TODAY COULD BE THE DAY!

jesu with us“Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” (Rev. 3:10)

PROPHETIC VIEWS are not a salvation issue for me. While, rapture “haters gonna hate” it is one of those things (at least for me) that we can agree to disagree on as Christians.  In my opinion, very few seem to believe in and preach on the RAPTURE of the saints before the Great Tribulation these days, I will continue to do so charitably. There are those who avoid speaking about the rapture due to the all the false prophecies that have been made especially in the last few years.  But it makes no biblical sense to change doctrine because people have misunderstood it or preached it incorrectly.

In my humble understanding, there are three Advents or “arrivals” of Christ.  The first Advent was his incarnation (God coming as man) when he came to bring us salvation from sin (Matt 1:23; 1 Tim 3:16).  The second Advent will be the Rapture of the church “in the air” which will be his salvation from the seven year Great Tribulation (1 Thess. 4:13-18).  The third Advent will be his coming to earth to rule and reign for 1000 years ( Rev. 19:11-14; Zech. 14:1-4).

The Rapture is when the saints who died and those who are alive “will be suddenly caught up together…in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord.” (1 Thess. 4:17).  Christ’s coming in the Rapture for christian people is imminent meaning that he could return at any time.  Many passages suggest this (1 Corinthians 1:7; Philippians 3:20; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Timothy 6:14; Titus 2:13; Revelation 22:20).

“The basic idea of the Rapture is drawn from the Latin term for “caught up”—rapturo. It means that the church of Jesus Christ, those who have trusted in Christ as their Savior, will literally be transported from earth to heaven in an instant. There will be no death for those who are raptured. They will be taken—caught up—in the air to be with Jesus! Paul believed that Jesus’ return was imminent, and that brought great comfort to him in his daily struggles. It is not difficult to understand Paul’s longing for this to occur when faced with the trials we are confronted with daily. However, no one knows when this will happen. We do know that we are given His Word as the assurance that it will happen.” (C. Stanley)

The sense of Christ’s coming seems to not hold the same excitement as it once did for some and the idea that, “Today could be the day.”  no longer seem to be as the Bible says, “the Blessed Hope.” As a young believer, I was excited about the rapture. I was excited that one day I would be able to see the Jesus that saved me from from the miry clay of sin. The Jesus that I loved was coming for me.  I was excited about being in heaven with all the men and women that I was reading about in the Scripture. I was excited to be with those that I knew as believers that had died and went home before me. Many times after prayer or being in church I had a real sense of the presence of Christ knowing he could take me home to heaven  at any moment.  It also gave me the sense that every day I could expect great things from God.  Now at this point in my Christian faith, truly understanding justification by faith alone and the grace of God I can truly do what Paul says and comfort and encourage-not TERRIFY others with these words! Those wonderful words of grace which speak about the coming of Jesus for his people.

Some Christians forget, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.” (Phil 1:21-23).  To be with Jesus is FAR BETTER! But today it is like the old preacher said, “Everyone wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die.”  Jesus tells us, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24).  I am excited that Jesus who is the resurrection and the life (John 11:25) and Christ who is our life (Col 3:4) will appear for us and bring us home at any moment! Some Christian people wonder if they will make it because they struggle with sin. I did not say trying to get away with sin, but  they fight sinful issues. Paul prayed,  “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess 5:23). Paul also taught that Christ will, “Present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, (Col 1:22). Child of God get ready, the Lord loves you and wants you with him, he has reserved a wonderful place for you already (John 14:1-3). 

I think because people have lost this hope of the RAPTURE it seem they are giving in to a fear of death or at least the unknown. The Bible says that Jesus came so through his, “death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” (Heb 2:15).  In fact, through the new birth (John 3:3-5) the Christian has already been spiritually resurrected. Their bodies will be transformed, into a spiritual body that will be imperishable and and raised in power (Phil 3:21; 1 Cor 15:34, 42, 44). Whoopeee!  Those bodies will have no pain, and never die. Each body will have a label marked by the eternal designer God as it were, which says, “made in heaven.”  (2 Cor. 5:1). That is awesome.  This means they already have eternal life. That is exciting!  Today, yes today could be the day.

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THE SALVATION UNDERGROUND GONE PUBLIC!

“But those who die in the Lord will live; their bodies will rise again! Those who sleep in the earth will rise up and sing for joy! For your life-giving light will fall like dew on your people in the place of the dead!” (Isaiah 26:19NLT).

