Thursday, June 7, 2012

What Holds Your Attention?

One of my dear readers kindly emailed to tell me about a wedding shower she and her husband recently attended at their church.  As expected, there were tables filled with beautifully wrapped gifts for the couple to open, along with platters of scrumptious food and drinks, making the setting appropriately festive. 

During the course of the evening, the general conversation strangely turned to the subject of death.  Perhaps someone was thinking about the wedding vow of being faithful ‘till death do us part.’  The guests began to describe what they would want their own funeral to be like and where they would want to be buried.  

My reader spoke up and said, “I plan to skip all that and go up in the rapture.”  This comment was met with an awkward silence.  One gentleman said, “Every generation has been expecting His coming,” to which she replied, “I’m aware of that. That’s why we’re supposed to be watching because the signs are more apparent than ever.” 

This Christian man unconsciously alluded to 2 Peter 3:3-4 which states, “Knowing this first, that in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming?  For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’”  This cynical opinion was expressed by a professing Christian!  

To me, this is shocking!  I mean, I can understand a non-believer holding this attitude. Actually, I always thought that verse was speaking of a non-believer but to hear that a Christian who supposedly placed Jesus first in his life challenged the idea of the rapture, just floors me! 

How is it possible for a born again child of God to be a bona fide scoffer?  To speak of our blessed hope with derision and mock a sister in Christ in front of other people?  All I can do is say to myself, ‘Well Donna honey, you poor, little ignorant darlin’, welcome to the end times!’ 

 Apparently a surprising number of fellow Christians echo that same attitude; ‘well, people have been waiting for centuries so why should He show up in this day and age?’  Are they completely insane?  No, they must be addicted to that insidious drug called ‘gimmemore.’ 

Now, I’ll admit it’s a bit challenging to close my eyes and try to envision what’s waiting for us in heaven when Jesus finally snatches us off this wretched planet.  Paul informs us in             1 Corinthians 2:9, “But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

I suppose I should cut these people a break. After all, the only things we flesh and blood mortals are familiar with are these physical bodies with their needs and desires, and this physical earth with its temptations and lures and sparkly goodies. We have NO frame of reference for heaven or the things God has prepared, so it’s little wonder it can be difficult to get excited about going there! 

Let me try to look at this situation from the opposite angle. Forgive my impertinence but what if we get to heaven and it’s boring?  I wonder if that’s one of the concerns these fellow believers have these days. When you’re really involved in this world, there are plenty of distractions that can be very appealing.   

Perhaps a house with a better kitchen, maybe even located in the upscale neighborhood your snooty PTA President lives in. That sports car your husband has wanted since he was in 11th grade.  Here’s a good one for those in my age range: plastic surgery! Oh, to have everything pulled back up where God intended it to be!  *sigh* 

OK, I’ll admit there are some things that can still capture my attention. After all, I’ve never been to heaven, so I really don’t know what it will be like. Of course, it will beat the alternative hands down, but will it live up to the thrill of what I could be striving for here?  As with many things, it comes down to a matter of trust in what God has told us in His Word.  

If I visited several evangelical churches in my area and took an unofficial poll, I wonder how many professing Christians would honestly want the rapture to take place this very day?  How many truly want to go home?  

More often than not, when I speak of my longing for the rapture, I’m met with blank stares from fellow believers as if I was some freakish alien. It’s like people get numb or turn off intellectually when the subject comes up. 

When is the last time your pastor taught about the most incredible event in human history and how world events are screaming its imminence?  Probably about the same time you last heard a message on hell and the cross. Years ago, right?   

Folks might as well get their noses back in their Bibles and let go of the cravings and goals of this earthly life.  What’s the point of sticking all your eggs in a basket that’s decaying or will surely be destroyed?  After all, that bigger house and cute sports car won’t be going with us when we’re raptured, and since we’re SO close, what’s the point of giving those things all our attention?  It’s a silly waste of time! 

We need to be scurrying around, stuffing our heavenly coffers with acts of love and giving in Jesus’ name while we still have the opportunity to earn more heavenly rewards!  Don’t know about you, but I don’t worry about timing and beating the markets here or how much money I’ll have to live on when I retire.  

