Thursday, February 4, 2016

Guest Post: The Coming New World Religion

By: Dave Hunt
This article contains excerpts from Chapter 26 of Dave Hunt's 1998 bestseller, Occult Invasion: The Subtle Seduction of the World and Church . Written over 18 years ago, the book is a fascinating revelation of the road-builders paving the way to the New World Religion now converging.
WE HAVE SEEN that there is a massive but subtle occult invasion of today's world and church. Materialism is dead. No longer clinging to the view that nothing exists except matter, science now admits the reality of a nonmaterial dimension governed by mysterious forces and inhabited by nonmaterial intelligences that it can neither identify nor explain. Every facet of occultism is now being explored as the new hope in medicine, education, psychology, business, military intelligence, and space science. Contact is sought and advice is followed from spirit entities whose trustworthiness cannot be established by scientific means. Psychic powers mistakenly assumed to arise from an alleged inner human potential are being avidly cultivated in many fields, and their pursuit can only lead deeper into the occult.
The occult has always been the foundation of non-Christian religions, and it invaded Christianity when Constantine allegedly became a Christian and wedded the church with paganism. Catholicism, which had its birth under Constantine, has been involved in the occult ever since, not only in its adaptation of pagan practices wherever it has spread but now in the more overt ecumenism under Pope John Paul II. In their new partnership with Rome, evangelicals have opened themselves further to the occult invasion.
The Mind Science cults such as Christian Science, Science of Mind, Religious Science, and Unity School of Christianity openly embrace the occult. Their brand of occultism has ­in­vaded charismatic and Pentecostal churches through ­the ­Pos­itive Confession movement of Hagin, Copeland, Cho, Wimber, Hinn, and other false prophets and healers. The same "positive" occultism has invaded the evangelical church through Peale and Schuller and their followers. "Christian" psychology and the related practices of inner healing or healing of memories and 12-Step programs have accelerated that invasion as well.
All of these streams are now coming together through the ecumenical movement. Its scope is unprecedented in human history. What we are seeing can only be the great apostasy which Paul said must come in order for the day of Christ to dawn and the Antichrist to be revealed. All that remains for the occult invasion to triumph is the establishment of a New World Religion in partnership with a world government. One would have to be blind not to see that this New World Order heralded by President Bush and the Pope is fast coming upon us.
Few are the voices sounding the alarm and few are those who heed warnings such as the following, voiced by former Vineyard pastor John Goodwin. Goodwin came to Christ out of the occult and eventually realized that the Vineyard was involved in the very occult practices he had abandoned:
I was a Vineyard pastor, and according to John Wimber, in his words, I "could do the stuff...      anywhere and any time....     " I was tuned in...   I was in lock-step with what John was teaching....     I have literally been to hundreds of Vineyard conferences...    .
I'm here to [explain] that this is part of the last days heresy that's bringing the church into the New Age and into the New World Order.-.-.-.-It's all part of the Antichrist system of a one world church, a one world government and a one world economy.
Anti is a Greek prefix that is generally understood to mean "opposed to or against." It has, however, another meaning: "in the place of or a substitute for." Antichrist will embody both meanings, according to the Bible. He will indeed oppose Christ but in the most diabolically clever way it could be done (anything less would not be worthy of Satan's genius): by posing as Christ and thus corrupting Christianity from within.
That being the case, Antichrist's followers will be "Chris­tians." No wonder, then, that the apostasy must precede his ­ascension to power. A false, ecumenical, and antichrist "Chris­tianity" must sweep the world in preparation for his takeover. True Christians will have been taken to heaven in the rapture, and Antichrist will be worshiped by those who are left--except for those who come to faith in Christ during this horrible time and are martyred for their faith.
A popular Christmas card a few years ago was already in tune with the coming world religion: "May the spirit of the holidays give us faith in ourselves and help us to believe in each other's dreams so we can make this world a better place."
Already the label "Christian" has lost its true meaning and can now be attached to any anti-Christian belief. The latest poll identifies 26 percent of Mormons as "born-again Christians," yet their "God" is an exalted man and their "Christ" is the half-brother of Satan! Not only in Roman Catholicism but in all denominations, there are pastors, teachers, and other leaders who are spreading a false gospel. They misrepresent Christ and His teachings and lead entire congregations astray. They pretend to represent Christ but do not accept all that He taught. The Christ they present is more like Antichrist. Such is the "Christianity" which the White House now seems to espouse.
Even former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, an atheist turned pantheist, dares to say of socialists: "We promote the cause of Christ." Articles too numerous to quote follow Gor­b­achev across the country as he meets with religious leaders . . . and praises the importance of "religion" in the New World Order. What he advocates sounds like Antichrist's coming world religion.
