, then Vietnam, the first Gulf War, now the War on Terror. There are something like 44 "wars" going on RIGHT NOW, here on earth. It truly does appear that Jesus will return any moment, but I would submit to you that even during the "Civil War" mankind believed that Jesus's return was imminent. Even the battle cry of the Union proclaimed "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord....." They EXPECTED Him any minute, just as many of you do today. Just as many did shortly after He ascended into heaven, they expected Him to return at any moment. But what does JESUS say ?? Vs. 7 "For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places." We have definitely seen these things happening haven't we?? Billions of people are affected by famines or pestilence, right now, today, and it is clear that it will only grow worse. It has been said that since the 1960's there have been more recorded earthquakes occurring worldwide than since the beginning of recorded history. And today, through radical Islam, the "kingdom" of the ungodly is locked in a battle with the "Kingdom" of Almighy God. "Surely", the wolves cry, "He is going to return any moment."

"What does Jesus Say"

Vs. 8 "All these are the BEGINNING of sorrows." I placed the emphasis on "beginning" because USUALLY that means that there must be some sort of middle sorrows and an end of sorrows. If we read on, we will see that this is exactly the case. Vs. 9 "THEN they will deliver you up to TRIBULATION and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake." I place an emphasis on "then" because this word shows that at sometime AFTER this "beginning of sorrows" the events that unfold beginning here in verse 9 through 26, are a continuation of, and part of, the same series of events. As we progress through the scriptures here in Matt. 24, we see verses 4-8 are the beginning of sorrows, verses 9-26 are a clear escalation of these same sorrows, and verses 27-33 are clearly describing a culmination of these sorrows. You will also note that He has NOT returned for the saints of the end times as of verse 9, but they ARE starting to be killed and persecuted "BY ALL NATIONS." Yes, for years Chrisitans have been persecuted and killed in places like Africa, China, and the Middle East. This verse however, points to a clear escalation consuming ALL NATIONS. Vs. 10 "And THEN many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another" I emphasize "then" to illustrate that this series of events takes place either at the same time or shortly after the events of verse 9. Now the question one must ask here is, WHO is being offended, and WHO is being betrayed and hated??? If indeed the "church" has been raptured, then why would the sinners who are left, AND DO NOT BELIEVE the gospel, be offended or begin betraying one another or hating one another ??? This is already their common practice in worldly matters is it not??? Vs. 11 "Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many." Again I ask, WHO will they deceive ??? The sinners, or those who are realizing that they have been lied to, and that they will INDEED be facing the "tribulation."?? Desperate people do desperate things, and those who are not prepared to face the horror that the antichrist has in store for "Christians" just might turn to ANYTHING to save themselves. What else could this mean ??? Vs. 12 "And because lawlessnes will abound, the love of many will grow cold." Since the 60's we have seen a steady progression towards lawlessness. It's been said over and over again that in today's society, "crooks have more rights than their victims." But this verse hints at something much more sinister than a slow progression. Something seems to have changed rapidly, that sears man's conscience to where right and wrong appear to not matter much anymore. Yet along with the warning Jesus' next words offer hope !! Jesus 's account in Mark is a bit more detailed, yet ends with the same promise, as Matt. 24:13. Mark 13:12 & 13 "Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 13. And you will be hated by all men for my name's sake. But he who endures to the end, shall be saved." Matt.24 Vs. 13 "But he who endures to the end shall be saved." Once again, who is "he who endures" ??? Are sinners going to suddenly turn to Jesus and live for Him enduring to the end. Not if you believe in the Pre-trib or Mid-Trib Rapture. There will be no one left to share the gospel. But if WE DO ENDURE the tribulation as I believe we will, then those the Holy Spirit draws to the Lord and we oursleves will be saved, IF we remain steadfast (or endure) to the end, continuing to do the work of God, just as Peter exhorted us to do.

"Let's Go Back to the Book of Matthew"

Vs. 14 "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all of the world as a witness to ALL NATIONS, and THEN the end will come." That is OUR great commission is it not??? We can't leave until it is completed, and by Jesus's own words, when our mission of spreading the gospel to "ALL OF THE WORLD," is completed "THEN the end will come." It doesn't take rocket science to figure out that it is the saints, (the church, the body of Christ, God's elect) who will be spreading His word, WHEN? Right up to the end. How can we be taken away in a rapture, and complete our mission according to Christ's own words here in Vs.14?? You can't have it both ways. Vs. 15 "Therefore when YOU SEE the 'abomination of desolation' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" Dan. 7:25 and (read) Rev. 13:6-9. Up until a few short decades ago this verse seemed a little vague. It STILL does if you subscribe to the Pre-trib or Mid-trib rapture theory. It was not possible for one to SEE something happening LIVE, say in Jerusalem, before the advent of sattelite transmissions, but now we take such events as common place. Yet IF we've been raptured out, why would Jesus find it necessary to mention it, saying "when YOU see the abomination"....?? Isn't He speaking to the Church, His body, God's elect??? After all, sinners will be exalting his proclamation. Well, what does Jesus say?? Vs. 16 "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains." WHO will find it necessary to flee into the mountains ?? Surely not sinners, but the body of Christ, the church, God's elect, may very welll find it necessary. Just as Hitler tried to exterminate all of the Jews, the antichrist will attempt to exterminate all Christians. If we've all been raptured, who is he capturing and killing and over coming?? Vs. 17 "Let him who is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house." Vs. 18 "And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes." Vs. 19 "But woe to those who are pregnant and to those with nursing babies in those days!" Vs. 20 "And pray that your FLIGHT may not be in winter or on the Sabath." His words seem very clear here, in these four scriptures. The church, or God's elect will be suddenly forced to "take flight" to try and escape some horrific series of events. How do we know this?? Well what does Jesus say?? Vs. 21 "For then there will be great triblation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be." Please note that the NKJV the NASB and the NWT and even a revised KJV uses the words great TRIBULATION. This clearly describes a time of tribulation, that according to these learned men of which we have been speaking, CLAIM we will have escaped. But WHAT DOES JESUS SAY??? Vs. 22 "And unless those days were shortened, NO FLESH would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened."

