HAVE WE BEEN DECEIVED?
Copyright © 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
I believe we American Christians have been deceived by the lawless-grace and escape-by-rapture teachings.
It is clear that our nation is being torn apart by conflicting philosophies of government and religion. Since the opposing parties are so hostile, it seems that America will be weakened to the point of becoming a third-rate nation. In America, the differences in time past have been settled amicably and we have continued on our way—perhaps better for the conflict. But the hostility in the present hour is so fierce and determined that there may not be a settlement of differences, only conflict of some sort. In addition to our internal problems, when we are weakened sufficiently, we may be attacked by more disciplined countries. I think the Spirit is saying there is going to be much bloodshed in the future.
We are facing all of these problems because Divine judgment is beginning to affect America. By and large, the Christian people are soft spiritually because of false teaching. We have been lulled to sleep. We are not using the present hour, which has been allotted to us to prepare for what is coming, to put on the whole armor of God so we may stand in the evil day.
And why aren’t we preparing ourselves to stand in the day of trouble that is on the horizon? Because we have been taught we will not be here when the trouble comes. We will be in Heaven in air-conditioned comfort, looking down at unsaved people and the Jews enduring the Great Tribulation.
The “rapture” teaching has no basis in the New Testament. If you will look carefully at the passages that are used to support the escape-by-rapture doctrine, you will see that they say nothing about being taken to Heaven to escape the Great Tribulation, or trouble of any sort.
First Thessalonians chapter four, for example, is speaking of the historic day of the Lord, the parousia, which Jesus set forth in Matthew chapter 24. Paul’s purpose in writing these words was to comfort living Christians concerning their loved ones who had died. To use First Thessalonians chapter four to teach a special, pre-advent, appearing of Christ to whisk away to Heaven the casual believers of our day defies every principle of biblical interpretation. Rather, First Thessalonians chapter four is referring to the great and terrible Day of the Lord, the beginning of the attack of the battle of Armageddon.
Also, if you read the entire chapter for the following passage, you will see that the exhortation is for us to flee from sin so we may stand spiritually before our Lord, not go to Heaven to escape the Great Tribulation.
Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:36)
What does history say about Christian people. Did Jesus carry them to Heaven when they were in trouble? How about the Christians in the Coliseum in Rome when families were being eaten by lions? If there was a time when Jesus should have “raptured” believers, it was at those events. Do we imagine that those dedicated martyrs were loved any less by the Lord than are the casual church-attenders of our day? Are we so foolish and self-centered?
What about the Christian families in Africa who today are being driven from their homes or raped and murdered by Muslim fanatics? Are they less worthy than we? “Oh, but that isn’t the Great Tribulation!” If you were driven from your home and your family was raped and murdered, would you be conscious of the difference between what happened to you and the Great Tribulation? I think not.
To cling to a doctrine which is not clearly present in the Scriptures, and to ignore the history of Christian people, must be explained by the working of deception.
Well then, how does deception work? Remember, Satan has no actual power, except in specific instances when Christ sees it will further the work of Christ. He must work by deception, as he is doing today with the lawless-grace and escape-by-rapture teachings. Satan uses our fervent desires to defeat us, similar to Judo techniques. Satan helps us defeat ourselves.
Our Lord Jesus told us to put all of our treasures in Heaven, where we will meet them again with no rust and not moth-eaten. Jesus told us to deny ourselves, take up our cross of deferred desires, and follow Him each day. How many times have you heard a popular preacher on the television or elsewhere tell us we must put our treasure in Heaven, take up our cross of deferred desires, and follow Jesus at all times? Probably not many times, and that is why Christian people are in love with themselves and their possessions.
We are in deception. Such preachers could not convince us except for the fact that this is what we in America wish to hear. It is our fervent desires that open the door for deception to enter and guide us.
It is obvious to any thinking Christian that something is wrong. Our economy is weak. Today thousands of people have had their homes burned to the ground in Colorado. Millions of people on the east coast have no electricity and are sweltering in high temperatures. Time after time we hear a sheriff who was viewing desolation exclaim, “I have never seen anything like this before!” Children and young people are acting in bizarre ways, reacting violently at home and in school where they must be handcuffed. Some young people are murdering their parents.