Gorbachev is likely not the Antichrist, but he is a very good prototype of him. In Israel, a peace dove landed on Gorba­chev's head on the occasion of his acceptance of "three honorary degrees for speeding up Jewish immigration...      [and he] praised Jesus as 'the first socialist.'" Gorbachev "is framing an 'Earth Charter' intended to fuse socialism and mysticism into a UN-approved new world religion. The Earth Charter is scheduled ­to be presented to the UN General Assembly sometime before the year 2000, and Gorbachev insists that its adoption is necessary...      to save the earth from its rapacious inhab­itants."
Gorbachev and the late Pope John Paul II were great friends and mutual admirers. Gorbachev professes an interest in spirituality (but without truth), and the pope encouraged him in this delusion. Gorbachev wrote:
I have carried on an intensive correspondence with Pope John Paul II since we met at the Vatican in December, 1989...      we share a desire to move forward and complete what we began together....     What I have always held in high esteem about the Pope's thinking and ideas is their spiritual content, their striving to foster the development of a new world civilization...  .
The "spiritual content" of the pope's ideas and his powerful"political role" are agreeable to Gor­ba­chev. They were partners in planning a new world. One cannot imagine Christ, who was and is hated by the world, playing a political role in partnership with this world's Caesars--but those who claim to be His Vicars have done it for centuries.
The willingness to accommodate any kind of spirituality (a necessary ingredient of the coming world religion) is a growing attitude even among those who call themselves evangelicals. Pat Robertson refers to members of his Christian Coalition (Catholics, Mormons, Moonies, and followers of other religions) as people of faith who, he says, "are under attack as never forces which wish to destroy all religious values, all worship, and all freedoms...." Therefore, says Robertson, "We must lay aside certain Protestant differences to join hands to support those things upon which we all agree...."
In fact, Coalition members hold many faiths whose "religious values" and "worship" are totally incompatible. It is deceitful to speak of "people of faith" standing together, when to do so individual faith must be abandoned. Nor is it honest to call an organization that includes those of other religions "the Christian Coalition." And for a Christian to stand only for the least common denominator that everyone can agree upon is to abandon Christ himself, whom the world hates and its religions reject or redefine. Far more than "Protestant differences" must be overlooked for Christians to join hands with non-Christians! Pat's coalition sounds more like what occult leader and priest Matthew Fox proposes:
Deep ecumenism is the movement that will unleash the wisdom of all world religions--Hinduism and Buddhism, Islam and Judaism, Taoism and Shintoism, Christianity in all its forms, and native religions and goddess religions throughout the world. This unleashing of wisdom holds the last hope for the survival of the planet we call home.
It is this loose merging of Christianity with whatever spirituality one fancies that will characterize the coming world religion--and destroy Christianity.
An evangelical pastor spent ten days at an ecumenical gathering of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and National Council of Churches (NCC), held under the auspices of New York City's Auburn Theological Seminary. He was shocked at the overt rejection of Christianity and its replacement by paganism. The occult was honored as though it were of God. Here is part of the report he filed:
I knew we were in trouble when our first worship "celebration" found us outdoors at a garden pond offering prayers and water libations to the Seven Spirits of the seven directions of the Universe ("O Spirit of the North, blow upon us...O Spirit of the East...West...South...). What to any objective observer was sheer paganism, we were told was simply an exercise in discovering the ecumenical variety of spiritual expression and experience that we must learn to share if we are to be truly one....
[There] was the outright denial of the Doctrine of the Trinity...[as] an archaic symbol for God so loaded with classical Western sexism and images of oppression that it must be abandoned in favor of something more palatable to enlightened sensitivities...[like] Sophia....
While some of us may prefer to relate to Jesus as our personal "Christ-figure," we dare not make him exclusive. We must be inclusive of all potential "Christ-figures," so that we can learn to see through them all and behind them all to that one Savior Spirit of Liberation working through all the various "Christ-figure" masks of the world's religions.... The awful thing is that, judging from the participants at this conference, many of the ecumenical leaders of mainline Protestantism are happily following this primrose path to apostasy.
Concern for morality and ecology becomes the excuse for compromising theology. Kenneth S. Kantzer, a senior editor of Christianity Today (CT ), wrote: "With the spread of moral rot that destroys the roots of a free and just society, we evangelicals need to close ranks with our Catholic neighbors. And with Mormons, conservative Jews, and secularists who share our values...." Had Christ joined the rabbis in such a coalition for moral improvement, think of the great ethical reformer He could have become and the immense good He could have accomplished--all without going to the cross!
At the same time, Christianity is being confused with Ameri­canism. Millions of "Christians" of all stripes, from evangelicals to Catholics to Mormons and Moonies, have joined ­together to Christianize America by calling it back to the "traditional moral values" upon which it was founded. Some­how this "mission" has captured the imagination and loyalty of multitudes of evangelicals and has replaced the biblical Great Commission in their hearts and minds.
