Dr. C. S. Lovett’s
MARANATHA FAMILY NEWSLETTER
SECOND THOUGHTS ON THE RAPTURE?
"Dr. Lovett, how can a fundamental Bible teacher like yourself even hint that the church will suffer the Tribulation when Paul says God has not appointed us to wrath?"
In a former article, I honestly said I did not know WHEN the rapture would take place. I was coached in the "any moment" tradition, mastering dispensational truth before I learned much else. So I believed that the church would escape all seven years.
I was thrilled with the view. But in the process of doing my commentaries on 1st & 2nd Thessalonians, I could NOT reconcile that position with clear statements made by the apostle Paul. So I let my earlier training bow to the authority of God's Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit
BUT WE DO AGREE ON THE AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURE
There WILL be a rapture (1st Thessalonians 4:14-17). It says we will meet Jesus in the air BEFORE He returns to earth. Not only that, but the Word also teaches that when the Lord returns, it will be "WITH ALL HIS SAINTS" (I Thessalonians. 3:13). For that to happen, there has to be a rapture before His touchdown on Mt. Olivet. We all agree it will happen. It is just the timing that is not definite.
What does a person do when the apostle Paul flatly says two things must happen BEFORE the rapture can occur? Does he find a way around it, or does he believe it?
"Brethren, with regard to the COMING of our Lord Jesus Christ and our GATHERING TOGETHER unto Him (the rapture). . .let no man deceive you, for it (that day) WILL NOT come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction" (2nd Thessalonians. 2:1,3 NASB); parenthesis emphasis mine).
(1) A great apostasy must occur. There will be a wholesale exodus of professing Christians (not possessing Christians). Christianity will again be despised on a worldwide basis, as it was at first.
(2) The man of lawlessness (anti-Christ) will be revealed. Paul goes on to teach that this man will sit in the temple of God, displaying himself as God (vs. 4). The Jewish temple will have to be rebuilt before this can happen.
Now if those two things must occur FIRST, as Paul states, then certainly the rapture cannot take place beforehand. I know some feel the church will be gone when these things take place, but that raises a hard question. Why would Paul bother to teach all these things to the infant church at Thessalonica if they did not apply to them? It would not make sense to go into such detail if the church is not going to be here to experience them. No, it is better to assume that Paul meant exactly what he said and that the church will be here to see these things happen.
WHAT DOES THIS TELL US?
Most Bible scholars agree that the revealing of the anti-Christ occurs in the middle of the tribulation. If so, then we still have the church on earth at that time. Look what that means — the church is in for tribulation! And yet, I agree with those who say the church will NOT experience the wrath of God. Why? The Lord Jesus has already borne God's wrath for us on the cross. The justice of God demands that we NOT be here when God's wrath is poured out upon the world.
So what do we conclude? That the tribulation and the wrath of God are TWO SEPARATE THINGS! While we may suffer the tribulation, which is man-made, we will NOT suffer God's wrath, which is heaven-sent.
The story of Noah and the flood pictures my view perfectly. The patriarch was allowed to suffer the ridicule and harassment of men for 120 years. He was left on earth to experience this tribulation right up until the moment when God was ready to pour out His wrath. Only then did God seal him in the ark and lift him above the earthly scene. When the judgment had passed, Noah was settled on the mountain.
To me, this is a very simple approach, one which answers most objections. Yes, some passages in the Revelation have to be treated as flashbacks (parenthetical), but this is true with any approach. There is a merging of the seals, vials, and trumpets. It is not all that distinct. For me, the Scriptures fall into place without any special interpretations of various passages when this approach is taken. I trust it would be helpful to you as well.
THE CLIMAX OF THIS AGE
Did you know this entire age is one of trial for Christians? That is hard to believe in America, but suffering is NORMAL for God's people. "In the world," said Jesus, "you shall have tribulation" (John 16:33). Paul made it clear that we would "suffer for His sake" (Philippians 1:29). 2nd Thessalonians 1:7 states the church will suffer persecution and affliction right up to the moment when Jesus is ready to pour out His wrath on an unbelieving world.
You do not have to be a prophet to see what is coming. All it takes is an honest look at God's Word. The tribulation is simply the climax of an age that began with the persecution of the Lord and will not end until He returns to end it IN PERSON. Believing we will not go through it, will not change anything at all.
LET'S BE READY
Some Christians organizations are already issuing survival instructions. They not only tell how to store and use grains but are warning believers to be prepared for the loss of their property. Some plead with Christians to memorize the Word now. Others warn of the day when an indelible number will be stamped on their bodies (mark of the beast) to be read by a computer. I am concerned about my brethren and their ability to take it. Will they cave in when they see their children tortured and mutilated? It is coming and wishful thinking changes nothing.
Time is not the issue. What are you doing to make every day count? When you meet Jesus face to face, will it be rapturous or terrifying? It depends on whether or not you are . . .
READY FOR THE RAPTURE!
C. S. Lovett
Copyright © 2021 Personal Christianity
REVEALING: This book (DEALING WITH THE DEVIL) opened my eyes to some of my own problems. The old saying that we are our own worst enemy is true and this book reveals how this can happen to us. The core of it is our self-centeredness. As children, we find that people revolve around our needs, but often people do not grow out of that. A God-centered person has their mind on God, a self-centered person has their mind on self. Satan is at the core of self and C.S. Lovett unravels this truth beautifully. I highly recommend this book! Thriftbooks.com user
DEALING WITH THE DEVIL: I first read this book shortly after being saved. I would strongly recommend it for new and old Christians. This book gives you a practical insight into the warfare that we are in and helps you recognize the enemy before a crisis. Reading this book gave me the tools I needed to fight the devil and win. It taught me how to use God's word and to depend more on the power of God and less on myself. Thriftbooks.com user
SINCE YOU ASKED
Question: “Dr. Lovett, I know you have written extensively on the subject of Satan and how Christians are to deal with him. However, since God is almighty and powerful, why doesn’t He do away with the devil once and for all?”
Answer: God could destroy the devil with a whisper, but He will not because the devil serves a useful purpose. You see, man has to be tested and since “God cannot be tempted and neither does He tempt any man” (James 1:13), the Lord needs someone who is evil to appeal to the evil in man.
Since all men are inherently evil because of their old natures, and each is given free will, everyone needs to be tested. Will they love God and His righteousness, or will they love evil and live to please themselves? The history so far has been that men care nothing for God’s righteousness but prefer to enjoy the devil’s world and live for themselves and their families. But this could never be brought to light apart from the evil activity of Satan.
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
DEALING WITH THE DEVIL has been updated and revised (2018 edition) for today’s readers. Are you tired of having Satan put dreadful things into your mind? Does he ever make you worry or get upset? Have you noticed his stepped-up activity in your life? Dr. Lovett’s best-selling book is available on Amazon.com and sells for $14.99 HERE.
WITNESSING MADE EASY (2019 edition) helps motivate you to get out of your comfort zone in small easy steps such as leaving a Gospel tract in a locked restroom and then progresses gradually to handing a tract to someone with easy dialog suggestions. It also includes ideas for using your computer as a witnessing tool as well. Discover the thrill of sharing the Gospel with others in non-threatening ways. It is available for purchase on Amazon.com for $14.99 HERE.
THE PREPARED LIFE book is a valuable resource for you and your family that can help you be prepared to deal with today’s problems and end-times events. This book is available on Amazon.com and sells for $13.99 and is also available in Kindle form for $7.99 HERE.
You can also check with your bookstore to see if they can order these books for you. Be sure to tell them that they are “print-on-demand” books on Amazon.com. Any Barnes and Noble bookstore can order the books for you also.
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