Finality - By Jerry McDermott -
Have you realized the Final Age is already here, maybe not in its entirety, but clearly it has commenced? I am speaking of the End Times also known as the last days, the last generation or the later days. You have to be aware of worldwide problems: the clashes of ethnic groups, the lack of food, widespread immorality, and incessant anarchy. How about school closures as well as closures of restaurants, salons, barbers, sports? What about bacteriological warfare disguised as a virus or called a pestilence that is causing worldwide quarantines?
As 2020 moves forward, most people have no clue what is happening and what will happen. It is the era of great fear because almost no one has a handle on the happenings or the future. This is not news, for thousands of years ago scriptures said that "My people will perish for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6). This lack is widespread and universal in its scope. God once more proved His love for us by scriptural forecasts and prophecies that are happening as I type this. They are contained in the Bible; the answers to these questions were always there. You don't have to dig them out. In the Old Testament, He used prophets to warn us; in the New Testament, Jesus Himself was not only the world's Savior but highlighted the future. These prophetic teachings of Jesus were listed in Chapter 24 of Matthew's gospel writings as well as the Book of Revelation starting with Chapter 4.
Jesus called these items birth pangs, mirroring the human experience. It is important to remember that they increase in time and intensity. The culmination of these occurs in the Tribulation period which we will discuss later. These are so bad that scripture tells about millions of people losing their lives in this seven-year period before the second coming. And just before the ending of the Tribulation, the War of Armageddon takes place. If you are not familiar with these seven years, you should investigate, as there is a safety feature available to avoid the intensity of this era.
Before this Tribulation era, there is absolute proof of God's love for His people in the Rapture of the Church, God's gift to His followers. This is the incredible gathering of believers to meet Jesus in the clouds and then a quick passage to heaven with Christ. People could shout, "We're outta here!" This will not just include people who go to church, whether weekly or Christmas/Easter church goers. However, when you become a believer, a church becomes your community and is necessary for further Christian development. Continuing, the rapture will not include people who just know about the Bible nor folks who only read it but do not have a relationship with who inspired the content. You may wonder, "Well then, who will be brought to heaven.
Earlier, we wrote about people perishing because they did not make the effort to understand God's plans for His people. The gathering of people for the heavenly journey initially consists of former dead Christians now risen, followed by Christians who are alive at the occurrence. They will immediately receive an incorruptible heavenly body. The operative word for the travelers is Born-Again Christian believers. They have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, confessed that they are a sinner and asked forgiveness, and strengthened their lives in Christ. In other words, just being religious won't cut it.
This event is called the Rapture of the Church or those being lifted up. It is the next worldwide spiritual happening. The clock started May 14, 1948, when Israel became a nation and was also confirmed when the world's Jews started to return to Israel. Unfortunately, the exact date for the Rapture is unknown, but it will take place before the Tribulation period of seven years.
There are numerous beliefs about the timing of the Rapture. However, the most prominent and realistic is that the Rapture takes place before the coming of the anti-Christ and the Tribulation period. However, the Rapture is almost universally misunderstood. Here are two erroneous beliefs: "At the Rapture, if you are missing g a limb, it will be replaced." Actually, at the Rapture, we receive completely new eternal bodies. I had trouble assessing this next one when someone told me, "I don't believe Jesus will be in the clouds." When I explained that scripture states this happening, the reply was, "That is your interpretation; you believe what you want to."
When I continued mentioning that Jesus waiting in the clouds is the revealed Word of God, I found it difficult to comprehend or even find a word for their answer, so I'll just say I was flabbergasted at their retaliation which was, "I don't believe the Jesus in the clouds narrative, so I'll wave at you as you fly by."
The word Rapture itself poses a problem to some folks. The belief is that the word is not in the Bible, which is not true, as it is just the English translation of the Latin version of the word. If the word is a problem, think "lifted up." Our salvation is not based on words but only the Word of God, Jesus Christ. As Paul told Timothy, "Keep reminding people of these things and charge them before God to stop disputing about mere words. This does no good and can be the ruin of those who listen" ( 2 Timothy 2:14).
The occurrence can also be called Rapture of the Church. This sometimes raises the question, "Which Church?" Even answering "the Christian Churches" doesn't solve anything, as churches aren't raptured - people are. The question now becomes, "Which people?" It would seem that church people are the obvious answer. However, since some church people are not believers, they won't be in the Rapture. The Rapture takeoff is for people who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord, confessed their sins and reformed their life. This is being Born-Again.
Remember the passage in John chapter 3 where Jesus told Nicodemus, "Unless one is Born Again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." The next observation is difficult as it involves the loser category for those left behind as adults and children disappear in the Rapture. While the general classification is unbelievers, there are different classes. These include atheists, or people who claim they are Christians because of family history, or folks who are just aware of Christ and the Jews.