There is a new optimism in the air, the determined hope that "America can be saved" by a compromised ecumenical gospel. Even  J.I. Packer seems to have succumbed to this delusion. Writing in CT , he transmutes Christ's command to proclaim the gospel into a call "to re-Christianize the North American milieu...[and] rebuild the ruins...[of] North American culture..."! Where does the Bible suggest that? Llewellyn Rockwell writes:
Christianity is now thoroughly politicized. The [Catholic] bishops and [Ralph] Reed have no trouble speaking about the importance of pro-family legislation, or the glories of religious pluralism, but they are shy about such basics as the Christian teaching on salvation. The longer the process of politicization continues, the thinner the faith gets. Political ambition causes people to water down their beliefs for the sake of gaining favor....The first stage of sell-out comes with the exaltation of political pluralism above doctrinal truth, the second stage with the denial of doctrinal truth altogether for achieving political goals.
The document "Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium" was not a sudden development but the inevitable result of much earlier preparation. Charismatic magazines (from Voice to Charisma ) and leaders (from the late Kathryn Kuhlman to Rex Humbard) have heaped praise upon Pope John Paul II in spite of his false gospel. In praising the pope as a Christian leader, Jack Hayford said, "You don't have to be a Catholic to stand tall and say, 'I'm a Christian, too.'" Billy Graham called John Paul II "the greatest religious leader of the modern world, and one of the greatest moral and spiritual leaders of the century." James Dobson, one of the world's most highly respected Christian psychologists, called the pope "the most eminent religious leader who names the name of Jesus Christ."
For all his inventions and modern developments, man has not changed. He is still the descendant of Adam, fallen into sin and in need of reconciliation to his Creator. He still needs love and purpose and meaning not only in this life but beyond. Eternity is all that matters, and it hasn't changed. God hasn't been renovating heaven to keep up with the ideas current upon earth, nor has He revised the entrance requirements to broaden the spectrum of belief among its citizens.
God doesn't hire a Madison Avenue advertising and promotion team to persuade us that heaven will be a nice place to retire to. "Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts:20:21), no longer popular even among evangelicals, is still the only entrance ticket to heaven. Those who do not love God wholeheartedly and desire Him to have His way with them would be miserable there.
Heaven and hell are not states of mind, as Templeton and his cohorts imagine, but the real and eternal destinations of every human soul and spirit. Hell is where people go who turn to occult powers in rejection of God, who are determined to have things their own way, to enjoy their own passions, to create their own universe with their thoughts. Its inhabitants are self-centered, utterly lonely souls. Self has become so all-consuming that there is room for nothing else.
Christ was born the Savior of sinners. How marvelous that He who is God, one with the Father and the Holy Spirit, loves us so much that He was willing to be born of a virgin, to grow up in a world that hated Him, to be despised, rejected, mocked, scourged, crucified--and more than the physical ­suffering, to bear our sins and to pay the infinite price of our redemption demanded by His own infinite justice! He is still mocked and rejected by the world and His gospel perverted even within the professing church.
Heresy and compromise on the part of those who claim to be His followers is perhaps the most painful mockery He endures. It rejects Him as He really is and undermines His real purpose in coming to earth. Every true Christian should be deeply offended and concerned that serious error is being ­promoted not only in the world but even in seemingly sound churches and by those who are looked up to as evangelical leaders. It is our love for Christ in response to His love for us, and our love for the lost whom He loves and for whom He suffered and died, which causes us to hate heresy, to denounce the occult invasion and to earnestly contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints. May we remain true to Him until He takes us home!
We face some trying days ahead if the Lord tarries. Recently this author watched a John Bradshaw seminar series that lasted five days on Public Broadcasting TV. While talking about faith in God (Bradshaw had his own unbiblical definitions for both faith and God), he denounced those who claim to be saved and who thereby "destroy the self-image of others who don't believe exactly as they do." It was all extremely clever and persuasive. The audience was obviously convinced of all he said. One could easily see the day coming when such arguments would be used to stifle or muzzle evangelicals as a menace to society.
The Christian martyrs throughout history (and those being martyred today, particularly in Muslim countries) could have chosen an ecumenical path of compromise and of affirming the "common beliefs of all religions," and thus have escaped the flames or the sword. But they chose instead to stand firm for the truth, to contend earnestly for the faith. Dare we do otherwise?
For us, at this crossroads in history, the issues have broadened. The deadly tentacles of the occult in its many guises have invaded the world, but also the church. What will be our response? One day we will give an account before God for that choice. What joy there is now and eternally in being true to Him!
Hunt, Dave. (2011, February 1). The Coming New World Religion. Retrieved February 4, 2016 from

