My wife was sick this weekend – she still is, in fact. As I’m writing, she’s back in bed, having cleared her schedule at work and contacted her doctor – and because she and I had been up most of the night Saturday with her pain (instead of mine, ironically), we couldn’t help but sleep in too late Saturday morning to go to the service we’d planned to attend.
A brief aside: we patronize one primary church, as everyone should, but we have a second church in the nearby city where she lived before our marriage. They had a special event planned for Sunday which we missed because of her illness, so the kids and I went to our primary church instead.
The sermon we did hear from our interim pastor at our regular church. was one I needed to hear. To explain: regular readers of this blog and followers of Act II Ministries know that we believe that the Rapture of the True Believers in Christ is imminent. All the signs necessary to be fulfilled before His first return have been fulfilled – the itinerary in Daniel 11, all the world conditions required during the Great Tribulation (the set-up for one world government, one currency, worldwide telecommunication, the RFID technology for the “mark of the beast”, a standing army of 200 million in the East, even the basics for a one-world religion when the time comes to trigger that course of action), the prerequisites necessary (Israel re-formed in a day – May 14, 1948 – with a “pure” language – the re-created Hebrew language, the particular powers and nations surrounding and threatening Israel, and so forth).
Our pastor focused on the text from the Olivet Discourse, Matthew 24. He mistakenly quoted some segments from Jeremiah’s promises to the people who were at that moment being exiled from Israel into the subordination of another kingdom. God, through His prophet Jeremiah, was assuring them that they (or at least their children) would indeed be returning to their homeland – not now, but back 25 centuries ago when Cyrus decreed their return.
However, the rest of what he tagged are authentic signs of the Second Coming – the return of Jews to Israel as the End approaches (Ezekiel 39:28, Psalm 107:3, Isaiah 11:12), the rise of worldwide transportation and communication (Daniel 12:4), the inability of its enemies to eliminate Israel despite overwhelming superiority of numbers (think of the 1948 war and especially the Six-Day War of 1967, in the wake of texts like Psalm 83:4 and Zechariah 12:6, 8) and invoking God’s ability to raise an army a la Ezekiel 37 (the valley of dry bones). Mark Twain was once asked why he believed in God and Christ, and his reply was succinct and remarkably acute: “Because the Jew lives.” When was the last time you met a “HIttite”? A “Moabite”, a “Philistine”, a “Ninevite”? Every single culture ever evicted from their homeland lost its cultural identity – except the Jews, who were exiled from their land twice, the last time for about 1800 years.
Back to the main point – what does any of this have to do with the Lord chastising you, sir?
Regular readers will recall that personally, I believed that the May 14th seventieth anniversary date of the founding (re-founding) of Israel as a nation would be the most likely moment for God the Father to pull the trigger on the beginning of the End Times calendar of events. There were so many possible connections to utilize, even beyond the almost magical “seventy” which God has used throughout Jewish history, including two key 70s not often mentioned: 70 years before 1948, in 1878, Jews were first allowed to start purchasing land to own themselves in the Holy Land, and in Daniel 9:24 the entire description of the End begins with “Seventy sevens are decreed…”
Beyond the 5/14/18 possibility, there was the fact that Christ ascended to Heaven forty days after Good Friday, and Pentecost (when the Holy Spirit came) was fifty days after Good Friday (“pente” = five or fifty). That happened to fall on May 10th to 20th this year, with the anniversary date of the 14th right in the middle. The 15th was a major date of note as well, though for the life of me I can’t recall what it was. And the 17th of Tammuz (June 30th) was considered to be a huge deadline to many scholars, because the 2300 days that followed it would land right on the feast day that is described in Revelation following the final battle at Meggido.
So, once those dates all passed …
Honestly? I stopped pushing the impending-ness of the Rapture.
SOOOOoooooo….. HE set to work on me yesterday. Gently reminding me, in no uncertain terms, that my job wasn’t complete; it was in fact more crucial than ever, since no matter when it is, we are now several months closer to that magical day than we were in April and May! And therefore I needed to get off my butt, resume my eschatological research, and refocus my prayer life on this most important of all topics – the subject of preparing for the Return of our Lord and Savior, and that indescribable Day when in a twinkling of an eye, He brings us all Home for good.
The same day that Jesus Christ brings all of us Believers Home to Heaven, however, He will leave behind all of those who have NOT made Him their Lord in deed as well as word. Some people – billions, of course – don’t even pretend to be Christian. They are either invested in one of the many non-Christian, idolatrous, false religions set up by Satan over the centuries – Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and so forth – OR they have the general idea that they believe in Christ, when Christ’s requirements to be one of His Children are SO MUCH HIGHER than most of them understand.
It is to those people whom I intend to talk with as much as possible between now and the deadline. I don’t see why Muslims would have any reason or even opportunity to read these posts. But CINOs (Christians-In-Name-Only) would very likely read these, either directly because they think of themselves as Believing sheep when they’re still on the goat side of the aisle, or because one of you Believers passes one of our posts on to someone they care about who needs to read it.
And that’s my job: to provide Believers and not-quite Believers with the resources they need to educate themselves and the people around them – to bring as many people “onto the boat Home” as we possibly can before the Last Call trumpet sounds.
Because it’s becoming clearer and clearer to me that despite popular opinion, there WON’T be a second chance to make it to Heaven after the Rapture. Scripture has never seemed particularly transparent on this topic to me, but it seems like the only people who won’t be in that initial wave of Believers that are saved and make it into Heaven later are Jewish believers who come to Christ in the 2300 days following the Rapture, as the 144,000 pure Hebrews (12,000 from each of the twelve tribes) are marked with God’s protective mark and preach to their brethren. (I would presume that those Jew-come-lately Christian Believers who hear the Word from those 144,000 sharing the Gospel will also come along, but not the Gentiles who were only grafted in following the death of Christ. Don’t ever let anyone tell you Israel is not still the Chosen Nation of God.).
So, unless you’re reading this in a Jewish neighborhood somewhere, you as a Christian Believer have the Great Commission in front of you – a commission given directly to us by Jesus Christ Himself – a commission that has a very definite expiration date. We may not know that exact date, but we know it’s coming up fast, for all of the reasons we’ve discussed before and will again (now that I’m back in my ordained field).
When I was saved six and a half years ago, in the handicapped car of an Amtrak passenger train heading from Winnemucca to Reno, Nevada, it was shown to me very quickly (within the first few weeks, in fact, because there was no time to lose) that I was to focus on the field of eschatology, or the End Times prophecies. That’s what we usually think Revelation is for, but there’s actually a majority of the End Times prophetic material in the Old Testament, which would surprise most Hebrews who don’t believe the Messiah has come the first time yet. The books of Ezekiel, Isaiah, the Psalms, Zecharaiah, and especially Daniel are rife with information forecasting both the conditions that will be in place when the Messiah returns, the signs which will lead up to His return, the events which will take place during that seven year period, and most importantly the timing of events surrounding His Return.
This is my purpose. This is one of the purposes, therefore, of Act II Ministries. I hope you’ll join us on this final earthly adventure, whether it’s a few more days, a few more months, or a few more years. They’ll be the difference for most of us, I think, between whether we simply make it to Heaven, or we arrive and have His Loving Arms welcome us, while we hear Him say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.”