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RAPTURE MESSAGE - I
 
 
 

Passive or passionate

Let me begin with the Christian doctrines encompassing the Christian faith. There are only three cardinal doctrines on which the whole of Christian faith stands as though it were a celestial edifice resting on three supporting ethereal pillars. The one of “Justification” (when the heavy burden of sin on the repentant soul is taken away by Christ’s atoning work on the cross), “Sanctification”  (when  the born - again believer, after his repentance is slowly but steadily transformed into the radiant image of his Savior) and “Glorification” (when a Christian expects to be raptured to meet his Lord in mid-air). In this essay for reasons, readers would discover in the course of reading it, I would like dwell exclusively upon the third doctrine.

Weaving together these three foundational doctrines into the tapestry of a one-liner, it has been remarked, that “if justification makes us light, sanctification bright, then that of glorification should make us sprite.” How true! But is imminent rapture (with all signs pointing towards it) really making us sprite meaning vivacious or passionate or we still languishing in the cozy cocoons of passivity borne out of earthly near-sightedness?

The word Sprite, also the brand name of a popular Indian soft drink brings to our mind the catchy slogan-its manufacturer’s use-that has caught the fancy of many a trendy youngster “Seedhi baat, no bakwas” (meaning plain speaking, with no beating about the bush business). For that matter, in this essay too, I would like to do just that…“Seedhi baat, no bakwas” with repeated allusions to II Thess 2:7, which reads thus: “The secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so, till He is taken out of the way”. Note here, Scripture does not state that secret power of lawlessness is about to start its work but rather that IT IS ALREADY AT WORK!

If anything, this verse taken in toto ratifies the fact that once the Holy Spirit, which is restraining the secret power of lawlessness, departs with the Church rapture, signaling the end of Grace era, the advent of Anti-Christ would take place. This would coincide with the onset of 7 years (Dan 9:27) of severe tribulation. Conversely put, if the advent of anti-christ appears imminent going by the signs, we shall aim to study in this essay, then that would mean that the Church rapture, which would precede his apperance, is that much closer at hand. Has not our Lord has promised His ethereal bride that, He would take it away “BEFORE” the hour of trial (Rev 3:10)?

Before examining how the secret power of lawlessness is already at work, which would come to full limelight very soon, let’s see what is the chief characteristic the world can expect to see in the Anti-Christ for this is the very trait, by which, he is going to draw a huge following for himself. Bible emphatically states that he would be A MASTER DECEIVER (Dan 8:25/ II Thess 2:9-11). Period. Let me hasten to add here that save the following three categories of people (at different stages in the trial period)

    a) tribulation saints from many nations (Rev 6:9-11/ 7:9-17),

    b) the 144,000 evangelistic Jews (Rev 7:4) and

    c) the nation of Israel (Zech 12:10-realising the folly of their ways in following the Antichrist, they would go in for national repentance to seek the real Messiah),
countless would be taken for a ride by the “good and peaceful ways” adopted by him in the beginning of the tribulation period (only when he sits in the Jewish temple and asks everyone to worship him, would the eyes of many most notably the Jews be opened-Daniel 9:27). Later on in this essay, let us also focus on how the tribulation saints, as they are called, would come to “accept the Lord”, during that 7-year ordeal.

In the context of the Anti-Christ being the one who would pull cotton wool over the eyes of many, it has to be stated at this point that for the trait of deception to be craftily used (he is depicted in Rev 6:2 as one holding a bow BUT NO ARROWS, symbolic of his bloodless victories achieved through deceit), the stage has to be ready, otherwise how could he use his cunning to lead millions astray. Let’s also at this stage for better understanding of his description by apostle John, have a look at this picture of 4 horses (Rev 6:1-8).



Note: The Rider on a White (as if to convey his purposes are pure) horse, with a crown (as if to state his ways are kingly) and carrying only a bow (mind you, no arrows)-symbol of his bloodless victories- is the Anti-Christ.