How are we reacting to these social tragedies, which many of us Christians view as signaling the displeasure of God? We are reacting by teaching grade-school children that sexual perversions are a normal part of life, and in some instances, a preferable way of life. The entertainers are becoming increasingly lewd in their behavior. Yet the secular world and part of the Christian world do not seem to care.
In the Bible, we read that God punished Israel when the people abandoned God’s moral laws and became dissolute. But we have lost the fear of God in our land because of the false teaching that prevails.
We want to go to church and have some popular preacher prophesy over us how all our problems will be solved and Christ is going to heal all of our disease and make us happy. But this “prophet” would never tell us that Christ is telling us to confess our sins and turn away from them.
When you desire something fervently, you are a candidate for satanic deception. When you do not put everyone and everything on the altar, do not give everything to Christ to do with as He will, do not place all of your treasures in Heaven, you are opening yourself to deception. You are ensuring that you are going to suffer agony as God reproves America for abandoning Him, when He has given us so many things to enjoy.
As it was in the days of Noah, so it shall be in the closing days of the Church Age. People will be buying and selling, marrying and giving in marriage. Then destruction will come upon us.
What are we to do? We are to step into the Ark. Christ is our Ark. We are to fix our eyes on the Lord Jesus. We are to abide in Him, which is to abide under the shadow of the Almighty. We are to do that today, not wait until everyone is panicked and running around trying to find help.
There are several passages in the Bible that promise us protection in the time of danger. The ninety-first Psalm is one of the better known. But there are others:
He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord (Psalm 112:7)
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3)
You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, (Psalm 91:5)
I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. (Psalm 34:4-7)
Take the time now, in these days of relative quiet for most of us, to memorize these verses. You can cling to them as chaos approaches. But remember: they are effective only as long as you fear and trust the Lord. They do not work if all you do is say “I accept Christ,” and then live your own life as before.
Bring the Presence of Christ into everything you think, say, and do. Christianity is infinitely more than a religion. It is Jesus Christ Himself. He is the Tree of Life. The Throne of God is in Him. Out from Him flows the water of life.
We in America may pride ourselves on being tolerant of other religions. That certainly is better than being hateful and belligerent toward those of other persuasions. But I will assure you, there only is one true God. Jesus Christ is His Son. Through Christ, God created all things and personages, spiritual and physical. The blood of the Lord Jesus Christ shed on the cross of Calvary is the only atonement for the sins of people. There is no other atonement. God has given to Jesus all authority and power in Heaven and upon the earth. God has not given this authority and power to anyone else.
Many people in the world are zealous for their religion, and some will kill people who do not agree with them. This makes absolutely no difference. If their god is not the true God of Heaven, and if they do not receive and obey His Son, the Lord Jesus, they are in error. If they kill someone because of his or her religious beliefs, they are guilty of murder, and will be judged accordingly. God is not nearly as interested in our religious beliefs as He is in our behavior.
It is not fashionable in America at this time to be as dogmatic as I am. I don’t care. I have followed the Lord Jesus for more than 65 years. He is my best Friend. He has delivered me from more problems than I can remember. I promised God when I was 19 years old that I would receive Christ and follow the Bible. I told God, in the vanity of youth, that if the Bible proved to be true, I would say so. If the Bible proved to be just another philosophy, I would say that. You see, I was not raised in a Christian home and had no Christian background. So there was no pressure on me to decide one way or another.
I will declare to you after more than 65 years as a disciple of the Lord Jesus, that He most certainly is alive and has come from God. I know when I die I will go to Him. I will not be left alone to wander around in the spirit world—which indeed is a terrifying fate. That is why Jesus told us that if we are dishonest, to make friends of worldly people so someone would receive us when we die. Christ is very real to me as I approach death. I have served Christ all my adult life, and so I look forward to death, like Christmas morning with the presents around the tree.
I encourage all who read these words to prepare yourselves for the weakening of America. It does not matter what religion you belong to, ask the Lord Jesus to help you live as a decent human being. You and those who will listen to you can run into the Ark, into Christ, and the flood waters of judgment will buoy you up and you will be safe as long as you do not get out of the Ark.
When the disaster is over, you still be safe in the arms of Jesus.
(“Have We Been Deceived?”, 3901-1, proofed 20210917)