America was founded 240 years ago as a Judeo-Christian nation with God in the forefront of nearly every action that was taken and every document that was written. God's name and Scriptural references can still be found on national monuments, the entrance to the U. S. Supreme Court edifice and the buildings of many of our nation's earliest colleges.
Now, however, the mention of God is virtually being obliterated in nearly every possible manner. The Ten Commandment monuments and statues have been removed because they represent historic Biblical and religious values. Liberal court justices believe that all religious symbols must be eliminated from public buildings and civic structures. Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was removed from office for his strong stance on the Ten Commandments [He was later returned to office by a huge AL vote margin].
God is no longer welcomed in the nation's military services. The Air Force has removed "So Help Me God" from its enlistment oath. The Air Force forced removal of a Bible verse at the AF Academy, and just one week later, that same national AF Academy was promoting an atheist event! The Navy removed Bible from its guest rooms in lodges and hotels run by the U.S. Military.
An approved Defense Department "sexism course" stated that the Bible, the U. S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence all promote "sexism." A decorated chaplain was "threatened" by the U. S. Navy because he provided "spiritual counseling" that ran counter to a few gay sailors. An Army chaplain was punished for "using Christian scripture" in a mandatory suicide prevention training session. This writer has a rapidly expanding long file dealing with the U. S. military's endeavors to delete God and the Bible from all activities.
All of America's historic and religious symbols are under legal attack. The first amendment to the U.S. constitution that guarantees religious freedom is under severe assault. In fact, according to the U. S. Supreme Court it is perfectly legal to burn the U. S. flag, but some public schools won't permit tee-shirts with the U. S. flag on the front side. A N. J. family recently filed a discrimination suit to eliminate the "Under God" phrase in the Pledge of Allegiance to the U. S. flag.
From a percentage standpoint, U. S. church attendance is at an all-time low. 39% of Americans have not attended any religious service anywhere in the past six months. Every Sunday, 225,000,000 Americans do not attend church services, making the U.S.A. the world's third largest unchurched country in the world! Every year, over 1,000 churches in America close their doors. One atheist group recently demanded that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker remove a Bible verse from his Facebook account.
The "nones" are now one of America's biggest religious groups, individuals who do not attend any church, representing 19.6% of the U.S.A.'s population, while at the same time atheists have increased 500%. One of four "unchurched adults" are either skeptics, atheists or agnostics in the USA.
Only 35% of Americans believe in the complete accuracy of the Bible. While Americans own more Bibles than ever in its history, the Scriptures are virtually an unread book in most homes. In 1900 A.D., 95% of American families conducted a daily family altar. One hundred years later, that figure had diminished to just 5%. The Gideon Bible has been kicked out of many hotels/motels,
An open atheist has been elected as a member of the U.S. Congress. The world's first atheist TV channel was recently launched. A leading atheist recently said that Children with religious indoctrination in their homes must be protected from their religious parents, and a Child Evangelism group in a NY elementary school is being challenged by a "Better News" atheist club in that public school.
The Scripture verse in Ps. 33:12 "Blessed is that nation whose God is the Lord" certainly does apply to the U.S.A. in 2015. Secularism is an evil plague that is destroying the moral and spiritual fabric of America's society.
Socialism is another serious spiritual crime which is suffocating the vitality of American society today. First instituted into American politics by Franklin Delano Roosevelt [FDR] more than 80 years ago, it is now a major staple of American society. When in power, Republicans have only slowed its pace, but never have sought to eliminate its core elements. This dangerous political philosophy has been slowly destroying the political and social fabric of American life for several decades.
Socialism is the opposite of what we call "free market capitalism." It is a social philosophy that depends on government bailouts, stimulus plans, and supposedly "spreading the wealth around." Socialism is a philosophy that punishes success by taking away what a person has rightfully earned and giving it to another via government handouts. Socialism denigrates private property, demotes hard work, and promotes government ownership of human riches.
Socialism promotes big government via a so-called "democracy" versus the original plans of a limited government via a "republic" that splits power between the executive, the judicial and the legislative via a checks and balances ideology. From within-inside America-state empowered socialists bureaucrats are plundering America's wealth, taking it downhill from a once rich and powerful free-enterprise system to a government dependant society.