So what would be his deceitful ways to capture the public imagination and how is the stage being readied for his arrival? To answer this question, let’s ask ourselves what is that general public likes most? Is it not everyone’s dream to live a life with no heavy financial burdens in the perfect setting of peace and security? Aren’t political canvassing measures even today centered on bringing down the cost of living and ushering in peace in the society and in the world at large? Do not the images of thunderous applause greeting a White house aspirant's promise nearly two decads ago “Read my lips, no more taxes” play in our mind, even today? Closer to our own country in early 1980s’ did not a political promise “a kilo of rice for paltry two rupees” stir the imagination of the gullible public in South India?

But are not legitimate dreams (of low cost of living in a peaceful society) shattered by the harsh reality of the times, we live in? With global oil prices surging up (only recently as though by some supernatural force), do we not wake up to see the Newspaper headlines as the one below greeting us almost everyday (from my favorite newspaper The Hindu on June 21st, 2008-favorite because it never adopts any unethical circulation boosting methods)?

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Double digit inflation hits India

Fuel price rise to blame, says Chidambaram; Left, BJP slam Centre


EVERYDAY NIGHTMARE: With galloping inflation, foodgrains and other essential articles are getting out of reach of the ‘aam admi.’ In the photograph, a Mumbai woman wonders which variety of rice will suit her purse.
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Now conjure in your mind, in these gloomy settings the response to this globally televised promise of the soon-to-appear Global conjurer “I WILL BRING DOWN THE OIL RATES AND THE RESULTANT INFLATION”. Not only this, if such a promise is backed-up by prompt genuine action at the grassroots level, will not most of gullible world reeling under the weight of spiraling prices mistake him for a great leader? YES! Let’s go one step further. Will it not accept him, as its own beloved leader? YES AGAIN.

In this context, I am reminded of a statement made 60 years ago by Paul Henri-Spaak (1899-1972), the former Prime Minister of Belgium, the first Chairman of the General Assembly of the United Nations (1945), and one of the key founders of the movement toward European unity. He said: “We do not want another committee. We have too many already. What we want is a man of sufficient stature to hold the allegiance of all people, and to lift us out of the economic morass in which we are sinking. Send us such a man and, be he God or the devil, we will receive him.” A inspired statement, very much like the one made by Caiaphas the High Priest in John 11:49-53? Yes again. Seedhi baat, no bakwas. “The secret power of lawlessness is already at work;…” (II Thess 2:7). Anti-Christ’s advent is at hand. What does it mean? Church rapture is more imminent. Should we not consider the spiritual dimension to the worse economic crisis to have hit the Globe in recent times and adopt a Biblical worldview? Seedhi baat, no bakwas…YES AGAIN!

Continuing on the subject of the stage being readied for the Anti-Christ’s entry, now consider the mounting tension in West Asia (everyone is entitled to his own ideological stance on that issue). We are daily greeted by these kind of images in the media right? Tiny Israel, pursuing its right for survival by proactively taking the terror to the terrorists.

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Israeli Air Force bombs Gaza Strip


The Israeli Air Force bombed a five-story Interior Ministry building in western Gaza, the most densely populated Palestinian city.
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That Jews and Arabs are at each other’s throat baying for each other’s blood is a universally accepted fact. It is all because Israel has taken a re-birth as recently as May 14th, 1948, as it were to give Anti-Christ a role to play in tribulation times. Even as situation in the smoldering West Asia becomes more grim, imagine the entry of a charismatic leader who brokers a peace accord between these two warring factions and not only that, imagine he facilitating the re-construction of a Jewish temple (long-awaited by the Jews) in the very place where the original Solomon’s temple stood (presently, there is a mosque in that place). Now would not Jews, who rejected the original Messiah 2000 years back, much to their detriment accept this 21st century magnetic leader to be their anticipated Messiah and the World on its part with Arabs included look upon such a man who accomplished “Mission Impossible” as some kind of God? Seedhi baat, no bakwas…YES! “The secret power of lawlessness is already at work;…” (II Thess 2:7). At the cost of sounding repetitive, I want to reiterate that Anti-Christ’s advent is at hand. What does it mean? Church rapture is more imminent. Should we not consider the spiritual dimension to the worsening West Asian crisis in recent times and adopt a Biblical worldview? Seedhi baat, no bakwas yet again…YES! Two hundred years back, for instance, with Israel itself not being there, what scope would have been there for the Master deceiver to play the role of peacemaker deceitfully to win the hearts of the people? No role at all. Rebirth of Israel, if anything is a clear sign of World events progressing as per the Biblical prophecies- Isaiah 11:11 for instance.

