end times

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Question 12- What would you like readers of Lifesaver to take away from the experience?

 

Answer 12-I hope that they’d say the book was fair. I hope they appreciate the objective way I presented my case with Scripture. I hope they realize after reading Lifesaver that truth matters. I hope they can see that Christians can disagree without making the other side out to be villains. I hope they can process everything and be able to take a stand against popular opinion. And, I guess, I want them to know if a brother or sister supports the “any moment rapture” position, it doesn’t mean they have horns. It only means they do not fully understand what the Bible teaches or correctly interpret prophecy–therefore, they are in trouble of being deceived.

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Question 11: The world, our country, and our leaders seem to be falling apart around us. At times, it appears the tribulation period is just around the corner. What are your thoughts on that?

Answer 11: My view on that is based on reading the Bible and studying history. The world is falling apart because we are fast approaching the time of the end and, yes, it is just around the corner. The world is also falling apart because Christians have lost their saltiness or influence with respect to culture, politics, morality, community, respect for life, and all the rest. We have the leadership we deserve. Chaos is on the way.

  Tribulation happens in the natural course of things when we act like the Church is supposed to act. Trials come when we invade Satan’s territory and set his prisoners free. Tribulation is a good sign that we are doing something of relevance to God and to the devil. If we are persecuted, it means we are on the attack. Read Jesus, Peter and Paul on this subject.

 The Church in Laodicea did not suffer the same tribulation as Smyrna and Philadelphia. Why not? Because they were self-centered, self-satisfied, prosperous and compromising, that’s why. Jesus expressed how worthless they were by saying he was about to spit them out of his mouth.

In general, Laodicea then is how we in America and other Western nations are today. We have largely given the world a false Jesus. The Jesus we have marketed wants us all to be healthy, wealthy, sitting in church on Sunday and passive. We will soon see the real Jesus in all his glory. Judgment will begin on the household of God, and for those who profess the name of Christ, it won’t be pretty. That is coming before the Tribulation, by the way.  Expect this soon!

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Question 10: Is knowing the tribulation is coming enough? What must Christians do to prepare for these difficult times?

Answer 10: Knowing is not enough. It is only half the battle, but an important step nevertheless. We have to clear our head of false ideas or we will be unprepared for the distress Jesus says the elect will endure prior to his coming. We must study and teach prophecy. That was Paul’s encouragement to the church in Corinth.  The prophets have the revelation we need. Gather with others who dig into prophecy using the rules I referred to earlier. Develop Christian communities that are self-sufficient. Do all the things Jesus says or we won’t pass our future test. Nothing can be done for those in denial. They will likely fall away because they put their trust in a lie.

   No one can afford to ignore prophecy. Heads must come out of the sand. This is all about salvation. Our Savior wants us to be saved to the uttermost. He wants our bodies and souls to be saved from what will soon come upon the whole earth. His Son Jesus is coming as the deliverer of his people. He is coming to establish his reign and rule over the earth and those he saves from out of the time of great distress will make up his kingdom and his priests. That is the future salvation that is written into Scripture in Revelation. Christ will demonstrate his glory and God will reveal his Sovereignty. He will punish those who alter prophecy for that reason. For those alive today, there is nothing more important than to know the truth. Why are we confused or in the dark about it? I suggest there is a diabolical answer to that question.

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Question 9: The Bible gives hope, indeed, but what is hopeful about experiencing the tribulation?

Answer 9: That is a good question and one that we need to thoroughly grasp. Viktor Frankl, the Nazi holocaust survivor who wrote, “In Search of Meaning,” gave good insight from his horrific experience. He said something like, “When we find meaning in our suffering, it is then no longer suffering.” Besides the testing of our love and loyalty to Christ, tests demonstrate that we are genuine and belong among the people of God. There is rich meaning to be found in tribulation. It refines us like gold. It allows us to participate in the sufferings of Christ. Tribulation takes away our love for this world; it allows us to do good deeds and express our love for our fellow man, even for our enemies.

   Peter wrote that we should not think of our suffering as though something strange was happening to us. Paul and the apostles taught the disciples outside of Lystra, where he was stoned and left for dead. Their message was in Acts 14:22, “We have to go through many tribulations to enter the kingdom of God.”

  I could go on and on. Largely, because of the PTR influence we have not connected with members of our Christian family who suffer in our day. We often fail to see reality. We live in denial. The signs are unmistakable. The U.S. and the West will soon experience a persecution of all those who claim Jesus as their Savior like we cannot imagine.

