Rapture or Beheading — Which Is More Likely?
2 September 2014
Yesterday I was extremely dismayed to read this quote from Anne Graham Lotz — the daughter of Billy Graham — on Joel Rosenberg’s blog:
“...I believe the rapture of the church may be imminent. When that moment comes, and every born again believer is caught up to be with Jesus, along with the Holy Spirit who indwells them and presently restrains evil, Israel will be more alone in the family of nations than she ever has been since her rebirth in 1948....”
Of course, Mrs. Lotz is not alone in her misunderstanding of what the New Testament teaches. A huge number of Christians in the U.S. and around the world also believe that they are too special to go through the Great Tribulation, which, as Yeshua (Isa, Jesus) taught, will be a period of “greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again.“ For more details, see Yeshua’s discourses in Matthew 24, Luke 21, and Mark 13, as well as the entire book of Revelation.
Let me say right here, as urgently as I can, that this common teaching which says the church will be taken away in the Rapture BEFORE the Great Tribulation is a HUGE, DANGEROUS DECEPTION!!!

Those who believe in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture run a great risk of ending up in Hell for eternity!!!
Now that I’ve made that clear, let me explain why I have made such strong statements. Of course I don’t mean that you are going to end up in Hell just because you believe in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture. What I do mean is that the consequences of believing in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture could be so severe that you end up in Hell. Trying to avoid reality can have tragic results!

A quote from Any Rand has been popularly paraphrased as “You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.” Rand’s original statement, from the essay The Objectivist Ethics, isn’t quite as catchy, but it has its own merit:
“Man is free to make the wrong choice, but not free to succeed with it. He is free to evade reality, he is free to unfocus his mind and stumble blindly down any road he pleases, but not free to avoid the abyss he refuses to see.... Man is free to choose not to be conscious, but not free to escape the penalty of unconsciousness: destruction.”
From what I can tell, belief in a Pre-Tribulation rapture is a wrong choice, an evading of reality, an unfocusing of the mind, a blind stumbling, a choosing to not be conscious. And I am very, very worried for the multitude of Christians who have swallowed this deception hook, line and sinker.

It’s such a critical and urgent issue that last year I wrote an in-depth article on the subject on my Brian’s Bits Web site called Weighing In On the Rapture. It’s much too long to repeat it all here, but I do want to share a few vital extracts. In that article, I discuss eleven reasons why I think followers of Yeshua will go through the Great Tribulation rather than escape it via the Rapture.

In Point 9 I wrote:
From all that I have written above, it sure seems to me that expecting a Pre-Tribulation Rapture is a whole lot of wishful thinking on the part of lazy, wimpy Western Christians.... It is a display of astounding arrogance and staggering deception for modern Christians to think that they are too good to even have the remotest possibility of going through the Tribulation! I think such pride and arrogance are a good reason to believe that we WILL go through the Tribulation — obviously, we are very much in need of great suffering “so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end” as Daniel foretold (see point 7 above).

The Western church is definitely NOT the “radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” which Yeshua will present to Himself on the day He returns (see Ephesians 5:25-32). At this stage of things, we are much more like a prostitute than a virgin bride! But there is still hope! The only way we are going to get to where we need to be is by going through intense purification through intense suffering. Going through the Great Tribulation is the ultimate gift from God, the perfect opportunity to become the pure and radiant church Yeshua deserves!
In Point 10 I wrote:
In 2 Thessalonians 2:3, Paul states that Yeshua will not return “until there is a great rebellion against God.” Other versions of the Bible translate the Greek word Paul used (from which comes our English word apostasy) as “a falling away” or “the Apostasy.” The dictionary defines apostasy as “a total desertion of or departure from one’s religion.”

Yeshua Himself taught in Matthew 24:10, “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other.” The King James Version (KJV) is closer to the original Greek: “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” As you can see, “from the faith” is not in the Greek, but was added to the NIV and other translations to help make the meaning clearer.

The Greek word translated as “be offended” in the KJV is translated as “turn away, fall away, stumble, lose their faith, take offense” in other versions. The Greek word itself is the verb skandalizo — it’s from the noun form of this word that we get our English word scandal. So another way this Greek verb could be translated is “to be scandalized.”

I think it could be very likely that many so-called believers will be greatly offended with God and turn away from Him when they finally realize that God is not going to Rapture them off the planet before the Great Tribulation, but that they are actually going to go through it. They will be scandalized that they were deceived by Christian leaders, books, movies, and all the rest — and in their distorted, twisted understanding they will believe falsely that even God deceived and betrayed them.

Once the Tribulation unmistakably begins, and these self-loving, proud, pleasure-loving “Christians” discover that there is no Pre-Tribulation Rapture, they will feel betrayed by God, and they will be filled with shock, horror, outrage, offense and shame. I would not be at all surprised to find that this is the source of the great scandal, offense and apostasy — the great turning away from and rebellion against God. And from what I can see, it’s going to happen big time right here in America!
This is exactly what happened in China when the Communists finally took over. Most pastors refused to realistically prepare God’s people for coming persecution. And besides, most comfortable Christians did not want to hear such a message anyhow. The pastors in China were reportedly telling the people what their flesh wanted to hear.

"Oh, you don’t need to worry about the Communists in China! Jesus will rapture you out before the Communists can take over!"

And as result, when the Communists took over at last, most Christians in China were NOT prepared for the subsequent persecution to come against them under Communism.

And true reports filtered out of Communist China of Christians being arrested and sent to prison. And there, many of them fell away, cursing both God and their pastors, saying, “Pastor, WHY didn’t you warn us of these things to come? WHY did you tell us we would be raptured out??? WHY...??????”
You do NOT want to be one of the deceived who scream out “WHY...??????” as the Muslims are starting to cut off your head! Instead, you are going to need to understand why ahead of time, and be at peace with it. You will want to die silently and calmly, like a lamb to the slaughter, and not panicking and squealing like a terrified pig!

