SOUND THE ALARM IN THE CHURCHES

SOUND THE ALARM IN THE CHURCHES Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

We Christians of America are not at all prepared for the return of Jesus Christ to the earth. There are several false doctrines prevalent in Christian teaching and preaching. Many if not all of these false doctrines have one goal: to lead us away from the New Testament exhortations and warnings concerning the need for righteous behavior. Unless there is an exposure of the unscripturalness of today’s Christian teaching we shall have a generation of believers in America who are unprepared to meet Jesus Christ.

SOUND THE ALARM IN THE CHURCHES

Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming. It is close at hand— (Joel 2:1—NIV)

The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: "Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?" (Isaiah 33:14—NIV)

We Christians of America are not at all prepared for the return of Jesus Christ to the earth. There are several false doctrines prevalent in Christian teaching and preaching. Many if not all of these false doctrines have one goal: to lead us away from the New Testament exhortation and warning concerning the need for righteous behavior. Unless there is an exposure of the unscripturalness of today’s Christian teaching we shall have a generation of believers in America who are unprepared to meet Jesus Christ.

We simply are not prepared for the coming of Christ!

One of the main reasons we are not prepared is the totally unscriptural teaching of the "rapture" of the believers. It does not matter whether we believe in a pre-tribulation, or mid-tribulation, or post-tribulation rapture. The very concept is wrong.

The concept of the rapture is that the Lord Jesus is coming to bring His Church to Heaven. This is not true. There is no passage of the Bible that tells us the Lord is coming to bring His Church to Heaven. If there is no passage that tells us the Lord Jesus is coming to bring His Church to Heaven, why do we believe and teach this error?

We say we subscribe to the full verbal inspiration of the Greek Text. Why then do we believe and teach something that is not found in any of the accepted texts?

Are we such sheep that we are unable to search the Scriptures to see if what we are believing and teaching is scriptural?

What is wrong with the teaching of the "rapture"? What is wrong is that it gives us a false impression of the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord will not be a time of gaiety. It will be the most terrible of all days ever experienced on the earth. It will be the most terrible of all days for every believer in Christ who is not living a godly life!

Since we are being taught today that it does not matter whether or not we are living a godly life, just as long as we "believe" in Christ, we have a compound error.

First, that we do not have to live a godly life long providing we have made a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus.

Second, that the Lord is coming to catch us all up to Heaven providing we have made a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus.

Added to this is the concept that the Day of the Lord will be one of lightness and frivolity for the believers.

What a mess! What a mess! What an awful mess!

The Spirit of God is speaking today. If we will take the time to listen we will notice that God is not telling us that it is permissible for us to sin as long as we believe in Jesus. Neither is the Spirit of God telling us He is going to bring the Church to Heaven.

After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (I Thessalonians 4:17—NIV)

We are caught up together with the resurrected saints to meet the Lord in the air at His return so we may descend together with Him

The Scriptures do not tell us Christ is coming to carry off His Church to Heaven. The Spirit does not tell us Christ is coming to carry off His Church to Heaven. Then why do we continue to preach what is not of God? We are destroying multitudes of people who would be sturdy saints if they were taught correctly. I think we are going to be required to stand with them and explain to God why we were preaching that which is not scriptural.

We have said so far that the Day of the Lord will not be a happy time of believers going up to a picnic in Heaven. This concept is totally unscriptural.

We have said no passage of Scripture teaches that the Lord is coming to carry His Church to Heaven. It seems to me that every Christian who reads this ought to at least find one passage of Scripture that states clearly the Lord is returning to carry His Church to Heaven before he or she continues to believe and preach this. But it appears we are in a day when people are apathetic, not caring enough about their beliefs to check them out in the Bible.

We have said the Lord is interested in righteous behavior, not just in imputed (ascribed) righteousness, and that He shall judge each one of us according to what we have done during our lifetime, whether or not we are a Christian.

Let me deal very briefly with these three errors and then proceed to discuss the scriptural version of the Day of the Lord, and why we are saying it is time to sound an alarm in the Christian churches.

