Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Will Jesus Leave Us Behind? - By Jonathan Brentner -
I was terrified! I had wandered away from my parents, and now I could not see them. For a brief moment, I wondered if they had left me behind. Maybe my parents thought I was with my older sister. Maybe each thought I was with the other. Where were they? I had looked away for just a moment, and now I did not see them!
The unfamiliar surroundings so far away from home made the situation much more frightful. We were visiting my sister in Southern California; and after spending the day sightseeing, we went to Chinatown for supper and shopping, where I became distracted looking at toys and lost sight of my parents.
After what seemed like an hour, although likely a minute or less, I located my mom and rushed to her side. It's likely my mom and dad never lost sight of me.
If our loving earthly parents would never leave a short seven-year-old boy behind to face danger, why do Bible teachers today say Jesus will leave some of his followers behind to face the terrors of the tribulation?
Theologians refer to this teaching as the partial rapture theory, which asserts that only those who are watching for the Lord's return, or who are ready for it, will return to heaven with Jesus when he comes for His church; and those not walking with the Lord at the time will go through the terrible time of the tribulation for further purification, a purgatory of sorts for living saints.
Will Jesus leave true believers behind when he comes for his church? Absolutely not! He would no more leave any of us behind than loving parents would leave their small child behind two thousand miles from home.
Not only does Scripture not teach this, it contradicts the message of grace by which the Lord saves us.
The Partial Rapture Contradicts the Gospel
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."
We receive eternal life by grace through faith, not as a result of our works or faithfulness. The Lord regenerates us and gives us the faith to believe. From start to finish, our salvation is all about Jesus and the Spirit's saving and preserving work inside us (Titus 3:4-7). Our salvation never depends upon our works.
2 Corinthians 5:21 says this, "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
The basis of our salvation is the righteousness of Jesus. We contribute nothing to our salvation. All those in Christ are a part of his forever-pure-and-spotless bride. We are "holy and blameless before" God simply because of our position in Christ (Eph. 1:3-4).
Since we already possess the very righteousness of Christ, in God's eyes, we do not need any further purification. It's not possible for us to improve the standing we already have since the Father always sees His Son's righteousness when He looks at us.
To claim any believer needs further purification insults God's work on our behalf and implies that Jesus' righteousness, which we possess, still lacks something in order to qualify us for inclusion in the rapture.
What is the Standard for Whom Jesus Takes in the Rapture?
My next objection to the partial-rapture doctrine is this: what's the standard for whom Jesus takes in the rapture? If Jesus is to leave some of his saints behind, how will He determine who needs additional purification in the tribulation?
Will the Lord qualify us for inclusion in the rapture on the basis of who is eagerly awaiting his appearing? For me, this changes several times a day as well as from day to day. There are days when I anticipate Jesus' return with great eagerness and other days when my mind becomes preoccupied with other things, and I am unaware of his imminent return for most of the day. How can this ever-changing quality be the basis for whom Jesus includes in the rapture?
Is maturity in Christ the standard? What passage supports such a works-based approach to our deliverance from the tribulation? Does not this leave those new to the faith at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to facing the terrors of this period?
Scripture Does Not Support a Partial Rapture
The New Testament passages that provide details of the rapture make no distinction between believers whom Jesus will take with him and those he will leave behind. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 says "the dead in Christ will rise first" after which "we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air..." The apostle gives no indication in this passage that Jesus will leave any believer, dead or alive, behind when he comes for his saints.
In writing to perhaps the most worldly church of the time, Paul makes it clear that at Jesus' return "we [living believers] shall all be changed" (1 Cor. 15:51). If the apostle was ever going to make such a distinction to teach about a partial rapture based on spiritual maturity, would he not have done so when writing to the carnal Corinthians?
Yet, in writing to them, Paul makes no differentiation between those who will receive an imperishable body at the time of the rapture and those who will not. Paul emphasizes that all living believers will "all be changed." We will all go up to meet Jesus in the air regardless of our readiness or maturity in Christ.
