Tag: The Church

TWO VIEWS OF A RAPTURE

Will the rapture really happen before any tribulation events? Will some people be “left behind” when the prophesied rapture occurs? Will all true believers be watching tribulation events from heaven? Many evangelicals are convinced that these things are so, as I was, for twenty-eight years. I say “was” intentionally…

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These questions and their answers provided the motivation for me to write a book on the subject, which was published last year. The other motivation was that the “free world” is now changing rapidly in the direction of Tribulation-like social and political conditions. The time to prepare is now. That proverbial frog in the pot is getting very warm at this stage, and for the most part, doesn’t yet realize how serious his predicament is.

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I’ve published the main points of the book on this blog in over thirty parts, completely free to the interested: just search “rapture” and perhaps another key word such as “wrath”, “saints”, “Church” or “elect” in the search box above. I have nothing to gain here in terms of remuneration or popularity. This book is the result of a sincere desire to know the truth and to share it. However, I didn’t publish the introductory chapter on this blog, so here it is, in two or three parts, and in an edited form for the sake of space. You can find my book on Amazon in paperback or kindle (the full title is below*).

A PROFESSION

In order to allay the fears of some who may be wondering which cult the author belongs to, I wish to assure you that I believe the rapture to be a real future event. I believe the Bible to be the only inspired Word of God. I am not a-millennial in my theology, and I consider the nation of Israel to still have a vital role in God’s prophetic plan. I believe in salvation by faith alone, in the only Son of God, Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus Christ is going to physically and visibly return, and exercise his Lordship over all the earth.

This book is written to those who are curious or confused about the rapture, or who are honest and brave enough to realize that there is possibly something other than the “safe” and cosy interpretation. It’s my contention that church leaders are failing their flocks by teaching a half-baked and faulty view, which is not preparing us for what may come in our lifetimes. Paul’s “falling away” will occur partly because people have not been informed and steeled for the truth.

ALL LEFT BEHIND critiques a common evangelical understanding of the timing of the rapture in relation to other events prophesied in the Bible. The prevailing belief is that the rapture will occur before any form of judgment or upheaval foretold in Scripture darkens our door. We will, adherents are convinced, be “snatched up” from this troubled world before things really heat up.

EX-ING THE EXPERTS

The subject of the rapture has always been present in my mind, and in sharp focus when it seemed like the Day of the Lord must be very close. However, my stance on this topic has changed, partly because over time the most influential teachers; the popular names in Bible prophecy; the very people I trusted to inform me on such matters, have on occasion been shown to me and to many others to be painfully and embarrassingly wrong in their interpretations and predictions. And so all the failed speculations helped fuel my own curiosity.

Not only are serious mistakes made, but the alleged “experts” seem to become entrenched in some kind of prophetic political-correctness, and refuse to budge from the mainline theory for fear of denying their faith and of going against the grain of current interpretation. Their attempts to fend off challenges to their entrenched positions are often weak and poorly motivated, and easily seen through by anyone with an open mind. Even big-name teachers, those known nationally and internationally, with a mile-long list of qualifications and perhaps decades of popular ministry experience, as good as they may be, sometimes say or write things which can be shown to be wrong by anyone with discernment, an open mind, and an open Bible.

Of course, interpreting Bible prophecy can be a tricky work, and the mistake so many make when examining legitimate prophecy is in attempting to force their speculations into present-day events, and possible future events, which are always “on the horizon”. It would be much better for them and us to either state honestly that they’re putting forward their own ideas which may or may not be right, or else to not speculate at all.

GOOD TIMING

Why does the timing of the rapture matter anyway? It matters because there are huge numbers of people in the West who see that the world must indeed be heading for some sort of a date with destiny, but who are either badly misinformed or uninformed, and who fail to search the Scriptures for themselves. There are millions of others who have no knowledge at all of what’s going to come upon planet earth.

As I mentioned, the future falling away from the faith (2 Thessalonians 2:3) could be caused at least in part by a failure to prepare the people of God, so that if or when things begin to go badly for the Christian Church, many people will be offended, because the rapture, which all the “experts” had predicted and promised would occur first, had not happened. The stark, gripping truth is that for most of the world’s Christians, persecution is already the norm! It’s only in the pampered West, where the pre-tribulation rapture is most commonly believed, that we still have it good, but that’s already beginning to change. If our freedoms vanish, and the rapture has not come, how will believers react? Our leaders should be preparing us and informing us, not encouraging us to stick our heads in the sand.

Come back for the second part of my introduction to ALL LEFT BEHIND*.