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Guest Post: Victory Over Sin

By Dave Hunt
Torn between their sincere desire to serve and honor their Lord and the inner turmoil of fleshly lusts and the seductive pull of worldly pleasures and honors, many Christians struggle to live for Christ. For them, Christianity involves great effort, little joy, much frustration and disillusionment, and the loss (when they have enough will power to deny themselves) of so much they once enjoyed in life. They struggle to avoid Paul’s list of “don’ts” in Colossians:3:5-8: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry...put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” Failing repeatedly, they repent remorsefully and puzzle over their inability to live as they know they should—but seemingly can’t.
They fare no better with Paul’s list of “do’s” that follows (vv. 12-25): “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving...put on charity....Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly....And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him...[etc.]”
Is it really possible to be sweet, kind, humble, loving, and forgiving at all times? The spirit is willing, but the flesh proves ever to be embarrassingly weak. How can one live up to the high standards the Bible sets for Christian living? Is there some secret to victory we are overlooking? The two key expressions, “mortify” in verse 5 and “put on” in verse 12, only increase the bewilderment and sense of failure. Is it really possible to “put to death” ungodly desires and, shedding that body of evil, as it were, to be clothed in a resurrection body of godliness? Surely Paul, led of the Holy Spirit, is not taunting us with goals that cannot be attained and that, in fact, are not at all practical. Was he not, himself, an example of this kind of life, and did he not say more than once, “Be ye followers of me even as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor:11:1, etc.)? Then why do we fail? From whence comes the motivation and the strength to accomplish what is at once so desirable and yet so seemingly impossible?
There is a general failure to recognize the importance of one little word that occurs in both verses 5 and 12. It holds the answer to our dilemma. Paul does not say, “Mortify your members” and “Put on...bowels of mercies, kindness....” That would impose a “do-it-yourself” religion of gritting one’s teeth in determination and struggling to live up to high moral standards—no different from the atheist’s or Buddhist’s attempt to do the same. That is not Christianity! Paul carefully and pointedly says, “Mortify therefore ... Put on therefore ....” Clearly “therefore” refers to something that Paul is convinced gives the Christian the motivation and power to do what he is commanding and lifts the Christian above the impossible struggle of flesh trying to live a godly life. It is, therefore, the Christian’s secret to a happy, fruitful and holy life pleasing to God.
The mortifying of the old deeds and the putting on of the new is possible only because, as the previous verses declare, “Ye are dead, and...your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col:3:2). Certainly the same thing could not be said of the followers of Buddha, Muhammad, Krishna, et al. Christianity is thus unique and separated from all religions. Herein lies the secret dynamic of the Christian life. Why, then, doesn’t every Christian experience this power in daily living? Sadly, many who call themselves Christians have a very superficial understanding of the gospel they claim to have embraced: “[H]ow that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day...” (1 Cor:15:3-4).
For many who believe that Christ died for their sins, this event is more mystical than historical. The horrible death on the Cross is something that happened to Christ but has only a theoretical rather than practical connection to them. They have such a faulty understanding of what Christ’s death means that they are not true Christians at all. They have imagined that the death of Christ in their place delivered them from their deserved eternal punishment in hell, so that, like Barabbas, they could live as they pleased. They have never desired what Paul rejoiced in: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal:2:20).
Paul was not expressing an inspiring but empty platitude. For that great apostle, the Cross was no mere religious symbol, but the place where he had died to life as he would have lived it and had begun to experience the very life of Christ being lived in him. He knew that Christ gives resurrection life; therefore only those who have died can experience it. With wonder, amazement and deep gratitude he realized that Christ had actually taken his place before a righteous, holy God—and that God had put Christ to death in payment for his (Paul’s) sins. Therefore, Paul was a dead man. Christ’s death in his place was literally his own death, and he rejoiced in that fact. If he was to experience life thereafter, it must be the resurrected Christ living in him.
The transformation in Paul was at once remarkable, yet not surprising. The most seductive temptation Satan can devise will arouse no response from a dead man. Insult a dead man to his face, and he will not retaliate in anger. As a dead man, Paul experienced a new freedom over sin that he had never known before! Yet, in spite of being dead, Paul was more alive than he had ever been: “I am crucified...nevertheless, I live.” Dead to sin, he was alive to God through Christ. So real was this to Paul, that it was as though Christ himself were living in him—and, indeed, He was! Christ had become his very life—and this, said Paul, was what Christianity was all about!
