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Friday, September 21, 2012

Freeform Friday Week 16

I’ve got some good news, and I’ve got some bad news. Since I can’t give you the option of choosing which you would prefer to hear first, I’ll choose for you.

It has been established and extensively so, that man, in general, prefers to hear the good news before the bad, sort of like a shot of novocaine before having a molar pulled. As such, we begin with the good news.

Jesus is coming! Best news you’ll ever hear, bar none. There is nothing I or anyone else could ever say that could stand shoulder to shoulder with this greatest of all realities. Jesus is coming…Jesus is coming.

Now, for the bad news: Jesus isn’t coming on Rosh Hashanah.

For the past few days, I’ve had individuals write to me, excited as adolescents on Christmas morning, asking me if I was ready for the big trip, and if I’d tied up all my loose ends. Since I was pretty sure I hadn’t planned on going anywhere quite yet, I respectfully wrote back inquiring as to the trip they were referring to, and the hurried reply I would get back, as though they were being counted down and had not a second to spare, was: The Rapture!

It’s as though we are a bunch of children with learning disabilities, and every few months a new someone comes along to pull the wool over our eyes, and get us overly excited over the prospect of Christ’s return.

Before the hate mail starts pouring in, (I’ve been told I won’t be in the rapture because I deny the rapture, and rapture deniers won’t make it to heaven) I do not deny that there will be a catching away, because the Bible tells us there will be a catching away.

What I deny, and vehemently so, is the possibility that this catching away will take place before tribulation is poured upon the world as we know it.

I realize it’s not breaking news or anything, but there are countless believers throughout the world, especially in places like Sudan, Egypt, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iran, Libya, Turkey, Syria, Pakistan, North Korea, China, India, Algeria, just to name a few, that are currently, at this moment, being persecuted for the sake of Christ and the cross. Some are being burned alive in their own churches; others are being beheaded, or imprisoned. These brothers and sisters in Christ are already enduring persecution.

Their tribulation has already begun, and Christ has not reappeared. They are already laying their lives down for the sake of Christ, but as far as I can figure, that’s all irrelevant, because as soon as it starts getting a little too hot for comfort in America, Jesus is mandated to return and rescue this bloated, pampered, lukewarm, duplicitous, hypocritical, lawless, ungodly, and corrupt entity we call the American church.

It’s okay if other believers in the world are suffering and dying for the cause of Christ, as long as we won’t have to. It’s okay if other believers in the world are being beheaded and set on fire, as long as we’re not having to stand for the faith, or suffer the loss of anything. As soon as it starts here though, well, look out, Jesus better be coming, ‘cause this isn’t what we signed up for.

We’ve been told we’re special for so long, we’ve actually started to believe it.

For some reason I have as yet been unable to grasp, much of the American church truly believes that they get a special dispensation from suffering, from persecution, or from having their faith tested.

That whole thing about there being no partiality with God, well that’s for everyone else in the world. We’re special ‘cause brother Joel told us we’re special, and we look in the mirror every morning and say ‘hey you special, handsome, capable, victorious, ingenious thing you.’

If anyone has heard me speak over the last few years, then you know the central message has been prepare for persecution. I get as many strange looks from the audience when I speak of this today, as we used to get twenty years ago when speaking of the collapse of the American system, and a subsequent revolution within its own borders.

That, at least, doesn’t sound so off-the-wall anymore, because even people who have no relationship with God, are beginning to echo what we were saying twenty five years ago. It’s almost surreal hearing individuals speak of civil unrest in America, when we’ve been saying it for a quarter of a century.

The thing about prophecy and the prophetic is that God reveals certain things to certain individuals before they are probable, or readily visible on the horizon. Hence the reason I take the new breed of ‘prophets’ with a grain of salt, because they’re prophesying obvious things, things that are readily discernible by the naked eye, and things that require no supernatural or divine revelation.

‘Things will get worse in America,’ wow, no kidding, really? God told you that? Why did He bother when the ten o’clock news could have told you the same thing?

I’m not bitter. If you think I am, then you misunderstand my intent, my heart, and the reason I do what I do. What I am is sad, because the selfsame newly anointed prophets of today were those who mocked and ridiculed the true men of God speaking of the things we are currently seeing, decades ago.

It was all a joke to them; sport and nothing more. An aging, semi-paralyzed Romanian and his husky grandson talking about civil unrest in America, and the end of the American dream...how could you take something like that seriously? You could read the disdain on their faces, and even though some of them were quite successful at holding back their condescending smiles, you could always read it in the eyes.

Now these selfsame individuals are telling you tribulation is coming, but you have nothing to fear because Jesus is going to show up on Rosh Hashanah, and whisk you away.

