Now that the seemingly endless procession of blood moons, eclipses, super blue blood moons, Jewish feast dates and high-watch Rapture dates have all fizzled, where do we go from here?
I’m going to step on a lot of toes here, including my own, ouch! Please, forgive me. I have been feeling a burden to write about how we watch for the Lord’s return. The Lord told those of us in His Church repeatedly to watch for His return in the Rapture. Jesus also told Israel to watch for His return when He, accompanied by His Bride, will join Israel in Jerusalem at the end of the Tribulation. Those are two distinct events as His dealings with each group have been the expression of the covenants that He made with each of us.
“Because you kept my command to endure, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, which is to come on the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” Rev 3:10 WEB
That is a key passage in His covenant with the Church in the Age of Grace. It culminates in the removal of the Bride as we are snatched from Earth in the Rapture, prior to the time of Jacob’s Trouble. It is not until that point that God shifts his focus back to Israel; a turning point described in much more detail by our brother Greg Lauer. Read it, you’ll love it.
“25 For I don’t desire you to be ignorant, brothers, of this mystery, so that you won’t be wise in your own conceits, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, 26 and so all Israel will be saved. Even as it is written, “There will come out of Zion the Deliverer, and he will turn away ungodliness from Jacob. 27 This is my covenant to them, when I will take away their sins.” 28 Concerning the Good News, they are enemies for your sake. But concerning the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sake. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Rom 11:25-29 WEB (emphasis added)
I love that last part! Israel has been set aside; hardened for a season while the Lord has dealt with His Church in the two millennia since Pentecost. The Lord’s covenant with Israel focuses on their inheritance of a Kingdom on Earth, centered at Jerusalem, including all the lands He promised to Abraham. Their future is less bright, at least for the immediate future, as their iniquity comes to the full and is judged in the seven-year Tribulation.
That is a very brief summary of where each group is headed. The next question is how do we get there? Which road do we take?
The Church was born at Pentecost and given instructions for the proper functioning of the Body. All members were to receive equal respect as each served a crucial function. The Church was never intended to be an organization with a professional clergy ruling over a passive laity; inhabiting grand edifices. That is the Nicolaitanism of which the Lord warned in is messages to the seven churches in Revelation 2&3.
The nation of Israel was born in the covenant that God made with Abraham and reaffirmed in His dealings with Isaac and Jacob. Israel’s path was laid out prophetically by the prophet Daniel, complete with detailed descriptions of the major world powers that would arise, and a timetable that ticked along with perfect precision in harmony with God’s clock.
His clock is not our clock, so some Bible scholars have been frustrated as they tried to use Daniel’s prophecies to predict the exact time of the Rapture. The Lord told us we would never know the day and the hour, though many have tried to outsmart God.
What I feel coming is something of a rebuke to all of us who have been caught up in the sensational Rapture watching; me included. It is a course correction motivated by God’s boundless love and patience. Satan can read the true signs of the Lord’s return better than any man, and he knows his time is short. With Israel restored as a nation, the stage is set for their redemption as the emergence of the Antichrist and the seven-year, unrestrained reign of Satan on Earth are accompanied by the judgments of God.
Always God’s ape, the enemy is gearing up to reconstruct his beloved city Babylon in the land of Shinar; on the original site, now a part of central Iraq. He has also been very busy attempting to hinder the spread of the Gospel of Grace, trying unsuccessfully to minimize the magnitude of the Lord’s victory at the Rapture.
One of the enemy’s favorite ploys is to deceive believers into putting their focus on some aspect of the looming Rapture rather than on Christ and the wondrous gift of salvation. If you are in class, eager to depart when the end-of-class bell rings, how much of what the teacher is saying are you really getting? Very many believers have been distracted as, led by the Rapture clergy that has surfaced on the internet, they focus primarily on when the Lord is coming. More on that in a later message.
Satan knows all of scripture, and for millennia he was the only one who understood the imagery of the Revelation 12 sign. He anticipated God revealing it to man at this time, and he knew just how to hijack it for his own purposes.