Socialism is really communism under a democratic format. Looking ahead, Nikita Kruschev, the former head of the Soviet Communist Party once stated: "We cannot expect Americans to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving small doses of Socialism until they suddenly awake to find they have communism,"
Socialism promotes "globalism," the philosophy that nations are just part of a one-world entity where countries eventually surrender their national sovereignty to a world based organization. Over 100 years ago, John Dewey, the founder of so-called "progressive education" stated: "the purpose of globalism is to prepare young Americans to accept as inevitable and desirable a world socialist government in which American national sovereignty will be voluntarily surrendered for the greater good of 'world peace and brotherhood.'"
Samuel Blumenfeld, an educational patriot, summarized the results of Dewey's philosophy when he stated: "One hundred years have gone by since Dewey set American education on its progressive course. The result is an education system in shambles, a rising tide of illiteracy, and the social misery caused in its wake."
Norman Thomas, the most famous political socialist of the 20th century, who was a six-time Presidential candidate of the Socialist Party once said: "The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But under the name of 'liberalism,' they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing it happened."
After running six times on the "Socialist" ticket, Thomas declined another nomination saying, "I no longer need to run as a presidential candidate on the Socialist ticket. The Democrat Party has adopted our platform." Thomas also stated: "The difference between Democrats and Republicans is: Democrats have accept some ideas of socialism cheerfully, while Republicans have accepted them reluctantly." Gus Hall, the former chairman of the Communist Party in America declared: "Socialism in America will come through the ballot box."
Benjamin Franklin, one of our country's founders viewed it correctly more than two centuries ago when he wrote: "I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor is not to make them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much I observed in many countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer."
Winston Churchill, the World War II British hero, and former British Prime Minister hit the nail squarely on the head when he stated: "Socialism is an equal distribution of poverty." It may have been Churchill, [not sure] who also wrote that "The problem with socialism is that it always ends up with owing other people money that they do not have."
And what are the results of socialism in America? Well, in 2013, for the first time in American history, government health-care recipients outnumbered full-time private sector recipients! In 2014, welfare hit record levels, fifty years after former Pres. Lyndon Johnson announced his "war on poverty." America is $20 trillion [$20,000,000, 000, 000] in debt, with no hope in sight. Over 44 million American families are now on food stamps, an increase from 32 million when Barack Obama took the Presidential office, an increase of 27% since Obama supposedly got the recession under control. 722,000 were added to the food stamp rolls in 2013. Some states now even have "food stamp recruiters."
Dr. Adrian Rogers [not an endorsement of his SBC connections], a famed SBC pastor now deceased, once stated: "Friend, you cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. And what one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government can't give to anybody anything that the government does not take first from somebody. And when half of the people get the idea they don't have to work because the other half's going to take care of them, and when the other half get the idea it does no good to work because somebody's going to get what I work for, that, dear friend, is about the end of any nation."
"The government is my Shepherd, therefore I need not work. It alloweth me to lie down on a good job, it leadeth me in the path of still factories, it destroyeth my initiative, it leadeth me in the path of the parasite for politics sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of laziness and deficit spending, I will fear no evil for the Government is with me. It prepareth an economic utopia for me by appropriating the earnings of my grandchildren, it filleth my head with false security, my inefficiency runneth over.
Surely, the Government shall care for me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in a fool's paradise forever." Conclusion: Socialism? NO! Private enterprise capitalism-YES!
Undoubtedly, the worst and most damaging spiritual corruption destroying America is sensualism. Secularism primarily involves legal issues, socialism concerns governmental and political matters, but sensualism deals with moral matters, an evil trend that strikes at the heart of the inspired Scriptures, the underpinning foundation of American society.
The moral breakdown in American society in the last half-century has been so overwhelming that it is difficult to recall an era in America when fidelity to marital vows was the norm and homosexuality was a rare exception, an activity and a status that was scorned as a cultural aberration by decent citizens.
Now, however, the social norm is "anything goes," with even pedophilia [child sexual abuse], although it is still legally disapproved becoming a common ordinary every-day occurrence in American life. Americans are no longer outraged over homosexual behavior, lesbianism, bi-sexual and transgender medical operations. "Queer"-gay parades-have become a regular feature in cities all across America.
