Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Who's Right and Who's Wrong

Who's right and who's wrong? "

There are two main groups of people that I have observed as Christians approach the rapture of the Church. Actually there are good and bad points about both sets of these people. Ideally if both groups would learn the good and the bad in both approaches, I believe our love for the Blessed Hope would be more well rounded and enriched with a spirit of optimism and truth.

In studying this subject for over thirty years, I am going to be honest with my discernment on the following issue with you. As I explain these two groups that I have seen in their view toward this subject, it will be impossible for us in our spiritual walk to strike a balance without the help of the Holy Spirit. So few Christians ever do. I still find it difficult. If the Lord tarries in His return and I honestly do not think He will with everything that is happening prophetically in recent times, these observations may help.

I will call the first group "The general group." Not a very glamorous name but the broad stroke of the words sort of describe these people; however, I need to be more specific as I depict persons of this persuasion.Their main premise is "I occupy until Jesus Christ returns and when He comes, He comes." Date setting for the most part is a non issue with this group, if they ever thought about it at all. This is not to say people in this camp do not have prophetic wisdom. Some do and some do not.

If you are really into prophecy and try to dialogue with a person on this side, often times he or she may build a wall up in their spirit. Some half listen to facts pertaining to prophecy. Some are angry and distant about the subject. Others have no clue as to what the other person is even talking about.

Their somewhat liberal attitude with their approach to the above subject matter tends to bother the people that really follow the prophetic Word. When the serious "Watcher" attempts to talk to the believing skeptic they often meet up with defense mechanisms. Some of their responses are...a half smile, a blank stare, hard hearted listening, a mocking reaction, no reply, or even a respectful roundabout "I am just not interested."

Some of the people that really follow prophecy might say "They just do not love the Lord." This is not really true because I know plenty of people that approach the Blessed Hope this way and they really do love God with all of their hearts.

Some say they are not as productive as they could be for the Lord because they are not really watching for His return. I know many people in this category that moved mountains for the Lord (really only God can move a mountain but you know what I am trying to convey here) and I am almost positive that they will be in the Hall of Faith in Heaven.

The bottom line with this group whether their prophetic doctrine is on or off is that they have their reasons as to why they are reserved with end time biblical prophecy. Some observations are as follows:
1---" I do not want to be hurt or let down."
2---"Let's not put the cart before the horse."
3---" Nobody knows when the Lord is going to return."
4---" That is not really an issue to me."
5---" Come on, be serious, let us be in the business of doing the Lord's work
day to day."
6---" We have to live our lives down here because we are in the here and
now."
7---" Just leave the timing to God."
All sorts of reasons come up.

The second group is in the minority, not the majority.Since I called the first set of people "The general group" let us call the other people "The specific group." They do not want one jot or tittle to pass them by as they listen or look for end time prophetic developments around the world.

Their motives could range from being anxious about the world to the other end of the spectrum in that they love the Lord so much that they long to be with Him in heaven. If there is something prophetically significant to be studied, they are immediately researching it on the Internet magazines etc.They are watching a prophecy TV show or reading the newspaper for themselves to pick up any clues that they can find for the possible general or even specific timing of the Lord's return. Approaches even vary among "The specific group."

Many of the people in this category have been through difficult times in their lives and see the exciting events unfolding in which we are now living involving their soon departure to heaven which is better known as the rapture of the Church. Since their prophetic aptitude is usually high, they see the joy along with the horror. Many get discouraged as they look at this prophetic runaway train that has already left the station and there is just no stopping the biblical developments of the world being shaped exactly the way God foretold in the Bible.There is a sense of fear but the good news is that Jesus Christ is coming very soon for His "Body." The Blessed Hope must be close!

Let me just say some things about the Lord's return for His children.This is just an opinion but I am thinking the rapture probably will not happen when people are expecting it to occur.This includes the knowledgeable people that follow the subject every day; however, I do believe we are very close. I am just not exactly sure what "close" means. I suppose you can get into speculating a date or a month or even a season but whatever you do don't make a Law out of the speculation.

I know there are many people out there right now that love the Lord and really want to know when they are going to their real home which is in Heaven.I feel it is only natural to want to physically be with Jesus Christ in our new resurrected bodies. We are in embryo down here in this difficult world that we now reside.It is very temporary. I know that the seriousness of looking at all of the different prospects on the return of the Lord can weigh heavy on the heart but I just cannot resist explaining this non fictional, comical scene that I once saw on T. V.

It was a raffle and the numbers were on ping pong balls.The winning number was 99.The person that won started jumping up and down saying "I won, I won," but then the moderator turned the ping pong balls upside down and explained that the winning number was 66, not 99. The new winner started jumping up and down, and of course this went back and forth until they resolved the problem in their own way.

There are so many prospects for the Lord's soon return that it almost reminds me of that comedy. Do you see what I am trying to say? My hope has to be in Jesus Christ as I watch for His return, not in a specific time frame that an individual or group makes "Law." For all practical purposes in a case like that, subtlety, Jesus Christ will be pushed to the background and the focused date will be placed in the foreground.