I take comfort in knowing that even in this dire, collapsing economy, my investment in Christ is sheltered because everything single thing I’ve ever done in His name has been sent on ahead to be deposited as eternal treasure and is already safely placed in my mansion.  No Wall Street banker blow-hard will ever be able to get his mitts on what I’ve earned!  

Since I started out telling you about a wedding shower, let me ask you some important questions related to that subject. Do you consider yourself to be redeemed by Christ?  Are you part of His eternal church which He refers to as His Bride?  

If so, is your attention focused on earthly things or is your heart longing to join the one you love the most, your Groom?  Jesus is coming for His radiant Bride very soon. While you’re still on this earth, continue to do what you have to do to live but be sure to listen closely for His shout to ‘Come up here!’  I have a feeling it’s going to catch a whole lot of people off guard! 


10 comments:

Unknown said...

I love what you post and check all the time to find out what things you are focusing on, but allow me to say that I have focused hard on the Second Coming of Christ all of my Christian life, now 35 years ardently following the Lord and writing and teaching the scriptures more than 3 times every week. But I have to be honest, in all that time, and to the vast depths of scripture that i have pursued, I have never found not one scripture that indicates that we are going to be raptured before the trouble/tribulation starts. Every indication to me is that we are to prepare ourselves spiritually for the days ahead. I read devotionally Genesis to Revelation every year but have found nothing to make me believe in a pre-tribualation rapture. Don't get me wrong, i do believe in the rapture, but my Bible says that the Great Tribulation will happen before the rapture according to Matthew 24-29-31. Please give me a scripture to hold on to if you believe we will be raptured before the Antichrist comes on the scene.

Unknown said...

I love what you post and check all the time to find out what things you are focusing on, but allow me to say that I have focused hard on the Second Coming of Christ all of my Christian life, now 35 years ardently following the Lord and writing and teaching the scriptures more than 3 times every week. But I have to be honest, in all that time, and to the vast depths of scripture that i have pursued, I have never found not one scripture that indicates that we are going to be raptured before the trouble/tribulation starts. Every indication to me is that we are to prepare ourselves spiritually for the days ahead. I read devotionally Genesis to Revelation every year but have found nothing to make me believe in a pre-tribualation rapture. Don't get me wrong, i do believe in the rapture, but my Bible says that the Great Tribulation will happen before the rapture according to Matthew 24-29-31. Please give me a scripture to hold on to if you believe we will be raptured before the Antichrist comes on the scene.

DW said...

You are confusing Matt 24:29-31. This passage is speaking of His 2nd coming, NOT the rapture. How do I know? Because Jesus himself said in verse 27, "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall the coming of the Son of man be. Last I saw, lightning was...well lightning FAST! Everyone on earth will witness His 2nd coming on earth. No, the lightning refers to the rapture. Now,look at Matt 24:36-44 I'll let you read it for yourself. But, I'll paraphrase what I want to say. Jesus said, "But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." He goes on to describe that people were living their normal, routine lives, even up to the very day Noah entered the ark and were swept away. They were not paying attention to his warnings; not hoarding food or building rafts. Just business as usual. 'so shall the coming of the Son of man be'. WE also will be living our lives normally. Business as usual, them BAMB, we disappear! Lightning fast!

Also, the Bible says in Daniel 12:11-12, the exact day when His 2nd coming to earth will occur! From the day of the abomination of desolation, until His coming will be 1335 days. That is NOT the rapture! He will come in the clouds with great glory.
Revelation 3:10 "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth."
Paul tells us PLAINLY that we are not destined for the wrath to come. Every single instance when God was planning to send His wrath, Noah, Lot, He ALWAYS removed the righteous BEFORE the wrath came. We are NOT going to be here. AS in the days of Noah,so shall it be... hope this helps. If you have any other questions, plese email me and give me your email address so I can contact you directly-

cj said...

Oh boy, I applaud you both for the article and for your response to unkown.. And it really doesn't matter if the rapture is before or after as some like to say, I don't know if most people recognize the great tribulation. Have you checked the news lately, no not the mainstream. There have been so many earthquakes in the last month that I have lost count, as well as volcanoes trying to erupt. Last month there was fireballs falling from the sky in India, a solar eclipse and a blood moon. Sound familiar yet? Oh yeah and that doesn't count the countless number of our Christian brothers and sisters being slaughtered. If you ask me, the tribulation has begun. Midnight watchers, and the extinction protocol are good sites for up to the minute news. Thank you Donna for posts, Keep them coming, your a source of strength for me. And remember, let not your heart be troubled.

