The church is a restraining influence in the earth; our very presence stems the tide of evil. The Apostle Paul made it clear the Antichrist or ‘Son of Perdition’ cannot manifest in bodily form until the rapture takes place. Some teachers claim the church needs to prepare for the coming tribulation, but our ‘blessed hope’ is an escape from the coming travails of ‘Jacob’s trouble,’ which Israel must endure for her rejection of Christ as Messiah. Join Carl now for this final broadcast, as the great ‘falling away’ of the church could very well offer an entirely different meaning altogether…
Here is a complete transcript of the podcast (below)…
Friend, we continue to today with Part 3 of our topic of the rapture of the church and this will be my second to last message on this subject or at least for now. The pre-tribulation rapture is an integral doctrine of the New Testament and one which has come under attack recently, hence the reason for my broadcast. To recap, we the church will not see the antichrist because we’re the very restraining force that withholds his appearing. Once we’re removed from the earth however, the Antichrist is able to manifest and embarks upon a peace treaty with Israel to commence the tribulation period. Let’s continue reading now from the 2nd Book of Thessalonians, chapter 2:7-12:
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work): only he (the Church) who now letteth will let (this word means restrain in the Greek), until he (the Church) be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming (that is at His 2nd coming): 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
Friend did you notice there is another mystery mentioned within this passage? in prior broadcasts I told you the church and even the rapture was a mystery concealed within the OT ready to be revealed within the NT and this mystery of iniquity is no different. This mystery of iniquity is the driving force that compels men and angels to do wicked acts and is unique within the NT. A mystery does not lie in the obscurity of a thing, but in its secrecy. It’s not in the thing, but envelops it. Applied to a truth, it signifies a truth once hidden but now revealed and a truth which without special revelation would remain unknown. Perhaps a better rendition of the word mystery here would be secret as I said. It’s not something that isn’t meant to be understood but ready to be revealed in its proper time.
As I said, this ‘mystery of iniquity’ cannot come to full fruition until we the church have been removed. However, once we’re gone, the entire earth’s population will be subject to mass deception or strong delusion because they’ve believed a lie and chosen not to receive the Gospel in due season. So where did this mystery of iniquity start friend? I believe it commenced when Lucifer chose to rebel against God by declaring himself to be like the most-High God. If you recall in Ezekiel 28:15, it says that Lucifer was ‘perfect in all his ways, from the day he was created, until, iniquity was found in him.’ I suggest to you that this iniquity force is what drove Lucifer into rebellion and took a third of the angels with him. It was then pervasive within the Garden of Eden and traversed through the planes of Shinar, until it was found Nimrod who decided to rebel against God by building a tower towards the heavens. This rebellion was quenched by God when he confused their languages and scattered the nations who dwelt on the earth. But friend, this desire to unite mankind under one government and one religion is being reworked in our time under the term, Globalization, with the United Nations leading the way. But more on that in another broadcast.
Friend, perhaps a more precise translation of the mystery of iniquity would be the mystery of lawlessness. Now although we the church won’t get to see the Antichrist with our own eyes as I’ve explained, but we undoubtedly already see this mystery of iniquity working in the streets of our nation, in the political realm and even on college campuses today. There seems to be a rise in civil unrest and lawlessness as those with opposing views in society choose to become more and more blatantly physical in their expression of contention. In fact, lawlessness is a marker of these last days. This mystery of lawlessness seems to fall under the banner of social injustice right now where certain societal groups feel so marginalized, they will march on the streets and even attack the police to make their point. Friend in Plato’s republic, there was no social justice for the slave class, only the ruling elite’s and this utopian mindset of social justice is flawed to begin with and certainly not an excuse for lawlessness or rebellion. Poverty will never be rid by any utopian policy geared toward social justice because Jesus said, the poor you will have with you always in Mark 14:7 and John 12:8. But I digress friend, let me now return to the 5th chapter of 1st Thessalonians, verses 1-11 and I will read that for you now and interject when necessary.