Paul reminded the saints at Colosse that victory over sin and self was not possible through willpower and fleshly struggle. True victory could come only through understanding and believing what it really meant that Christ had died for their sins and had been resurrected for their justification. Paul declared that this was the secret of his own complete transformation—and so it must be with them.
But how could Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection be as real to them as it was to Paul—so real that their very lives would be totally transformed? Paul explained: They must believe that Christ was coming any moment to take them to heaven, where they would thereafter appear with Him in glory! It was the hope of Christ’s imminent return that would make the difference between victory and defeat in the Christian life!
That this hope is the key to victorious living is clear. Notice again Paul’s staggering declaration: “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory[!] Mortify therefore....” That was such a vibrant hope and of such certain accomplishment that Paul began this entire section with the statement, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col:3:1-2). Herein lay the secret to the godly life that Paul himself lived and expected of the Colossians as well. They were to be so heavenly minded that the things of this earth would have no appeal and thus no power over them.
Nor was this orientation away from earth toward heaven to be merely a “mental attitude” they had adopted without any basis in reality. It was not wishful “positive thinking” but truth that would change their lives. Through Christ’s cross Christians have been crucified to the world and the world has been crucified to them, as Paul had firmly declared (Gal:6:14). A man who has just been taken down, dead, from a cross has no interest in this world nor does it have any claims upon him. The person crucified and those who crucified him have nothing further to do with each other. So it is with the Christian and the world through the cross of Christ. The vicious hatred this world has for Christ, and its irreconcilable animosity against all that He stands for, have been fully exposed in its rejection and crucifixion of our Lord. Christ declared that the world would hate and persecute us as it had Him (Jn:15:18-20;16:2;17:14). By His cross we have been cut off from this world just as surely as He has been.
Death, however, did not end it all. Christ rose triumphant from the grave and ascended to the right hand of the Father in heaven. Moreover, He is coming again in power and glory to judge and take vengeance upon those who have rejected Him—and we, who have identified ourselves with Him in His rejection and death, will participate in His triumph and glory. Nor is that Second Coming so far in the future that it has no practical meaning for us now. On the contrary, it could occur today. The glorious fulfillment of the hope that the gospel has instilled within our hearts could burst upon us at any moment! This fact causes eternity to invade the present and makes the Christian no longer of this world!
Hear Paul say it again: “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Consenting to be dead and willing for Christ to be their life was not only the Colossians’ basis for victory but the essential meaning of the gospel they must embrace. Otherwise, there could be no salvation. Without that, they were mere Barabbases, grateful that Christ had died in their place but mistakenly assuming that they had been “saved” in order to live for self. If they were not willing to acknowledge Christ’s death as their very own and to give up life as they would have lived it so that Christ could become their life, then they could not experience the victory over sin and self that Paul preached. Indeed, they had not consented to the message of the gospel at all!
And what made the fact of their death, burial, and resurrection with Christ the dynamic power that transformed their lives? It was this promise: “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” Once that truth had gripped their hearts so that His “appearing” had become their daily expectation and hope, Christ’s death and resurrection were so real to them in the present that they were changed into new persons. As such, Paul told them, they were to “seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” May we each pursue that challenge wholeheartedly!
The “pretribulation Rapture” is thus no mere hair-splitting thesis for theologians to discuss, nor is it a theory without practical effect. It is the overlooked secret to victory in the Christian’s life. John said, “Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he [Christ] is pure” (1 Jn:3:3). Paul indicated that it had been his love of Christ’s appearing that had motivated him to holiness and faithfulness and had made him victorious—and that the same “crown of righteousness” was for “all them also that love his [Christ’s] appearing” (2 Tm 4:8). On the other hand, Christ associated wickedness with failing to love His appearing: “But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken...” (Mt 24:48,49).
Let us diligently and enthusiastically “seek those things that are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” Let us “set [our] affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Why? “For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Phil:3:20-21). Praise God!  TBC