The moral decline has dipped so low that the President of the U.S. officially promotes a day set aside to honor sexual perversity! Dinners are held at the White House honoring homosexuals, and Presidential edicts are issued that give special rights to that minor fraction of America's population. The U. S. president even proposed legislation that would ban all parents from counseling their children against the LGBTQ [lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transsexual queer] life style! Over 150-200 known sexual perverts-homosexuals and lesbians-roam the White House daily, acting as official advisors on presidential policy and imposing new regulations that stifle individual initiative and promote homosexuality on a federal scale!
It's hard to believe that in 1953, in one of his first public edicts, the new U. S. President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, took the following commendable moral initiative: On May 27, 1953, the U.S. President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, issued Executive Order 10450, which banned anyone who was engaged in "'sexual perversion' from federal employment." Having been a military commander for much of his life, that U.S. president knew the moral havoc and the awful impact that sexual perversion could cause.
The sad facts are that homosexuals weren't made that way, they voluntarily became that way. Furthermore, homosexuality is not a life style, it is a death style, with the average homosexual's life span being only 42 years, due solely to his immoral lifestyle. Romans 1:24-32 describe this wicked lifestyle, along with the tragic results that accompany this despicable life style. That passage of Scripture describes the horrid consequences when God abandons these perverted individuals and their judgment inevitably automatically occurs when they are left to themselves to suffer the consequences of their perverted actions.
Just a decade ago, the vast majority of American citizens were solidly opposed to homosexual marriages as an integral part of American society, now virtually all the polls indicate that public opinion has shifted and that a majority of Americas support gay marriage. Recent U. S. Supreme Court decisions have totally undermined centuries of belief and practice that marriage is solely a union between heterosexual couples, that of a man and a woman.
Without a doubt, the 2015 U. S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage will forever change the moral fabric of American society. With that decision, bigamy and polygamy are already being recognized by various courts, and it won't be long before bestiality and sexual activity with the dead will be legally recognized. The 2013 Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA] also is another nail in the coffin against traditional marriage. Sodomy is now a legal private act, since in 2003 the U. S. Supreme Court formally issued a decision that legalized this heinous activity [It should be noted that in all of these cases, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy issued the crucial swing vote!]
In 1973, the U. S. Supreme Court legalized abortion, and since that time, over 50,000,000 innocent babies in a mother's womb have been aborted and never given an opportunity to enjoy the blessing of human life outside a mother's body. Planned Parenthood, America's major abortion killer, has even been caught selling infant body parts for commercial gain. Yet this wicked entity continues to receive hundreds of million dollars in federal government subsidies!
The latest wicked sexual trend is the national media and government promotion of transgenders. Laws are being enacted that allow transgenders to use any bathroom of their choice. The University of California recently designated "gender-neutral restrooms" at its 10 campuses. The city of San Francisco is now offering free "sex -reassignment" surgery to uninsured transgender residents.
The U. S. Military, under the Secretary of Defense's orders, is preparing a plan that will lift its ban against transsexuals and permit them to become active members of the U. S. Military Service. Believe it or not, in 2011, the U. S. Senate voted by a 93-7 margin to approved a defense authorization bill that included a provision that not only repealed the military law against sodomy, it also repealed the military ban on bestiality-sex with animals!
STD's [sexually transmitted diseases] are now at a record high among young people. No public officials seems to want to publicly state that the only way to prevent STD's is total abstinence, a practice that is rarely mentioned in public schools today.
There is no question about it, sensuality reigns dominant in American society today, but God has three divine correctives for believers living in the midst of a society that is saturated by secularism, socialism and sensualism.
The answer to America's great problems does definitely does not rest in politicians, local, state or national, and certainly not in the Washington, D. C. climate either the President, the U.S. Congress or the Supreme Court. If America is survive the horrendous attacks it is now facing from secularism, socialism and sensualism, the answer lies with America's preachers and America's Christians.
The word repent/repentance is found approximately 115 times in Scripture and can be boiled down to three distinct areas: repentance with regards to the sacred, the sinner and the saint. Our concern here involves repentance and the saint. The word basically deals with a reconsideration of thinking, a reversal of thought primarily about God and about sin. Repentance is thus a change of mind about God and about sin.
The importance of repentance is expressed by Christ is Luke 24:47 where it is involved in the proclamation of the Great Commission. Luke 24:47 involves the third expression of the Great Commission: "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." (Other Great Commission Mandate Expressions: Matt. 28:18-20, Mark 16:14-20, John 20:21, Acts 1:8)
The Apostle Paul expressed this concept in Acts 20:21 when he declared that he testified to the Ephesians about the need for "repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, which is still God's order today!
