August 26, 2014 – I Prefer Being “Left Behind”

As the film “Left Behind” is being released, I see many friends promoting it. I wonder about those who believe in this end times doctrine without having really searched the Scriptures in their entirety.  I have to admit that years ago, I was a firm believer in the pre-tribulation rapture.  A friend shared it with me in 1981 and in that moment of time, I began to put my faith in Jesus for salvation and began to live for him.   I was taught all the Scriptures used to defend that eschatological view in a Calvary Chapel, and because I believed it was the foundation of my ‘saved’ moment, I would have defended it to my death.   Then something began to happen.  The Spirit of God revealed flaws in the doctrine and my heart and mind began to change.

My transformation started when I saw the vision of end times prophecy within the Feasts of the Lord.  If Jesus/Yeshua fulfilled the spring appointed times to the day and hour, why wouldn’t he do the same with the fall ones?  Of course when you’re in a church setting that doesn’t even celebrate the appointed times let alone acknowledge their validity for the believer, it’s hard to get a solid footing on how all of the end-time Bible prophecies works together.

My spiritual eyes opened in a new way when I learned that ‘no man knows the day or the hour’ is a Hebrew idiom for the Feast of Trumpets, the next Biblical feast to be fulfilled by Yeshua.   That this festival fell on a new moon and ‘no one ever knew the day or the hour’ of the new moon brought new insight into Yeshua’s words regarding his return.   The fact that there would be a trumpet blast according to 1 Thessalonians 5  and 1 Corinthians 15  helped urge me toward  ‘knowing the day’ as the day when the trumpet is blown.   I was no longer in ‘darkness’ expecting the unexpected at any moment in time (the thief in the night), but knew it would be at an ‘appointed time’ according to “the Lord’s own word” (1 Thes. 5:15).

1 Thessalonians 5:4 “ But you, brothers, are not in the dark, so that the Day should take you by surprise like a thief; for you are all people who belong to the light, who belong to the day. We don’t belong to the night or to darkness, so let’s not be asleep, like the rest are; on the contrary, let us stay alert and sober.” 

What is ‘the Day’ that it should not surprise like a thief? In Scripture it is called The Day of the Lord.   The Day of the Lord is not Sunday or a day of worship as many believe, it is ‘the day’ when Messiah returns to reign as King from Jerusalem, Israel.  For some people it will be a day of glory, the culmination of waiting for Yeshua’s return, the resurrection of the righteous who have fallen asleep in faith and the translation of those who are alive. For others, it will be a day of mourning.  They will come face to face with their deception, foolishness and wickedness. 

Isaiah 26:19 But your dead will live, Lordtheir bodies will rise—let those who dwell in the dust wake up and shout for joy— your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead.”

Joel 2:31 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”

Daniel 11:31-32 “His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice.Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.  With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.”

Revelation 20:4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”

Not only do the prophets give signs for the ‘Lord’s Day’ with the Temple, the sun, moon, and stars, but Yeshua also gives signs of his coming in Matthew 24 and Luke 21.  Signs like persecutions, prisons, standing before kings and governors to be witnesses to these leaders of Yeshua’s name, betrayal by parents, relatives and children, hatred by all men because of Messiah, armies surrounding Jerusalem, men fainting from the terror that has taken over the world are all part of the evidence that Messiah’s return is near.   John saw in Revelation there will be saints who are beheaded for testifying about Yeshua and proclaiming the Word of God, for not worshipping the beast and his image , and for not having received the mark on their foreheads and on their hands.*

Revelation 14:12 This is when perseverance is needed on the part of God’s people (saints), those who observe his commands and exercise Yeshua’s faithfulness.”

Many of these actual events are happening today in the world to those who follow Jesus.   Is there anyone who believes in a pre-tribulation rapture that can explain to the martyrs of beheadings that they aren’t in the Tribulation when they are living out Scriptural signs and evidence of the Tribulation?   To suggest and believe they are just having a difficult time is foolish just like the foolish virgins who weren’t ready when the Bridegroom came.

