Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Don't Be Deceived

Then Jesus answered them: "See that no one leads you astray."

In my last post we saw that the disciples had some questions about what Jesus was teaching, and they asked Him privately when these things would take place, what are the signs of Your coming, and what are the signs of the end of the age. In Matthew 24:4-31 Jesus is going to answer these questions.

The first thing that Jesus tells them is that they need to be careful that they are not lead astray - that they are not deceived. He tells them that there will be many who claim to be the Christ, and that they will lead many astray. Later in the passage He tells them that these false prophets will will perform miracles and if possible would lead even the elect astray. Jesus warns them that no matter what they hear about these men they are not to believe it.

Jesus tells them that there will be wars and rumors of wars, and that nation will rise against nation. But they are not to be alarmed; this is not yet the end. He tells them that there will be famines and earthquakes, but these are just the beginning of birth pains. He tells them that they will be persecuted for their faith, they will be betrayed and hated, but that it is the one who endues to the end who will be saved. He tells them that the gospel will be preached throughout the whole world, and then the end will come.

Jesus then describes the Great Tribulation. I know there is a lot a debate about when this event will take place, and if Christians will go through it or not, but what I want you to see here is that Jesus is telling His disciples what the tribulation will be like, and He tells them that when they see these things taking place they should not even go back into their houses to gather up their belongings, but flee to the mountains.

Jesus then concludes this passage by saying that after all of these things take place He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet and they will gather together the elect; those that have chosen to follow Jesus.

No matter what your position is on the sequence of end time events, the thing that you need to take away from this is that God is sovereign, He is in control, He has a plan, and that no matter what happens He will not be not taken by surprise. And when it is all said-and-done it is those who chose to put their faith in Jesus who will live forever with Him.

Take some time today and read Matthew chapter 24 then spend some time in prayer thanking Your Heavenly Father for letting us know what we could expect in this world, and for the promise of eternal life when it is over.
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2 comments:

Deborah said...

Chris,
You are right on! "True believers" need to be ready at anytime, they need to consider all the options, pre-trib, mid-tib, post-trib, and be prepared for any three of those. Personally, I believe the Church ("Congregation" or "Assembly" as is the correct rendering of that word in Greek), will be raptured before God's wrath, somewhere after the Anti-Messiah is revealed (2 Thess. 2:1-4, 8) and the pouring out of God's wrath (Acts 1:11, Matt. 24:29-31 and Rev. 6:12-14 7:9-14).

I have to mention it's a STRETCH to attribute Matthew 24 and Thessalonians 2 to "Israel." How ludicrous! How could it be attributed to Israel when those of us who are saved, whether Jew or Gentile, are all one new man in Jesus (Ephesians 2:11-22). Not to mention that the writer of Thessalonians, Paul, doesn't make any distinction between Jews and Gentiles in 2 Thessalonians 2 as he so clearly delineated them in Romans - to the Jew first and then to the Gentile. If there was an intended delineation between Israel and Gentiles in 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul would have delineated between Jew and Gentile in 2 Thessalonians 2 as he had in Romans. Since there is no delineation, therefore, it is safe to assume the rapture applies to saved Jews and Gentiles alike, there is now no distinction between Jew and Gentile, between male and female. I do believe 12,000 men of every tribe of the sons of Israel will remain through some of God's wrath after the rapture (Rev. 7:3, 7:9). However, these "sealed" sons of Israel (Ezekiel 9:4 and Revelation 7:3-4)) are saved by grace through Jesus and will not feel the effects of God's wrath since we can see they are NOT harmed in Ezekiel 9 and in Revelation 9:4 by the angels delivering God's wrath.

I have believed in a pre-wrath rapture since I was 16-years old, when I read the book of Revelation at one seating. The course of events was apparent to me and corroborated the course of events in Matthew 24. I have run into people throughout the years who believed in pre-wrath rapture, but for the most part, I've kept my belief to myself for the controversy and anger it stirs among those who are pre-trib, I won't address it on my blog, either, since pre-tribers consider my pre-wrath theology heretical. If people only knew the history of the pre-trib doctrine, which is of recent and not as of the early church through the 1800's, they might be less inclined to hold to it.

I prayed God would put me in touch with people that believe the way I do without me having to overtly seek them out, and He has been faithful to do so. I am part of a small home Bible study group that recently started a series taught by a pre-wrath pastor in Grand Rapids that is intended to prepare us for the tribulation; it teaches how to prepare and stock supplies to get through the increasing number of natural disasters and/or wars that will knock out power, water and sewage for extended periods of time. (As a person who experienced both Katrina and Rita, I can tell you this knowledge is extremely valuable! Houston was brought to its knees during Rita! Gasoline was gone in 8 to 12 hours after residents were told to evacuate. Cars with empty gas tanks littered the side of the road and food sat rotting in every grocery store throughout Houston for the lack of electricity and gas. Houstonians lived off of canned food and bottled water for 1-5 days while waiting for power to be restored. Residents from Beaumont, rich and poor, weren't allowed to return to their homes for two weeks and had to either pay for hotel rooms in other towns and cities or count on family and friends elsewhere for shelter and food.)

God bless you, Chris, for not being shy and for teaching that we need to be prepared to go whether we get out before, during, or after.

Shalom,
Deborah

Chris said...

Hi Deborah,

First of all, thank you for your comments, both here and on Brother, Mark's blog.

God truly is faithful, and He is a God who answers prayer! Like you, I do not know very many people who have a Pre-Wrath understanding of end time events; most of my friends are Pre-Trib.

The key word here is friends, although I believe the Rapture will happen just prior to the Day of the Lord and the opening of the 7th seal, and they believe that the rapture will occur before any of the events of Revelation take place, we are still friends. We have had some interesting discussions, but since this is a secondary issue, we can disagree and still be friends.

Anyway, it is really nice to know that I have an ally out there. Maybe now I will be more open to posting my views on this issue, but it will probably be on my other blog where I can do an in-depth verses by verse exposition of the book of Revelation without interfering with what I am doing here.

Anyway, thanks again for your comments.

In Christ,
Chris