Tammy said...

Donna - I agree with you. I am ready for the Lord to come. I also think that there are a lot of people that look at me odd when I mention that I am ready (even some who believe in the rapture). I think some people see it getting closer but do not realize how close it is. My personal opinion, and I am not trying to date set, just speculating from the signs of the times, is that the rapture is probably a few years away, but less than 20. I tend to expect it around a dozen years or so. And that is so much longer than I want it to be. Good thing I am not in charge of that date. I wouldn't wait for the fullness of the Gentiles.

Solefisher said...

Hi DW, thank you for replying to my post. I am known as unknown but actually I am Solefisher, I guess I have to change something. I am Solefisher because I used to be a commercial fisherman and actually fished for soles. Yes, God has a sense of humor to call me to Himself. I guess God hasn't done with fishermen!
I like the way you think in challenging me, saying that I am confusing Matthew 24:29-31. I guess you think that there are two comings of Christ. Something never spoken of in scripture. I want you to think with me. If there is a pre-tribulation rapture that happens before the Antichrist comes on the scene, as most pre-tribulationists believe (even though there is no scripture that is clearly supporting this thought), why did Jesus twice in scripture say that when He comes there will be no second chance. Jesus very clearly says that when He comes for His saints, that the door will be shut. This is clearly told us twice: Matthew 25:10, and again in Luke 13:25. Yet every person that believes in a pre-tribulation rapture before the seven-year period and the Antichrist coming on the scene will all agree that people are getting saved during the seven-year period of Daniel's Seventieth Week. Don't get me wrong, I also believe that people will be getting saved during Daniel's Seventieth Week. I have concerns with people believing in a pre-tribulation rapture, because what we're saying is that you can still get saved after the pre-tribulation rapture--something that God says will not happen because the door is closed. No, there is no pre-tribulation rapture, there is no scripture to back up that proposition and that the church is being deceived. The rapture is clearly taught as a back-to-back event that happens just as at Sodom and as in the days of Noah. The rapture happens after the Abomination of Desolation and the Tribulation (thlipsis) which actually means persecution. The church is still around for the tribulation (persecution). The tribulation is never spoken of as being the wrath of God. Even after the tribulation, there is the account in scripture of one man crying out for God to bring judgement and justice because it hasn't happened yet. 9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been (Rev 6:9-11). My point is that the seals are obviously happening during the seven-year period, but it is obvious that the wrath of God is not going on even though the saints are being persecuted during the Great Tribulation. The wrath of God does not start until the saints have gone through the tribulation (thlipsis--persecution). These saints are not those saved after a pre-tribulation rapture because the door is shut at the rapture. There is no pre-tribulation rapture, it is a deception and we should be preparing for the tribulation and to get right spiritually to endure persecution (tribulation). The rapture happens at some point (no man knows the day nor the hour) during the second half of the seventieth week of years of Daniel. Just my thoughts!

Solefisher said...

Hi DW, thank you for replying to my post. I am known as unknown but actually I am Solefisher, I guess I have to change something. I am Solefisher because I used to be a commercial fisherman and actually fished for soles. Yes, God has a sense of humor to call me to Himself. I guess God hasn't done with fishermen!
I like the way you think in challenging me, saying that I am confusing Matthew 24:29-31. I guess you think that there are two comings of Christ. Something never spoken of in scripture. I want you to think with me. If there is a pre-tribulation rapture that happens before the Antichrist comes on the scene, as most pre-tribulationists believe (even though there is no scripture that is clearly supporting this thought), why did Jesus twice in scripture say that when He comes there will be no second chance. Jesus very clearly says that when He comes for His saints, that the door will be shut. This is clearly told us twice: Matthew 25:10, and again in Luke 13:25. Yet every person that believes in a pre-tribulation rapture before the seven-year period and the Antichrist coming on the scene will all agree that people are getting saved during the seven-year period of Daniel's Seventieth Week. Don't get me wrong, I also believe that people will be getting saved during Daniel's Seventieth Week. I have concerns with people believing in a pre-tribulation rapture, because what we're saying is that you can still get saved after the pre-tribulation rapture--something that God says will not happen because the door is closed. No, there is no pre-tribulation rapture, there is no scripture to back up that proposition and that the church is being deceived. The rapture is clearly taught as a back-to-back event that happens just as at Sodom and as in the days of Noah. The rapture happens after the Abomination of Desolation and the Tribulation (thlipsis) which actually means persecution. The church is still around for the tribulation (persecution). The tribulation is never spoken of as being the wrath of God. Even after the tribulation, there is the account in scripture of one man crying out for God to bring judgement and justice because it hasn't happened yet. 9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been (Rev 6:9-11). My point is that the seals are obviously happening during the seven-year period, but it is obvious that the wrath of God is not going on even though the saints are being persecuted during the Great Tribulation. The wrath of God does not start until the saints have gone through the tribulation (thlipsis--persecution). These saints are not those saved after a pre-tribulation rapture because the door is shut at the rapture. There is no pre-tribulation rapture, it is a deception and we should be preparing for the tribulation and to get right spiritually to endure persecution (tribulation). The rapture happens at some point (no man knows the day nor the hour) during the second half of the seventieth week of years of Daniel. Just my thoughts!