The only requirement for regenerated living saints to be included in the rapture...is to be alive!
The Partial Rapture Teaching Favors the Dead in Christ
In 1 Thessalonians 4:14, the apostle said this, "God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep," pointing to those who have died in Christ. Regardless of our maturity or level of faithfulness at the time of our death (if Jesus does not come before then), we all go to be with Jesus if we know Him as our Savior. Later, we all return with Jesus to be united with our newly resurrected and imperishable bodies (1 Thess. 4:13-18).
Death does not keep those in Christ from participating in the rapture. Paul promises us this in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17.
If saints who have already died do not require additional cleansing to participate in the rapture, why do some insist that some of us who will be alive at the time of Jesus' appearing will need purification?
And if it's true that living saints need further purification and the dead in Christ do not, would it not be much more advantageous to be dead in Christ at the time of the rapture?
It's crazy to even imagine such a distinction that makes it more advantageous to be a part of the dead in Christ at the time of the rapture.
As Protestants, we reject the doctrine of purgatory after death. Jesus paid fully the debt for our sins; there is no need for further purification. Hebrews 10:14 states, "For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified." Jesus' work on the cross is enough to forever make us perfect in righteousness and holiness.
God's Word is clear; Jesus' work on the cross is enough whether we are alive or already with Jesus at the time of the rapture. In either case, we do not need further purification in God's eyes. Christ's work on the cross is enough!!
The Partial Rapture Teaching Could Harm Those Left Behind
The partial rapture doctrine has the potential to do much harm to those left behind.
Imagine this scenario: someone believes they missed out on the rapture because of a lack of readiness or because of sin in their life when, in reality, he or she did not truly know the Lord as Savior. Rather than correct the relationship issue, they double down on the good works they trusted in the first place for their salvation.
Would that not leave them still outside of Christ? Can you see the potential for harm?
At the time of the rapture, many who think they are in Christ but do not truly know Him will remain earthbound. Perhaps they put their trust in things such as the sinner's prayer, good works, or church attendance rather than in the Savior and His work on the cross. Many of these will realize they missed meeting Jesus in the air because they never genuinely knew Him, and will fall to their knees.
We know from the book of Revelation that Jesus will save a great multitude of people during the seven years of the tribulation. I believe that many who now mistakenly think they know the Lord will be in that multitude of tribulation saints.
Why is the doctrine of a partial rapture so dangerous? It adds works to grace, contradicts the Gospel, and insults both the work and righteousness of Christ.
Those words may seem harsh, but consider the emphasis of the rapture passages on the inclusion of all those in Christ. No true believer, whether dead or alive at the time of the rapture, will miss out on the grand excitement of meeting Jesus in the air.
Christ's sacrifice on our behalf is enough and always will be. Those in Christ do not need further purification; we are already "holy and blameless before him" (Eph. 1:4). We cannot improve on that!
There is no purgatory (further cleansing of sin) for those in Christ, whether alive or already with the Lord; Jesus will not leave any of His own behind when He comes for His church.
The Cross is enough! Jesus will not leave us behind!
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The Iran-Turkey Threat - America and Israel are the Targets - Joseph Puder -
The United States and Israel must pay close attention to the two actors in the Middle East region who are increasingly challenging the West, and particularly American and Israeli interests. The two nations (actors) are Iran and Turkey. Both are Muslim states, and fundamentalist in nature. Iran is the core state of Shiite Islam, while Turkey seeks the leadership of Sunni-Islam, which is the dominant branch of Islam (about 87-90% of world Muslims are Sunni). The Islamic Republic of Iran has shown its deadly hostility toward the U.S. from its very beginning in 1979, following the Islamic revolution, which overthrew the Shah of Iran. The Islamist revolutionaries invaded the U.S. embassy and kept 52 U.S. diplomats as hostages for 444 days. Subsequently, in a murderous campaign to gain exclusive power, the Ayatollah Khomeini and his fanatical followers murdered all opposition.
