Rethinking The Rapture (UPDATE)

Posted by Jeffrey K Radt ("JRed") | Posted in , , , , | Posted on Sunday, November 16, 2008

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Well, November 15, 2008 (Cheshvan 17) came and went and, unless I'm one of those who was not amongst the fortunate few mentioned throughout the Bible who make it (and specifically in Matthew 7:22-23), nothing happened.

So, what now? As previously mentioned, while there was compelling evidence to suggest that yesterday was the most likely day for the Rapture to occur (trust me, this past week has turned my world upside down and forced me to reconsider my position on these issues and it involved a lot of prayer and soul-searching with God!) the actual "window of opportunity" if you will is November 15, 2008 to November 22, 2008 (next Saturday). There are also some who - using this same info, but with a slight variation - say the window is more likely November 15, 2008 to January 11, 2009.

At this point, I have to say that I finally understand the danger of dabbling with date-setting. On one hand, you don't want to lose credibility when witnessing for the Lord to other non-believers or the un-saved. I get that.

One visitor to this site highlighted this for me when they commented that Marilyn Agee (referenced in the original 3-Part series) has been involved in many past instances of date-setting (unsuccessful of course). I haven't had the time yet to look into this claim, but if that's the case then we know we should take anything that comes from her in the future with a grain of salt.

At the same time, and in fairness to her and others like her, what is her crime? Seeking the Lord's return? Aren't we commanded by Jesus Himself to “watch and pray” for the His return? Jesus chastised the Pharisees for not knowing the signs of the times in His day, and He wants us to know the signs of His return today. I don't think there's anything wrong with Christians trying to study His Word to figure out such things. And there's the point I think.

I contend that this is precisely the type of study that those who are already Christians can and should be having. It's not something that the lost would understand or be open to anyway so, if that's the case, where's the harm in the Body of Christ searching for such things and discussing their findings in an intelligent manner?

The common bond we share is our belief in and faith in Jesus Christ and these types of conversations are never going to change that so what's the harm?

I woke up this morning disappointed at first that I didn't get to see my Lord and Savior, but soon that same disappointment quickly turned to anticipation like a child on Christmas Eve! I know we are close and I can't wait! What an exciting time to be alive!

There's simply too much going on around us today that indicates that we are definitely in the last days. Whether the Rapture happens today, tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year I will live my life seeking His return and continuing to warn others that our time is short.

In the meantime, I'll also continue to prayerfully consider those passages that I've neglected in my study of prophecy over the years. I'm sorry to say that I've done that only because I was afraid of the implications and so I ignored a portion of relevant prophetic Scripture just because it didn't "jive" with my current understanding of things, and because it made me uncomfortable.

Why does Jesus warn us over and over again to keep watch and be ready so that the day and the hour doesn't sneak up on us? This is the question I've been wrestling with lately and I think it has everything to do with a serious study of the Rapture.

I'm also wondering if this is in any way, shape, or form related to why only a few will be saved as mentioned in Matthew 7:14. That's the question people should be asking today, Why will only a FEW make it through the narrow gate? Why?

I mean, Luke 21:36 also warns us, "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."

Then we find in 2 peter 3:17, "Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position." I hope that 2 Peter 3:17 doesn't mean that you can fall from your secure position ("once saved always saved" doctrine?), but could this be what it means?

We also find in Timothy 1:4, "And the Spirit expressly speaketh, that in latter times shall certain fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and teachings of demons."

Fall away from the faith? Yep, that's what it says. How can you fall away from a faith you never had? You can't! You are saved by grace, through faith. If you have no faith, nothing to be saved through, you have no salvation. It's that simple. If faith is necessary for salvation (it is), and you fall away from it, you aren't "in Christ" any longer, and if you are not "in Christ" your sins have not been covered, which would mean you do not have salvation. "In Christ" all sins are forgiven. Not "in Christ," no sins forgiven.

While I would hardly call my current state a "crisis in faith" I will admit that this is what I seem to be spending more and more time thinking about these days, and you all know that as a Christian I don't believe in coincidences.

So, what to make of all of this? If I firmly believe that we are living in the prophesied end times then how does all of this fit in with the current prophetic timeline? What does that mean for me personally as well as all of you God-fearing, Jesus-loving, Bible-believing Christians who are reading this?

