Should I Stay or Should I Go
One of the biggest controversy's in the church today, is about our gathering back to Christ in the end times. Is it before the tribulation of antichrist, or after? Keep in mind that there are two tribulations. The tribulation of antichrist which comes first (know as the pre-tribulation), and then the tribulation of the real Christ. The first tribulation we stand against the antichrist; and if you are in Christ, you do not need to worry about the second tribulation, Christ is not coming to harm you. According to many church beliefs, all Christians will be taken by Christ in the clouds before the antichrist returns and will escape these tribulation periods. "It is referred to as the rapture." The problem is that neither Christ Himself, nor any of the Apostles directly addressed the rapture of the church. However, there is a similar word used in the bible to describe what many call the rapture. The Greek word ("harpazo" G726, to seize, catch away, take by force). One of the places you will find it used is in (Acts 8:39), "when the spirit of the Lord caught away Phillip," and the eunuch saw him no more. The Latin vulgate also describes this word as (raeptius or rapio, meaning to seize, force, snatch). Again, nothing referring to the rapture of the church. But, the bible does speak of our gathering back to Christ in our spirit bodies at His return. Lets begin our study in the book of Matthew and see when all this begins to take place.
First off we need to understand that Satan returns before the real Christ, pretending to be Christ. That's why we call him the antichrist, meaning (instead of Christ). When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place. (Matthew 24:15). Speaking of Satan who will return first claiming to be Christ. (This takes place at the fifth & sixth trump). Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: (Matthew 24:16). Those in Judea should flee, into the Judean hills. Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: (Matthew 24:17). They are not to even go inside to pack a bag before they flee. (They are to flee when the antichrist appears on the scene as the desolator). Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. (Matthew 24:18). Those working in the fields (harvest time), should not even return to their homes for their clothes. (The tribulation of antichrist is about to begin).
And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! (Matthew 24:19). We are not necessarily speaking of pregnant women. Even though that would be a hard time for women to flee or travel. (This applies to men or women). This is a warning to those who fall for the antichrist. Christ is returning for a virgin bride spiritually speaking. But, He will return and find that many have become spiritually deceived by antichrist. Going along with his teachings, not God's Word. We are to stay a spiritual virgin for the return of Christ. (Matthew 25:1-13). Not to be deceived by Satan! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: (Matthew 24:20). Our gathering back to Christ is referring to a spiritual harvest time, and you do not want to be harvested out of season. Now lets move on to the tribulation period.
For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (Matthew 24:21). There will be persecution such as the world has never seen before. However, if you have God's seal in your forehead, you will not be touched. (Revelation 9:4). That seal is the "truth of God's Word," so that you will not be deceived or harmed by any evil forces. (Satan has no power over you). And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. (Matthew 24:22). In fact, unless those days are shortened, all mankind will perish. But, for the sake of God's chosen, those days will be shortened. (Speaking of the 1,290 days of Daniel 12:11). The time of the locust army that will be shortened to a five month period. (Revelation 9:5-10). The time of the locust is May through September, this is also the time of Passover to the Feast of Tabernacles. Who leads this locust army? Satan himself! (Revelation 9:11). Again, keep in mind that this is in the sixth trump when Satan is on the scene. (The true Christ does not return till the seventh trump). "But, the tribulation of antichrist has begun."
Christ continues His message and warning. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. (Matthew 24:23). Don't believe it if anyone tells you that Christ has returned at this time, or arrived at such a place. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Matthew 24:24). Many who claim to be Christian and prophets of God will arise and if possible, even deceive God's elect. You can start to see it today in our society. (Those clergy who prey on the weak minded). Behold, I have told you before. (Matthew 24:25). You see, God has foretold us all things; giving us warning, if you only study His Word. (Mark 13:23).
Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. (Matthew 24:26). If they tell you Christ is in the desert, or hiding in a secret place, do not believe them. Well, how will I know? Here's one way: As long as you are in this flesh body, the true Christ has not returned yet. The minute Christ returns to the mount of Olives, we will all be changed into our spirit bodies. (I Corinthians 15:44, 51, 52). For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Matthew 24:27). Christ will return to Jerusalem, to the mount of Olives when He cleanses the temple. (Zechariah 14). However, here we are speaking of the tribulation of antichrist, and keep in mind that Satan comes first pretending to be Christ. Now, lets continue in Matthew and pick it up in verse 29.
Christ would go on to say:
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and
the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the
powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son
of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they
shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great
glory. (Matthew 24:29-30). What did it say? "After the tribulation, not
before." Christ will not return till after the
if we skip down to verse 37, Christ even compares his return to what happened in
the days of Noah:
For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the
coming of the Son of man be. (Matthew 24:37-39).
Who were the ones taken first and destroyed by the flood?
The wicked! The righteous
remained right here on earth with Noah. The same happens when Satan returns first to
all he can into believing he is Christ. (One of Satan's greatest qualities is deception
by his flood of lies).
if we skip down to verse 37, Christ even compares his return to what happened in the days of Noah: For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Matthew 24:37-39). Who were the ones taken first and destroyed by the flood? The wicked! The righteous remained right here on earth with Noah. The same happens when Satan returns first to gather all he can into believing he is Christ. (One of Satan's greatest qualities is deception by his flood of lies).
Now, lets do a little recap and see where we are so far. The antichrist is hear on the scene claiming to be Christ. (Matthew 24:15). The great tribulation of antichrist has begun. (Matthew 24:21). "We will all be here." But, those days will be shortened to a five month period. (Matthew 24:22, Revelation 9:5-10). Many will tell you the true Christ is here, but it is a lie. (Matthew 24:23, 24:26). In fact, false Christ's will arise all over. (Matthew 24:24). God warns us. (Matthew 24:25, Mark 13:23). "We are all still here during the tribulation of antichrist." After the tribulation, then shall the Son of man appear with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:29-30). Christ compares His return to the days of Noah. (Matthew 24:37-39).
Now lets clear up some misinterpretation of scripture that really confuses many about our gathering back to Christ in the end times. (Usually what the rapture theory is based on). You will find it in the books of 1&2 Thessalonians: For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). Lets break this down a little. The dead in Christ shall rise first: Paul was speaking of the dead already with Christ. We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8). When you die, instantly your soul goes directly back to the Father from which it came. (The dead already being with Christ). Caught up together with them in the clouds: Those who are still alive when Christ returns will be gathered together to meet Him in the spirit body. Keep in mind that Paul spoke colloquial Greek. The verse "caught up together in the clouds" would mean with a group or crowd of people. Such as in Hebrews 12:1 (a great "cloud" of witnesses), which would mean (a great "crowd" of witnesses). We use this in our own English language as if we were to say (look at that great "cloud" of birds). Meet the Lord in the air: Now as for the ones which are alive to meet the Lord in the air; we must go back to the original Greek to translate air which is Aer = Breathe, Strong's 109 Greek Dictionary, prime from Psucho = To Breathe, 5594, prime from Psuche = Breath or Spirit, 5590, prime from Pneuma = Spirit or Breath of Life, 4151. When Christ returns we will be changed into our "spirit bodies" to meet him because He is that "Breath of Life" to all who believe. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body , and there is a spiritual body. (1 Corinthians 15:44). In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:52). This is at the return of Christ at the seventh trump, when we will all be changed into our spirit bodies. "It will be a gathering back to Christ in your spirit body you will experience right here on earth, not a rapture of the church."
When Paul wrote this in his first letter to the Thessalonians, it kind of confused them. So, in the second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul would clear up the confusion about the coming of Christ and our gathering back to Him. NOW we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him. That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letters as from us, as the day of Christ is at hand. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2). Paul would go on to explain to them that the gathering back to Christ would not be till after the "son of perdition" (antichrist), is revealed and has returned first. Let no man deceive you by any means: for the day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). You see, the antichrist is the first on the scene and he wants to play God. Paul told them these things but they didn't get it, just as many don't get it today. "Do not be deceived."
Now here is another false teaching and misinterpretation that many believe. (The rapture of the church). But, Paul would further explain. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8). Here is the key phrase; "until he be taken out of the way." The church has no article here. The subject we are speaking of here is the antichrist, the wicked one, Satan. You must follow the subject and the object of the complete chapter. Lets break it down even further "he be taken." Lets take the Word "Taken" back to the Greek in the Strong's Concordance #1096, and we find it means, Ghinomahee, to cause to be, to become, or come into being. Again we are speaking of the antichrist who comes into power to deceive as many as possible. What are we to do when this happens? Lets go to the Book of Mark: Chapter 13 - Signs of the End. But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. (Mark 13:11). Not only will we be here for the pre-tribulation, but we may be delivered up before the anti-Christ. We are not to speak, but let the Holy Spirit speak for us. Christ goes on to say: And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (Mark 13:13). The ones who stay till the end will be saved, not those who let themselves be deceived, following Satan and false doctrine, or those looking for an easy way out.
It is written that God has blinded many to the truth because they will not believe what the Word says, but would rather believe something dreamed up by man or traditions of men. God has given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that do not see, and ears that do not hear; unto this day. (Romans 11:8). Because they will not search for the truth believing anything that is popular in religion, God will let them believe a lie. God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie. (2 Thessalonians 2:11). Has a delusion been put on you, or are you smart enough to search for the truth?
Why are so many people afraid of what the end times will bring? Where is their faith in God? What about Daniel in the lions den, or Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who were cast in the fiery furnace. They had faith in God, and not a hair on their head was touched. The question is, do you have enough faith in our Heavenly Father to see you through the tribulation period? Believing in a false doctrine such as the rapture could lead you right into one of Satan's biggest deceptions. Hang till the end, for the reward from our Father will be well worth the wait. DO NOT BE DECEIVED!
Keep The Faith,