There is absolutely no *hint* of a rapture in this entire passage where Jesus discusses the end of this world.
“And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:4-14 NKJV)
He even continues this discourse, and immediately says we will see anti-christ flaunting himself as God, affirming that we indeed will be here for when he takes his good-guy mask off and begins his tyranny. Again, no mention of a rapture yet:
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.” (Matthew 24:15-28 NKJV)
Still no mentioning of His return and gathering up all of His people into the clouds, off the earth and transporting them to heaven. Not a word on this phenomenon yet. But, let’s keep reading His sermon, for He isn’t finished:
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:29-31)
Ah, there it is; immediately after the tribulation of those days just described. So, in the very end, after chaos has reigned, and anti-christ has wreaked havoc on the church, then Christ comes on the clouds and gathers His people to Himself.
The doctrine of the rapture is a lie, and one that I am afraid too many put their hope in. Rather in hoping in the resurrection at the last day (John 6:39, 40, 44, 54), people are hoping in a very early escape, a secret rapture, where Christ doesn’t reveal Himself for all the world to see, but just vaporizes His people and they appear in heaven and no one knows where they went or who took them.
This is pure fantasy. It is not biblical, and I’m afraid it helps many in the church to be unprepared for the great tribulation that will fall upon her and truly test her faith in dreadful fire. What will happen to the faith of those who are so trusting in this pre-tribulation rapture when anti-christ enacts laws that prevents them from buying food unless they worship him? What will happen if they have to face beheading for following Christ? Will they renounce their faith because God disappointed them for not coming when they believed He would? Would they be able to suffer such hardships, or desire comfort and quick relief from their pain and just accept the mark of the beast?
If pastors were preaching the truth, the church would be more equipped. But instead, they choose to deceive themselves and the people for what?Money? Fame? Acceptance? Accolade?
I fear for those believing such blatantly unbiblical lies because they are just waiting to be snatched up and aren’t praying and preparing for a faith that won’t falter even in the midst of abuse and impending death. Instead of praying, “Lord in Jesus’ name please help me endure until the end, like You say, that those who persevere will receive the crown of life. Help me withstand the enemy in the face of every persecution and trial that is coming. Help me always trust You and to never deny You.”
Instead of praying that, they’re praying, “Lord come and take me away so I don’t have to go through all that.”
And God is saying, “No. I told you when I would come for you. Therefore, be strong. Hold fast to your faith, for an hour of great testing is going to befall you to show if you are really Mine.”
Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped. (Revelation 14:9-16 NKJV)
He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (Matthew 13:37-43 NKJV)
Blown away by God’s love and pursuit of a 72-year-old woman.
Just had a Jesus and the woman at the well experience; how Jesus made sure He passed through Samaria so He could reach that one woman, who in turn, told her whole town about Him, and many were saved.
My experience with this 72-year-old woman also reminded me of the parable Jesus taught about how the shepherd leaves the 99 in search of the one. I played back everything that brought me to that room where she and I were alone, and was so touched by God’s love and pursuit of her.
I needed an oil change for a long time, and kinda forgot about it until hubby reminded me this morning. So, after I dropped him off at work, I drove to Roberto’s shop. He was too busy so I went for option two: a Jewish mechanic in another city a good 25 minutes away, but then remembered it’s the Sabbath so he’s closed.
As I’m driving, I look to the left and see a shop I’ve never-ever seen before, “Mac Auto,” across the street from Roberto’s. It didn’t look half as packed as his so I give my dad a holler, and he says to go for it, that’ll it likely be around $30 to $35 bucks.
I go, and it’s actually $15 and change! The guy, Pablo, said I didn’t need the more expensive ones for my ’03 Toyota (I know, a mechanic who didn’t try to up-sale me. So the Lord!).
Anyhow, Pablo says it’ll be an hour-and-a-half wait. So I give my sister a ring, who lives nearby, and ask if she can scoop me up. She says sure, that she’ll come after prayer.
So Pablo points out the waiting room, and in I go. Seconds after, a woman comes in. As I read my Bible on my phone, we sit in silence. I don’t have that compelling prodding of the Holy Spirit to speak to her, so I pray a prayer in my mind, asking something I usually ask, but also for something I never ask; something like this:
Lord, if you desire me to minister to her, open the door of conversation, give me the words, but let me grow a love for her.