"Things Are Winding Down"

Here again "the elect" is the term used. Does this mean the Jews (as some would have you believe) ?? How can it refer to Jews only, when Jesus is clearly speaking about Christians in verse 9. Is it the Jews who will be preaching the gospel (to all nations) spoken of in verse 14?? No my friends, that has always been the role of the followers of Christ, remember God does not change. Jesus did not tell the Jews to go out and make disciples of all nations, no, the "elect" spoken of here in verse 22 is clearly the church and the same ones spoken of in Vs.9. Verses 23 through 26 clearly indicate this. Who would need to be warned about being deceived by false prophets, if it weren't the body of Christ?? Yet verse 24 says exactly that ...... "so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect." Vs. 25 "See, I have told you beforehand." For now let's skip down to verse 29 we'll come back to 26 - 28, if necessary, later. Vs. 29 "Immediately AFTER (my emphasis) the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken." Mark 13:24 & 25 states it this way: "But in those days AFTER (my emphasis) that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; vs. 25 the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in heven will be shaken." Luke 21: 23b - 26 states it this way: ......."For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people." (what people?? The same people He was speaking of in Matt.24:9) 24 "And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. 25 "And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; "men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken." What do all of these scriptures indicate?? We can surely see here that things are winding down. The tribulation is ending. Clearly the church ,God's elect, has gone through it, with scores upon scores being killed and or imprisoned. However NOW the stage is being set for another event, as indicated by the events taking place in and around the earth. It is clear in the Gospel of Luke that the "time of the Gentiles" has come to a close, and God is now ready to deal with all of the rest of mankind, once Jesus removes His elect from the coming wrath. At this point it is clear that the Gospel has been spread throughout the world. Glory to God the end has finally come !!! Jesus is coming back !!!! Look at what Jesus says. Matt. 24: 30 "THEN the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." Now just what is this sign of the Son of Man?? Look at VS. 27 "For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be." Like we stated earlier, a good deal of fanfare, a very public display. This is NOT some secret event leaving the world in a quandry, as the Pre trib proponents "used" to teach. Matt. 24: 31 "And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." THIS my friends, is where we are caught up ("raptured" if you will) to be with Jesus. As you can plainly see the antichrist has run his course and God is about to pour His wrath upon the earth, as soon as Jesus collects His Saints. In the Gospel of Mark 13:27 Jesus says it this way: "And then He will send His angels, and gather His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of the earth to the farthest part of heaven." Turn back to Matt. 24 and look at verses 32 and 33. What does Jesus say?? Matt. 24: 32 & 33 "Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near." 33. "So you also, when you see all these things, know that "it" is near, at the very doors." The word "it" here is also translated "He." That being the case, Jesus is saying that when we see ALL of these things coming to pass, His return is near, your redemption is at hand, the day of the Lord is here. Glory to God we finally get to go home !!!

"The Closing"

And so my friends, I hope this explanation is enough for you to understand that what man may be saying about these end times is NOT what our Lord and Savior has taught. You can be assured that Jesus's motives are pure, He would wish that all would come to Him for salvation, knowing the TRUTH. For as He has taught us that the TRUTH will set us free (John 8:32). And, He promises us to be with us ALWAYS, "even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:20) . As horrible as all of this may sound, Trust in Jesus it is not. Remeber the stoning of St. Stephen in the book of Acts, he felt no pain. His eyes were on Jesus. Jesus is our hope not a myth conured up by man. Yes beloved, men may lie, but our Savior cannot. Won't you listen to HIM tonight?? Will you trust Him that no matter what lies ahead, that He will deliver you safely into the Kingdom of heaven?? I pray that you do !!! And I also pray that if you know someone who is believeing in "the Rapture" tonight, that you would share with them God's word on the subject? Their spiritual lives may depend on it.

Let's pray..............

Prayer for forgiveness: Let's Pray: "Jesus, I believe that you died for my sins, and that God raised you from the dead I'm sorry Lord that I have sin in my life. I turn away from my old life, and choose to follow you as my Savior and Lord. Create in me a new heart, living for you today and for the rest of my life. Thank you Lord for all you have done. In Jesus name amen.

Copyright 2010 Steve Burch. All Rights Reserved.

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