“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye (Church) have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord (tribulation or wrath of God) so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they (unbelievers) shall not escape (as they are not ready). 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief (why? because we will already be gone in the rapture!). 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. Friend, sudden destruction will come upon unbelievers left on earth because they are unprepared for the tribulation to come. They are the children of the night, or children of darkness spoken of in this passage. But we friend, are the children of light and therefore that day of the Lord or tribulation will not overtake us as a thief because we will be long gone in the rapture at that point in time. Friend, a thief comes unannounced, a thief comes to steal. To compare Jesus as a thief in this passage is flat out wrong. Let me continue now reading in verse seven, of the same chapter…
“For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation 9For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. 11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together (with what? with the prior verse 9, no wrath), and edify one another, even as also ye do.” (1 Thessalonians 5:7-11)
Friend, once more, Paul says we are to comfort ourselves, but with what exactly? Comfort yourself with verse 9, that we the church have not been appointed to God’s wrath but will be taken from the earth in the rapture, before the tribulation period. If we read Titus 2:13 it reads, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ”. Friend as I’ve mentioned the blessed hope is the rapture of the church and is separate and distinct from the glorious appearing of Jesus at His 2nd coming at the end of the tribulation period. So we can see in light of the entire book of 1st Thessalonians, the context is to encourage believers that the coming of Christ to gather the church in the air at the rapture was in essence to rescue us from God’s wrath, which was manifested within the tribulation period, also known as the Day of the Lord. Now friend, let me switch gears here, in my last broadcast I talked at length about how in 2nd Thessalonians 2:3, it talks about a falling away. I said that the Greek word or noun in particular is apostasia, and how for 1200 years it was correctly translated as departure but was later switched back to rebellion or falling away in the modern versions. I hope you remember that content from yesterday’s broadcast.
Prophecy scholar and teacher Hart Armstrong in his book ‘When is the Rapture’? pointed out that there are many others who hold to this position of falling away meaning departure and he also provides a translation of this passage 1 Thessalonians 2:1-3, which I believes offers the best rendition in light of our findings and I will read it for you now, “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (or harpazo-the Greek word for ‘caught up’), and by our gathering together unto him in the rapture of the Church. That you be not shaken or troubled that the Day of the Lord has come. For that day shall not come except first there be the going away of the church, the aforesaid gathering together of the Christians to the Lord in the pre-tribulation rapture of the church; and that man of sin, the Antichrist, be revealed.”
So, friend, what does the imminent rapture of the church mean to us Christians on a practical level? Well one thing is for sure, it causes us to keep a watchful eye on events in the world but not only that it motivates us to live a godly life, obedient to Christ, in light of His soon return. The truth is friend, once the church is taken from the earth, the tribulation period can commence and during that time, we the church view these events from heaven, while the wrath of God is poured out. We will also be judged by Christ at the Bema seat judgment and will return with Jesus at His second coming. The book of Jude speaks of us returning with Jesus to destroy his enemies and finally set up his kingdom to rule and reign upon the earth for 1000 years, ” And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15 to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him” (Jude 14).
Friend, Enoch was mysterious character in the Bible, in fact very little is spoken of him. However there are other texts that describe his life and I will cover these in a separate broadcast, so stay tuned for that. Now, let us not forget, Jesus said he will return again in Acts 1:11 and he will return with a shout at the rapture. A shout is a call, summons or command. The question friend, is will you be ready for His appearing, are you ready for His appearing? There were shouts when the walls of Jericho fell, in ancient times there was a shout in the vineyard at harvest time, when it was ready to be gathered and stored, there was a shout when the Ark of the Covenant was returned to its people and finally, there was a shout of the bridegroom at the wedding and there will be another shout of the bridegroom when he returns for his bride. And don’t forget the trump of God friend, at the last trump, we will be changed and caught up with Jesus in the air. Remember the first trump was the sound from heaven and often associated with the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:2 when the church began. The last trump is associated with the Feast of Trumpets and will sound at the rapture in 1 Corinthians 15:52 and finally there will be a mighty trumpet heard at the Second Coming of Christ to gather His elect in Isaiah 27:13 and Matthew 24:31.
Once again let me remind, the church is not mentioned in the book of revelation after chapter three until Christ’s final words. In Revelation 4:1 the Apostle John was told to come up hither by Christ Jesus, and was shown things which must take place after he was caught up. This catching up is another example of the church being caught up because John of course was a part of the church himself at that time and a typology of what would occur for the rest of us in this last season. Friend, in the next broadcast I will give specific reasons why I believe we will be taken before the tribulation commences. There are prophetic patterns that are consistent in scripture, time and time again. These patterns set the precedent for our blessed hope of escape from that which is to come upon the earth and reveal God’s plan to rescue his beloved bride from the wrath He will pour out in the tribulation.
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