See, since I didn’t get that prodding, I wanted to tell her whatever Christ wanted me to tell her and that it would be from love, not obligation. If I had opened my mouth right then and there, it would have been from obligation to preach the gospel, a duty, rather than a service of love.
So after about ten minutes of silence, Pablo comes and closes the door, which causes the woman to ask, “Why did he shut the door?”
I, knowing God is up to something, go with it. “Well, there is A/C in here.” I stood and turned down the wall-unit. “Thank God it’s not as hot out today.”
“Well the heat is better than up North. I couldn’t take it up there.”
We begin talking about where she’s from and then something amazing happens: she tells me things that cause compassion to instantly rise in my heart. She continues, and more compassion floods in. She is from the Rosa Parks era. She said she was worse than Rosa Parks, and never sat on the back of the bus. She mentioned a few more things that just caused me to grow a love for her—the love Christ has for her.
And so my opportunity came. I told her about the Holy Spirit, a little about how He changed me, the necessity of Christian fellowship, of Christian family (she had been raised in the church, and enjoyed a very close fellowship of sacrificial love and what she called a “melting pot” of believers in her old neighborhood). But after moving here, she went to the church buildings and experienced a lot of politics and emotional abuse from false prophets and money-hungry goons.
Interestingly enough, hubby and I no longer attend a service at a building, but just gather at a home where there’s food, prayer, worship, study, fellowship and accountability. We are like a family. I was able to share this with her and she even allowed me to pray over her. From all that she’s been through, and the way she reacted to a rowdy customer, I knew she was a tough woman. But after the prayer, she had tears in her eyes, and I saw a softening in her heart.
And this is the God I serve. Jesus Christ is exactly who He said He is: the Good Shepherd who came to seek and to save the lost, to heal the sick, and to set the captive free. She needed emotional healing, and I believe this may have been the start of that process.
To think, she is 72-years-old, no longer in deep community with the church, and here Jesus pursues her and reminds her of His love for her, the importance of Christian fellowship, and who knows what else. But He didn’t look at her age and go, “Eh, there’s younger folks out there who have more time. I’ll focus on them.” He doesn’t discriminate based on outward appearance. He searches the heart, and draws all people to Himself. Not all will come when they hear Him call, but some will, and even if it’s just one, He will make time for that precious soul.
This is me, mind-blown at Christ’s love for a 72-year-old woman.
Dare I take this election lightly. Would I lodge this High Calling beneath my bed like a box of old goods, never to be utilized again?
But you are his chosen people, the King’s priests. You are a holy nation, people who belong to God. He chose you to tell about the wonderful things he has done. He brought you out of the darkness of sin into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9 ERV)
How can I so spit upon the loving mercy and lavish grace of my Lord, whose greatest desire is to conform me to the image of His Son? How can I selfishly resist this transforming process from glory to glory, and refuse to share His love and grace with others?
Do I seize His forgiveness and—like Smeagol and the ring of power—horde this precious gift for my self and never share it? Or is this the second greatest call of my election—to preach the gospel?
Our King treaded the earth, likely with blistering feet, many times hungry and in great thirst so that the gospel of His saving grace may be made known to those in darkness. Every day He answered that call, and out of His mouth came the very words, “For this is why I have come.”
If this relentless preacher of the gospel so lives in us, how can we lack zeal? How can we be bound by fear? How can we bite our tongues?
It is sin.
O, how I pray that whatever darkness is keeping us from passionately proclaiming the truth of our precious Savior is forsaken, is thrown out like the blackened water it is! May the poison of sin be extracted from our hearts that it may no longer pollute the holy blood that has previously cleansed us.
Beloved, you know what sin you hold in your right hand, and I beg of you to release it. Then you will be strengthened from on High, revived by the flames of Love Himself, that you may go out and be a blazing beacon of the very Truth that has set you free. If you are in Christ yet enslaved to sin, it is only because you are choosing to be. And if you love your sin more than you love our Savior, is His Holy Spirit truly still in you?
If you love sin, how can He who hates it truly dwell in you?