   We desperately need to develop a “theology of suffering” because the Scriptural teaching is rich on this subject. We need the mind of God about it because we are soon going to face it. Pre-tribulationalism is escapism. It is a place for those to go and listen to what their itching ears want to hear.

   I have to add that what gives suffering meaning and therefore makes it something to embrace rather than avoid is that it is the way to honor and please God and gain eternal life. It is not simply talking the talk; it is walking the walk the saints have long trod.

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Question 7: So you are saying that the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view is a lie?

Anwers 7: As far as what it is, I concluded that Pre-tribulationalism is a failed ideology. PTR ideology is an extension of Dispensationalism—a theology that explains for them in a simple way God’s working throughout history and into the future. It is easy to understand and easy to teach. In regard to prophecy, it happens to be false.

  To support Dispensationalism, a Pre-tribulational story-line had to be created from the Scriptures. For reasons, it caught hold among the Biblically-minded and what was a theory is now dogma in a lot of places. Ideologues make everything fit into their way of looking at things. They believe whatever because that is the prism they choose to look at everything through.

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Question 5: Why do you think Biblical prophecy is not taught, or not accurately taught in Christian circles today?

Answer 5: It started to become obvious—at least from my perspective—that dark forces were at work. I want to be careful here. I’m not suggesting that my fellow pastors and Christian leaders are doing the work of devils and demons intentionally, any more than Simon Peter was when he rebuked Jesus in Matthew 16:22. Peter did rebuke the Lord when he prophesied his future suffering, crucifixion and resurrection. This man Simon heard only the persecution part of Jesus’ prophecy and told the Lord this cannot be, it can never happen to you. That’s what Peter said, one of Jesus’ closest disciples.

   In 16:23 Jesus rebuked him in return and called him “Satan”. “Get behind me Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You do not have in mind the thoughts of God but the thoughts of men.” That is followed by pretty clear teaching on how his disciples must carry their own cross if they want to follow him, etc.

     I saw a parallel. It is not about our motivations or even our love for Christ. Peter’s heart or motivation was not at issue. It is about being used by the devil in the way that Simon tried to change prophecy. Peter wanted to take Christ’s suffering and his cross from our Lord’s mission. Today Pre-Trib teachers want to take suffering and the cross—which is explicitly taught by Jesus, Paul, Peter and Scripture in general—from our mission. I know these are strong words but I began to see the Pre-Trib position as a clever deception of the enemy and an obstacle put in our path by men to keep God’s people from fulfilling their destiny.

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Question 4: Didn’t you state in your book that you were once a Pre-tribber?

Answer 4: I believed it in the way a child believes in Santa Claus or that the moon is made out of green cheese. I believed it because those in authority whom I respected, loved and admired told me that Jesus was coming again, and it could be today! They gave me a couple Bible verses to hang this belief on, sort of as evidence, and others were saying the same thing. So there you have it, case closed, PTR had to be right because all the radio preachers I loved to listen to were in agreement!

   I believed it but other than a couple of trite sayings and those verses, I couldn’t defend it or teach it with confidence. The topic confused me so I basically didn’t want any part of explaining it as a pastor, this was the way it is and don’t ask questions.

   This is where I think most pastors of conservative churches are stuck. They dutifully repeat what they are told. They don’t want trouble from the powers that be in and out of their church and they don’t want to know anything that contradicts what they’ve been taught either. It is sort of like parents who watch what is said to their kids about Santa. They become very angry if someone tells them there’s no Santa Claus. People can be very protective about things that are not true.

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Question 2: So your mission with “Lifesaver,” then, is to reach the people who are Pre-tribulational, PTR as you call them, and convert them?

Answer 2:  Basically, I’m out to reach anyone I can; anyone who wants to know the truth. If they are currently Pre-tribbers, I have given them more than enough reasons to abandon this teaching before it’s too late. If they are not, I want to inoculate them against believing in “any moment rapture”. My intention is to show that the Spirit of God is behind our assault on Pre-tribulationalism. The flaws or holes of the PTR view need exposed. This is the Lord’s way of sounding the alarm for his people.

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Question 1: Lifesaver is the third book you have written. The titles of the first two books, The People of God, and The Prophets of God, are self-descriptive and expected from a Christian perspective. But the title, Lifesaver, is a mystery.  How did you come up with that title and what does it mean, exactly? How does it relate to the book?

