THE BLESSED HOPE ELUDES MANY CHRISTIANS
By Danelle Carvell
One of the most controversial subjects among Christians is the rapture of the church. Christians seem confused and frightened by this subject. And some pastors don't teach the whole counsel of God's word, which would help relieve the fear and confusion. False teachings, weak sermons, and Christians who ignore the truth contribute to the confusion (2 Timothy 4:1-5).
The rapture is an event which was prophesied by the Apostle Paul. He gave a clear description of it in his letters to the Thessalonians and Corinthians. According to scripture, at some future time, believers will be snatched from the Earth in a fraction of a second and transported to Heaven. This event is controversial because some Christians don't believe in the rapture of the church. And many who do believe are not looking forward to what the Bible calls our “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13).
I discussed the rapture with two women who attend church regularly, and I expected both of them to be receptive to the topic, but they were not. The first woman said the rapture is “science fiction” and the second woman argued that we can't take the Bible literally because her pastor said we can't. And since he doesn't believe in the rapture, neither does she.
Those women should read God's word instead of only trusting the church pastor. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God...” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Why would God inspire the writing of a book that we can't take literally? Christians who don't believe in the rapture don't know the Bible:
John 14: 1-3
This passage contains the promise from Jesus that He will return to Earth for the believers and take them to Heaven.
1 Thess 4: 13-18
In this passage, the apostle Paul answers the question, “Do believers who have died miss out on the rapture?”
1 Thess 4: 16-18
In this passage, Paul spells out the chronological sequence of the rapture event and he concludes that the promise of the rapture should be a comfort to us.
We are supposed to find comfort in this promised event, yet many Christians are far from comfortable when discussing the rapture. You can almost see them squirm in their seats as they try to change the subject. “That's not a popular topic,”they argue. Christians who convey such an attitude about our blessed hope are a mystery to me.
Haven't they read 2 Timothy 9:7-8? Don't they know that the crown of righteousness awaits all who long for the Lord's soon return?
Haven't they read Luke 21:34-36, which instructs us to pray always that we may be accounted worthy to escape?
What exactly are we escaping from when the church is raptured? The same thing that Noah and Lot escaped from when God rescued them from an evil world that grew more and more evil. We learn from the accounts of Noah and Lot that God removes His people when danger is involved.
We live in a dangerous world. Nothing about planet earth is getting better. The danger only grows worse. More and more people are carrying guns to protect themselves from lawless thugs like those who are killing and injuring people on the streets as part of a game called the knockout game. Our society has sunk so low that people are now punching total strangers and catching it on camera for entertainment.
Our language is growing worse, our morals are declining, the rules of modesty and respect have vanished. Those who know what's really going on in the world and those who know God's word realize that we are living in a time that is similar to the days of Noah and Lot.
In Matthew 24, Jesus is asked, “What shall be the signs of your coming and of the end of the world?” Jesus then describes what the world will be like just before He returns to remove (rapture) those who have received Him as their savior. What Jesus describes in Matthew 24 is the same mess that describes our present world.
Have you noticed the increase in the number and severity of earthquakes? The bizarre animal deaths and sinkholes? Record-setting storms? Destructive tornadoes and tsunamis? The volcanoes all over the world that have lain dormant for centuries that are now erupting? Does the obvious decline of morality in people alarm you at all. Do you worry what this world will be like for your children?
At this point we are handing our children a 17 trillion dollar national debt that will be impossible to pay back. Millions of people have lost their health insurance under Obamacare. For others, their rates have quadrupled. Thousands of doctors are giving up their practices because they can't maintain their businesses under Obamacare. Thousands of volunteer fire departments face closure or financial hardship because Obamacare requires that volunteers be given full health coverage. And when 12 million illegal aliens become American citizens with a flick of Obama's pen, the fallout will be devastating.
Did you watch the House hearings that looked at Obama's growing dictatorial powers? Our own government leaders know we have a dictator in the White House, but the American people don't care. Obama is caught in one scandal after another and we yawn. Fast and Furious, Benghazi, and the scandals with the IRS, the Department of Justice and the NSA haven't woken anyone from their slumber. We swallowed the lie “If you like your health insurance, you can keep it.” Chalk that up as scandal number six.
The birth certificate scandal counts as seven. Obama claims he was born in Hawaii, but his wife has said that Kenya is his homeland. No one holds Obama accountable. Like Hitler, he does what he wants and no one questions him. So why is it so hard to believe that his Affordable Care Act allows for death panels to decide who gets healthcare and who doesn't?
Possibly bigger and more dangerous than Obamacare is the the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This brilliant idea will offer huge advantages to foreign businesses while putting American companies, especially small businesses at a disadvantage so severe that many won't be able to survive. This could pass early next year and it's an all-out assault on our national sovereignty as it unconstitutionally transfers legislative powers. One more crippling blow to America.
Obama has appointed hard core sharia law Muslims to key positions in Washington. If he condones the cruelty of sharia law and if he voted to deny care for babies who survive abortions, then what cruelty awaits the American people? He refuses to put his hand over his heart and say the pledge of allegiance. He refuses to wear an American flag pin. His actions display a hatred for America and we give him four more years.
This country is being destroyed by a dictator who glorifies Muslims but claims to be a Christian. He mocks the God of the Bible by his love for Islam. Muslims believe that anyone who doesn't worship Allah is an infidel who should be killed.
Why are Christians who hold home Bible studies being harassed? Everything related to Jesus Christ, the Holy Bible and the God who inspired it is being pushed out of sight and mind. Why do 100 million Christians face persecution every day? Why can't Phil Robertson quote scripture from the Holy Bible without being suspended from his show on A&E. This country has declared war on Christianity and in the process has denied Christians their constitutional right of free speech.
Why are we seeing a repression of Christian faith in the military? Freedom of religion is no longer one of the rights our soldiers are allowed to defend. The US Department of Defense has recently begun teaching seminars that list evangelical Christians and Catholics as subversive groups. US troops who express their Christian faith are being punished. Don't believe me? Take four minutes to watch “A Clear and Present Danger” on You Tube
We live in a totalitarian police state that monitors our every move. Cameras are watching us. Our phone conversations are recorded. A recent article in the Washington Post claims that the NSA is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cell phones around the world, enabling Big Brother to track your daily movement and map your relationships with others. You may think you have nothing to hide, but if Christians can be labeled as subversive, who's next?
Our education system is being destroyed by progressives who push their Common Core Curriculum. “Five Reasons the Common Core is Destroying Childhood” by Katie Hurley explains why. Or go to theblaze.com to view a complimentary clip titled, “David Barton Explains How Common Core Poses Serious Problems for The Future of The Republic.”
If these things continue to worsen, won't we be crying out to escape? Yet some Christians reading this might say I'm a doom and gloomer. They have no hope in anything beyond their lives on this earth. They don't know God's word and they don't want to hear anything that might disrupt their love of this world--tomorrow night's game, their dinner reservations, or the next episode of DWTS.
The first century church had a strong desire for the soon return of Jesus. I see no such yearning in our churches today. Scripture constantly warns us to watch for the Lord's coming and be ready (Luke 12: 35,40). By being ignorant of scripture and not looking forward to the Lord's return, Christians are fulfilling Peter's words in his second letter (2 Peter 3:1-10).
In closing, I have three questions for Christians who either don't believe in the rapture or are not looking forward to it:
Why aren't you looking forward to an event that is described in the Bible as our blessed hope?
What are you afraid of?
Do you love this crumbling, corrupt world so much that you couldn't let go of it if God calls you home?