Hunt, Dave. (2015, August 1). Victory Over Sin. Retrieved January 2, 2016 from

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Guest Post: Pre- or Post-Trib Rapture?

By Dave Hunt

The Rapture of the church involves all believers being caught up to heaven—those just resurrected together with those alive at the time (1 Thes:4:13-18). If it occurs at the beginning of the tribulation period, then clearly Christ’s Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation to rescue Israel in the midst of Armageddon is a separate event. According toZechariah:14:3-5, “all the saints” must accompany Christ back to earth. But if the Rapture occurs at the end of the Tribulation, it must be simultaneous with the Second Coming, making them one event. Which is it: two events separated by seven years, or one event with two diverse purposes?
This question, although it has nothing to do with the gospel of salvation, divides much of the evangelical church. Happily, it can be settled rather easily. The descriptions in Scripture of the Rapture and Second Coming respectively are so different in so many details that they could not possibly be describing the same occurrence. We can’t cover all of these distinctions, but here are a few:
1) At the Rapture Christ does not return to earth but catches believers up to meet Him above the earth, taking them directly to heaven: “I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (Jn:14:3); “caught meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thes:4:17)
In contrast, at the Second Coming Christ returns to this earth to rule Israel and the world from David’s throne in Jerusalem: “His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem” (Zec:14:4); “the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Lk 1:32-33); “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him....The armies which were in heaven followed him....Out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron” (Rv 19:11-15).
2) At the Rapture there is a resurrection of all believers who have died up to that time: “The dead shall be raised incorruptible” (1 Cor:15:52-53); “the dead in Christ shall rise first....” (1 Thes:4:16)
In contrast, at the Second Coming there is no resurrection until Antichrist is defeated, he and the false prophet have been “cast alive into a lake of fire” (Rv 19:20), and Satan has been bound in the “bottomless pit [for] a thousand years” (20:1-3)—none of which is even remotely related to the rapture of believers to heaven. Then, to “the first resurrection” that occurred at the Rapture are added a unique group: “Them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years” (4-5).
3) At the Rapture , the bodies of living believers (like those who are resurrected) will be changed to become immortal: “We shall not all sleep [i.e., die], but we shall all be changed...the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we [who are living] shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Cor:15:51-53); “We which are alive...shall be caught up together with them [the resurrected saints] meet the Lord in the air [clearly requiring immortal bodies].” (1 Thes:4:17)
In contrast, at the Second Coming all of the saints return with Christ from heaven and will therefore already have been changed into immortality: “The LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee” (Zec:14:5); “I saw heaven opened [and one] clothed with a vesture dipped in blood...and the armies which were in heaven followed him [to] smite the nations” (Rv 19:11-15).
4) The Rapture occurs during relative peace and prosperity when the world does not expect judgment from God: “And as it was in the days of Noah [the last thing they expected was God’s judgment]...they did eat, they drank...married wives...were given in marriage [and as in] the days of Lot...they bought, they sold...planted...builded....Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” (Lk 17:26-30)
Again in complete contrast, the Second Coming occurs in the midst of the worst war the world has ever seen and following the greatest devastation this planet has ever suffered or ever will: “Then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world...nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved” (Mt 24:21-22); “Behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed...power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger....There was a great earthquake...every mountain and island were moved out of their places...[men] hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks...for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Rv 6:8-17); “And the four angels were slay the third part of men” (9:15); “and the...sea...became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea. And...the rivers and fountains of waters...became blood...the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; were scorched with great heat...and...there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth....And every island fled away and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail [of large stones]...every stone about the weight of a talent” (16:3-21); “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True....And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen....And I saw the beast [Antichrist], and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat upon the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and...the false prophet [and they] were cast alive into a lake of fire...” (19:11-21).
5) The Rapture occurs when conditions in the world seem to indicate that all is well—when very few expect Christ to return, and He catches even the church by surprise: “Of that day and hour knoweth no such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” (Mt 24:36, 44)
In contrast, when the Second Coming occurs, not even Antichrist is caught by surprise—the many visible signs alert everyone that Christ is right at the door: “When ye shall see all these things, know that it [Christ’s coming] is near, even at the doors” (Mt 24:33); “The beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse” (Rv 19:19).
6) The Rapture occurs when the church is sleeping, with little expectation of the Lord’s return: “While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept” (Mt 25:5); “Watch ye therefore...lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.” (Mk 13:35-36)