Answer. 1: The first two books are the first part of a series that I call ‘The Prophets, Priests, and Kings Series’. From the responses I was receiving, I realized that readers who had been exposed to the ‘any moment rapture’ position, or the Pre-Tribulation (PTR) view, were thinking apples while I was talking oranges. They were not benefiting from the content the way I hoped they would. It became obvious that I had to first go after the supporting pillars of the PTR view with sound, reasoned Biblical arguments. I knew that if I could help some switch to the Pre-Wrath rapture (PWR) view, their personal Bible study would benefit and they would be able to get a lot from my books as well.

   The title is a story in itself. I had some long titles I was working with that sounded negative, such as “Fatal Flaws in the Pre-tribulation Rapture Position.” Pre-trib writers made an early pre-emptive strike in this war of ideas when a PTR writer wrote “Fatal Flaws in the Pre-wrath Rapture Position.” I was firing torpedoes back—that is kind of how I saw it at least. I was in combat mode and was looking for a nice, pleasant picture of a passenger ship sinking to use on the cover. Tough assignment, huh?

     Then my wife, Leslie, found the picture of a lifesaver. She thought it would look great for the front cover and I agreed. “Lifesaver” carries more of a positive message and more indicative of what we’re trying to do. It isn’t just about shooting holes in the PTR ship but also about giving readers a “lifesaver,” a position and view that will save them by opening up end-time prophecy. The picture led us to the title.

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Right after I officiated at my sister-in-law, Patty, and husband, Ray’s wedding, one of her bridesmaids approached me in a huff. It was many years ago yet I still remember that young lady’s verbal shot at me. It was my confidence that seemed to upset her. During the ceremony I declared that Christ was the only way to salvation. So this young woman proceeded to upbraid me for my intolerance. She was certain there were other roads to heaven for non-Christians. But since when is having assurance that salvation is through Christ alone “wrong”?

Sometimes contemporary Christianity reminds me of the upset bridesmaid: Tolerance is only extended so far. Everything is fine as long as we agree, but do not step out of line.  In regard to our understanding of what the Bible says about the second coming, Christians have our own version of the Taliban.  Dissent is quashed. But how can we arrive at an accurate interpretation of Bible prophecy, if we refuse to gather all the pertinent verses or listen to pieces of conflicting evidence? All admissible facts need to be heard, not just those that support the opinion of the majority.

Do we see why Christians have muddled heads on the subject of the Bible and the future. When it comes to understanding the future, we hear but one side. We tend to submit to the false premises that all true Bible-believing Christians are in agreement or there is only one side that should be heard. In some places, Bible students cannot even broach the subject of the Pre-Wrath rapture of the church or that believers will be called on to endure great tribulation globally in the last days, without being accused of heresy.

That is the way with puzzles. You know it is solved when all the pieces perfectly fit the creator’s theme.

Here’s the best way I know to explain how I know what I know. Each weekend the New York Times Magazine publishes and distributes a challenging crossword puzzle. Across the land thousands of minds go to work to solve this puzzle in as short a time as possible. Some can zip through it in an hour or so. Others, like myself, take quite a bit longer.

Let’s say we challenged an experienced NYT cruciverbalist (crossword solver) about his or her answers. We may get a “What are you asking me that for” type of look. At some point, they would probably tell you that their answers fit. Yes, they are confident because they have discovered what’s in the mind of the puzzle’s creator. That is the way with puzzles. You know it is solved when all the pieces perfectly fit the creator’s theme. Is it to say one is superior because they solved a NYT puzzle? Of course not, but the solvers are confident and exhilarated. It was Archimedes who grasped the physics of water displacement. At his epiphany, he  made the bold but perhaps rash declaration, “Eureka! I found it!” It was as if he was saying, “Problem solved!”

Why am I confident the Pre-Wrath Rapture position is correct? Because I am a puzzle solver and I tell you it fits. (Those who are not puzzle solvers have trouble with this concept.) Other answers do not quite fit regardless how hard one tries or how sophisticated one sounds or how much one beats the table while raising their voice. Simply, it will not come together as designed.

There is great satisfaction in puzzle solving. In my book, “The People of God,” I present twenty-six different clues to prophecy solvers. My goal is not to tell other explorers of the mysteries surrounding the end of this age what to think (i.e. the answers) but how to get in the mind of prophecy’s Creator so they can figure it out. As with math or science, there is only one correct solution.

If this is what you call arrogant, then so be it. I call the one that makes that judgment bigoted and narrow. (Two can play that game!) What would one call dismissing conclusions that were based on hundreds of Bible verses without ever giving them fair treatment? Intolerant is perhaps one descriptive word that comes to mind.

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