Spiritual Forces of the Last Days, #4
I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. (John 17:15)
False doctrines proceeding from the error in goal and means. The first false doctrine we will mention is the pre-tribulation "rapture" of the believer.
Because it is believed that sin is no longer an issue in the life of the Christian, the emphasis now has been placed on avoiding physical pain. The thought is, we have no need to fear God because we are without sin; therefore we shall fear pain and seek to avoid it.
The objective of the "rapture" is to prevent the saints from suffering physical pain. The doctrine of the pre-tribulation ascension of the saints to escape pain is based on the assumption that there is no need to fear the Judgment Seat of Christ now that God has provided an eternal, unconditional pardon. "Let us flee to Heaven and avoid physical suffering at the hands of Antichrist."
Given the passages of Scripture that teach the need for tribulation, plus the history of suffering of the Christian churches, it is amazing that the fanciful concept of a rapture to avoid suffering ever gained the ground it has. An alert high-school student could easily prove from the New Testament (as well as from Church history) that God's elect often experience many forms of suffering, and sometimes martyrdom.
It is the wicked spirit of loving pleasure more than God that has given birth to the doctrine of a rapture to avoid physical suffering. The rapture never is presented as a means of glorifying Christ or of bringing us into the image of Christ or into union with Him, which are the Scriptural goals, but as a means of avoiding the pain of the great tribulation. This fact alone should have warned the churches that it is a false doctrine. The doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture is man-centered. It is in complete harmony with the man-centeredness of the Antichrist spirit.
As we have said, the error of presenting eternal residence in Heaven as the goal of redemption, and a once-for-all profession of belief in Christ as the means of attaining the goal, has made it possible for such a distortion as the pre-tribulation rapture of the believers to gain credence.
We trust that the rapture will take us to Paradise; and there is no need to worry about facing Christ even though we have been worldly, lustful, and disobedient to the call of God on our life. We are without sin and are assured of eternal residence in Paradise because of our confession of belief in the theological facts concerning Christ. This false conclusion drawn from the writings of the Apostle Paul keeps the believers in perpetual babyhood.
One of the purposes of the great tribulation is to perfect the Bride of the Lamb, separating her from the babylonish (manmade, man-centered, man-directed) confusion of organized religion. Since the current doctrine of "grace" teaches that Christians already are perfect through their association with Christ, the idea of their being perfected by suffering is not logical. The conclusion is, there is no need for us to be perfected by suffering when we already are perfect in Christ.
To be continued.