In April, 1983, Iran's chief proxy, the Lebanese-Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah, on orders from the Ayatollahs in Tehran, bombed the U.S. embassy in Beirut, killing 17 Americans. In October of the same year, two truck bombs used by Hezbollah against the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, killed 241 U.S. Marine peacekeepers. Iran, through its proxies, continued to strike at American people, and American interests in the region. Iran, in violation of international law, mined the Persian Gulf in 1988. One such mine struck the USS Samuel Roberts, injuring 10 U.S sailors. In 1996, Hezbollah, with Iranian backing, truck bombed the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, killing 19 American military personnel and wounding 372. Iran helped al-Qaeda, including the 9/11, hijackers, transit through Iran to their training ground in Afghanistan. Following the U.S. overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the Iranian regime backed Shiite militias in killing Americans. It provided training, arms and material support, including improvised explosive devises (IED) that killed and maimed countless U.S. military personnel. Africa and Latin America, as well as in Europe, Iran and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) targeted American interests.
The list of attacks and attempted assassinations on U.S. soil and in Europe deserve a separate article. Fast forward to here and now...since May, 2019, when the U.S. administration warned Iran that its provocations would lead to the U.S. using "unrelenting force," the Iranians have continued to harass U.S. and British interests with impunity. Tehran sabotaged four tankers in May and attacked two more on June 13th. In mid-June, Iraqi Shiite militias, loyal to Iran, fired rockets on U.S. bases in Iraq. They have apparently figured out that with a year away from elections in the U.S., the Trump administration won't consider getting into a major war with Iran. They are therefore testing the limits of U.S. patience.
Mohammad Ali Jafari, former commander of the IRGC, reacting to the spike in tension with the U.S. threatened that Iran is able to draw upon its network of militant proxies. He implied that the upside of the recent conflict (with the U.S.) has been the "mobilization of nearly 200,000 armed youth in different countries in the region..." This might be sheer bluster, but the U.S. must be prepared.
In the meantime, Iran is brazenly increasing its nuclear activities. The U.S. Institute of Peace, in an article by Kelsey Davenport on July 8, 2019, reported that, "Since July 1 (2019), Iran has engaged in two breaches of the 2015 nuclear deal. On July 1, (2019) it increased its stockpile of low-enriched uranium above the 300-kilogram limit. On July 8, (2019) it increased enrichment (of uranium) from the limit of 3.67 percent to 4.5 percent."
Iran's threat to Israel is far more immediate and serious. Israel, however, is prepared to respond to Iran with overwhelming force if needed. Iran used Hamas last May to fire 700 rockets from Gaza into Israel. It is also planning a coordinated missile attack on Israel, involving Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria, and Iraqi Shiite militias from western Iraq. The lesson from the Holocaust is clear, never ignore a demagogue's threat. Hitler materialized his threat and murdered two-thirds of Europe's Jewry. Now, the Iranian leaders are making similar genocidal threats against the Jewish state, including Iran's president Hassan Rouhani, who proclaimed last November that, "Israel is a 'cancerous tumor,' and a 'fake regime,' set up by western countries." Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei went even farther, calling Israel, "A cancer in the region that must be removed." Mojtaba Zolnour, chairman of the Iranian Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Commission threatened that, "If the U.S. attacks us, only half an hour will remain of Israel's lifespan," Given the Iranian regime's apocalyptic beliefs about the coming of the Mahdi, (Shiite messiah), and its quest for nuclear bombs, Iran poses a global threat.
Turkey, once a NATO bulwark against Soviet adventurism, is now a serious concern to the West. Most of it has to do with Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an arrogant, and dictatorial leader, who consolidated his power by appealing to Islamism, with dreams of leading the Sunni Muslim world. He has whittled away at the secular republic built by Ataturk (The founder of Modern Turkey), and in recent years he has moved away from the West while embracing the Muslim world, including Iran. He is cooperating with Iran and Russia in Syria, while confronting the U.S. with threats to destroy Washington's allies, the Rojave Kurds, who helped the U.S. defeat ISIS.