In Point 11 I wrote:
Imagine what would happen if you were prepared to suffer and die for your faith during the Tribulation, but then found that you were wrong about the timing of things when God takes His people away in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture. After all, you don’t have to believe in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture in order to be included in it, you only have to believe in Yeshua! So instead of going through the Tribulation, you find yourself caught up to Yeshua and taken to Heaven, where you spend the time during the Tribulation in peace and comfort. What have you lost by being prepared to suffer and die? Absolutely nothing!

But on the other hand, what would happen if you were expecting to escape the Tribulation, but you suddenly find out that you have to go through it. This will involve great suffering, and eventually you will be killed for your faith. What have you lost by NOT being prepared to suffer and die?

As we saw in the previous point, there is a very good chance that you would be so scandalized, so outraged and offended with God because He didn’t take you away before the Tribulation, that it is very likely you would turn way from the faith and rebel against God, and end up in the eternal suffering of Hell as a result. Not being prepared would end in the loss of absolutely everything!

I plead with you as a fellow follower of Yeshua to not let this happen to you! Prepare your heart for suffering and martyrdom while there is still time, before it’s too late!
I firmly believe with ALL of my heart that it is way, way, WAY more likely that you are going to have your throat cut by Muslims if you are a follower of Yeshua than that you are going to escape persecution and martyrdom via the Rapture. Of course, I could be wrong, but I really don’t think so! And even if I am, what would you lose by preparing for martyrdom?

This kind of suffering is already being inflicted on Christians all around the world. Numerous reports show that Christian martyrdom is on the rise. More Christians have sealed their faith by their blood during the last 100 years than during all of the previous centuries combined.

Yet many Christians in the West continue in denial and naïveté, imagining that it can’t happen here. But it has already begun! Islamofascism has already infiltrated the U.S. These days the jihadists are on a roll and getting more brazen. Just yesterday I came across this headline:

Ohio Churches Vandalized With Quranic Verses “Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers” and “Infidels“

Please click on this link and read the entire article. It starts off with Pamela Geller making her comments about the news reports and sharing photos of the incidents. After that is the text of the actual news reports themselves. Notice how lost and clueless the leaders of these churches are. They just don’t get it!

The jihadists spray-painted two Qur'an references on the church buildings, along with the word infidel. The text of those verses is as follows:
Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers, for that they joined partners with Allah, for which He had sent no authority. Their ultimate place is the Fire; and evil is the abode of the unjust. Allah has surely fulfilled His promise to you when you, with His will, were killing them off... (Qur'an 3:151-152a)

They [the Christians] say, “The All-Merciful (Allah) has got a son.“ Indeed you have come up with such an abominable statement that the heavens are well-nigh to explode at it, and the earth to burst apart, and the mountains to fall down crumbling! For they have ascribed a son to the All-Merciful (Allah), while it does not behoove the All-Merciful to have a son. (Qur'an 19:88-92)
Both of these quotes from the Qur'an are against Christians, who believe that Yeshua is the Son of God, and is a partner with God. Muslims consider Christians to be infidels, polytheists and unbelievers. According to Islam, those who believe in Yeshua are committing shirk:
In Islam, shirk refers to the sin of practising idolatry or polytheism, i.e. the deification or worship of anyone or anything other than the singular God i.e. Allah. Literally, it means the establishment of “partners” placed beside God. It is the vice that is opposed to the virtue of Tawhid (monotheism). Within Islam, shirk is an unforgivable crime if remained unpardoned before death: God may forgive any sin if one dies in that state except for committing shirk.
In Iraq and elsewhere, Christians are being told by the Muslims to either convert to Islam or be killed. Are you so naïve and ignorant as to believe that the jihadist will stop with spray-paint and leave it at that? This is just the beginning!

I think I can safely predict that in the near future in the United States we will see church buildings and meetings violently attacked. Christians will be attacked and killed on the streets, in stores, at work, and in private homes. These things have been going on for a long time in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. They have been occuring more recently in Europe. These spray-painted messages are simply a warning that the jihadists have American Christians on their radar as well. Even King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is warning that the U.S. is the Islamic State’s next target!

Christians in the West, as well as other places in the world, desperately need to develop a modern theology of martyrdom ASAP! If you want a solid, Biblical answer to the question “Why does God allow us to suffer?”, you couldn’t do better than to start with reading the last chapter of the book “Suffering, Martyrdom, and Rewards in Heaven.”

Don’t set your hope on the Rapture to escape what is coming upon the earth! Don’t let anyone deceive you with false promises and false hopes! Put your hope where it belongs, in Yeshua! Don’t be scandalized when you have to go through suffering and martyrdom! Don’t get offended at God and turn away from Him! Don’t deny Yeshua in a vain attempt to save your own skin! Only by sticking with Him through thick and thin can your soul be saved for eternity!

And don’t just sit there trembling, waiting for Muslims to kill you. Time is short! It’s time to go on the offensive! We need to live as Yeshua’s witnesses and stick out our necks for Muslims. We need to pray for a breakthrough for Muslims so they will see Yeshua for who He really is. We need to reach out to the Muslims in our community and be friends with them.

Yeshua did NOT promise His followers that they would escape persecution. On the contrary, He promised that they WOULD be persecuted and killed. In the midst of that, He has called us to be salt and light to the evil world around us. Yeshua said, “As long as it is day, we must do the works of Him who sent Me. Night is coming, when no one can work.” (John 9:4)

So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get to work!