DW said...

Solefisher-I guess we'll know who was right one day. I certainly hope you're wrong. God Bless-
DW

Solefisher said...

Hi DW, I sure wish I were wrong about these things. I would love to be snatched up to heaven soon without having to endure what the church will have to endure. The Lord has warned us ahead of time, and He is at work today in preparing His church to go through the time that is ahead. Jesus clearly wants His church to overcome the beast and his image, not to fly out of here before the going gets tough. He tells us His plan in Revelation 15:2, “And I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and over the number of his name…” God will allow Antichrist to make war on the saints… “He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them…This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints (Revelation 13:7 and 10). Again, in Revelation 14:12, “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.” This is what we all signed up for when we became believers, to be overcomers of Satan and his works…God is preparing a bride for His Son, and He uses trouble and opposition from the works of darkness to clothe His bride in purity. Some, maybe many of us, will be beheaded at the hands of Antichrist, but the true Church of God will not fly out of here before Antichrist comes on the scene, because the church will be around to oppose and overcome Antichrist—some through death. Scripture says, “And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4). Some would erroneously say that these individuals are they who became Christians after the pre-tribulation rapture, but how can they when Jesus told us that the door would be shut (Matthew 25:10, and again in Luke 13:25). This is wrong theology, because what we are essentially saying to those that are not yet Christians, is that they don’t have to be saved now, they can just get the proof that there is a God and their need for salvation, when they see the pre-tribulation rapture take place…they might have to endure a lot, but pre-tribulationist’s say that they will be saved. Again, I state my point that the Spirit is calling His church to prepare herself to endure the days ahead, not to fly out of here (the rapture) until some time during the second half of the seven year period (no man knows the day nor the hour).

Solefisher said...

The Great Tribulation (NIV Distress, Gk thlipsis) is not the wrath of God, it is the wrath of Satan, after he has been thrown down to Earth in Rev 12:7-9. Satan will fully embody Antichrist as he sits in the temple of God proclaiming himself as God (2 Thessalonians 2:4), this will be the Abomination of Desolation, spoken of by Jesus and the prophet Daniel (Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14). This desecration of the temple will happen at the midpoint of the Seventieth Week of years of Daniel (Daniel 9:27). It is at this point that Satan will pour out his wrath on the church; this time is called by Jesus, the Great Tribulation. The church is called to endure this time and to overcome, even by our martyrdom. Hear scripture again, “But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short…Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus” (Revelation 12:12 and 17). How can we say, as pre-tribulationist’s do, that this seven year period is the wrath of God, when Antichrist is fully having his way for a good part of the seven year period? The church will be victorious over the world’s elite that is motivated by the spirit of antichrist, “they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death” (Revelation 12:11). The church will be victorious, but there is some preparation on the part of the church—we need to arise—wake up out of our slumber, return to the Lord and begin to pray that we may have a sensitivity to the Spirit’s leading, protection, provision, and to be everything that He has called us to be in this day. Just my thoughts on this very important subject. I have written a long series on this subject of the Second Coming of Christ and the timing of the Rapture, found on the homepage of www.groupbiblestudy.com