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Tribulation Preparedness

 

I have been reading your blog for a few months. I am a young Christian. I've been attending church four years and saved for three of those years. I have been doing some preparations for "survival" as per your blog in all areas after observing the financial collapse and other related events in recent years. Many at church say I am wasting my time cause we will all be raptured prior to the tribulation. Any brief comments would be appreciated. Thanks, - Jim V.

JWR Replies: You are not wasting your time. The concept of a pre-tribulation rapture is a modernist "feel good" invention. In my estimation, bowing out of preparedness because of just one verse in the Bible (I Thessalonians 4:l7) is foolish. The word rapture doesn't occur in the Bible. That is word used in summary of "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." (I Thessalonians 4:l7)

Scriptural interpretation of end times events is the subject of much eschatological debate. But if you are looking for a sequence of events, then see Mark 13:18-27 and Matthew 24: 2l-42. A lot of modern evangelicals point to verses 37 to 41 in Matthew 24, and say " Ah-ha! 'Two in the field, but only one one taken'" and conclude that a "pre-tribulation rapture of the church" will occur. While it is true that living believers will be taken up to heaven directly in the Last Days, my interpretation is that it will occur after the time of tribulation, that is, after the breaking of the seals and the numerous plagues described in John's Revelation. Christ made the sequence of events clear, when he was quoted in Matthew 24 :29-31: "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. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (My emphasis added. Forgive me if I have somehow added anything to scripture by showing some words bold, but there is a sequence here!)

But, please, don't get too caught up with doctrinal differences. What really matters is that we should all be prepared both spiritually and physically, regardless of the exact sequence of end times events. The crucial thing is our salvation--accepting Christ as our Savior, and reconciling ourselves to God. Anything else, by comparison is just a doctrinal nit. I believe that we are in the Last Days and that it is of vital importance that as many as possible come to saving faith in Jesus the Christ.

Remember: "But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only" of Jesus' return. (Matthew 24:36). Get ready, today, by getting right with God. Even if I'm wrong and there is a pre-tribulation rapture then the food you have stored will be a blessing for friends and relatives who were unsaved and that would be a form of witness unto them. Keep several Bibles amongst your preps. And for those who are strident pacifists, I would submit that it is hard to share the gospel with others if your mortal body has assumed room temperature.

If you want to delve into these topics further, I suggest reading: The Rapture: A Question of Timing, by William Kimbal. This concise book echoes what a lot of theologians like John Wesley and Charles Haddon Spurgeon made clear, long before the modernist church attempted to reinterpret the End Times for their own convenience.

 

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