Dr. Shelton Smith expressed it vividly in his excellent four part treatise on Repentance when he stated that repentance occurs when we no longer shut God out of our lives, when we quit rejecting His righteous claims over our life and begin to blush about our sin. Evangelist Lester Roloff also expressed it aptly when he frankly declared that repentance is something a lot bigger than a lot of people think. It is absolutely essential to salvation."
This repentance is vividly illustrated in the lives of the Thessalonians. In I Thess. 1:9, Paul declares that when the Thessalonicans heard Paul's proclamation of the Gospel, the "turned to God from idols to serve the true and living God. Genuine repentance for these first century souls involved a "turning to God," and a turning away "from" idols. This is the Biblical repentance that is still needed today!
In II Cor.7:8-10, Paul explained that repentance involved a "godly sorrow," a sorrow that produced salvation. "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation. "From Scripture, it is plain that repentance is first and foremost a change of mind, a change of attitude concerning God, a repentance that is also involved with a definite turning away from sin. Genuine repentance is thus associated with a definite change of mind, of thinking about God and sin that produces a change of will and results in a change of action.
Now Repentance and faith are two acts that are inextricably intertwined with each other in Salvation and the New-Birth. While the Scripture presents them as separate actions, it also clearly proclaims that both are essential elements in salvation: Repentance in Luke 13:3 where Christ states that "except ye repent ye shall likewise perish," and faith in Eph. 2:8: "For by grace are ye saved through faith," and Gal. 3:26 which states that we are "all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus."
Repentance represents the negative side of conversion, while faith represents the positive side. It is Scripturally clear that you can't have one without the other! Since the Scripture doesn't mention both together every time it refers to salvation, it isn't necessarily an imperative to refer to both every time we preach the Gospel.
Today, the average believer has a very low concept of God. God's attributes, His essential perfections and His inherent divine characteristics are generally not the believer's uppermost thoughts when considering God. God has been degraded to an almost semi-divine being where we think of what material blessing we can carnally "get" from God, rather than worshipping Him as the divine being who deserves all our praise, worship and adoration.
Is Repentance necessary today for Christians? Absolutely! In I Cor. Chapter five, the Apostle Paul sharply rebuked the Corinthians for their failure to deal with a serious moral failure by a church member, and strongly admonished them to repent of their inaction. In II Cor. Chapter two, he commends them for taking the proper action and entreats them to properly respond with love and forgiveness to this believer who had genuinely repented of his sin.
II Chron. 7:14 is a classic example of the two-fold action of repentance: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." In Genuine repentance, you seek God's face first and then turn from sin, in that order! This writer stoutly refuses to enter into an unnecessary controversy concerning repentance, when the Scripture is so clear on this great theme.
Unfortunately, there is little evidence of repentance on a national scale by most professing believers today. Without such repentance, there is little hope for God's second anti-dote, that of revival.
God's second antidote to America's discrepant condition is REVVIAL. There is no question, but that as nation, America is in a sadly backslidden state and one of its greatest needs as a nation is that of a spiritual revival. However, this backslidden state can be traced directly to professing born-again Christians. Genuine revival can never occur among apostates, since God's attitude toward this unbelief is judgment. God's curse rests upon apostasy. The only cure for apostasy is divine judgment-II Peter 2, book of Jude.
Revival also can never occur among the Charismatics or New-Evangelicals, since both these movements are based on compromise and/or unscriptural signs and wonders. The CCM crowd is also a group which can never experience revival, since the CCM movement centers around unscriptural sensual sounds.
In II Chronicles 29, the Scripture delineates a genuine revival that occurred under the godly King Hezekiah. Israel was in a sorely backslidden state. Backsliding involves both a turning away of one's face from God as well as turning of one's back upon God. As a nation Israel was guilty of both sins, since they had "turned away their faces" and "turned their backs" upon God-II Chron. 29:6.
The Reason why Revival is Needed
The tragic three-fold results of this backsliding are delineated in II Chron. 29:7-11. These results are all occurring in American today just as they did centuries ago in Israel. There was first the (1) loss of priorities, with [a] a neglect of the regular place of stated worship as II Chron. 29:7 states: "Also they have shut up the doors of the porch [temple]." Attendance at Bible-believing church services has drastically declined. Just check the attendance at the AM, PM and Mid-Week services, and you will discover a steep decline. Many churches have cancelled the Sunday Evening Services, and the Mid-week service has become strictly an activity hour.