Ponder on this modern-day phenomenon also. Swipe cards related frauds are increasing by the day. Now consider this report culled from my favorite newspaper The Hindu on June 13th, 2008…

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International credit card racket busted in city


GAME IS UP: The youths who were arrested on the charge of international credit card fraud in Hyderabad on Thursday.
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What is the way out ask the worried lot? How can one eliminate totally the recurrence of these kind of fraudulent operations ask the Bankers with worry- lines creasing their foreheads? If it has not already, an idea would dawn upon the global banking sector; why not request our valued customers to carry all the requisite data (name, address, account no…etc) in a microchip safely implanted under their skin? Since it is meant, for the safety of their account, there wouldn’t be many objections to this procedure, right? YES!

Not only in Banking transactions in every other sphere of activity also (registering one’s attendance in office at the entry door itself for example), an inserted multi-purpose micro-chip (only the size of a rice grain…have a look at the picture below of a microchip used in pets already) in one’s hand instead of a swipe card would be more handy.

Is this not a clear sign of “secret power of lawlessness being already at work…” for during Tribulation period, it has been clearly been foretold that Anti-Christ would require everyone to be “tattooed” (read chipped) with his special number, failing which they would not be able to buy even groceries in a market (Rev 13:16-17-The Living Bible).


Talking of groceries, was the groceries market in India ever in the hands of major companies even 2 years back? Only now big business houses apparently in keeping with the global trend of super malls and hypermarkets, and most importantly as though suddenly “propelled by an unseen power” are making a beeline into this lucrative business (have a look at pictures below), hitherto controlled by roadside vegetable grocers and pushcart vegetable vendors.



Why are the decoding or the reader instruments placed at the billing counter (of the super malls) which the poor roadside vegetable grocers or the pushcart vegetable vendors can never afford nor plug to an unavailable electric source (as such could not have used in the tribulation period also)? To merely at once scan the labels and the billing rate? Is it not to scan the “mark of the Anti-christ” also very soon in the bodies of his followers? Oh boy…oh boy…“it alls happening” to borrow the patented phrase of my favorite cricket TV commentator Bill Lawry. Honestly, it cannot get clearer than this! Let those with eyes SEE and let those with ears LISTEN. Is the secret of lawlessness already at work? Seedhi baat, no bakwas! YES! To be fair to the ultra-modern vegetable retailers, even they do not know at this moment, what direction their business would take in the near future, but they have entered this field by providence as Anti-Christ can use them better in “food management area” during tribulation than their less resourceful roadside counterparts, especially in the Indian context.

Now coming to a final crucial question. Why is the good Lord revealing all these signs to those who are spiritually discerning (I Cor 2:12-15) about the “power of secret of lawlessness” being already at work besides giving in such graphic detail, the horrors of tribulation in the Book of Revelation to us Christians, who anyway would not experience the horrors of the tribulation period? Is it not to make us passionate in our exercise of reaching to our unsaved relatives, friends and acquaintances. If we truly love them, would we want them to drink from these terrible cups of woes? Yes, we need to plead with them earnestly to accept God’s Saving grace in Christ IMMEDIATELY, in the same way, Lot pleaded with his would-be Sons in law to flee from Sodom and Gomrorah, along with rest of his family members-the night before fire and brimstone rained upon those cursed cities (Gen 19:14).

Even, if they do not repent and seek Christ, at least as a last resort we ought to hope that they would seek Him during tribulation and thus constitute a huge community of “tribulation saints”. Yes, tribulation saints who would experience the horrors of tribulation, at least to some extent, would comprise those who refuse to listen to us now but would eventually accept the Lord, once they see the events described in Revelation Chapters 6-19 taking place in precise order with pinpoint accuracy.

But nothing quite like being a raptured saint, whom the Lord would not allow to face cataclysmic crescendo of woes in line with His promise in Rev 3:10.



Once again, without indulging in any bakwas, let me conclude prayerfully that we all ought to be in utter preparedness for being “UP THERE” in a sprightly mood to boot!

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” I Cor 13:5 `


(Suresh Manoharan)