The Rapture is all about Jesus Christ. We are just the recipients of His love because we placed our faith in Jesus Christ. We accepted Him as our personal Savior for our sins.I would urge anybody reading this article to make this all important eternal decision today because I do not believe the rapture of their Church is too far in the future. I believe we are one minute before twelve o'clock.

There is another way we could look at this. If our focus on a time period is so strong, it might in all actuality be a form of false worship. Remember God is above time because He created it for His purposes. If God is the Creator and time part of His creation, we have to remember what Romans 1: 25 says in the second part of the verse... " and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen." Of course there is the very first Commandment in Exodus 20: 3 which says " Thou shalt have no other Gods before Me."

I really believe that when we focus on a date, month or time period and are so strong in our opinions, it becomes a type of the "Law," but remember, we were saved by grace, kept by grace and the Lord will take us up in the rapture because of His grace.

As God's children this does not mean if we fall into a misconception on this matter we are no longer His child. It just simply means that God has to take us to a higher level of faith and hope, which will point to His greatness, purpose and grace. God is still chiseling me in this area.

We will not know when the rapture is taking place until the very last second. I am just going to assume that Jesus Christ could return at any moment and just occupy until He comes. I cannot even imagine the joy we will have when our loving Savior summons us home.

In 1st Cor. 15: 51, the very first thing the Apostle Paul wrote was " Behold I show you a mystery." I know that we are close to the Lord's return but this whole thing is still a little bit of a mystery even for the most astute prophecy scholar in the world. Don't you sense a mysterious element about this whole subject? I know that I do. Perhaps that is part of the anticipation. "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth near." Luke 21: 28.

Jesus talked about the fear and the joy but left the timing a little open for interpretation. A little mystery is good. It keeps us relying on God even when we do not want to have faith in Him.

The challenge of this is to love and praise God for the mystery of this whole thing but at the same time realize that God has a plan. It is in motion and He will fulfill His Blessed Hope promise exactly as He said He would in His perfect timing.

"Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing." 2nd Timothy 4:8.

I am only assuming that this is a specific crown given to only a few that love His return, but even those that do this in many cases still violate other Biblical principles.

Some in this process become anxious, fearful and disillusioned.I know that I have fallen into these sins.Think of the balance a Christian has to strike if he is watching for the Lord's return. We have to know prophecy, which involves knowing the broad stroke of the future. Much of it is bad news. We are told in Scripture to get excited about the Blessed Hope; however, we do not exactly know how far we are going to have to go into the perilous times of this world.

Perilous times are before the rapture. God's wrath is after the rapture, but still that is just a broad stroke. I ask myself the question. "To what intensity am I going to have to go through these perilous times"?

We are urged to keep a posture about ourselves in the midst of these perilous times with joy as we look forward to our reunion with Jesus Christ in heaven at the rapture. We look for this blessed event in the midst of fearful times, trying to strike a balance by not falling into other sins such as preoccupation, anxiety or maybe even depression. Of course we cannot do this in our flesh, so we have no other choice but to rely on the comforting guidance of the Holy Spirit who, of course is more than willing to help us through this process.

This takes faith, hope and love. I pray that Christians (myself included) reading this writing will realize that we need God's help in striking a balance between the good (Jesus Christ) and the evil (the corruption of the world).

My continuing prayer is that the Lord will give us this Godly watchful balance in our hearts and minds. Also that we will have such joy and confidence in our souls, overflowing with grace that only God will be glorified through us by believing and hoping in this precious truth day by day as we look for His return with such exciting anticipation and expectation.

Of course, I would like to end this article the way that I started it.Two groups, two different persuasions with two different approaches.This is certainly what I would call opposite contrasting thought. Let us face the facts here that gaps are apart of life. We cannot even walk down the street without there being some kind of chasm somewhere along the way. One of the reasons that we look forward to heaven is because in this future place that Christians will occupy, there are unique Godly differences but not gaps. We will be one in Christ without sin. We need to learn from the strengths and mistakes of both groups.Striking a Godly balance will actually be impossible without the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

God wants us to long and love for His Son's return because that is one specific way we can express our devotion to Him. Of course there are other ways but God wants to give us a specific crown that we can lay at His feet because of our love for His return. It is good to long for the rapture with a proper Godly balance.

The loving presence of our Lord in heaven is where our true home resides. In His timing which will be most likely soon, Jesus Christ will call us home. For anyone out there that does not know Him, time is running short. Each and every day the blessed return of Jesus Christ better known as the rapture becomes closer and closer. Simply accept Him into your heart today/tonight wherever you are as your personal Savior and He will airlift (rapture) you up into the third heaven in His perfect timing. Jesus Christ's love and joy will encompass your whole being and His purpose will be tailor-made for you in Him for all eternity.

Love In Christ,
Bob D










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