In contrast, the Second Coming occurs at the end of the Tribulation in the midst of worldwide devastation and hopeless distress; the Antichrist and his armies are attacking Israel, much of Jerusalem is already captured (Zec:14:1-2), and Israel is on the verge of annihilation. It is inconceivable that the church, if it were still here, would be slumbering in complacency and under the delusion that “surely Christ wouldn’t come now”!
7) Since the Rapture instantly takes us, without dying, out of this world of sin, pain, and sorrow to be forever with Christ and like Him, never more to grieve Him, it is called the “blessed hope”: “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Ti 2:13); “every man that hath this hope.” (1 Jn:3:3)
In contrast, the Second Coming (or a post-trib rapture at that time) could hardly be called a “blessed hope,” inasmuch as very few Christians (if the church were still here) would survive to enjoy it. Having refused to receive the 666 mark of the beast “in their right hand, or in their forehead” and therefore being unable to “buy or sell,” and refusing to “worship the image of the beast [they would] be killed” (Rv 13:15-17). It makes no sense to suggest that if you can secretly eat out of enough garbage pails to avoid starvation and still keep one step ahead of Antichrist’s world police death squads, “Blessed hope! You’ll be raptured at Armageddon!”
8) As for the Rapture , unquestionably, the early church was taught to expect it at any moment and to eagerly watch, wait, and look for Christ’s return, when He will catch all believers up into His Father’s house to be with Him eternally: “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord...” (Lk 12:35-36); “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body” (Phil:3:20-21); “Ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven...even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (1 Thes:1:9-10); “ looking for that blessed hope” (Ti 2:13); “unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Heb:9:28). One does not watch, wait, and look each day for something that cannot happen until Antichrist’s advent or the end of a seven-year tribulation. Thus, there must be a coming of Christ that could happen at any moment.
In contrast, the Second Coming , by very definition as described in Scripture, cannot be expected momentarily. Therefore, none of the scriptures just quoted concerning watching and waiting and looking for the Lord could refer to the Second Coming or to a post-trib rapture of the church. These scriptures could therefore refer only to a pre-trib rapture.
9) The pre-trib Rapture has a powerful, purifying effect upon those who have this hope in Him. The fact that it is to be expected at any moment can only mean that it must come before Antichrist is revealed and before the Tribulation. If Christ could come at any moment, there is no time to waste, no time to delay witnessing, no time to indulge in sin with the idea of repenting and changing one’s ways later: “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming” (1 Jn:2:28); “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” (3:3)
In contrast, anticipation of the Second Coming (or a post-trib rapture at that time) could hardly have a purifying effect, because it can’t take place for at least seven years—plenty of time to delay witnessing, getting right with the Lord, and holy living until later. In fact, the Lord said that believing He couldn’t come at any moment would have the opposite effect from purifying believers: “If that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants...and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; the lord of that servant will come at an hour when he is not aware” (Mt 24:48-50; Lk 12:45-46).
10) The Rapture is not only an event that we are to expect momentarily and to eagerly anticipate, but we are to ask our Lord to come immediately. Here is how the Bible ends: “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come....Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” (Rv 22:17,20)
In contrast, the Second Coming is not of such a nature and timing that we could ask Christ to effect it right now. Since Christ obviously cannot return to the earth in judgment to rescue Israel, stop the destruction at Armageddon, and destroy the Antichrist along with his kingdom and his armies until the end of the Tribulation, for us to cry out to Christ, “Come, Lord Jesus!” would be like demanding payment on a debt that isn’t due for seven years. Yet, “the Spirit and the bride” do cry out, “Come, Lord Jesus.” We can only conclude that there must be a coming of Christ that could occur at any moment. It cannot be the Second Coming or a post-trib rapture. It can only be a pre-trib rapture.
11) There are at least two events that occur in heaven for which the church must be present and that therefore cannot take place until the Rapture occurs: the judgment seat of Christ, and the marriage of the Lamb to His bride: “for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ” (Rom:14:10); “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor:5:10); “The marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted [to] be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white [as a result of her cleansing at the judgment seat of Christ]” (Rv 19:7-8). Both these events occur prior to Christ’s return to earth and thus demand a prior rapture.
It is clear that the Second Coming cannot occur until these two vital events, which demand the presence of the church in heaven, have taken place. It is only after the Lamb has been married to His bride that she accompanies Him back to earth to rescue Israel and to destroy Antichrist and his armies: “And the armies which were in heaven followed him...clothed in fine linen, white and clean” (Rv 19:14).
We know not why the Bridegroom tarries, but exactly as He foretold, the church is asleep. In that context, our Lord added: “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him” (Mt 25:6). May each of us be listening eagerly for that cry of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. Indeed, we ought to be sounding it aloud, for the Lord could come at any moment to take us to Himself. So let us watch and wait and look for Him in eager anticipation—and encourage others to do the same. It will have a purifying and motivating effect in our lives.   TBC
First Published in October 2003