There is another ill-timed group who have the knowledge but never acted upon it or sought salvation, rejecting God's Word. Jesus was aware of them and commented, "Be on your guard; the Son of Man will come when you least expect Him" (Luke 12:40). Therefore, if you have not accepted Jesus Christ before the Rapture or were going to wait until the last minute, you are in for some chaotic times. Scripture says the timing is in the "Twinkling of an eye" (1 Corinthians 15:52). Do you think you can fulfill the requirements for salvation that fast?
Incredibly, while God sent His Son as the Prince of Peace, the world today is devoid of peace. Furthermore, it is going to get worse as the anti-Christ takes power with his prophet some time after the Rapture. His time starts with a peace agreement with Israel, which is broken 3-1/2 years later as He proclaims himself as God. This is the seven-year period called the Tribulation and consists of two periods of 3-1/2 years. During these periods, one third of the populace will be killed. In the second period, the wrath of God will be poured forth upon the earth for the people not accepting His Son, who died for all mankind.
Based on Jesus' description of a wide gate to perdition and a narrow gate to glory, numerous people will still be on earth after the Rapture. This means they either rejected Jesus' salvation or were indifferent to anything religious. However, the next major worldwide religious event is the Rapture followed by the Tribulation under the demonic patronage of the anti-Christ and his prophet. He will establish a One- World Government and a One-World Religion with himself at the top.
One of the insidious problems in the era will be the requirement to worship the Anti-Christ as God or be killed as martyrs. In addition, everyone else will need the number 666 on their right hand or forehead to live a normal life. Under no circumstances, do not be signed 666! The reason is that there is only one true God. Therefore, anyone who worships a false god will be considered as blaspheming the Holy Spirit and will be subject to eternal condemnation (Matthew 12:31; Mark 3:28-29). You will not be duped into receiving this mark, as you must choose it. You will be considered as declining God's forgiveness as well as rejecting Him in favor of the demon possessed Anti-Christ. In addition, scripture proclaims that the one sin that will not be forgiven is blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:28-29).
Paul also reminds us that there will be terrible times in the last days. Now turn to the current attack on Christian churches and the hatred of Jews again. Sin itself is easily disguised as ungodliness, wickedness, legality; anarchy, or just politics. How else can we explain the deadly news of untold mayhem and unresponsive politicians in American cities? It is the revealed specter of madness predicted for the End Times.
This unlawful craziness is obvious in the news, but what is not apparent is the hidden aberrations. Anne Graham recently remarked that we are being invisibly attacked. Nikita Khrushchev previously proclaimed, "We will take America without firing a shot. We do not have to invade the United States as we will destroy you from within!"
Consider the demonically induced destruction already in increasing numbers of America towns and the push for socialism. Now reflect on the recent problems due to socialism in Venezuela. History always repeats itself as Edmond Burke once proclaimed. He also stated, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." The surprise is we haven't learned anything from either North Korea or Venezuela. Unless we stop this madness, only fools will flourish.
Jesus was quite aware of this human tendency of memory fade and commented on it. Three of the gospel writers repeating His warning: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to destruction, and every city or town divided against itself will not stand" (Matthew 12:25; Mark 3:25; Luke 11:17).
Clearly, America is divided into two major factions and numerous smaller ones. It is not only a verbal war but also a physical time of brutality. What would cause such a blessed nation to deteriorate in so many aspects? To find the answer, again we turn to the Bible, the collection of God's wisdom and commandments. Today we are imitating Israel where God said, "Oh, that my people would listen to Me! But my people would not heed My voice and Israel would have none of Me. So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart to walk in their own counsels." Other translations say, "To follow their own devices" (Psalm 81:12).
What does this mean? It reveals the true cause of American's problems which is sin. Mankind was born as sinners. And without salvation and the indwelling of the Lord with His Holy Spirit, we remain sinners. The scriptures stress the time of Noah as people unconcerned with God's laws. The danger they faced is the same for sinners today. While the Lord is about to return to judge and rule after the Tribulation, the exact timing is unknown. Therefore, believers are supposed to be ready at all times. By contrast, sinners could care less.
The sins are so apparent as are the various levels of media where curses are leveled at government officials. While the overall commandment is to love God and neighbor, God is even more specific, having the writers of holy scripture give advice to their contemporaries and to ages following:
Government: "Therefore, I exhort first of all that supplication, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all goodness and reverence" (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
"Let every soul be subject to the government authorities. For there is no authority except from God and the authorities that exist are appointed by God" (Romans 13:1).
Rulers: "Be wise, Oh kings; be instructed you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling" (Psalm2:10).
"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way" (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
Discussions: "Shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness, and their message will spread like cancer. Avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing they generate strife" (2 Timothy 2:16-17, 23).
Regardless of topics discussed here, with the advent of the Rapture, people will ask, "Why weren't we told?" For two thousand years, the words of Christ have beckoned every generation to "Be on your guard; the Son of Man will come when you least expect Him" (Luke 12:40). Earlier, I mentioned there IS a way to avoid the deadly machinations during the Tribulation. This is to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He is the only one that will forgive a sinful life and grant a heavenly eternity.