First, what will the Day of the Lord be like? And by the way, the Day of the Lord is the return of Jesus Christ to the earth. There will not be a special, secret coming before the Day of the Lord, the coming of Christ, when the Lord whisks away the believers to Heaven. This is an unscriptural teaching. The Lord Jesus warned us that His coming would be as the lightning flashing from one end of the sky to the other, not a secret, invisible appearing. We are warned in the Scripture about this error, and yet it is popular in America.

The so-called rapture of First Thessalonians is the coming of Christ, the Day of the Lord.

According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. (I Thessalonians 4:15—NIV)

The above is from the "rapture" passage and it is referring to the coming of the Lord.

For you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. (I Thessalonians 5:2—NIV)

And in the context of the "rapture, "the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night."

Therefore the "rapture" is the coming of the Lord and the Day of the Lord. Where are the Christian scholars concerning this matter?

The fourth chapter of the Book of First Thessalonians is announcing the parousia of Matthew, Chapter Twenty-four, according to the Greek text.

THERE SHALL BE NO SECRET RAPTURE. IT IS UNSCRIPTURAL!

Now, as to the true nature of the Day of the Lord:

Woe to you who long for the day of the LORD! Why do you long for the day of the LORD? That day will be darkness, not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him. (Amos 5:18,19—NIV)

I could present probably twenty-five passages that say the same thing concerning the Day of the Lord. The reader can seek these out at his or her pleasure. The Day of the Lord, the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth, will be the most terrible of all times in the history of the earth—especially for church people. Remember, Amos is speaking to Israel, not to the nations of the earth.

More about this later.

As to the coming of the Lord to bring His Church to Heaven: I think this teaching is based on the fourth chapter of First Thessalonians.

But if one examines this passage, which indeed is speaking of the coming of Christ, the Day of the Lord, it can be seen that it is not a secret, invisible return of Christ to protect His people from harm. Rather it is an open revelation of Christ, summoning His warriors to meet Him in the air that they may descend with Him to the Battle of Armageddon.

It is, in fact, the time of the resurrection from the dead.

The passage in First Thessalonians was written to allay the fears of the living saints that the deceased Christians would not be present when Christ returned to set up His Kingdom on the earth. This is the stated passage of the purpose, and by all the laws of biblical interpretation we ought to interpret any passage of the Scriptures in terms of its stated purpose!

Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. (I Thessalonians 4:13—NIV)

The above is the purpose for the passage and ought always to be considered strongly when interpreting the text.

We believe Jesus died and rose again and so we believe God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. (I Thessalonians 4:14—NIV)

"God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him."

The passage has to do with the return of the deceased saints, I think the saints from the time of Abel—a mighty host of the righteous. Here is the army of the Lord.

According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. (I Thessalonians 4:15—NIV)

Again, the concern is that we who are alive at the coming of the Lord will not "precede" the deceased believers. Precede them where or in what? The following verses indicate the preceding has to do with the resurrection from the dead and being caught up to MEET the Lord at His coming; not to return with Him to Heaven but to meet him. We meet Him in the air.

This passage, as is true of the entire New Testament, has nothing to do with going to Heaven! The subject is the COMING of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

(I seldom use all-capitals for emphasis, but one becomes frustrated when God’s people cannot see what is in front of them in the text!)

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. (I Thessalonians 4:16—NIV)

This is a special, secret rapture? No, this is the Day of the Lord, the coming of Christ to raise the dead and establish His Kingdom on the earth.

After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (I Thessalonians 4:17—NIV)

Do you see any mention of Heaven? We are caught up to be with the saints of all ages. We are caught up into the air, the place from which the spiritual climate of the earth is governed, so we can descend with Him and establish the Kingdom of God on the earth. This is what the Scripture teaches throughout, Old Testament and New Testament.

Therefore encourage each other with these words. (I Thessalonians 4:18—NIV)

The encouragement is that the deceased saints will not be left out when the Lord returns. The encouragement has nothing to do with escaping Antichrist or the great tribulation. Why do we persist in these destructive fables? They are destructive because they are comforting untransformed believers with the notion that even though we are not behaving as disciples of Jesus Christ we shall all be caught up to Heaven to avoid suffering. This idea is so unscriptural, so unhistorical, that it is amazing that any devout, intelligent Christian would believe such a thing for one minute!

Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, (I Thessalonians 5:1—NIV)

Remember, the Apostle Paul did not write in chapters. He is still speaking of the coming of the Lord and the Church being caught up to meet Him in the air.

For you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. (I Thessalonians 5:2—NIV)

We see that the coming, resurrection, and catching up takes place in the Day of the Lord, not at some secret time prior to Christ’s return.

While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. (I Thessalonians 5:3—NIV)

It is not true that the Church will be caught up to Heaven and then Antichrist will establish his kingdom on the earth. Rather, the moment the Church is caught up to meet Christ in the air, destruction will fall on the sinners in the churches and all the rest of the wicked of the earth. This is why we are blowing the trumpet in Zion.

But you, brothers, are not in darkness so this day should surprise you like a thief. (I Thessalonians 5:4—NIV)

It is taught today that the righteous will be surprised by an "any-moment coming" of the Lord. This is not true. The righteous will not be surprised by the coming of the Lord. God will prepare them so they will be ready.

We have mentioned briefly the incorrect idea of the Day of the Lord being a picnic in which every professing Christian is caught up to Heaven so as not to suffer on the earth. Rather it shall be a day of heavy darkness, of fiery judgment. Only those who have learned to walk in the fire of God’s holiness will survive that day!

We have mentioned briefly the totally unscriptural belief that Christ is returning to bring His Church to Heaven, that He is coming to "steal away His Bride," and this sort of thinking.

My opinion is that the "rapture" error and the incorrect vision of the day of the Lord have grown from the "faith alone" error, that probably emerged from the Protestant Reformation. The notion that the Christian salvation is not inseparably connected with a change in our behavior is so totally unscriptural that one wonders how it could be so widely believed by those who have read the Bible.

The grace of God in Jesus Christ is not an alternative to righteous behavior. The grace of God is not a new way in which God relates to man. The grace of God is God in Jesus Christ enabling people to escape the bondages of Satan and live righteous, holy, obedient lives. This definition is so clearly scriptural it is a marvel it is not more commonly known.

One of the doctrines that can be found in Christian churches is that we are saved only by believing in the atonement made by the Lord Jesus Christ and if we make any effort at all to live righteously we are detracting from the perfect work of God.

One easily could present twenty-five New Testament passages that flatly contradict this teaching.

For example:

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, While we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. (Titus 2:11-14—NIV)

Now, think about the above passage. The prevailing Christian doctrine includes the idea that Divine grace is an alternative to righteous behavior, some going so far as to say if we try to live righteously we are subtracting from the perfect work of Christ.

What does God’s Word say?

Grace teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions.

Does this sound as though if we try to do good we are subtracting from Christ’s Glory? So the present teaching is unscriptural. It is a destructive lie.

Grace teaches us "to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age."

Does this sound as though if we try to do good we are subtracting from Christ’s Glory?

Our "blessed hope" is "the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ."

Does this say anything about going to Heaven?

The Lord Jesus Christ gave himself for us "to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good."

A people eager to do what is good.

Does this sound like current Christian teaching?

No it does not. We of today have been massively deceived. As a result, numerous Christians in America are not at all prepared for the coming of the Lord.

So much for the false concept of the return of Jesus Christ to the earth.

What is the true concept of the return of Jesus Christ to the earth?

The true concept is that Christ is returning to establish His Kingdom on the earth. This means, according to the Scriptures both Old Testament and New:

The Lord will be revealed together with a multitude of prepared saints who live in iron righteousness, fiery holiness, and stern obedience to the Father.

The coming of the Lord will be a time of spiritual darkness and conflict as the powers of Satan are confronted and driven from the earth.

Antichrist will be driven from the land of Israel and the Jewish people will be delivered from sin.

Destruction will fall on the sinners in the churches.

Justice will be brought to the nations of the earth.

The saints will govern the earth during the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

The above is a true, scriptural picture of the return of Jesus Christ.