The second lost priority was the [b] neglect of God's Word. The lamps which are a symbol of God's Word had been "put out-29:7". This writer served as a full-time custodian in a church for six months in between pastorates. Every week, he would pick up 25-30 Bibles that had been left in the pews or on the coat racks, and this was a consistent action. The same believers left the same Bibles in the same place for an entire week!
The third priority loss was the [c] neglect of the burning of incense-29:7, an action which portrayed the lack of prayer, since incense in Ps. 141:2 portrays prayer as incense. In 1900, over 90% of America's professing Christian homes conducted daily family altars One century later, that number had declined to just 5%!
The second loss was the (2) loss of purity. II Chron. 29:5 & 29:16 reveals that there was "filthiness" and "uncleanness" within the "holy place" and the "inner part" of the Temple, God's House. In I Cor. 6:19-20, the believer's body is declared to be the "temple of the Holy Ghost." Sexual sins such as fornication, adultery, and incest, once almost unheard of in conservative theological circles have become common fare within Fundamentalist circles today. At one time, this writer kept a list on a single sheet of paper of Fundamental preachers who had sacrificed their ministries for the sake of adultery and similar type sins. That list become so large, he discarded it! He now keeps such expanding incidents in a large folder file.
The third loss that occurred with Israel's backsliding was the (3) loss of posterity. II Chron. 29:7 states that "our sons and our daughters are in captivity for this-II Chron. 29:9.
The Requisites for Revival
It should be pointed out, most of all, that revival is a sovereign work of God. Only God himself can truly bring revival. However, there are certain human actions that are imperative for revival to take place. Apart from these actions, God will never rain revival upon His people.
In Israel's case, it began with national leadership, the great King Hezekiah, of whom the Scripture states that he "did that which was right in the sight of the Lord." Today, there is not much hope that national political leadership will radically repent and seek God's face. However, we need to earnestly pray for those in civic authority as the Scripture commands in I Tim. 2:1-2. The answer lies with the spiritual leadership, and that prospect does not appear to be on the national horizon either.
The real key rests with local Bible-believing pastors and whether they are willing to pay the steep spiritual price that is required. There are many good unnamed pastors who faithfully serve their Lord without fanfare. However, the average pastor seems to be so burdened down with administrative oversight and operational activity, that he devotes little time today to seeking God's face for revival. While "revival" is something that he wishes his church would experience, he devotes little time to seek its required essentials. II Chronicles chapter 29 delineates three actions that must take place if genuine revival is ever to occur.
(A) There must be a cleansing of the SANCTUARY. In II Chron. 29, King Hezekiah (who can symbolize the pastor) demanded that the Levites (who can typify the deacons) first "sanctify the house of God" by carrying forth all "filthiness out of the house of the Lord." This activity involved going into the "inner part" of the Temple, cleansing it completely and bringing out "all the uncleanness" they found in the temple.
The Levites followed King Hezekiah's order and "cleansed all the house of the Lord" with even the "inner sanctuary" being purified of all its uncleanness-II Chron. 29:18. In genuine revival, the "inner sanctums" of church leader's hearts and homes must be swept clean of all moral impurities including those on the computer, television sets and printed literature.
(B) There must be a covenant of SEPARATION. No genuine revival can occur or will ever take place until individuals believers and a local church as a corporate unit take a firm stand for both personal and ecclesiastical separation. That covenant, as King Hezekiah expressed it, took place "in mine heart."
In the revival that occurred under Nehemiah with the formerly exiled returned Jews, in Nehemiah chapter ten, the covenant of separation included the musicians (singers), the porters (ushers), priests, and all the key families: "all they that had separated themselves from the people of the lands unto the law of God: their wives, their sons, and their daughters…entered into a curse, and into an oath to walk in God's law-Neh. 10:28."