It seems increasingly clear that should hostilities between the U.S. and Iran turn into war, Erdogan's Turkey may not honor its mutual-defense pledge under article 5 of the NATO charter. Erdogan has become one of the most vocal opponents of the U.S. sanctions against Iran. Erdogan's decision to buy the Russian S-400 missile defense system has further alienated him from the U.S. and NATO.
In Syria, Turkish and Iranian interests converge, both rejecting Kurdish assertion of self-determination, and as Russia takes a more global view on the issues, Turkey and Iran have gotten closer. Iran, Russia, and Turkey have launched the Astana peace process (shaping the future of Syria), excluding the U.S. and its allies. Russia's sympathetic view on Israel's security concerns regarding Iranian and Hezbollah's creeping encroachment toward the Israeli border in the Golan, is another reason for the anti-Semitic Erdogan to find common ground with the anti-Semitic regime in Tehran.
According to Israel Hayom (July 9, 2019), "Turkish organizations teach Arab kids from East Jerusalem that Israel is theirs." Turkish authorities have allowed the military wing of Hamas to operate an office in Istanbul that plans terror attacks, as well as transferring funds to Hamas activists in the West Bank. Erdogan's Justice and Development Party shares common ground with Hamas in that both are affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Three years ago, Erdogan appealed to the Muslim world to defend the Palestinians against Israel, and when Israel reacted to Hamas' rocket attacks against Israeli civilians, he called Netanyahu a "terrorist," and labelled Israel a "terrorist state."
The Jerusalem Post quoted Erdogan as telling young Turks at an Istanbul meeting of the Turkey Youth Foundation, that "The Jews in Israel kick people laying on the ground. In fact, Jews don't kick (just) men but also women and children when they fall on the ground."
Erdogan's blatant antisemitism, and his recurrent tirades against Israel, makes him as much a future threat to Israel as the mullahs of Iran. The anti-American, and anti-Israel venom coming out Ankara and Tehran cannot and must not be ignored.
Nearing Midnight: The Mass Murder Cycle - Todd Strandberg - https://www.raptureready.com/category/nearing-midnight/
There have been at least a dozen times in the history of Rapture Ready that I've written a Nearing Midnight article about some mass murder event. I've never produced an article that had two such events that occurred within days of each other. As you all know, 22 people were killed in El Paso, and 9 people were killed in Dayton.
The pointless loss of life is always the most distressing thing, but I am increasingly bothered by how methodical the media and politicians have become in reacting to these events. The press rushes in to milk out all the emotional points from the victims. Then they place the blame on Republicans, the NRA and Fox News for fomenting hate; never mind the fact that the shooters were once again fans of Democratic causes. Finally, we are reminded that all gun violence can be solved by us turning over our weapons to the government.
The liberal media can get my blood pleasure up with some of the most subtle remarks. One Yahoo news article simply said that Trump broke his silence over the El Paso shooting. The reporter was sneakily implying that Trump shared some blame in the tragedy, and he was at a rare loss for words. Another reporter did even better while going after Senate leader Mitch McConnell. While blaming McConnell for inaction, he noted that he was the current leader of the Senate. The reporter must have physic powers that senses balance of power is about to switch sides.
With the news business long dead, we have propagandists manning the news desks. These political hacks are longing for the days of the Obama presidency. It was eight peaceful years where no one mass murder events took place. To put this work of fiction to bed, someone created a list of events that remind us of the rivers of blood that plagued Obama's term:
The most important list is a constantly updating mass murder list. This record of ever-changing highest death counts is a testament of how crazy our society has become:
There is another mass murder list that is taking place in our major cities. We don't read reports about these deaths because they occur in the single digits. The city of Chicago during the first week of this month had shootings that left seven people dead and another 52 people wounded. The victims ranged from 5 to 56 years old.