After all, we cannot ignore the one aspect of prophecy that makes us feel uncomfortable; the one that says that in the last days many so-called Christians will be turned away from Jesus as He tells them that He never knew them:

"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Matthew 7:22-23

How do we reconcile all of this with what we currently "know" and believe about prophecy and the end times? It's a VERY SERIOUS question that we all need to consider and take to God in fervent prayer TODAY!

Again, we are commanded to watch and pray that we are worthy to escape what's to come. We're also told that very few Christians will make it. It's important to ask ourselves and God why that is. Perhaps this 3-Part series gives us a glimpse into some of the reasons why - because we were unwilling to consider an alternative interpretation from the one we've grown so accustomed to.

I hope you will join me in this on-going discussion and that you will continue to seek my Lord and Savior with all of your heart and soul.

Comments Posted (2)

First, let me thank you for your site. I've only recently started visiting yet I have returned here often as I've been led to. This will be my first, but I hope not my last, comment here. Thank you for encouraging this diologue.

You highlight at the beginning of your article Matthew 7:22-23 which reads, "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done may wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Isn't it just like the baser character of fallen man to want to do some "wonderful works" and draw attention, oftentimes today, to themselves and not to Jesus at all; even though they claim to be doing all in His name? And "in His Name" they also fleece the flock of God for thier own gain! But, you may think I'm off base in my interpretation. Let's consider the verses that immediately precede 22 and 23. Matthew 7 and verse 15 relates Jesus beginning to warn against false prophets and I believe this is what He continues to speak about up to and including verses 22 and 23.

I disagree that "only a few Christians will make it" to the Rapture. I believe every one who turns to Jesus Christ for salvation, repenting of sin, asking Him for forgiveness; believing He died in thier place and that His shed blood cleanses them of thier sin and who believe God raised Him from the dead are born again and not lost at all. I ask with Paul, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" He goes on to answer as recorded in Romans Chapter 8, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39 Every true Christian will make it. Jesus is my ALL and the blessed hope I wait for with you.

But if only a few make it, who are the many that don't? Jesus said, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Matthew 7:13-14. Jesus IS the strait gate. He said, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6.

As a true Christian, you ARE the minority; the few. Don't believe me? Just go out into the public square and proclaim John 14:6 for all to hear and see if you aren't instantly castigated. Or, better yet, walk into just about any church today and do the same. Think about it. There's a GIGANTIC effort on today in the name of "tolerance" to be all inclusive regarding salvation and the way to God. It's all part and parcel of the lead-up to the one world religion. And this all inclusive wideness has tragically overtaken many theologians and churches. If you're truly a Christian, as I am, and you adhere to John 14:6, you're definitely in the minority today.

One of the signs of the last days is apostasy. And I believe this is what Paul is outlining in Timothy 4:1. There will be those who depart from the faith. I believe it's possible that these are people who have made, at some point, a declaration of faith. Yet, making a declaration of faith does not necessarily prove a genuine rebirth in Jesus. I am reminded of the wheat and the tares growing up together.

I believe we are admonished in several places in scripture to abide in the truth. Jesus is the Truth, and in Him alone can we be found worthy to escape all that's coming from God to a Christ rejecting world. Our worthiness is based solely in what Jesus did for us. We cannot, in any way, earn our own salvation. I pray that you NEVER lose hope in Him. As Christians, our necks should be hurting from looking up so much for Him! I'm not even looking so much for signs anymore; now I'm listening for the trumpet to sound.

Thank you, again, for your wonderful site and for this chance to dialogue.

Tamara

Tamara,

First and foremost, thank you so much for taking the time to visit and for responding in such a careful and considerate way. I thoroughly enjoyed your reply and think you nailed it in several key areas.

For whatever reason, lately I've just been going back and forth from one side to the next on this issue. While I agree that we cannot do anything to save ourselves (save make a decision for Christ) because that would make Jesus' sacrifice meaningless, I still get the sense that we may be missing something when it comes to some of these verses in Scripture. I hope I'm just overwhelmed lately with a gazillion different ideas running through my head and that's what's clouding things a little for me.

I also want to commend you on the point about apostasy because I think that's a HUGE sign of the times that's often overlooked. Perhaps I'll devote an entire post to that one day soon.

In any event, thanks again and I look forward to getting to know you here for as long as we still have time here.

YBIC,

Jeff (JRed)