Apart from the implementation of Biblical separation, revival will never take place. Biblical separation is simply the negative side of Biblical sanctification. Sanctification and separation can never be divorced, they are intricately linked together and go side by side. Sanctification is the inner spiritual lining, while separation is the outer exterior fabric. In genuine revival, they travel harmoniously side by side, like a train smoothly traveling on its twin tracks. As Rom. 12:1-2 so well delineates, the outward sacrifice of human bodies must be linked to the inner offering of our "minds" for our lives to become "wholly acceptable to God."
(C) There must be a consecration of SELF. In Chron. 29: 31, Hezekiah stated: "Now ye have consecrated yourselves unto the Lord, come near and bring sacrifices and thank-offerings into the house of the Lord." One Fundamentalist pastor stated that "consecration is the transferring of the rights of ownership from self to God without any strings attached."
The Results of Revival
(A) A Renewal of Neglected Essentials: As you review II Chronicles 29, it is obvious that Israel as a nation renewed those essentials which they had neglected for so long, essentials that had been previously disregarded and forgotten. The temple worship was reinstituted which translates today into all church services being attended regularly, and the lamps were kept burning on a daily basis, which applied can refer daily prayer. The temple became, once again, a place of regular worship, not just occasional visits. When genuine revival takes, God's people will just visit the house of God not for one AM service, they will be there for all the services, including Sunday School, the evening service, the mid-week service, while also coming for purposes of ministry.
(B) A Rejoicing by the Saints: In II Chron. 29:25-26, we read that all the musical instruments were employed when the burnt offerings were offered upon the altar. II Chron. 29:27 states that "when the burnt offering began, the "song of the Lord" was also heard. When genuine revival occurs, church services will turn from dead mausoleums into live vibrant song services where God's saints are filled with rejoicing hearts and enthusiastic worshipers.
(C) A Re-institution of God's Order: II Chron. 29:35 records that as a result of this great revival, "the service of the Lord's House was set in order." When genuine revival takes place, God's work will be "set in order." Soul-winning evangelism will once again occupy the priority place in a church's ministry, and church activities will occur in the proper priority place that God desires, not in inverted manner.
Several decades ago, Ruth Green, who was the church organist in a congregation where this preacher was a member penned the following song: "Do You Really Want Revival?"
1. Do you really want revival? Do you really want God's power? Do you really want His Spirit to control your life this hour?
Oh, repent and turn to Jesus, Seek His face and humbly pray. Do you really want revival? Are you willing to obey?
2. Are you praying for revival? Are you praying for God's power? Are you praying for His Spirit to control your life this hour?
Oh, the Lord is ever faithful, He will hear us when we pray; Are you praying for revival? Are you willing to obey?
3. Yes, Lord, I really want revival! Yes, I really want God's pow'r! And I really want His Spirit to control my life this hour.
Oh, I'm looking now to Jesus, I will seek His face and pray; For I really want revival! I am willing to obey!
While national repentance and national revival do not appear to be bright hopes on the horizon at the present time, there is one certainty on the prophetical horizon that will provide unquestioned deliverance for a generation of God's saints. It is an event that is going to take place in God's time-clock of events at a time that He has already divinely foreordained, an event described as the Rapture. The Rapture is the next divinely predicted action on God's time clock of prophetic events.
If the desired and needed actions of national repentance and national revival do not take place, believers must be prepared for severe opposition and intense persecution from religious, political and governmental sources. Obedient saints who refuse to bow to Caesar's demands, may face both prison and even death or martyrdom. In His Word, God has never guaranteed freedom from harassment, oppression and maltreatment. In John 16:33, Christ stated that "In the world ye shall have tribulation," while the Apostle Paul in II Tim. 3:12 predicted that those who "live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."
However, even if believers face adverse experiences that involve legal repression or even vicious persecution as many believers in some Islamic countries are now encountering, there is one divine certainty that all genuine saints can claim, an assurance that they will never undergo the awful devastations of the seven year Great Tribulation period described in Revelation chapters 6-19.
The Rapture of the saints delineated in I Cor. 15:5-58 and I Thess. 4:13-18 is the blessed hope of the saints. In Titus 2:13, the Apostle Paul declared that saints should ever be "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." Heb. 9:28 reiterates this blessed hope when it states that "Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." The Apostle John repeated this great truth when he declared in I John 3:2 that "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is."
Before Christ ascended on high as described in Acts 1:8-11, he made three distinct promises: (a) That He would send the Holy Spirit to take His place-John chapter 14-16. This promise concerns the past and has been fulfilled; (b) That He would build His church-Matt. 16:18. This promise concerns the present and is now being fulfilled; (c) That He would come again-John 14:1-3. This promise is future and will be fulfilled at the Rapture.