I guess it all boils down to the following question: whose report will you believe?

And no, it’s not between me and a handful of others telling you to prepare for persecution and those telling you not to prepare because the heaven bus is on the way. It’s between the words of Jesus, the word of God, and those telling you not to prepare.

I’m just a messenger. I’m not even that good at it, and if I had a choice I’d walk away from the whole thing in an instant.

As business folk like to say, there’s no upside for me in all this. I tell people what they need to hear instead of what they want to hear, and that’s no way to make friends.

We either keep holding our breath from one date setter to another, while growing more despondent as to what is happening in the world, increasing in our agitation as we see no chariots of fire on the heavens even though the man to whom we gave our life savings assured us His return was imminent because he had hidden knowledge not even the angels possessed, or we prepare for the long haul, steeling our hearts, defining our purpose, and living with the expectation of having our mettle tested and our faith proven.

(Since I’ve decided to open this particular can of worms, next week we discuss the difference between tribulation and persecution. Hint: We’re sheltered of God from one, but not from the other.)

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

greetings. if we look into the Old Testament we can see te common trend of all true prophets of God: they all were telling people what they needed to hear, though in most cases it was what they did not want to hear. Woe to those who ignore true warnings. God bless you , brother Mike.

Anonymous said...

Preach it, brother. I was just discussing this with another believer yesterday. American Christians really do have this bizarre belief that we aren't going to have to suffer anything real bad because the Rapture is going to come first. I was talking with someone else a few weeks back who has been extensively studying and researching what the Bible has to say about the end times and when I mentioned that I believed the US was going to be judged and possibly go through nuclear attack her response was "oh, the CHURCH isn't going to have to go through that..." Oh, no, God couldn't possibly allow that to happen to America before the Christians are all nicely tucked into their Rapture beds. Oh, no, even though we line up perfectly with Babylon in Revelation, oh, no, that isn't AMERICA! And it was surreal talking to her; she's a very nice person, very knowledgable, but there's no sense there of the coming judgment! Others that I talk to are praying -- for which I'm very glad -- but they are still so hopeful that we "still have time" and talk about the US being like Nineveh and if we repent... To which I say, I hope you are right and keep praying, but I personally think it is too late for us as a nation. I pray for myself, for my loved ones, and for my local church, but I think it is time to accept that the US is not going to make it as we know it for much longer. (But I have to be careful where I say that to -- I get labeled a "fear monger" and reminded that "God doesn't give us a spirit of fear." Which makes me want to scream in frustration sometimes. Preparing for judgment doesn't mean you have a "spirit of fear"! It just means you are WISE.)

Amy S. Trosen said...

Well said.

MarsHill said...

I am so looking forward to you and Geno coming to speak at our church on Dec 2nd. One "brother" I mentioned this to hinted that he would not be around to see it.

Anonymous said...

Speak it brother!! Every word true! Hisservant bro rich

meema said...

Amen and amen! I hate to rejoice over something so serious, but at last, at last, the truth at last. I've said it until I'm blue in every way I know how. But you said it best! This is such a meaningful confirmation for me.

Many blessings on you Michael.

Tribulation - http://bagsallpacked.blogspot.com

For Christ,
Meema

Anonymous said...

Dear brother in the Lord, I would really appreciate your scripture backing for this. I really do understand your human reasoning as I have followed and supported your grandfathers ministries since the early 80s. It only makes sense in the natural that we Americans would have to suffer, too. But God blesses who He wills. Why do you have a car and some poor christian down the road who loves and fears the Lord has nothing? Why do I have a home and some poor orphan kid in India is digging through the trash for a scrap of filthy food and lives in a dirty ally? I thank God everyday I live in America and not some cholera-ridden hell hole.
I support the widows, poor, and orphans at HOH. Brother, I do not know why God blesses some Christians above and beyond and others who love the Lord just as much have nothing but sorrow. I do not know what we christians in America will go through before the Lord calls us home, but I do know He said to PRAY ALWAYS THAT YOU WILL BE COUNTED WORTHY TO ESCAPE ALL THAT IS COMING ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH AND TO STAND BEFORE THE SON OF GOD. I do know there were foolish brides and I do not want to be one of them so I am praying always that He will tear my heart apart and find any thing not pleasing to Him and expose it . I fear the Living God and I want Him to do anything it takes to whip me into shape. He says there is an escape and I want it so I can get to Him. I love Him with all my heart. I love you, too, Brother.

Michael Boldea Jr. said...