We have always known from the Scripture that we are to return with the Lord. But the traditional emphasis on the "rapture" and mansions in Heaven has taken the place of the Scriptures.

Notice:

When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4—NIV)

On the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. (II Thessalonians 1:10—NIV)

There are several passages in the Old Testament that speak of the return of the Lord with His army to drive wickedness from the earth. But let us examine the New Testament lest the reader should think the coming of the army of the Lord in the Day of the Lord is an Old Testament concept.

Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones To judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him." (Jude 1:14,15—NIV)

"Prophesied about these men." What men? "These men" are the sinners in the churches. They may be the first to experience the judgment of Christ exercised through His true saints.

How can we identify those who are sinners in the churches, according to the Book of Jude?

They change the grace of God into an excuse for immorality.

They deny the Lordship of Jesus Christ, teaching that we do not have to follow Christ in strict obedience and discipleship. So many today are willing to receive Christ as their personal Savior but never as their personal Lord!

They are full of bodily lust.

They reject authority.

They are ready to bring accusations against the fallen lords of darkness, that is, they are spiritually presumptuous.

They follow the way of Cain. They are envious of those whom God has blessed and seek to harm them, often by slander and gossip.

They rush for profit into Balaam’s error. They seek to make money from the things of Christ.

They perish in Korah’s rebellion. They attempt to overthrow the leadership God has established.

They set themselves as shepherds of God’s flock but they feed only themselves.

They are grumblers and faultfinders.

If you will study the above list you will see that this type of fleshly behavior can be found in many Christian churches. Jude does not say these men will go to Heaven by grace. Jude warns that the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of His saints to judge the behavior of sinful church members.

We see then how utterly misleading is the present concept of salvation by grace, and the present concept of the nature of the return of Jesus Christ to the earth.

The coming of the Lord is described as follows:

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:11-14—NIV)

Such is the appearing of Christ and His saints.

Notice that the saints who appear with Christ are dressed in fine linen.

The fine linen of Christ’s warriors is not that of ascribed righteousness but of actual righteousness of behavior, a righteous behavior they have been able to practice as they have gone to the Mercy Seat for help, and as Christ has been formed in them.

Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) (Revelation 19:8—NIV)

If we are to ride with the Lord Jesus in the Day of the Lord we must undergo a prolonged preparation.

They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers." (Revelation 17:14—NIV)

If we are to appear with Jesus Christ in the Day of the Lord we must first have been called by the Lord.

Then we must pass into the ranks of the chosen by choosing to serve Christ with all of our heart.

After we have been chosen we must be proven faithful by countless tests and trials.

No believer who has not passed from mere belief in Christ to the ranks of the chosen and then been proven faithful by remaining in the Lord’s prison; by bearing his or her cross patiently after the Master; has any chance at all of riding with Christ in the Day of the Lord.

The true vision of the Day of the Lord is that of Christ and His army hurtling down from the sky to drive the works of Satan from the earth. If we are not living a godly life we have no hope of being caught up to be a part of that army. We have no white robe of righteous acts. We will be terrified at the sight of the shining warriors who are with Christ and also filled with Christ. They are God’s untouchables and they cannot be bribed, frightened, or turned from their course by any means whatever.

As far as their righteousness is concerned:

The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: "Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?" He who walks righteously and speaks what is right, who rejects gain from extortion and keeps his hand from accepting bribes, who stops his ears against plots of murder and shuts his eyes against contemplating evil— This is the man who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress. His bread will be supplied, and water will not fail him. Your eyes will see the king in his beauty and view a land that stretches afar. (Isaiah 33:14-17—NIV)

The huge error of Christian thinking is that these qualification no longer apply.

We imagine that through "grace" we can dwell with the Consuming Fire and walk unrighteously, not speaking what is right.

We can accept gain derived from extortion and accept bribes.

We can listen to gossip and slander and contemplate evil.

We can do all this and yet dwell on the heights of God, God will be our mountain fortress, our bread and water will be supplied.

We will see Christ in His beauty and behold the Glory of Heaven even though we are filled with guile and moral filthiness.