On Oct 13, 2010 the whole world watched in awe as 33 Chilean miners that were trapped two thousand feet below the earth were lifted to safety by what many call a miraculous rescue. They spent 69 days (a much shorter timespan than predicted) underground but just a few days ago they took a 15 minute journey upwards to the surface in a small capsule that was no wider than an average man’s shoulders. There was a lot of joy, men thanking God and family reunions. In a time of really bad news in the world, I think this was a real boost to the global morale of  the millions of people who watched the rescue updates on television. I posted on Facebook, “EVEN NOW MEN ARE COMING UP OUT OF THE GROUND!

I read in one article, “They were trapped underground, in a place like hell itself — claustrophobic, dark, fetid — and they come up like they were resurrected,” says Robert Thompson, a professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University. “Western civilization doesn’t come up with stories much better.” 

Salvation in the Bible is often compared to being brought out of  a pit, “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” (Ps. 40:2). I CALL THIS THE SALVATION UNDERGROUND GONE PUBLIC. He brings people up from out of the ground of death and distress into new life. The idea of  salvation, the resurrection of the body, heaven and eternal hell are biblical  concepts of the Christian faith.  Problems of many kinds were illustrated often as a pit into which people fell and were trapped. A pit also symbolized unsolvable problems and desperation  from which only God could save you.  A pit was a place where unless you received outside help you would die. 

God is the wonderful Savior of all men (1 Tim 4:10). It is because of Who He is that He delights to rescue his own people (Ps. 18:19) and he  even shows kindness to the most miserable, unthankful characters (Luke 6:35). No one is like God who still loves doing awesome wonders (Ex. 15:11). he brings men and women up out of the ground all the time. But we should note that here are two kinds of salvation: one is temporary and the other eternal. Sometimes in the scripture physical salvation illustrates and symbolizes eternal salvation. One is the saving of the body, the other is the saving of the soul.  Your body can be saved, but that does not mean your soul is saved. Your body may not be saved, but your soul can be saved. You see my point: they are not the same. The physical salvation of the Chilean miners is only temporary, the salvation of the soul is eternal.  

Jesus Christ spent his life before he went back home to heaven doing good, especially temporal acts of salvation: healing the sick, opening blind eyes, unstopping deaf ears, providing miraclous food, walking on water, evicting demons and raising the dead (see Acts 10:38).  Talk about the SALVATION UNDERGROUND gone public!  He did so many wonders that the whole world could not contain the records (John 21:25). But one time he warned the crowd that was fed miraculously, “Do not work for food that spoils; instead, work for the food that lasts for eternal life. This is the food which the Son of Man will give you, because God, the Father, has put his mark of approval on him.” (John 6:27GNT).  We get out of trouble only to fall back into trouble again. That is the life we live. That is the here and now. Those who are healed physically can get sick again, those who are provided for financially can lose their money, those who were raised from the dead will die again. 

But eternal salvation is the greatest gift from which real joy comes. The gift of eternal life begins by the most powerful act of God! He takes the soul of  men and women that were once dead spiritually (Eph. 2:1-5) and regenerates them (John 3:3-8; Titus 3:5) or brings them back to life. They are born again with a living hope (1 Peter 1:3)! When the SALVATION UNDERGROUND goes public, once a person is born again that life can never be taken from them because it is the beginning of eternal life (John 10:27-29). Even if they die physically they will go on living eternally in heaven, because we are at home with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8).

There is physical life on earth and spiritual life in heaven. Jesus said, “Do not store up riches for yourselves here on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and robbers break in and steal. Instead, store up riches for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and robbers cannot break in and steal. ” (Mt. 6:19-20GNT). Things do not last on earth. They can be eaten away, rusted away and taken away. In heaven everything lasts forever.

Christ even empowered his disciples then and now to do wonders (Mt 10:1; Mk 16:16-18). But He laid out his disclaimer about miracles and taught his followers that real salvation is not because you can do wonders or have experienced miracles yourself (John 4:48).  The real joy of salvation is that our names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20).  God can and will use people on earth to rescue others but only God can rescue our souls from eternal death and hell. “For it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift, so that no one can boast about it.” (Eph 2:8-9). We should rejoice and be thankful when God rescues us in this life as he does so many many times. But his greatest gift is when he gives eternal salvation (Hebrews 5:9) to those who trust in Christ alone as Savior because “Salvation is to be found through him alone..” (Acts 4:12GNT). 

God may be speaking to your heart even now through this article. The Salvation Underground can go public in your life. He will bring you back from the dead and the first sight you will see will be Jesus Christ reaching his hand to you in this horrible pit of sin you are living in. You know without his help you will be lost!  He is the only One who cares and can save you!