* ALL LEFT BEHIND: The Case Against a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, by Nicholas Fisher, available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. Alternatively, you could just search this code within Amazon: B07K5NX5RB

SEPARATING PEOPLE FROM GOD

We all make the same mistake to varying degrees: we judge God’s character by what we see in people around us…

If our spouse is mean to us, it is not God’s fault. If the government treats us badly, don’t blame the Almighty. If the church, or those who move within its walls, or those who profess to be followers of Christ, appear to be terrible hypocrites-it isn’t God’s fault.

Lay the blame squarely at the feet of human nature, because that’s where it is. It’s our spouse treating us meanly: God is good. It’s the government governing badly-not the will of the Almighty. It’s the people within the church who fail to live as they speak: hypocrisy is not to be found within our perfect Creator.

God is love, God is good. God is Holy. Never forget that.

PRIDE OR TRUTH

Over the years I’ve been blogging I’ve seen that the biggest yawn for readers, judging by their response-or lack of it-is any discussion of what truth is and what it means to us. I’m almost writing this post for myself, knowing that very few will be interested: hair color, hurt feelings and virtue-signaling are far more important to people now.

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Our post-modern culture has infected everyone, including the Church. Chat in some depth with a few people in your church, and you’ll find a surprising number who either don’t know their Bible-the indispensable source for the follower of the original Jesus Christ-or who think they and the “experts” know better than Paul, Peter, John, Jesus Christ, and even the Father himself. They know more about Creation, science, history, the reason for the suffering of Christ, what sin is, and almost every foundational doctrine. God didn’t create the universe or Adam, there was no world-wide Flood, Moses didn’t usher in a series of plagues to punish the Egyptians, Jesus wasn’t the Son of God and he didn’t rise from the dead.

I was once invited to dinner with a gentleman who attended the same church as I. He would always sit in a prominent place in the front row, singing louder than anyone else, as proud as he was of his voice, and his greatest efforts were always in the songs about the blood of Jesus. He was a nice guy-the model Christian, it seemed.

After dinner our discussion turned to Scripture at my request. When I read a few verses and commented on them, he replied that the passage didn’t mean what I said it meant. So I asked him what he thought it meant. His reply was “I don’t know, but it doesn’t mean that”. I pursued the issue and discovered that he believed nothing remotely similar to what we would consider to be generally accepted evangelical doctrine. The entirety of Scripture, to this man’s mind, is impossible to understand without imposing our own faulty views upon it.

Try telling the IRS that their demand for payment has no correct interpretation.

My friend attended church for years before finally and publicly renouncing his faith totally. He was not grounded in truth. He hadn’t built his house on the rock.

My response to the arrogant opposers of scripture within the Church is that you should either repent of your pride and distrust of God, or go off and start your own religion. Just don’t call it “Christianity”.

 

WHEN IT’S GOOD TO JUDGE

There’s a serious epidemic at large in the Church these days-and one of the symptoms is the refusal to make a judgment on whether something or someone is right or wrong…

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Somehow Christians have bought into the multicultural mindset to the extent that they think they would be committing a crime against humanity by pointing out that someone has got it wrong. Well pardon my incorrectness, but that’s just plain wrong!

I once wrote at some length in answer to the now common mantra that “it’s wrong to judge”, often linked to the words of Jesus when he said “Do not judge”. I pointed out that once you get that plank out of your own eye, said Jesus, you are free to lovingly help take the mote out of someone else’s eye. Therefore, Jesus wasn’t saying it’s always wrong to make a judgment: he was speaking of hypocrisy. Do not pass judgment on someone else if you are no better than they are, but do…do, once cleansed of your own hypocrisy, go on to point out faults in others, and to tell them they are wrong.

One of the many huge reasons this epidemic is a problem is that there is a multitude of false teachers out there. Some are just mistaken, but some are of the “wolves in sheep’s clothing” variety. And the wolves are leading sheep away, sometimes intentionally. The Church is in need of more sheepdogs, to give the warning that there’s danger, and then to chase off the wolves and the bloodsuckers. We’ve all been so conditioned by left-leaning philosophy that we’re afraid to point out anyone for fear of being called “judgmental”. Perhaps, in many cases, people either don’t know when a teaching is wrong, or they really do know and they’re happy to go along with it anyway.

We’ve wandered away from our Guide, which is the written Word of God. Or else the godless culture around us has had such an effect on us that we really like what we’re hearing, and we’re content to wander away from the true faith once delivered to the saints. But if we aren’t following what Christ and his apostles taught, we aren’t really Christ-Ones at all. Call that a judgmental statement if you like-I can take it.