Repent and be renewed as King David was resurrected from the death His sin brought upon him. Turn aside from your sin and cry out to Jesus. He will deliver all who call on His name. And you will walk in the greatest callings: conformity to Jesus Christ, and bringing the good news of salvation to others; becoming holy and worthy of the call, and rescuing souls from eternal darkness. There is no greater cause than these.
May you be made whole, and may we meet in the new city of our King in the next life.
If we judge the outcome of a situation based on what we see or what we’ve always known, we are judging with human wisdom, not God’s wisdom.
God looked at Gideon, in the weakest of tribes at the time, a cowardly man, and called him a mighty warrior. God didn’t judge him by even his present fearful condition. God, in His omniscience, saw Gideon for what he was to become in the future.
God looked at big-mouthed Peter before he even surrendered his life to Him and said he would be a rock that will be used to build the church.
God looked at Saul when he was an ardent persecutor of Christians, and said of him, “this man is My chosen instrument to take My name to Gentiles, kings, and the Israelites.” (Acts 9:15)
So may we not write off anyone, for God alone knows the final outcome of their life. May we instead obey God’s command to walk by faith and not by sight, and hope for things not yet seen in those we are praying for.
Someone prayed for you and didn’t give up. Such faith is pleasing to God and can move mountains.
Let us speak life over those we are praying for, no matter how much darkness they are entrenched in, believing that He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. And our God hears prayer and He answers. He will do His part to reach that lost soul. May we do ours.
I know a lot of pastors who like to preach about the great plans God has for all of us. Now, this is true for some, but not all. Hear me out before you start gettin’ ruffled feathers.
The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:18-25, 27-31:
“But now God has placed each one of the parts in one body just as He wanted. And if they were all the same part, where would the body be? Now there are many parts, yet one body. So the eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you! ” Or again, the head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you! ” But even more, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are necessary. And those parts of the body that we think to be less honorable, we clothe these with greater honor, and our unpresentable parts have a better presentation. But our presentable parts have no need of clothing. Instead, God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the less honorable, so that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other. Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it. And God has placed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, next miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, managing, various kinds of languages. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all do miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in other languages? Do all interpret? But desire the greater gifts. And I will show you an even better way.”
Not everyone is going to be behind a pulpit speaking to thousands. Not everyone is going to be “famous” for Jesus (though heaven will know who they are). Some people are the helpers as Paul said, or the managers. Some are the moms who raise up devoted followers of Christ. Some are Sunday School teachers. Whatever God has called you to do may not be “great” according to the world’s standard, but He promises His plans for you are good, pleasing, and acceptable.
Paul emphasizes the importance of the parts of the body we deem weaker and how we’re all on level ground in Christ Jesus. There are no celebrities with special benefits in God’s economy. And I personally think those who walk around like they are, probably aren’t even true Christians. But I digress.
The point is, whatever your calling is, embrace it, even if it’s a behind-the-scenes gig. Because God says it’s good and will be pleasing. He predestined good works for you to walk in, but if you’re wasting time envying and chasing someone else’s calling, you’ll end up rather unhappy and will more than likely end up falling into sin because you’re not where you’re supposed to be.
I love you guys, and I pray you walk on God’s paths for your life rather than wandering lost onto someone else’s.
Dear Kate Hudson,
As I write this, tears blur my vision and fall from my eyes. I don’t know the number of hairs on your head, I’ve never even seen you in person, yet here I am, crying for you. I can’t imagine how Your Creator, the very One who fashioned you in your mother’s womb, who gave you your beautiful big blue eyes, and that incredible voice, the One who wrote every day of your life before a single one of them came to be—I can’t imagine how He must weep for you.
Do you remember the shortest verse in the Bible? “Jesus wept.”
The only way I can rationalize your turning away from so Great a Love is that you must not have truly known Him. How could it be possible to forsake the most perfect, good, amazing Being in the Universe? The Perfect Man who left His heavenly home to live on this dark earth for thirty-three long years and then be brutally beaten and die, suffering hell—eternal separation from God—for all mankind. For you.
How must He feel when He sees what has happened to your heart? How lost you must be, how blind to the fact that Satan laughs because he sees your destruction. He lifts people up only to drag them down. For he hates humans with a perfect hatred. After all, God made us in His very image, and through Christ He offers us all ever Satan wanted—the throne.
