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I Corinthians 15:51-57 But let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I’ll probably never fully understand. We’re not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed. You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it’s over. On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again. At the same moment and in the same way, we’ll all be changed. In the resurrection scheme of things, this has to happen: everything perishable taken off the shelves and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal replaced by the immortal.There is no sure time frame for this in the New Testament so there are many different opinions about the date. But to hear a lot of modern preachers you’d think it could be tomorrow morning.
No time frame is given
Perhaps so. But that is not what is bothering me. I see folks using the rapture as a great escape. As in “I don’t need to worry about my creeping debt limit – at the rapture I leave all my bills behind.” Another version is “I am satisfied with what I am doing for God – maybe not much – but I don’t fear the future as I’ll be raptured.”
But if this miraculous escape doesn’t happen …. then the bills and the problems are still there, right? This is not life fulfilling, but life avoidance.
Obedience is not Avoidance
Jesus did not tell us to sit around on our assumptions but to get to work on His Kingdom: make disciples of all nations, preach the word, heal the sick, cast out demons, and even raise the dead, worship, praise, comfort, visit prisoners, and care for parents. Honor – that’s a reference to money – your parents and pray for your leadership. The Rapture theory gives some an excuse for not fulfilling their responsibilities from everything to not voting to not going to church.
Not one word from God about being “at ease” or waiting it out.
Buddhism is about waiting it out
What bothers me about all this is – not just that the scripture does not tell us specifically when this will be – but that it is a reflection of Buddhist teaching.
Buddhism is not really a religion although it is treated as such; it is a way of life. It focuses on gaining peace in the inner man. Buddhists are societal drop outs for the most part. They avoid conflict, stay to themselves, devote time to multiple prayers, fasting and staying away from trouble. It gives me great joy to see the Dalai Lama (Chief Buddhist Priest) in this world never backing down to the Chinese about stealing Tibet. Good. It is a proactive work for a non-proactive group.
The Communist Chinese government attacked Buddhism originally as a religion. In the past few years they changed their minds and encouraged it because Buddhists go along with the communist dictatorship.
Evil is challenged, not endured
But Jesus always put us in the position for challenging evil wherever we found it. Have you seen any Christians turning over money-changing tables recently? a metaphor for dealing with the corrupt monetary system. Well a few do.
It is infecting American society at a time when elitism and entitlements are defining who we are. Jesus Himself did not take the easy way out. And we are called to be and do in this world as He was. “As my father has sent me, so send I you.”
More than anything else, Christians are “sent” people, into society, the world, and the dark places to bring light.
#rapture #church #spiritualwarfare #Buddhism
Here is where your training in spiritual warfare becomes valuable. Bind that pain immediately in Jesus’ Name, then cast it out and tell it sharply NOT to return.
You should get instant relief. If not repeat and shout louder – he may be pretending to be deaf.
Your faith will get stronger every time you deal with the devil with the authority you have as a believer.
Jesus said, “As my father has sent me so send I you.” In other words, you have access to everything done through His name because you are a member of his family, his little brother or sister. Non-believers do not have this privilege.
Casting out demons is called by Jesus “children’s bread” meaning for you, the children. Children of the devil have no such power.
Now the devil always shows up again to test you to see if you are sincere. Dispatch him again and again as often as need be.
I taught this lesson in the Philippines two decades ago. One of the young women students came to me and whispered that she had a demon of pain and did exactly what I said. “And it left?” I wanted to know. “Yes,” she whispered.
“But then he came back the next night just as you said. And I cast him out again.”
I was so excited. The more people that know how to command and use the authority Jesus gave His people the more peace we have. This is what it means to live in the Kingdom of God.
We were eating ice cream on the porch of a log home. The sun was shining brightly. It was a beautiful chilly fall day as only the mountains can be.
He corrected himself. “No, the second worst thing.” I knew he was referring to the near death of his day old son, the tiny thing covered in patches and wires and tubes, coming back from being “80% dead.” But this time his sister had recently died from brain cancer.
How, he wanted to know, could God be happy over the death of his saints?
Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
Those of us who know the Bible and know God also know this – He is not inconsistent, nor does He refute Himself. There’s a lesson here somewhere.
First, not everyone is called a saint. If we say someone is not a saint we get into muddy water. Who are we to say who is and who is not a saint? At the point of physical death it is well known that individuals may grasp on to the truth of God and end up in heaven after a life as rascals who condemned God to His face. But that is His grace and we are not there.
God looks on the heart and we can’t see it. His sister was silent for one week before her death. Whatever she and God were talking about is not known to us now or then. And his sister wasn’t the chief of sinners either. So that explanation is out.
But, there is more than one death. Locked as we are in the physical world we think only of that death, the one where we say prayers, send flowers and present a formal public goodbye.
The memorial service custom has nothing to do with the “departed” – all the formalities are for us, the living, to mark a point in our lives when we can say to ourselves, however weakly, we must move on. Grief, if held on to for any reason can eat up the soul and contaminate the spirit with bitterness and regret and blame.
There is no such thing in life as the status quo; we are either moving forward or deteriorating.
But second, there is more than one death; there is a second death. Since the physical body cannot die twice, God must be talking about something else, and that something else is what Christians call “death to self.”
Paul said in Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives 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.”
Paul is using the present tense: I am, right now, living in this body, believing myself crucified just as Jesus was, living not for myself and my own goals but for Him and His goals for me and the human race. All those wonderful plans I had for myself are gone and I am available to Jesus and to Him only for whatever gifts and work He has for me in this world.
That is what it means to be crucified – present tense – with Christ. It is a sacrifice and God knows a lot about that subject.
Jesus could well have lived forever in His sinless body. No disease could touch Him. He could have enjoyed a 2,000 year ministry laying hands on the sick and them recovering. He could have written some best sellers, been on TV (what a program) and spoken in multiple languages on radio to reach millions. But He chose His Father’s plan instead.
And that plan was then and is now to give the power and authority to His followers so they can put on TV shows, preach the good news in multiple languages, lay hands on the sick, cast out demons – whatever Jesus did is now possible for millions, perhaps billions of believers worldwide and through the centuries.
Yes, that is a better plan. He said, “As My Father sent me, so send I you.” He could not have been clearer. (John 20:21)
So when God’s people – the saints – make that choice to kill off their personal goals and take up whatever God’s plan is for their life, it requires them to die to their old ways, thoughts and projects. For introverts it may be coming out into a hostile world; for extroverts, it may be a life hidden in a life of prayer.
But whatever that plan God has for your life, it is superior to the one you have. Jeremiah 29:11 is a key scripture for any young person today. God has a set of plans for you.
The death of God’s saints means an exchange – my plans for His, His work for my goals, my deliberate living today for Him and doing his work. And yes, that is precious to Him and of great benefit to us.
The gruesome death of his sister? No, that is not precious at all. Make no mistake – Death is our enemy and Jesus has, in his time, overcome it all for us.