The movement caught fire in the run-up to September 23, 2017 with dozens of YouTube channels speculating endlessly about it. A single brother who had over 100,000 subscribers at one point became the focus of it as he argued persuasively that the Lord had to return for His Bride on that date at the Feast of Trumpets. Though nearly everyone on that band wagon denied that they were setting a date, wink wink, everyone knew that they were.
When the whole thing fizzled like a soggy skyrocket on September 23, 2017, the movement began to die a very slow, painful death. One person after another lost heart and burned out on the procession of soul-crushing disappointments they were treated to by the teachers they had set up to feed them “high-watch” dates, derived primarily from the schedule of Jewish Feasts or astronomical phenomena. That such focus on the feasts amounted to a form of replacement theology in which God’s promises to Israel are transferred to the Church, was largely ignored. What scriptural authority is there to take the Jewish Feasts and apply them to the Church? Did any of the apostles clearly condone such a practice?
In the desperation to recover from the great disappointment of September 23, nothing was too obscure to carry with it a word of encouragement from God about the timing of the approaching Rapture; digital clock faces, billboards, license plates, store receipts, tombstones; anywhere a number or phrase might appear. Every dream on the subject became a window into Heaven, and fodder for dissemination to the masses.
Has Satan ever lied to you? Well, he has lied to me plenty, and who’s to say that he cannot lie to you in a dream? If he lies to another brother in a similar dream, BINGO!, we have confirmation! Our only safety lies in the bedrock of scripture. Everything we do must be founded in the word of God. I will focus more on this in a later message.
Coming articles will focus on our mistakes with an eye to correcting them and abandoning practices which lead nowhere. I pray God will give me the love to address these mistakes without wounding a single sister or brother. One saint who has shared many dreams over the years has demonstrated a devotion to God and a heart of love for our Lord that is inspiring. I would not wound her or other brothers and sisters for the world. The grace of God covers us all.
The tendency to mimic the things with which we have become comfortable is nearly irresistible. I am speaking here of a lifetime of attending churches where the congregation sits passively, ingesting whatever message their chosen leader delivers. Most of us came out of Laodicea; the largest collection of souls on the planet needing salvation who don’t know that they are ‘miserable, poor, blind and naked’. (Rev 3:17)
I think of it like being reared in an environment where everyone smears their hair with mud. (This will get me in trouble with some sensitive soul, somewhere.) You look around and see every head plastered with a rich chocolate-colored crown and think nothing of it.
If someone shows up with no mud in their hair, it makes everyone uncomfortable. “Who is this oddball?” they think. The offender is urged first to conform, then ostracized. If they convince others to wash their hair, the whole group is feared, vilified and persecuted.
To abandon the system with which we are comfortable and adopt the interrelationships of the Body established by the word of God is very hard. It doesn’t feel natural or comfortable. We are required to feed on His word and seek Him on our own. Instead of nestling among the other baby birds; extending our quivering heads and opening our gaping mouths every feeding time, we are to stretch our wings, become active members of the Body of Christ, ministering to others as they minister to us.
In emphasizing the Rapture rather than sharing the Gospel of Grace, many of us have been on the wrong road. Our focus has been on the wrong things. The fruit of that journey to nowhere is now evident as many have lost heart and fallen by the way. Believers cannot lose their salvation, but when their works are judged at the judgment seat of Christ, the Bema seat, it will be revealed whether what we have done is ‘gold, tried in the fire, or wood, hay and stubble’. (1 Cor 3:17)
“From now on, there is stored up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day; and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved his appearing.” 2 Tim 4:8 WEB (emphasis added)
In ceasing to watch for the Lord’s return and love His appearing, many will lose that crown of righteousness promised to those who do. Though they will stand, rejoicing before the throne of God, that empty spot next to them could have held another soul, serving the Lord for eternity, if they had only heard the word.
It isn’t too late to change. Up until the instant that He snatches us away, we can repent and change direction, growing in grace and in the word of God, to become those profitable servants that will continue to serve Him throughout eternity.
- Adapted from #91237724/Jankovoy-adobe stock.com
- Adapted from #219188280/fotomek-adobe stock.com
- #37599909/Vitalinka/adobe stock.com
- Don’t Mess With Israel by Greg Lauer @alittlestrength.com