Without the Maker’s instructions to guide us, we can only wander into mistakes, error, sin and eventually insanity. Isn’t that what’s going on in our culture already? And should we, the Church of Christ, go the same way? If we would only look at what He said we would know that it is not only the right thing to pass judgment on false teachings and false teachers, but it’s actually commanded repeatedly in the very Scriptures which tell us about our Lord and what He said to us. You can’t go a single chapter in the Bible without seeing that it’s vital for us to constantly make judgments about what is right or wrong: it’s fundamental to our faith. God has standards which He expects us to know and to keep, and there is no wishy-washy confusion or ambivalence in the mind of our Creator:

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves…” (Matthew 7:15).

Yes, dear readers, some things are wrong, some people are wrong and some teachings are wrong and often in direct opposition to our God. Very often the ones promoting them are in our churches and on our TV and devices. And it’s up to us, and particularly those claiming to be our shepherds, to get rid of them! So get that mote out of your eye, get into the true Word, and then start judging!

GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT GOD

Thank you to my loyal readers who keep coming back and wondering where I’ve been: I’m planning on being back regularly from now on…

Two things have been on my mind lately above others. One is our current political and social climate, and the other is the widespread belittlement of God even among professing believers. These two things are inextricably linked. The loss of reverence for our Creator in society as a whole but also in the Church, was bound to result in lawlessness and degradation. The worst aspect to this is that many professing Christians have succumbed to it-often without realizing it themselves. Our testimony and witness to the world is compromised by our own lack of belief, dedication, and fear of God.

The half-hearted church was foreseen by our God, and we can know how He feels about it:

“So, because you are luke-warm-neither hot nor cold- I am about to spit you out of my mouth…” (Revelation 3:16).

The corrupt, compromising church was also foreseen by Him who knows the end from the beginning, so that He warned us to separate ourselves from the evils of fallen man:

“Come out of her my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues…” (Revelation 18:4).

Those who reject the deity of Jesus, who reject the fact that our God created all things, who reject the supremacy of Scripture, and who put their own words and the words of their favourite teachers above Scripture are all included in references to hypocrites and false teachers contained in the New Testament especially, but also in the Old. And once you cast off from the absoluteness of the truth of Scripture and invent your own, you are then metaphorically on a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, without navigation, radio contact, charts, or even the benefit of experience.

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Ironically, the One who will spit the luke-warm church out of His mouth identifies himself as “…the ruler of God’s creation” (Revelation 3:14).

Just as bad as the rejection of the Bible as our ultimate guide, is the determination to use it to support false teachings and faulty or corrupted interpretation. This attitude is rampant in the Christian world now: “Let’s follow what so-and-so says and find one or two verses which appear to back him up”. In contrast, Scripture tells us:

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man…” (Jeremiah 17:5).

The Western World is now in moral free-fall, and there’s no way of stopping or slowing that fall if all we have to offer is a few jangling guitars and singers shaking their hair, a weak impersonation for spiritual gifts, an effort to bow to political correctness, and politicians who make promises in order to promote themselves. (Having said that, I say “Trump 2020!” The alternative is the destruction of America and so the West).

More than that, we have an insular Church which has largely rejected what God has to say. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” says the word of God, and, “In six days God created the heavens and the earth”. A large percentage of ministers prefer to follow what unbelievers and atheists say-that in the beginning, billions of years ago, something happened, our ancestors crawled out of slime and swung in trees, and later on God, or a few good teachers, came along and got involved, trying to get us all to be nice to each other. This is belittling God and calling Him a liar. This is putting the word of fallen, God-rejecting mankind above the Word of the Immortal, Almighty, Omni-present, omniscient Creator and sustainer of all things. This is nothing short of foolishness!

It not only calls God a liar, it calls Him weak and ¬†incapable and irrelevant. “We know it’s all science now” is one pathetic view: pathetic because the real logic is that anyone who created all things would have to be The Master and Creator of science! Did an infinite being create all things by His infinite miraculous power, or did the universe create? That’s your choice! There’s no middle ground without putting God down beneath the feet of man.

Any true science today is only observing the handiwork of God. He is the Creator of science…not someone who just came along so that he could make us fall over backwards, or offer us new ways of being nice to each other. God is our Creator and He will be our Judge! He has the power to save us or to throw us into hell!

Its time for those of us who are serious about our faith to fall on our knees and worship the incredible being who made us, and who holds our souls in His hands.