Proverbs 14:1, ‘A fool says in their heart there is no god” could be likened to ‘our bridegroom is a long time in coming” and so we fall away from His Word and become fools, pushing away Biblical truth for warm-fuzzy doctrines of escape.  Proverbs 9:10 speaks of the saints’ knowledge of the YHVH as understanding. “The fear of YHVH is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of holy ones is understanding.” 

These Scriptures and many others made me reconsider perhaps some virgins were actually preparing for the Tribulation.  The wise virgins understood the signs of the time and had oil for their lamps when the trumpet blast was sounded.  They were already walking ‘in the light’ because they had oil and lamps while the other foolish virgins remained in darkness having to go buy oil.  They had their lamps, but never considered the importance of using them.

As the years passed and I studied Scripture, I had to rid myself of many contradictory doctrines I had been absorbing.  The church did not replace Israel and receive separate promises from them, there is no literal church age dispensation that would end so that Israel would be judged,  nor is there a mention of special people known as Tribulation saints or those ‘in the world’ who would suddenly come to faith and be martyred. I had to re-evaluate what it meant to be ‘left behind’ and if that was even a Biblical concept based on a faulty doctrine of a pre-trib rapture.

In the normal sense of the words ‘left behind’, when someone goes on a vacation and you don’t want go along, you’re left behind.  If while the family is on vacation,  the house blows up and you’re in it, being ‘left behind’ wasn’t such a great idea.  Perhaps, their vacation was the blessing while being ‘left behind’ was not!  This is the concept with the pre-trib rapture.  Yeshua comes in the clouds to take a bunch of people with him and those that he leaves behind on earth suffer the consequences of God’s judgement and wrath.   However, what if that is not what ‘left behind’ means?   What if those ‘left behind’ aren’t the wicked, but the righteous?

Noah and his righteous family were actually the ones ‘left behind’ after the flood to repopulate the earth while the multitude of the wicked on earth were ‘taken’ or drowned in the flood.   Lot and his family were ‘left behind’ to watch the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah when the wicked were ‘taken’ in a judgement of fire and brimstone.   In Egypt, it was Pharaoh’s firstborn son who was ‘taken to death’ and the first born of Israel ‘left to live.’  

Consider Matthew 13 where Yeshua speaks of the wheat and tares.  It is not the wheat that is ‘taken’ and the tares ‘left.’  It is the tares that are pulled up first, tied into bundles and thrown into the fire.  It is the wheat that is ‘left behind.’  When the disciples ask Yeshua to explain the parable, he says that the world is the field, the weeds (tares) are those who belong to the Evil One and the wheat, those left standing in the field, are the righteous who belong to the Kingdom.  Just like in the days of Noah and Sodom and Gomorrah, it is the righteous who will be left on earth after the destruction of the wicked.  It is the righteous who will rule with Yeshua in the Kingdom of God on earth – and not in some illusive ‘heaven’ where everyone meets up with loved ones.

1 Corinthians 15:20-24 ““But each in his own order: the Messiah is the firstfruits; then those who belong to the Messiah, at the time of his coming;  then the culmination, when he hands over the Kingdom to God the Father, after having put an end to every rulership, yes, to every authority and power.”

I was also taught that the rapture was the unseen part  of the first resurrection, but that doesn’t agree with Scripture either.   According to 1 Corinthians, there are three resurrections.  There is the firstfruits resurrection as symbolized in the Feast of Firstfruits and the Resurrection of Messiah, Yeshua and those who were raised from the dead and ascended with him into heaven.  There is the second resurrection or harvest of those righteous who belong to Messiah at the time of his return aka the translation of the saints.  There is the third resurrection at the end of the Millennial Kingdom when ALL men and women will stand before the throne of God and give an account of their lives.  They will be judged by books that are opened that detail every event and spoken word in their life.   Within these three resurrections, there is no mention of a secret ‘snatching away’ for a seven-year time period while the rest of the world, meaning Israel and another dispensation, goes through The Tribulation.  