The city's emergency rooms were so badly stretched to the limit that Mt. Sinai Hospital in Douglas Park was forced to go on bypass for several hours. All wounded were directed to the city's four other trauma units.
It should be obvious that the reason for the violence is that our society has drifted from biblical moral values. If someone dares to bring up sin as the possible cause, they get shouted down.
When Chicago voters elected Lori Lightfoot as mayor, I was very disappointed that she was a lesbian. I was absolutely mortified that there is not a single Republican among the 12 people running for that office. You would think that after 40 years of failed socialism, some part of the voters would seek an alternative. If California continued having major earthquakes, the current mentality would call for the election of a Satanist for the governorship.
The mass murder cycle cannot continue on forever. Eventually, we are going to reach a point where lawlessness will make people willing to give up their freedom to have some form of security. When we become so blind as to make such a choice, we no longer deserve to have either.
"The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Children in Fear - By Hal Lindsey -
On Sunday, August 4th, America had just experienced two mass shootings in a matter of hours. At that moment, one of the most politically correct men in America tweeted something he would quickly regret. Neil deGrasse Tyson, well-known atheist and science popularizer tweeted, "In the past 48hrs, the USA horrifically lost 34 people to mass shootings. On average, across any 48hrs, we also lose... 500 to Medical errors, 300 to the Flu, 250 to Suicide, 200 to Car Accidents, 40 to Homicide via Handgun. Often our emotions respond more to spectacle than to data."
He overstated the El Paso and Dayton death tolls saying 34 died when the actual number was 22. But that's not what outraged his Twitter followers. They were angered because they felt he had downplayed the shootings. One person wrote, "This is the most heartless tweet in the history of social media." Later, Tyson apologized, saying, "I got this wrong."
Dr. Tyson and I are polar opposites on most issues. But I agree with him on several things here. First, I agree that he got it wrong - not the words or data, but the timing. He said the truth, but he said it too soon. He sent out the tweet while Americans still sat in shock, watching the aftermath of the horror on their television screens.
But even though I think he said it at the wrong time, I agree that it should at some point be said. In fact, it's crucial. Here's why. We're needlessly terrorizing our children.
It's hard enough for an adult to realize America's size. A child cannot understand how extremely unlikely it is that he or she might be shot at school, or while shopping at the mall. Even adults have a tough time picturing how many millions of people went to Walmart over the last month, in complete safety. For children, the numbers are unfathomable. But they instantly relate to shock, horror, and terror. They may not understand the whys and hows, but they pick up on fear. And adults are afraid.
On August 7th, a motorcycle backfired in Times Square. People thought it was an active shooter. The ensuing panic resulted in several injuries. Since the El Paso and Dayton shootings, there have been similar events all over the country.
In Lubbock, Texas, someone at the Social Security Administration offices saw a person park a car in the employee parking lot, then run away. They called police and evacuated the building. Homeland Security showed up. It turned out that the person was simply late for a job interview and that's why he ran when he left the car. In times past, it would have been no big deal. But these days Americans are on edge.
Children already live in fear. Many of them can no longer play in their own front yards. More and more wear armor plated backpacks at school. A child is far more likely to die in a traffic accident on the way to school than to be killed by a gunman while at school. But traffic deaths don't result in wall-to-wall media coverage.
We must teach our children to respect danger, but not live in fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
Even in perilous times, we need to know and to teach our young the wonderful truth of Psalms 121:2. "My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth." When the Maker of heaven and earth has promised to help you, fear loses its awful grip.
If you're a follower of Jesus, pray for the children. When you encounter them, be reassuring and kind. Families and churches should not make a child's entertainment their primary goal. Instead, we must teach kids about the love of God, and His faithfulness to all who put their trust in Him. Teach them that heaven is real, but that God's provision and care starts here on earth. Above all, we must consistently express our own confidence in the Lord and our love for Him.