Now, the Second Coming of Christ is like a drama in two scenes, a play in two acts: It commences with the Rapture of the saints in the air and consummates seven years later with His Revelation to this earth with the Battle of Armageddon and His 1,000 year millennial reign on this earth-Rev. chapters 19-20. The Rapture is for the Church which is portrayed as Christ's bride-Eph. 5:19-33, while the Revelation is for Israel which is pictured as His wife-Rev. 19:7.
(A) The Definition of the Rapture
The word "rapture" is based on a word which means "to seize, to transport, to take away by lifting." It is vividly expressed in I Thess. 4:17 with the Greek word "harpazo," which is a "catching away" or a "catching up." The Rapture is also pictorially portrayed in I Thess. 1:10 with the Greek word "rhuo," which means "delivered," actually to "deliver with power," the same word that Paul used in II Tim. 4:17 when he states that he "was delivered out of the mouth of the lion [Nero-Roman emperor]."
The Rapture actually commences with the Trumpet Sound and the resurrection of all bodies of the dead saints since Christ's ascension into heaven. With this action, the Lord Jesus Christ simultaneously transports a generation of living saints upwards to glory, delivering them from the mouth of the lion [Satan] and the tribulation that the earthly world is about to experience.
The Description of the Rapture
It should be noted that the Rapture is a
(1) Sure Event. Passages such as John 14:1-3, Heb. 9:27-28, Heb. Titus 2:11-13, Heb. 10:37, I John 3:2-3 and many more verses verify this forthcoming event.
The Rapture is also a (2) Secretive Event both as concerning the time and individuals involved. The unbelieving world will be totally unaware of what has occurred. In fact, Satan will tell one of the biggest lies he has ever concocted, and the unconverted masses of society will believe his delusive tale-II Thess. 2:9-12.
The Rapture will also be a (3) Sudden Event. It will occur "in a moment," in "the twinkling of an eye-I Cor. 15:51." The word "moment" comes from the Greek word "Atomos," from which we get our word "atom." How long does it take to split an atom? The Rapture will be that quick!
The Rapture will a (4) Selective Event. It will be limited to the saints of God of this dispensation, both living and dead, the bride of Christ as portrayed in Eph. 5:27.
The Rapture will be a (5) Signless Event. There are no signs for the Rapture, the signs being related to the forthcoming Tribulation as Christ delineated in Matthew 24, the foreshadows of which we can now see in our world. Saints during the Tribulation must "watch" for the Revelation-Luke 12:37, but saints during the Church Age expectantly "wait" for the Rapture-I Thess. 1:10.
The Rapture will be a (6) Simultaneous Event. It will (a) involve the coming of the Lord from heaven, (b) the resurrection of the dead saints, (c) the translation of the living saints and (d) the meeting in the air with Christ-I 4:16-17.
The Rapture will also be a (7) Significant Event. It will be the termination of this sixth dispensation, that we call the Church Age or the Age of the Completed Word of God, or the Age of the Indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit of God. With this event, the world will plunge into the Tribulation period delineated in Matt. 24, II Thess. 2:1-12, and Revelation chapters 6-19.
(C) The Deliberations Concerning the Rapture
In Titus 2:13, the Rapture is called the "blessed hope" of the saints. This blessed hope is (1) A Precious Hope because it a culminating hope-Heb. 9:28. It is also (2) A Purifying Hope, because it is a cleansing hope-I John 3:2-3, and the Rapture is (3) A Practical Hope, because it is a comforting hope-I Thess. 4:18.
The Rapture is the next prophetic event on God's time clock of events. While we cannot be sure that either genuine Repentance or Revival will occur on a worldwide or national scale, the Rapture of the saints is a Scripturally predicted event, which will end all the problems that secularism, socialism and sensualism are now causing in our world today. Via death or the Rapture, all believers will someday be on the total victory side-II Cor. 5:1.
"While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." Invest your life for Christ, don't spend it on yourself! Rescue every sin-sick soul you can from the mire of today's wicked society!

Editorial - AUGUST - SEPTEMBER 2015 The Fundamentalist Digest; Permission granted for reprint, so long as proper credit is given.

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