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”

The Resurrection of the dead in Messiah is called a ‘mystery’ in 1 Corinthians 15.   Resurrection is not the same as being brought back to life. The person, like Lazarus or Dorcas or the little girl, who has died and comes back to life will die again because they come back to life in  their mortal body.  However, in the resurrection of the dead, those who rise get a new, glorified body for all eternity, never to die again.   The Resurrection of the dead happens at the last trumpet call of God, the seventh Trumpet or Shofar blast in Revelation 10 where this mystery is explained.

Revelation 10:7 “…  in the days of the sound from the seventh angel when he sounds his shofar, the hidden plan of God will be brought to completion, the Good News as he proclaimed it to his servants the prophets.”

What is the good news proclaimed by the Prophets?  Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 4 that “that the Lord himself will  come down from heaven” to collect His elect and they will be changed into immortality at that moment, twinkling of an eye.  The Bible never says that the changed elect will spend eternity in the air or in some heavenly mansion for seven years.   When we are transformed into glory, we will rule and reign with Messiah for one thousand years from Jerusalem not fly around the heavens indefinitely.   This is the Good News of the prophets brought to completion. The gospel is not just ‘believe in Jesus and have eternal life,’  it begins with repentance and turning back to God and His ways culminating of the resurrection of the saints, the royal priesthood and Bride,  who will rule and reign with Yeshua, the High Priest and King forever.  

Revelation 3:10 Since you [Philadelphia] have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.”

Growing up I always loved the Congregation in Philadelphia.  As I read the Scriptures, I saw that they would be ‘kept from the time of trial coming on the whole earth.’  With a rapture mindset, I thought, “Wow, that’s the group of people who will be snatched away.”  However, with a sincere reading, Philadelphia is also to ‘hold onto what you have so no one will take your crown.’  This doesn’t sound like a church that’s going to be ‘taken away’ to some protected heavenly realm.  On the contrary, they will be protected because they have little strength, do not deny the name of God (YHVH, Yeshua), and they keep His Word (the commandments).  Those who are of the synagogue of Satan, Jews who are not really Jews, will test them, but they will persevere because they keep Yeshua’s command to endure patiently.  The place for the righteous is IN the world.

Isaiah 26:20 Come, my people, enter your rooms, and shut your doors behind you. Hide yourselves for a little while until the wrath is past.”

This verse in Isaiah also speaks protection from God’s wrath.  At a moment in time, God will say, ‘Come, it’s now time to hide.’ However, Isaiah doesn’t suggest that it’s time for God to snatch His people out of the world,  instead He tells them ‘hide yourselves for awhile’.

John 17:15-18 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.  Sanctify [set them apart] them by the truth; your word is truth.  As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.”

Even Yeshua never asked that God remove the righteous from the world.  He asks His Father to protect them from the Evil One.  Thus, when the righteous hear the word, “Come” from our Father at the midnight call, they will light their lamps, find the door that Yeshua opens and shuts, and hide there for awhile.

Today I spent some time watching the video “Testing the Pre-Trib Rapture” by 119 Ministries.  I rarely watch videos by this ministry, but this one caught my eye.    It is thorough and uses Scripture to prove Scripture and challenges the dearly held un-Biblical doctrine of the pre-trib rapture.  I share it to challenge a reconsideration of a pre-tribulation rapture along with mid-trib and post-trib views.

*In the Shema, Deuteronomy 6:4-6, God says that we are to bind the commandments to our hands and our foreheads.  The ‘mark of the beast’ is found on the same two places.  Could it be that there will be many who trade the commandments of God for the mark of the beast on their hand and forehead?  Could it be that those who keep the commandments will be the ones ‘left behind’ and those who follow the beast ‘taken’? 

I choose to be ‘left behind.’

©2014 Tent Stake Ministries

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