(The following is a modified excerpt from the booklet ‘ Escape or Passover’ by Paul Benson)
For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. 37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Hebrews 10:36-37
Jesus is most certainly coming! It’s only a matter of when. In the fast-food mentality of the modern Church extolling the virtues of patience and perseverance has been cast aside in favor of preaching/selling principals of prosperity. Teachings which promise to get you what you want from God, and get it for you now! But patience and endurance are both truly necessary to receive favor and fulfillment of promise from God; and as this age progresses they will become all the more needful and precious.
For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; 1Thessalonians 3:4
Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. Acts 14:21-22
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. Romans 8:35-37
Modern Christianity with all of its prosperity teachings and self-centered focus cannot fathom the concept of God’s people being like sheep for the slaughter in a day of great persecution. The preservation and prosperity of self has replaced the crucified life for the greater part of the Western Church. If you can’t see that you must be fast asleep in your pew!
And there is an uncanny parallel between the condition of this nation and that of ancient Israel (Judah) before they were devastated and taken captive by the Babylonians. As the prophets of Israel used ‘lightness’ and ear-tickling false teachings to deceive the people (Jer. 23:32); so the prosperity teachers and false prophets of our day are taking our focus off of what God is really saying: Judgment is coming! On a lukewarm Church, on this wicked nation, and on a sinful and unbelieving world. The world, and as well the Church, are about to receive one final tribulation filled call to repentance!
Those who think God would not judge, and chastise, a backslid Church do not know the God of the Bible! The words of many ministers today sound just like the deceivers in ancient Israel who said judgment was not coming – only peace, prosperity, and deliverance from all adversity. When judgment fell the people never even saw it coming even though they had been warned to mend their ways for many decades! Their focus had been diverted away from what God was speaking by the false prophets of their day; just as ours has been by the lying, ear-tickling, money-hungry ones of our day. We need to awaken, and prepare our hearts for the days ahead!
By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. Hebrews 11:7
Just as Noah was warned to construct an ark, we believers today are being warned of God to build an ark of our own. But the Ark we are being called to build is not a boat. It is a relationship with a person! That ark of Noah’s was symbolic of Jesus Christ; he is our ark of safety today!
We need to be hidden away in him by a total commitment to the will of God, and a wholehearted desire to follow the truth of his Word. We need to hold fast to the truth no matter how contrary it is to what is being popularly preached. Where are all the preachers who used to quote these words of the Apostle:
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 2Corinthians 6:17-18
It seems to me that somewhere along the line the modern pulpit has lost its spine (or traded it in for a paycheck)!
And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. Luke 8:10
God is more than happy to unfold to us the truths of his Word. It is not his desire, nor to his glory, that we as the Body of Christ would be in ignorance of, or in disagreement over, the mysteries of the kingdom of God. We have been given not only his Word of truth; but also his Spirit of truth. How sad it is that with these great resources at our disposal there is such a rift in the Church over the teachings concerning the Return of our Lord and the gathering of the Believers unto him. This rift ought not be (and wasn’t before the pre-trib fable infected the Church)!
What is even sadder is the fact that so many have allowed this to become an issue of eligibility for fellowship. I have numerous times been not only shocked, but also somewhat hurt, by the way so many will reject your company if you don’t agree with their extra-biblical fantasy of escapism. Such behavior is a grief to God. This should not be an issue of fellowship, but a matter of corporate prayer. But even this latter-day inclination to follow error was prophesied long before the birth of Christ:
Behold, the name of the LORD cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire: 28 And his breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err. Isaiah 30:27-28
To me the most unnerving part of this passage of Scripture is that it teaches there would be an influence in the days proceeding Christ’s Return steering the people unto error! Just as Paul told the Thessalonians that God would send strong delusion that those who believed not the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness would be damned. He said God would send them a delusion because they refused the truth and had an appetite for lies!
A delusion from God?
God putting a bridle in the mouth of some to steer them unto error?
That sure doesn’t sound like the lovey-dovey ‘Daddy’ being preached by the smooth-talkers of this generation. The easy-going God who is ‘not angry at sin any more’ being portrayed in the backslid preaching found in most pulpits today! Does it?
Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. Romans11:22
Many have got the goodness of God down pat, but have rejected the other side of the coin: the severity of God. The Bible says a false balance is an abomination to God. In presenting to the people only the goodness of God, and not his severity, you create for them a false image of God; a golden calf so to speak. Worshiping a man-fabricated image of God is idolatry! And fabricating a false narrative of Christ’s Return, and lauding it to the point of idolizing it is no better!
Why do so many seem more enamored with the concept of a’ pre-trib escape’ than they are with Christ? I see it all the time!
Truth is a gift from God; but not everyone receives that gift. Those who love their sin and/or their own opinion (or the opinions of ministers they idolize) more than they love the Word of God will receive a delusion which will convince them they have the truth, even though they are following falsehood.
I used to wonder greatly at the way so many professed believers turn a deaf ear to the true teachings of the Bible and embrace extra-biblical teachings such as the pre-trib rapture myth. Now I am wondering how many do so by no choice of their own; but because a bridle has been placed in their mouth (by God himself!) to steer them aside!
No, I am not suggesting that everyone who believes in the error of a rapture before the Tribulation is lost, or living in gross sin. But I am saying the Bible clearly teaches that sin and pride will cause many to miss the truth, and be turned to a lie instead. And then the deceived in turn becomes a deceiver himself as he broadcasts his mistaken beliefs to those trusting him to speak the truth. Can we not see the danger this presents? Can you believe and teach falsehoods for years without hardening your heart to the voice of the Spirit of God as he seeks to correct you? Can a person tune out the corrective voice of God on a continuous basis without damaging your communion with him?
He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. Proverbs 29:1
The danger of embracing and teaching any falsehood is most serious! It WILL damage your relationship with Jesus! But this generation of ‘it’s all good!’ and ‘you can believe what you want to believe and I’ll believe what I want’ and ‘if we don’t believe the same we will just agree to disagree’ pseudo-Christianity ignores that danger like it is a non-issue.
But I assure you it very much IS an issue with our Creator!
The cure? A soul-searching and Scripture-searching examination of our beliefs; ever wary of believing anything not explicitly taught in the Word of God (even if our organization or fellowship declares it to be fact). Humbling ourselves before God, and admitting the possibility that we are capable of being deceived. Crying out for him to open our eyes to the truth, and deliver us from whatever false beliefs may have been introduced into our hearts.
The prideful will not see the need to take these steps to purify their beliefs. They are convinced they’re fine just the way they are! Are you daily seeking a purification of your beliefs and doctrines; or are you just going along with the crowd and believing whatever is traditional, popular, or self serving? What we believe determines who we are! And also how we live before a God who takes our behavior a lot more seriously than the modern gospel would lead you to imagine.
And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. Exodus 12:13
Again, Jesus is our Ark of safety. Get in the Ark; and stay in the Ark! Just as God’s people in ancient Egypt on that first Passover night had to stay in the house (and under the protection of the Blood on the door -post) to avoid destruction, we also must abide in Christ. Were they told ‘Don’t worry! Once you are under the protection of the Blood you can never lose that protection!’? NO! They were told: Stay in the house or be destroyed!
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. :6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. John 15:4-6
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John_14:6
Jesus exhorted us to abide in him who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. There are those teaching that you can wander from the way, and depart from the truth, but still receive the life. I wouldn’t count on it!
In case any might still be clinging to the mistaken notion that once you come into the grace of God you cannot depart from it let’s again give some consideration to the words of the apostle James:
Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20
According to the Scripture one who errs from the truth is a sinner headed for DEATH and in need of being converted back to the truth to be saved. Where God draws the line in this matter is up to him. And I do, quite thankfully, believe he gives much grace in regard to our pursuit of learning his ways and establishing proper doctrine. But I think it very foolhardy the way the modern Church seems to be ignoring not only the danger of deception, but also the loose living that seems to go hand in hand with the apostate teachings plaguing the Body of Christ today.
God help us to recognize our need to get in the Ark and stay in the Ark! Whether we live to see the Return of Jesus, or pass from this world before that approaching day, we will ALL pass through the coming down-pour of the wrath of Almighty God as he judges humanity. Most will perish in that deluge of divine anger; some will pass safely through it in an Ark of Refuge.
I hope you will be one who wisely rejected the sins, carnality, distractions, and deceptions of this age and chose to abide in Christ;
I welcome your input!
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