Brother,
I assure you, I have no axe to grind with the American church, or with America. It is true, God chooses to bless whom He chooses to bless, but it is not blessing we are discussing here, it is the return of Christ Jesus, two wholly different matters.
As far as general doctrine, meaning for the entire Body, we are told that 'all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus, will suffer persecution.'
There was no hint or notion that some would not have to because God chose to bless them, and some would because God chose to test them. All means all.
As far as Scriptural backing in regards to the return of Christ,
Both Matthew 24, and Luke 21 have the words of Jesus as testimony of when He will return.
Luke 21:25-27, 'And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon,a nd in the stars nad on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea nad waves raoring; men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these thigns begint o happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.'
Matthew 24 describes the events of the last days, then Jesus, in His own words says, 'after all these things.'
Please believe me when I say I wish it were not so. I do not want to suffer, but I am prepared to suffer. I do not want to see persecution but I am prepared for persecution.
Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. If perchance God shows grace and we are taken home, all we would have done is drawn closer to Him. What could be bad in that?
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

meema said...

If I might be able to contribute one more perspective to this conversation, I’d like to add that rapture doctrine is wholly man-made and not Scriptural and the history of its inception as a Christian dogma three hundred years ago is easily researched. For years I dismissed it as just one of those theological differences that separates denominations. I tossed it aside as being harmless as one of dozens of Scriptural interpretations. I dismissed it asking, “What difference does it make if one chooses to believe there is an all caught up rapture before tribulation?”

As I have matured in the Spirit I began to question all man-made dogma, whether or not it does damage to the Body. Challenging rapture doctrine I asked, “When it does not happen will many lose their faith because they believed in a lie?” You know there are many who have been deluded to accept that all one has to do to be raptured is to simply believe they will be. I have heard this said from a sincere Christian that she “gets to go because she believes in rapture.”

Is this not idolatry, believing in a doctrine as a savior?

Which brought me to the sobering reality that, yes, the Body is sickened when it locks in on false doctrine. And my conclusion is that not only is it harmful, in this last age, it is deadly because God will not strive with us forever. Either we lock into Christ Crucified as our doctrine or we are blinded by our delusions so that we are not allowed to see. If there is a cut off point for Grace, is it not better to be free to see?

He hath blinded their eyes, and he hardened their heart; Lest they should see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, And should turn, And I should heal them. John 12:40

Anonymous said...

I have tried to reason with my Baptist, pre-tribulational family for several years now on this issue. They are absolutely convinced by their church (not from the Bible) that the church will not be permitted to go through the tribulation period (they often cite Lot as an example). A friend of mine told me someone in her church had a vision and Jesus assured this woman that His Bride would not go through the tribulation. I must admit, I strongly lean toward a post tribulational rapture/Second Coming. But, I am not totally sure I could defend it from the whole of Scripture. Michael, if you would do a short Biblical study on post-tribulationalism, I would appreciate it. I truly respect your perspective, and believe you are a real man of God with a heart for the truth. Thanks in advance if you choose to do this!

Allyson said...

Yes Jesus is coming one day and if he didn't know the date or hour how can we?

meema said...

Here’s a sobering thought: if Christ doesn’t know the hour or the day, then neither does Satan, which is why Satan has been raising up beasts in every era, hoping it would be the last. In his psychopathic delusion, he still thinks he can win, and, at the very least, take as many with him as possible. Is this the last era? The signs are strong but even so we cannot know. All we are given is what Jesus said:

(Matthew 24:13) But he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved. (24:14) And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a testimony unto all the nations; and then shall the end come.

This tells us two important things: first, we are called to endure to the end and, second, there is an end. Since we don’t know when that will be, we simply endure and find ways to encourage others to do the same. What else do we need to know, for sure, other than Christ, who is the way, the truth and the life, and died as the final sacrifice for sin, thus fulfilling the Mosaic covenant? Our call is to believe this and follow His commandments.

There is no other doctrine that can possibly trump, improve or add to this.

Anonymous said...

I asked if my pastor believed in America being judged and he said "no." He believes we are in the age of grace and that God is going to hold back His wrath on the earth until Christ's turn. He said that persecution was different, but that God doesn't pour out His wrath any more. He mentioned Hurricane Katrina and said that was just the "earth groaning" and not God's wrath. With how all the other ungodly nations mentioned in the OT were judged, why should we get a free pass? I don't understand his theology of what he bases this concept of "age of grace" where God doesn't pour out his wrath any more. I don't feel comfortable asking him -- from what I've read here and from what I read from David Wilkerson's books, I don't agree with him, but I know many American Christians believe this. Persecution yes, but not God's wrath. They can't connect the dots with a God of love judging their nation. Is the tribulation the same as God's wrath? I am looking forward to hearing what you say about this.