We can sin and walk with God. This is the current teaching. It is not only unscriptural it is totally destructive of all God is endeavoring to accomplish.

Do you believe you can sin and still dwell with God by grace? This is what is taught. It is unscriptural.

Let us look at a parallel passage in the New Testament.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; And to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; And to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten he has been cleansed from his past sins. (II Peter 1:5-9—NIV)

Can you see how closely this resembles the preceding passage from Isaiah, proving that God has not changed His demands on people?

We are to add to our faith goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.

We add these to our faith by prayer, reading the word, gathering with the saints, obeying the Spirit, confessing our sins, and doing all else associated with being a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But suppose we do not work diligently to add each of these to our faith?

In this case we very well may be ineffective and unproductive in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We are nearsighted and blind. We shall not see Christ in His beauty or behold the Glory of Heaven.

We have forgotten we were cleansed from our past sins.

What else?

Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, And you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (II Peter 2:10,11—NIV)

We stand in danger of falling in spite of our sovereign calling and election.

We shall not receive a rich welcome into the Kingdom of God.

Now, on the basis of this and similar passages in the New Testament, I state clearly and with no fear of scriptural rebuttal that current Christian teaching is unscriptural and is leaving the American believers unprepared for the great and terrible Day of the Lord.

We are not going to be caught up to Heaven. We either are going to be raised or transformed and caught up to meet the Commander in Chief in the air, and then charge downward with Him to confront the forces of Satan, or else we are going to be judged by those who were in fact caught up to meet Christ in the air.

Any other view of the return of the Lord cannot be supported by the Scriptures.

The point is, we Christians in America are not prepared for the Lord’s return!

We are in a period of "well nourished cows," to borrow a figure from the story of Joseph. Heaven is open today to all who look to the Lord for deliverance, for holiness and righteousness, for a fruitful ministry.

One group of young people refer to themselves as "The Revival Generation." This is exactly what the youth of today are. But anyone of any age can look to the Lord and be a part of the current revival.

Ask the LORD for rain in the springtime; it is the LORD who makes the storm clouds. He gives showers of rain to men, and plants of the field to everyone. (Zechariah 10:1—NIV)

The latter, or spring rain is mentioned several times in the Bible. The spring rain refers to the heavy downpours that come, in Israel, just prior to the harvest of grain.

Without becoming too rigid with the type, we might think of the work of the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts as being the former, or fall rain. The fall rain prepares the ground for planting.

Then there are sporadic winter rains.

It may be true that we have come to the time of the spring rain of the Spirit. If this is the case, we can expect an unprecedented downpour of the Spirit of God. After that, the burning sun of tribulation in preparation for the harvest of the earth.

Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. (James 5:7—NIV)

Revival is upon us, bringing repentance, worldwide evangelism, and a further unfolding of God’s Word. During this exciting period we must remember that the current Christian doctrines of lawless grace and an "any-moment rapture" are not scriptural.

If we are to please God, whether or not He uses us in a fruitful ministry, we absolutely must follow the Spirit of God into personal moral transformation. God will accept nothing less than a new creation in Christ if we are to participate in the glory of the Day of the Lord.

Iron righteousness, fiery holiness, stern obedience to the Father. These are absolutely necessary if we are to ride with Christ on the war stallions.

You may be a new Christian, or a discouraged older Christian. Take heart. Christ is waiting for you to turn your life over to Him. He is well able to make you a good soldier, a fit member of His army. He is glad to do this for you and in you.

But make no mistake. The Lord Jesus is not anything like He is pictured in the United States of America. He is not humbly knocking on the United Nations building hoping someone will let Him in to sit at the table.

Jesus Christ is King of all kings and Lord of all lords. When He has accomplished His perfect will in the midst of the political foolishness that is being conducted, He shall return. Woe to the sinners in that day! The rich and the poor, the lords and the slaves—all shall cry for the mountains and rocks to cover them and hide them from the face of the Lamb.

The trumpet is sounding in Zion today, that is, in the Christian churches. Can you hear it? It is telling you and me to prepare ourselves for His glorious appearing. I am preparing myself, my household, and all who will hear me, as God enables.

How about you?