Daily Jot: Marriage - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
My parents were married just a few months shy of 50 years-my dad checked out early for a trip to heaven. My wife's parents were married 61 years before her dad passed away. Chris and I are into year 31. This is at a time when many young people are not seeing the value of marriage. More and more are opting to live together, even have children, before getting married. Some Millennial generation young adults have told me that marriage is outdated. Others say that with the trauma they experienced with their parents getting divorced, they do not want to risk marriage. The divorce rate is as high among Christians as it is in the general population. But marriage is essential to the family unit and the core of the nation.
There is a story about a couple in California who have been married 68 years. It is worth a read, as reported by CBS 13 in Sacramento: "It's one thing to match on your wedding day but it's another to match for 68 years. That's what Francis and Rosemary Klontz have been doing for seven decades. And they sing, too! Francis and Rosemary Klonts met in Junior High in Auburn, Washington.Every note they sing and every outfit they wear is perfectly harmonized. "My mother got us matching shirts when we were in high school-well, I picked them out-and we've been matching ever since," Rosemary Klonts said. "And I thought she was the cutest little thing," Francis Klonts said. "By the time we were seniors, we started going together."
"Married for 68 years next month, Francis knows the term happy wife, happy life all too well - letting his bride of more than half a century pick his outfits every day. "Jesus first, others second, you last - that's the way you spell JOY. (singing) Jesus and others and you - what a wonderful way to spell joy!" Rosemary Klonts said. And these "singing chaplains" perform at their local church, hospitals, and even just around the house. It's a pitch-perfect, match made in heaven." This couple has found the formula to maintain a happy life. They have Christ in the center of their union. Ecclesiastes 4:9 says, "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor."
Verse 4:12 finishes that "a three-strand chord is not quickly broken," which is interpreted by many as the strength of two people tied together in marriage as strengthened by the third, which is Christ. While this is a bit out of context, it is true. Without God at the center, things can fall apart pretty quickly. Divorce statistics are showing there are slightly fewer divorces, and it is largely attributed to people living together and not getting married. Marriage and family are foundational to a strong society. We should celebrate those who have successful marriages and learn from them. For as Christ said in Matthew 19:6, "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Again, the three-strand chord concept.
Daily Devotion: When the Battle Lines Were Drawn - by Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.-Genesis 3:15
Anti-Semitism, the hatred of Jewish people, is devilish and goes back a long way. After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, God said to Satan, "I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel" (Genesis 3:15 NLT).
Game on. The battle lines were being drawn, and the Devil knew that a deliverer, a Messiah, would arrive on the scene. He also knew he would come through the Jewish people.
In Exodus we see the Pharaoh giving the decree to put to death all the Jewish baby boys. But courageous Hebrew midwives refused to follow his decree and saved those baby boys. One of those boys was placed in a little basket with some pitch around it to keep it afloat, and it was sent cruising down the Nile River. That little baby boy came to be known as Moses, and he delivered the Jewish people from the bondage of Pharaoh.
Then you come to the book of Esther, and the Devil is at it again with a plot to destroy the Jewish people. But God intervened.
Maybe you're at a point in life where you're saying, "I don't feel like God is with me at all. I feel as though I'm all alone." If you are not a Christian, God is with you in a broad sense, because God is omnipresent. He is everywhere. But there's a difference between God being with you and God being in you.
That's really what being a Christian is. It's having Christ living inside of you. God wants to be a part of your life. It may seem as though He isn't paying attention to you, but actually He is.
FROM THE HEART
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"Folks, it's all beginning to unravel. America is in more danger of falling than at any time in its history. But I believe Bible prophecy predicts this very decline. From this point on, we believers have to get serious. We are going to face discouragement, disillusionment and, most certainly, persecution in the time between now and the Rapture. But don't be discouraged or disillusioned. The coming turmoil will provide us unrivaled opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel. So be ready to share your faith and your hope with those who need Christ. We still have time to reap a great harvest of souls for God's kingdom!" - Hal Lindsey
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