Friday, January 31, 2014
By Dan Payne
As a thief veils his presence from those he wishes to steal from, so the Lord has veiled the doctrine of the Pre-Tribulation coming for His church. That may be construed by some as a loaded statement, for sure.
Of course, those who have put forth great effort in the study of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine may dispute its veiling. Indeed, for those who search out truth through the effort of study, and humble reliance upon the Holy Spirit, truth is unveiled.
It is of no mystery to the children of God that He requires us to study His Word.
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
It should also be of no mystery to God's children that He wants them to understand His doctrines.
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26).
God wants our spiritual fellowship with Him through the study of His Word. He stimulates and motivates us to study His Word, by veiling certain doctrines within His Word, so that in depth study is required to search them out for spiritual understanding.
However, those who are not His children are blinded to His doctrines.
“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).
If those who do not believe can be so blinded to the first, elementary doctrine of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, just imagine how blind some can be to a deeper doctrine such as that of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the church.
It’s very simple, if you refuse to believe in the truth, you will become blinded to it.
Of course there are many honest, born-again believers in Christ do not agree with the Pre-Trib doctrine. Those believers are not seeking to devour those of us who do. I have to seriously question the motivation of those who focus the majority of their “work for the Lord” in vitriolic attacks launched against the hearts of those who hold to the Pre-Trib Rapture doctrine. Such attacks are an attribute of Satan, not of Christ.
I believe that the Lord hid or veiled the doctrine of the Pre-Trib Rapture from the eyes of the wolves to protect His sheep from their hunger. If Satan knew exactly when the "Thief" would come to snatch away His sheep, he may very likely launch a mass extermination operation to kill them off before their Shepherd could come to rescue them.
Of course, we know that Satan will launch just such an operation of extermination against all who refuse to worship him, during the second half of the Tribulation (Revelation 13:7-8).
Jesus referred to His own coming for His sheep as when a thief comes at an unexpected hour.
“Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:42-44).
The Shepherd will turn the tables on the wolf; He will come at an unexpected hour to snatch all of His sheep away from danger.
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10).
The following is a quote from an earlier article written by me about the Day of the Lord, with the addition of some editing:
The Day of the Lord arrives as a thief in the night but it does not end as a thief in the night. The “day” is more than just a 24-hour period of time. It is not the same amount of time as “the evening and the morning” referred to in the creation chronicle in the book of Genesis. A lot takes place during the “day” of the Lord.
“But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8).
When heaven is opened in Revelation 19:11, everyone on earth will see Jesus. His return at the end of the Tribulation will not come as a thief in the night. The “day of the Lord” will begin as a thief in the night but it will not end as a thief in the night.
“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire” (Revelation 19:11).
“All of the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30).
The entire process of Christ’s coming at the end of the Tribulation will be very obvious to the world, unlike the process of a thief who does not want to announce his presence to those he wants to steal from. When Christ comes as a thief (before the Tribulation), He will only trumpet His Presence to His bride that He is “stealing” from the world. While Christ’s bride is caught up, the rest of the world will be caught-off-guard.
To believe in the doctrine of the Pre-Trib Rapture is to embrace the hope of its truth. And if there is one thing that Satan and his minions cannot stand, it is hope in Jesus. They engage in great effort to deceive us into believing that our hope is dangerous to ourselves. The Bible clearly teaches that only those who do not receive the love of the truth will be deceived.
“And with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:10).
Our hope is of no danger to us; it is only dangerous to those who hate the truth. It shakes their faith, it rattles their nerves. They are in danger when our faith is strong.
The danger is to the arrogance of their egos. They have to be right to stay propped up on the pedestal of their pride. We have to be right in order to properly instruct our hearts and to comfort the hearts of our fellow believers. We have to stay motivated to go about the Lord’s work until He returns. We have to continue to love God, and to teach and to love one another in His name.
The hatred of hope in Christ was no doubt the motivation behind the false teachings that led the church at Thessalonica to be so greatly troubled in their collective spirit.
The same attacks are being launched within the church today, with back-breaking strength. Satan and his children cannot stand your comfort in Christ. Don’t let their arrows pierce your armor of hope. Take up your shield of faith.
“Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one” (Ephesians 6:16).
After all, when we look at the near complete depravity of the world around us, what else can we hope for but the return of Jesus? There certainly isn’t any hope for the repentance of this world as a whole. The only hope that remains is for the repentance of a few, and for our escape.
If and when any of us as individuals, or all of us collectively, will or will not escape this tortuous place is up to God the Father only.
“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).
I know not when my Lord may come, at night or noonday fair, nor if I’ll walk the vale with him, or meet him in the air. But I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day. “I know not why God’s wondrous grace.”