Christians are a royal priesthood. Sons and daughters of the Supreme King. He offers us a crown, and the ability to rule alongside Him. This is what Satan wanted, to be exalted, but instead, he was cast down, thrown from heaven, and his end is eternal destruction because of his rebellion.
Do you not see? You may have fame and riches here on earth, but would you truly cast yourself into eternal fire for things that can be taken from you at any second, whenever the Giver and Taker of life decides your time is up?
You must not understand what you’re doing. Satan is the father of all lies. He can be very convincing. But I pray you see the Truth. I pray you understand how God’s wrath abides on the disobedient. How Satan’s demons trembled at the presence of Christ, and how He rules over all. There is no escaping God’s judgement. Do you wish to face Him as Father, or as Sword-bearer?
I’m pleading with you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to your Creator. You can forsake death and destruction and be embraced by a Love worth living for.
You may never read this, but know that I am praying for you. But more importantly, know that Jesus truly does love you. And there is no one who will ever come an inch close to loving you as deeply as He does.
I pray you come back home.
My precious brothers and sisters, I am so encouraged this morning by the faithful love of our Father. How the Supreme Ruler and Creator of the Universe—of all things—called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light.
I encourage you to stop for a moment and remember the darkness He called you out of …
My darkness was a broken and defeated heart. I had given all the love I could muster at the time to a guy who tried to embrace it, but eventually rejected it—three times. Have you have experienced that; giving your whole heart to another broken human being in hopes that they’d take care of it and trust you with theirs in return, only to find they couldn’t? It’s so heart breaking, especially if you’ve experienced it repeatedly—let alone with the same person.
But I thank the King, Jesus Christ, that He didn’t reject me when I cried out to Him, though I had rejected His love unwittingly and some times without thinking twice, many times before.
February 22nd 2009, I finally answered His call out of the darkness of that relationship, of trying to satisfy my heart’s longing with human love, and surrendered to His. And today I rejoice in the promise He gave me that night, and has fulfilled, and continues to fulfill to this day, almost five years later. I encourage you to do the same, family.
Here’s what He told me:
May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble; May the name of the God of Jacob defend you; May He send you help from the sanctuary, And strengthen you out of Zion; May He remember all your offerings, And accept your burnt sacrifice. Selah May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, And fulfill all your purpose. We will rejoice in your salvation, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners! May the Lord fulfill all your petitions. Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven With the saving strength of His right hand. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the Lord our God. They have bowed down and fallen; But we have risen and stand upright. Save, Lord ! May the King answer us when we call. (Psalms 20:1-9 NKJV)
Following Christ is a choice. Obeying Him is a choice, as is disobeying Him. If you truly desire to pick up your cross, deny yourself, and follow Him, He will imbue you with His most powerful Holy Spirit, and enable you to follow/obey Him.
Do not believe the deception that you can partially follow His way, and then follow your own heart and standards in other ways and still get to heaven:
“But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62 NLT)
I’m begging you, if you are in sin, if you are disobeying Christ’s commands, lowering or compromising God’s standard for your life, please repent. You many not have tomorrow or even tonight to do so! And do not let your heart, which the Bible calls deceitful and wicked, tell you it’s okay, that God will forgive you when you are dead and face Him.
“Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit … And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1 NLT)
“For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10 NLT)
In other words, just feeling bad or guilty about your sin isn’t enough. Trying to cover it up by church attendance or service, isn’t enough. You must repent, or you will experience spiritual death: eternal destruction of your soul.
I beg you, do not take this lightly or call me radical. I am merely quoting the words of the Bible, not my opinion.
I love you, and God loves you, but you cannot “trample on Christ’s sacrifice” and think you won’t receive judgement. Paul says those who continue sinning deliberately, after knowing Christ’s standards, should only expect:
“Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies.”(Hebrews 10:26, 27 NLT)
Our past sins are covered, but if we continue sinning after receiving knowledge of the truth, those sins will not be covered.
I leave you with this:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin. And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord ’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong. Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal. You know that afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears.”(Hebrews 12:1-17 NLT)