About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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Prelude To Rapture


A Prophetic Futurist, which I am, is one who believes the book of Revelation predicts future events that bring this present age to a close.   Among Prophetic Futurist it's commonly understood that the seven churches that Jesus addresses in Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, represent seven specific segments of the church throughout history.  One of these churches is the church at Philadelphia. (Revelation 3:7 - 13)  Those holding to the view that this church represents a specific segment of the church throughout history believe this church to represent; for the lack of a better term, the Evangelical Church, dating roughly from 1750 A D to the end of this age.  One reason for this assertion is that Jesus opens an unprecedented door of evangelism to this church that no one can shut. (Revelation 3:8)  The Evangelical movement has spread itself and the gospel throughout the entire world more than any other Christian movement in history. 


Another one of these churches is the church at Laodicea. (Revelation 3:14 - 22)  A study of this church shows it is a self righteous, self sufficient, self indulgent, apostate, church that exists alongside the Evangelical church right up to the end of this age.  It's often called the Apostate Church.  This church falls to God's judgment when He vomits it out of His mouth. (Revelation 3:16)


In past years, the Evangelical Church has not appeared to be an outwardly strong looking church, as is stated in Revelation 3:8.  Being raised in Evangelicalism during the 1950's and 1960's I can attest to this.  We were often viewed by the mainline denominations as their small weak cousins.  We had small congregations, worshipped in small unimpressive buildings, and weren't all that wealthy.  Only in recent years has this changed due to the fact that many Evangelicals have been adopting unbiblical doctrines such as the Prosperity Gospel, Hyper Faith, Seeker Sensitive church structure, and more recently, the Emergent Church that attempts to unite itself with other religions.  Such false teaching has caused many Evangelicals to relocate to the backslidden Apostate Church of Revelation 3:14 - 22.      


What Jesus tells the Evangelical Church in Revelation 3:10 is a key verse that many Prophetic Futurists quote in support of their view of a pre-tribulation rapture.  Jesus tells those in this church that since they have obeyed Him by "patiently enduring", He will keep them from the horrific time of devastation that will come on all the inhabitants of the earth.  Prophetic Futurists view this time of devastation as the seven years of unprecedented tribulation that ends this age.  Therefore, the obvious conclusion from Revelation 3:10 is that those in the Evangelical segment of the church will escape the tribulation.  It's called the rapture.  If this understanding is correct, then I suggest we pay attention to all of what Revelation 3:10 is telling us.  We cannot ignore the first half of the verse and get all excited about the second half of the verse, as I believe many Prophetic Futurists do.


No one in their right mind wants to experience the wrath of God as seen in the Great Tribulation, so I can certainly understand the excitement of being raptured.  However, there is more to Revelation 3:10 than the rapture.  This might dampen your excitement a bit, but the reason why those in this segment of the church are raptured is because they have obeyed Jesus' command to "patiently endure".  The words "patiently endure" tell us something we can't ignore.    


More often than not, over the centuries Christians have suffered immensely for their association with Jesus.  Western world Evangelicals will not escape this suffering.  It's pretty obvious that Christians in the western world now face a choice to either cave into the demands of an anti-Christ culture or patiently endure the consequences for our social noncompliance.  As time goes on, these consequences will become more severe.      


Those in the Evangelical world are being presented with a choice.   We either "patiently endure" the suffering caused by conflict with an anti-Christ culture, or we switch our allegiance to the anti-Christ cultural correct Apostate Church. 


It's my opinion that many Evangelicals have been switching their allegiance from the Evangelical Church to the Apostate  Church over the last few years.  This is due to a lack of serious devotion and dedication to the Word of God, the Bible.  The Word of Christ no longer dwells richly in many Christians as the Apostle Paul states it should. (Colossians 3:16)  The slide towards apostasy is well underway.  (2 Thessalonians 2:3) 


We all experience trials.  They're just a part of the wear and tear of life, but our present trials are nothing compared to what's around the corner.  I suggest we use these present trials as a means to strengthen our reliance on Jesus.  We can't bury our heads in the sand or drown ourselves in the ways of the world to escape our present trials.  We've got to seek Jesus more diligently than ever.  By so doing, we can prepare for the more serious trials that are yet to come.       


If we're going to believe that Revelation 3:10 supports a pre-tribulation rapture, then we've got to believe that Jesus is calling us to "patiently endure" all that comes our way from the anti-Christ culture prior to the tribulation.  



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