Hunt, Dave. 2015. "Pre- or Post-Trib Rapture?.", November 1. Retrieved December 1, 2015 (

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Guest Post: Living Water

Introduction: A Glorious Walk with the Spirit

While Jesus was upon the earth, He was the Person of the Godhead with whom man most closely related. Jesus was here to represent God to man, which He did wonderfully - to such a degree that He could tell Philip, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father ... I and My Father are one" (John 14:9; 10:30). Jesus was God in flesh upon the earth.

At first the disciples didn't recognize this. But over time they came to realize that when they walked with Jesus along the road, in fact they were strolling alongside of God. Eventually they saw that when they laid their hand upon His shoulder, in reality they were laying their hand on the shoulder of God. They recognized that when Jesus talked to them, they were hearing the very words of God. They understood that when they saw Jesus and His compassion for the sick, they glimpsed the heart of God and His desire to make right that which was wrong. When they saw Jesus take the scourge and drive the money changers out of the temple, they witnessed the determination of God to bring purity to man's religion - or more accurately, to purge man of religion and bring him into a pure relationship with God. When they saw Jesus weeping over Jerusalem because its people had failed to understand the opportunity for salvation that God had given, they watched the heart of God breaking over man's lost chances.

During His roughly 30 years on the earth, Jesus taught the disciples thoroughly and gave them many commandments. But on the day He ascended into heaven, He told His friends He would thereafter give them commandments and direct their activities in a new way. From that day on, He would guide and direct them through the Holy Spirit.

It's critical that we understand this. The Holy Spirit is the primary agent of the Godhead working in the world today. He is the person of the Godhead to whom we relate most closely. He is the One who is gathering a body of believers - the bride of Christ - to present unto the Lord. And the church through the Holy Spirit is doing the work of God in the world.

The Holy Spirit is called the Paraklete, "one called alongside to help." He has come alongside to help us in every situation. He is here to be our strength. He is here to be our provider. He is here to take care of the emergencies that arise in life. Anytime that we need help in any kind of situation, we can know that the Holy Spirit is here to be our helper. He is the One who has been called to come alongside to help us.

The Holy Spirit desires a personal, loving relationship with all of us. He wants to come alongside of you and help you in and through every situation you may face. That is why it is so vitally important that each of us come to know the person of the Holy Spirit, to know Him in His fullness. Only in that way will we be able to experience the comfort, help, and strength that He provides and which all of us so desperately need.

My Hope for This Book

The purpose of this book is to help you get to know the Holy Spirit so that you might enjoy a full, rich relationship with Him. It is my earnest desire to so present His glory and beauty that you will seek to yield your life fully to Him, knowing and personally experiencing His grace, His love, His power, and His gifts.

God wants us to know Him not merely as some eternal creator or as some force or power that fills the universe, but as a loving, caring Father who sent His Son to die for our sins. Jesus made it possible for us to enjoy this intimate relationship through the agency and the power of the Holy Spirit.

I am praying that by God's grace and through this book the Lord will develop in you an insatiable hunger for and thirsting after the Spirit.

I pray that you will come into a deep, personal, intimate relationship with Him so that your life will be transformed by His power. I pray that you will come to depend upon Him for guidance, for health, for strength, for comfort, for wisdom, and for power. And I pray that He will become closer to you than any person you have ever known - that you will be bathed in His glory and thus fashioned into the image of Christ.

Some exciting times lie ahead in these pages! But, of course, you don't have to wait for the end of the book to gain great blessing. You can yield yourself to the Holy Spirit even now, giving yourself over to His control and to His filling. I urge you to make up your mind even now to yield and surrender your life to Him. Then you can begin, even at this moment, to enjoy a glorious walk in the Spirit, delighting in the fullness that God desires for each of us.

This excerpt is the introduction to the book "Living Water: The Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Life," by Pastor Chuck Smith.

PART ONE: Who is the Holy Spirit? and the entire book is free to read in PDF here: