Please take note of the following picture:
That is a picture of the Bible Prophecy section in my local LifeWay Christian bookstore. There are several things noticeably absent:
1. The previous section heading of “Bible Prophecy” has been replaced. It now reads, “Current Issues”.
2. Content: Notice the empty spots on the shelves. It appears that when books are purchased, they are not being replaced.
3. Meat: While there are several EXCELLENT resources that actually provide meat for the prophecy student to sink their teeth into, the milk far outweighs the meat.
The section that deals with Bible Prophecy used to indeed be called “Bible Prophecy” and it used to be unashamedly displayed near the front of the store and actually facing the entrance.
This pitifully small section is now located in the back of the store and it faces the back wall. It also used to be called something else: “FUTURE Events”.
A key area that allows new believer’s faith to grow, is the knowledge that the Bible long ago accurately predicted future events, that are beginning to unfold today. Most of these events still lie in the FUTURE although they have already begun to take place.
Notice that the key-word “FUTURE” has been cleverly replaced with the word “Current”.
The Southern Baptist Convention is the parent of LifeWay Christian Resources. The Southern Baptist Convention identifies itself as being evangelical Christian, Premillenial, Pre-trib, and Dispensational.
Wow, if this is all we get from those who identify themselves with us, what are we to expect from those who don’t? (Not much.)
As we continue to fight the good fight, our “resources” are “disappearing” fast.
Trouble at Thessalonica
The church at Thessalonica was troubled. They believed they were beginning to endure the time of God’s wrath. The apostle Paul, in his second letter to the Thessalonians, assured them that the Day of the Lord had not yet begun.
“Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2).
During the time that Paul wrote his second letter to the church, their fellowship was experiencing persecution:
“So that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure” (2 Thessalonians 1:4).
Doctrine of the rapture
The recipients of Paul’s letter were supposed to be following the doctrine already taught to them by Paul when he started their fellowship. Paul reinforced the doctrine concerning the rapture and the second coming of Christ in his first letter to the Thessalonians.
“Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18).
The church was to take comfort in the fact that they would not have to endure God’s wrath.
“For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
They already knew that Jesus had said that in Him they would not have tribulation. They knew that in the world they would have tribulation but that in Him they would have peace.
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
The church at Thessalonica was being misled by false teachers concerning the second coming of Christ. As the persecutions and tribulations continued to mount, the Thessalonians started to believe that the Day of the Lord had begun. They had become shaken in mind and troubled that
they had missed the gathering together in the air with their saved loved ones, who had fallen asleep in Jesus.
Since they knew the Day of the Lord would come as a thief in the night to the unsaved, they could have been easily tricked into believing it had caught them by surprise.
It is also understandable that they would be very troubled if they thought they would have to endure God’s wrath during the Day of the Lord.
“The great day of the Lord is near; It is near and hastens quickly. That day is a day of wrath, A day of trouble and distress” (Zephaniah 1:14a, 15a).
However, Paul had previously taught them to be comforted, not troubled.
They expected the rapture first
The Thessalonians would not be so troubled and shaken in mind if they had expected all along that they would to have to endure the tribulation. If they were looking for Antichrist instead of Jesus Christ, they would have expected to have to endure the Day of the Lord before seeing Jesus.
However, the Thessalonians knew from Paul’s previous letter that the gathering in the “air” with Christ would take place before the Day of the Lord. The possibility that they had missed the rapture caused widespread panic and alarm. They were deeply troubled that they had been left behind.
They had already been taught that the revealing of the “man of sin” would precede the beginning of the Day of the Lord.
“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things” (2 Thessalonians 2:3,5)?
*Instead of being so troubled that the Day of the Lord had already begun, they would have been pushing to hasten the destruction of the Antichrist, and the commencement of Christ’s millennial kingdom.*
“And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:8).
Times and seasons
There are no signs specific to the rapture of the church. It will be a secret and sudden event, although there are signs and seasons related to the Day of the Lord.
Paul told the Thessalonians in his first letter that he did not need to write to them concerning the times and the seasons: “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you” (1 Thessalonians 5:1).
They should have known that they were not entering the time of God’s wrath. As Paul said, it should have gone without saying.
Since the rapture precedes the Day of Christ, Paul chose to use the signs that would accompany the embodiment of the evil one to demonstrate that the Day of the Lord had not yet begun.
*Later in 2 Thessalonians, Paul gave believers further assurance that the Lord would keep the evil one from harming them.*
“But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one” (2 Thessalonians 3:3).
More than one option
If it was already taught that the church would have to endure God’s wrath at the beginning of the Day of the Lord, then that would be the only option. That would be the only circumstance. As already stated, the church would have been prepared in advance to enter the time of God’s wrath at a moment’s notice.
It is then logical to conclude that Paul would not have spent so much time trying to assure the Thessalonians in his second letter that the Day of the Lord had not yet begun. Instead, he would have spent more time assuring them to take comfort that no matter what circumstances or trials they may have to endure, even the Day of God’s wrath, they would soon meet the Lord in the air. For this is the only teaching that would be consistent with the abundance of other exhortations for believers to persevere in trials and tribulation.
Two-phased coming of Christ
*The fact that the Thessalonians thought is was even possible to still be here on earth after the Day of the Lord had already begun, after Christ had already gathered those who had fallen asleep in Him, proves they believed in a two-phased coming of Christ.*
Paul had to remind them that first would come the departure when “He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:8). It is not until after the departure that the Antichrist will “be revealed in his own time” (2 Thessalonians 2:6).
However, you are saved
Part of the comfort, through which believers are exhorted, is to wear as a helmet the hope of our salvation. Paul closes both segments in both letters to the Thessalonians dealing with the Day of the Lord, with same encouragement in reference to their salvation.
If you will allow a simple comparison via paraphrase:
“sudden destruction comes upon them… however, you are saved…” (1 Thessalonians 5:3 and 8)
“that they all may be condemned… however, you are saved…” (2 Thessalonians 2:12, 13)
We are to have hope in our salvation as the means to prove that we are not appointed to wrath, because obviously only those who are saved in the first place will avoid the wrath of the Day of the Lord.
In contrast, the unsaved will be present on earth during the Day of the Lord “because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:10b).
They have no hope of salvation upon which to rest.
Closing thoughts and Scriptures
*If the Day of the Lord was to precede the rapture and was imminent, how could Paul know while he was writing his second letter to the Thessalonians, that the Day would not begin before his letter reached them?* One can only imagine that it took several days, if not weeks, for a letter to travel over 300 miles from Corinth to Thessalonica in the first century.
Paul clearly taught that the church, the Ekklesia, will meet the Lord in the air before His wrath is poured out on this earth. We are not to be troubled as though we will have to endure the beginning of the Day of the Lord.
“Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (2 Thessalonians 2:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:19-20; 4:18).
This message is speaking directly to true born-again believers of Jesus Christ the Lord.
Why all the “mystery” surrounding the rapture of the church? One answer: The Bride of Christ.
Let’s begin by building up the truth of mystery of the bride of Christ. To a sister in Christ I might ask: How can you know that you are the “daughter” of God? “Because I am saved”, you respond. That is of course correct. Now, taking that thought a step further, since you are saved you are now part of the “body” of Christ, the true church.
THE BODY OF CHRIST IS THE BRIDE OF CHRIST
How do we know that the true church is the bride of Christ? First, Christ Himself taught:
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Mark 10:7-8).
Then Paul expounded upon the exact words spoken by Jesus:
“For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:30-32).
We are the body of Christ because we are the bride of Christ. Yes, it really is that simple, yet so overwhelming!
YOU ARE THE SON OR DAUGHTER OF CHRIST
Now, let’s go back to the concept that since you are saved you are part of the bride of Christ. Taking one last step: What does John 3:16 say?
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
The Father gave His “Son”. What happens when a woman marries a man whose father is still alive? She becomes the daughter in law of the groom’s father. She is both the bride of the son and the daughter of his father. I’m sure you see the wonderful truth now!
We believers are servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the King of kings, and the Lord of lords. When it says “kings” and “lords” it is of course referring to earthly kings and lords. We are servants of Jesus Christ while we are on this earth and He is our God. After we are judged as individual believers at His bema seat, He will declare us ready for our marriage to Him! (I’m quietly weeping tears of joy and gratitude as I’m writing this.)
“‘Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.’ And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Revelation 19:7-8).
Please understand how dear and sweet your Groom is. He is the most amazing, dedicated, loving Husband who has already lain down His life for you. He did all of this so that you could share in the love of His Father as His Father’s own daughter. (I’m still overwhelmed right now.)
Of course, my dear brothers, it works the same way for us. As members of the bride of Christ, we are also the sons of God!
THE MYSTERY OF THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH
Why all the “mystery” surrounding the rapture of the church?
The true church, Christ’s bride, is going to rule with Him over Israel and the nations during His millennial reign on earth. If a king has a bride, then it is usually he and his bride that rule from their thrones over a nation or kingdom. Although the bride is of course still subject to the king, he does not usually leave his bride outside of the castle and rule over her, the same way he rules over the subjects of his kingdom. He will give her a throne alongside of his, upon which she may share in his rule over their kingdom.
“Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them… And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” (1 Corinthians 6:2-3, Revelation 20:4).
The fact that the true church was to be the bride of Christ instead of Israel is the reason why the rapture of the bride remains a mystery to those without understanding.
This concept is misapplied by many Bible prophecy teachers. Some teach that the church has eternally replaced Israel in all of Bible prophecy, as highlighted in this recent article written by Terry James: (http://terryjamesprophecyline.com/2013/10/31/replacement-theologofolly/#comments)
“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).
So, fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, and fellow sons and daughters of the One and only True God, take strength! When you are being tossed about the tempest, remember, you are the child of God!
At any moment, the Father will issue the order for His Son, your Groom, to come and receive you unto Himself.
“I will come again and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:3b).
Have you been to the Doctor for a check-up lately? No, I’m not talking about the one in the white coat, (if you are lucky enough to actually get an appointment), I’m talking about the Holy Spirit.
He will examine your heart to look for signs that the disease of sin is growing into something that requires “surgery”. You cannot let yourself be examined by the Holy Spirit unless you are first “in” the Spirit. After all, this is called a “self”-examination.
“But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world” (1 Corinthians 11:28, 31-32).
BELIEVERS ARE ALIVE IN THE SPIRIT
Yes, it is possible to be “alive” in the Spirit while not “walking” in the spirit:
“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Galatians 5:25; Romans 8:9, 12-13).
God will judge His children who try to walk according to the flesh. It is impossible for the child of God, if he or she strays into habitual sin, to walk according to the flesh for very long. That is what our examination is supposed to reveal for us to correct, before God steps in and corrects it for us. Notice what God says about the discipline of His children:
“And make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed” (Hebrews 12:13).
When you try to “walk” in the flesh, God will correct your path! It is definitely going to hurt so you really should judge yourself so you will not be “corrected” by the Lord. God’s ultimate goal of course is for you to “be healed”, that is, to put to death the deeds of the body through the work of the Holy Spirit.
If we would “condemn”(judge) ourselves we would not be chastened by the Lord. We must judge ourselves and repent in order to change the behavior for which the Lord will chasten us, to cause His hand of judgment to lift away.
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God” (1 Peter 4:17)?
“For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:30-31).
Paul always stressed the seriousness of God’s chastening judgment on the believer who is not walking in the Spirit. So, when at times you feel overwhelming guilt, you have likely not been “walking” in the Spirit.
Satan wants you to think you are “eternally” condemned when you have strayed from abiding in Christ. If he can get you to be consumed with worry over your eternal state, you will be sidetracked from repenting of the sins weighing you down in your temporary state, (the flesh).
Satan wants a root of bitterness to spring up in you, as a result of extreme worry over your salvation, so you will continue to walk away from the path of Christ.
BELIEVERS ARE NOT ETERNALLY CONDEMNED
God does not want us to condemn ourselves with the condemnation of eternal separation and punishment in hell:
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us” (Romans 8:1, 33-34).
“For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God” (1 John 3:20-21).
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword” (Romans 8:35)?
ABIDE IN HIM
God wants you to continue to abide in Him by walking in the Spirit. He wants you to have confidence!
“And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming” (1 John 2:28).
When it comes to the Rapture of believers from the earth, many ask the question, “What makes our generation so special? Why are we any different from generations past who suffered such grave persecution from the times of the Roman Coliseum to the Roman Catholic Inquisition?”
The remainder of the article will attempt to answer this question by pointing out some major differences between our modern culture and the culture of generations past.
We as people are no different than our ancestors, but the times in which we live are. It is of no small consequence that the world population is exploding like a giant volcano.
The current world population is approx. 35 times greater than it was at the time of Christ. (Most demographers estimate that the world population was approx. 200 million during the time of Christ. Currently, world population is estimated to be 7.2 billion and rising.)
.2 billion in A.D. 40
.3 billion in 1000, (960 years later)
.5 billion in 1500, (500 years later)
1 billion in 1804, (304 years later)
2 billion in 1927, (123 years later)
3 billion in 1960, (33 years later)
4 billion in 1974, (14 years later)
5 billion in 1987, (13 years later)
6 billion in 1999, (12 years later)
7 billion in 2011, (12 years later)
If you were to convert the text above into a “hockey stick” graph, you would see a line that appears as fairly flat and level near the bottom of the graph, moving from left to right. The line would represent the steadiness of world population from the time of Christ until about the Middle Ages, when you would see the line start to curve slightly upward. Then around the early 1900s, the line rockets straight up, like it’s on its way to the moon. (Just do an Internet search for “world population graph.”)
We can no longer make calculations based on how much untouched fertile land is available on earth and determine how much each family of the world could be given to live on. (Example: Take the total number of square miles of fertile land and how many acres fit into each square mile on the earth and then divide that by the total number of people on earth to calculate that each person would have x amount of land to live on.) The land is not free. The days of homesteading are long gone.
During pre-industrial times most everyone from peasants to nobility, lived within walking distance of a natural food source. From plants, nuts, and berries to fish and livestock, most people had enough independence that they did not have to depend on a long journey to obtain basic sustenance.
Taking North America as a like example of the history of other indigenous peoples around the world, the Indians of North America had free access to the land (until about the 1800s that is). They were able to roam about the continent hunting large animals like buffalo, deer, antelope, and wild birds while gathering nuts, fruits, seeds, and plants to meet their needs. They also had wide access to lakes and streams for use as a food and water source.
The early settlers took advantage of the same freedoms. When they moved west, adding new states to our country, they brought their food supply with them in the form of livestock and seeds. They cultivated farmland, planting crops like corn, beans, squashes, sunflowers, wheat, etc.
If people were willing to plant the seeds of hard work, they were usually able to reap the reward of sustenance. (Do you currently have enough land of your own to plant seed on?) If you do, I know you consider yourself blessed!
Most people didn’t have to vote, they didn’t have to watch the news, they didn’t have to keep up with current events, and they did not have to be as weighed down with the cares of this world. (Of course many of the good people voted, worked hard, and took care, but they were not weighed down by the affairs of the outside world on a daily basis.)
MODERN TIMES: URBANIZATION AND INDUSTRIALIZATION
Life and culture in America changed greatly during the late 1800s. Most American cities were overrun with slums. During this time, America was transformed from a mostly rural and agricultural nation into an urbanized and industrial nation. By comparing 19th century paintings of cities like New York or Washington D.C. with modern day photographs, the impact of urbanization is manifest.
With the invention of farming equipment like the tractor and the combine harvester, vast amounts of land were purchased in order to keep up with the food demands of an exploding urban population.
Now, with the modern global market economy, we the people are dependent upon the speculators gambling with our life-sustaining commodities while playing the game of supply and demand.
So in conclusion, you can see that although our current generation is no different in “respect of persons” than generations past, we are different in respect to our environment. Just as God stepped into cities past to relocate His people when the environment was ripe for judgment, so He will soon do the same for our generation. The signs are just too obvious. The writing is on the wall for all to see.
Sudden destruction will come upon them, not us. The dawning of the Day will not catch us off guard for we are not children of the darkness. We are not appointed to destruction, “but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
God said that we are not to worry about the basics of food and clothing. He did not mean we were not to put forth effort to obtain these things, He told us to take comfort that they would be there after our day’s work was complete.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25)
It is my opinion that when most all of God’s people on a mass global scale, honestly have to start being concerned about what they will eat or drink tomorrow, God will step forward and remedy the situation.
I currently see no other remedy than for God to relocate His children to His land!
The following article is just a postulation put forth, based upon Scripture, of a future scenario that could theoretically happen.
To put it in direct and simple terms, Satan is going to have to convince the world that Jesus Christ, the true Messiah, was the false messiah otherwise known as the Antichrist.
It is obviously deeply disturbing for us true followers of the true Messiah to even contemplate such a detestable heresy against our dear Savior but, that is exactly what Satan will be allowed to do.
If mankind denies God long enough, He will give them up to deception. If He will harden their hearts to believe the lie, He will also allow the lie to be told. Just as when they were deceived into rejecting Jesus as the true Messiah so they will accept Satan as the messiah.
“‘Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?’ So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.’ And He marveled because of their unbelief” (Mark 6:3-4, 6a).
And He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive. Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed'” (Isaiah 6:9-10).
True Messiah: The Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world.
False messiah: Satan who comes to rule the world.
Christians believe that the true Messiah was crucified and ascended up to heaven and He will come again, at a later time, to rule the world. Jews claim that the true Messiah has not yet come to earth and when He does come, He will not be crucified, but He will instead rule the world.
So the current expectation of Christians and Jews is the same: that when the Messiah comes to earth He will set up His kingdom rule.
The 1st beast of Revelation 13:1 is the Antichrist, possessed by Satan, and he will claim to be the Messiah as prophesied in the Torah: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people” (Genesis 49:10).
Satan has to convince the Jews and the apostate Christians, along with other religious groups in the world, that he is their messiah. All he will have to do is proclaim that Jesus was the false Messiah. How can both Jews and apostates be convinced that the Antichrist is the Messiah? Answer: Apostate Christians will readily accept that the Jesus of the New Testament was a fraud and unsaved Jews already accept the same lie.
The second beast of Revelation 13:11 will likely be a world leader of false Christianity. People will be more likely to follow deception from someone who is the leader of the religion that they already follow, than from someone who isn’t.
The false prophet is described as having two horns like a “lamb” because the lamb symbolically represents Christ. He will not choose to look like a goat because he will deceive the world as a lamb wrapped around a goat.
So, the first beast will likely be Jewish and the second beast will likely be a false Christian and possibly of Jewish decent. Why does Satan have to pay lip service to Jesus Christ and claim to be the God of the Torah and Israel anyway? Can’t he just stand on his own earthly miracles and earthly powers granted to him by the Lord and declare himself as another god with a different name? By the way, how do we know that Satan has been granted powers on the earth?
“Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.’ He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast” (Matthew 4:8-9, Revelation 13:13-14).
So again, why does Satan have to claim to be the God of the Bible and not just some other god of some other religion? Because he knows full well who the real God is and he knows what Paul said in Romans is absolutely true: That every single person on earth, upon hearing the truth of the God of the Bible, instantly knows in his or her heart that He is the real God.
“Men… suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:18b-19, 20b).
Satan knows that the people of the world will not accept any other god as being the real God unless he claims to be the God of the Bible. This is a different concept than that of the world that rejects the God of the Bible in His true form and character. You see, the world knows in their heart who the real God is, but they choose to reject Him because they hate His Way.
Believing God is not the same thing as believing in God. Remember what James said: “Even the demons believe and tremble”. As long as Satan changes the true message of God into his own false message then the world will believe that he is god.
The world hates God’s true message because it calls for humility and world is proud. The world cannot stand being told what to do so much that they would rather defy God and “call His bluff” on hell rather than accept His free gift out of hell, because that involves humility.
The world hates that Jesus said He is the only Way to heaven. The world says that they themselves are the only way to heaven. As the crucifixion of Christ proves, miracles combined with truth, were not enough for the world to accept Jesus as God. As long as Satan combines his miracles with lies, and tells the world that they can still make their own way to heaven, they will accept him as their god.
Of course Satan will have other plans for the masses after they swear allegiance to him, but he certainly won’t let them on to that at the beginning. Upon his sudden appearance on the world stage, Antichrist will hook the people by whispering sweet nothings into their ears and they will fall for it. Combine Satan’s sweet talk with the miracles that he will do in their sight and you will have the worldwide worship of the beast.
After the rapture of the church and the complete disappearance without a trace of millions of people, (the true Christians), a world leader of false Christianity (a mega-church pastor or the Pope) will announce something like: “We were never duped by those people, those false Christians, who claimed that you Jews actually had the power to murder your own Messiah!” Sarcastic laugh: “Hah, hah, hah! Our true messiah is here!” (Hand extends toward the Antichrist) “He has removed the apostates from his kingdom and destroyed them! They have no place on our new earth!” Loud cheers and clapping: “Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! All hail Messiah!”
“So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’ (Revelation 13:4)
Although they have no such power, the false prophet and the Antichrist will hijack the miraculous nature of the rapture as representative of their own power to completely remove and destroy multitudes of people from around the earth.
The false prophet will claim that Jesus was the real Antichrist and that He and His temple were destroyed in 70 A.D by the god who the Antichrist claims to be. He will no doubt use verses like 1 John 2:18 to enhance this deception. He will then proclaim that the new temple, the Tribulation Temple, is the true center of world worship.
Although he will twist New Testament verses to the advantage of Satan, the second beast will also claim that the New Testament record is nothing more than an interpretation of the events surrounding the false Christ written by those who were deceived by Him. A lie easily told is easily believed, by the deceived.
This will be the great deception and the lie spoken of by Paul in 2 Thessalonians that those who reject the salvation of Christ will believe. Of course, many will deny the Antichrist as their messiah and many will pay with their lives.
It is not until the end of the tribulation, that the Jews along with the rest of the world, will recognize Jesus as their true Messiah at His glorious appearing, when they will wail and mourn because of Him (Zechariah 12:10-12, Matthew 24:30, Revelation 1:7).
“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).
I vanish before Thy feet O Christ. I fade to nothing, not even my dust remains. You are the King of kings and Lord of lords. O Lamb of God, Please forgive my sin and have mercy on me. Amen.