Monday, July 12, 2010

Pre-Trib Rapture Benefits

Having a correct understanding of the order of key End Times events is essential to be able to “discern the signs of the times” as Jesus expects us to be able to do per Matthew 16:3. The Rapture of the Church that concludes the current Age of Grace is the next major event in Bible prophecy. The term “Rapture” is derived from the Latin word for “caught up” used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. At the Rapture, true Christians will be instantly changed into resurrected bodies when Jesus comes for us (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).

Alternative views about the timing of the Rapture have it occurring during the Great Tribulation, after it, or at the end of the millennial reign of Christ. But all these views put the Church in the dubious position of looking for the Antichrist rather than our Lord (see Matthew 25:1-13). Both the Great Tribulation and the millennial reign of Christ have very clear periods of time tied to certain key events. If the return of the Lord for His Church was directly associated with the Tribulation, it would not be imminent and it would be possible to have a pretty good idea when it will happen.

Living with an expectation that Jesus could return for us at any moment is strong medicine against procrastination about what God is calling us to do (or rationalizing about what we should not do). One of the paradoxes of the Christian faith is that we must live as if the Lord is returning today and also be executing a plan that recognizes He may not come back during our life time.

Thinking that the Church will have to go through some or all of the Great Tribulation has turned some people into survivalists stock-piling weapons and food in anticipation. Now having a ready reserve is wise because there will be birth pangs foreshadowing the Tribulation but hoarding enough to make it through that time-period rises to the level of sin. This is a dangerous doctrine because it teaches people to depend on their own resources for deliverance rather than the power of God.

Another dangerous doctrine is thinking that the Church has replaced Israel in the promises of God. This is one of the roots of anti-Semitism which is devil-inspired and it keeps people from discerning prophetic truth. Anti-Semitism is a key sign of the End Times… “it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it” (Zechariah 12:3).

It isn't necessary to agree with a particular timing of the Rapture to be saved. What is important is putting your trust in Jesus Christ, "there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). If you haven't already yielded to this call, don't put it off. The Bible is clear that there will come a time when it will be too late (Matthew 24:36-44).

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