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.