"Why Are You Trying To Scare People?"
Quite often I get email messages from people who are irate over what they perceive as fear mongering on my part. They commonly ask me the same pointed question: "Why are you trying to scare people?" Of course, I've always been dumbfounded by this type of question. I tend to think the negative reactions are based on a rebellious rejection of the truth.
I've never really thought of Rapture Ready as a site that instills fear. On several occasions, I have tried to make the subject matter more palatable by adding a bit of lighthearted humor. One of my biggest concerns has always been whether I’ve been too flippant about serious, eternal matters.
In my travels, I've met a number of people who are repulsed by Bible prophecy—they’re genuinely bothered by the idea of the prophetic truth someday invading their world. Even the demonic angels that encountered Jesus were troubled by the knowledge that their time of freedom was limited.
"And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?” (Mat 8:29).
My interest in prophecy has been largely based on the realization that the rapture will someday take priority over all earthly things. I might plan to get married or enter a pie-eating contest next week. However, if the rapture comes today, my plans will be null and void.
I understand why some people are hostile to the truth, but still, it shouldn't matter what old Todd says or believes. The tribulation hour doesn't need my approval or help. God is the only one controlling the eternal schedule.
“And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power” (Acts 1:6-7).
The Future Is Scary
Many scholars apologize about the horrors detailed by prophecy. After frequently being labeled “prophets of doom,” many end-time teachers now make a habit of saying that the world is not actually going to end. It's true that the Bible does say planet Earth will still be here at the conclusion of the seven-year tribulation hour...but it doesn't give mankind any guarantees.
We folks who work to draw the world's attention to prophecy are indeed prophets of doom. The Bible repeatedly warns of an approaching time of unimaginable wrath, so like it or not, doom is coming our way. During the tribulation, famine, natural disasters, war, and disease will create the greatest period of suffering in all of human history.
"For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be" (Mat. 24:21).
The Bible doesn't say exactly what percentage of the world's population will perish, but it's clear from Scripture that the death rate will be very high. If you add up the judgments described in the Book of Revelation, at least two-thirds of the population will be wiped out. Jesus said if He didn't return at the end of the tribulation to end the fighting, no one would be saved.
"And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved"
There is one simple reason the tribulation is going to be so horrific. God will be putting forth His best effort to get man's attention. Every time we read in Scripture that God has poured out His wrath on the earth, we also read the observation that man had refused to repent for his evil deeds. Some folks believe that most people left behind after the rapture will be barred from finding salvation. A quick check of the Bible, however, proves that the opportunity to repent and be saved is offered without any limitations.
"And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts" (Rev. 9:20-21).
Because deception will abound, most people will not respond to the warnings. Despite the devil doing his best to deceive man, many individuals will see the light and give their lives to Christ. The prophet, John, wrote that the number of people saved during the tribulation will be so large that no man will be able to number their ranks.
"After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands... These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev. 7:9;14).
After the rapture, anyone contemplating becoming a believer will have to make a tough choice between life and death. He or she will have the option of submitting to Antichrist's rule or facing martyrdom. Those who decide to follow Antichrist will be compelled to receive a mark that will leave them eternally damned. Taking the martyrdom route will be no picnic. Many believers will survive to the end of the tribulation, but these will be few compared with the number of those who will give up their lives.
We should never try to take away from the magnitude of how dismal it will be for the people who will be trapped in the tribulation hour. Yet, even in earth's darkest hour, God's mercy will still be found. In most cases, mercy will not come in the form of deliverance. It will be manifested in the saints’ ability to withstand the trials facing them.
Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice
People tend to have a twisted understanding of biblical guidelines. I've seen far too many examples of how people allow their own personal views to override sound doctrine. The Book of Proverbs says three times that man's nature is to do what's right "in his own eyes."
- "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise" (Prov. 12:15).
- "All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits" (Prov. 16:2).
- "Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts" (Prov. 21:2).
Amazingly, many people believe that you can wish something into being. The strength of a person's optimism does not govern reality. It doesn't matter how much you believe you're going to win a big, national sweepstakes--your chances of winning are still around 100 million to one.
Here’s a shocking example of how dangerous overly-positive thinking can be: One afternoon, I watched a newscast about some teenagers who were trying to videotape one of their friends jumping over a speeding car. They were reported to be reenacting a TV program that featured a guy doing similar moronic things, such as diving into septic tanks and lighting himself on fire.
Each of the four boys involved in this stunt was age 17 or younger. All of the boys obviously lacked intelligence, but one 16-year-old was clearly the most brain dead.
While one of the boys held a video camera on the roadside to record this fiasco, two of the others raced towards their buddy at a high rate of speed. When the car reached our foolhardy hero, he tried to jump over the car, but he didn't quite make it. He managed to get as high as the windshield of the car. Instantly, he shattered the windshield, crumpled the hood of the car, and broke more bones in his body than Evil Knievel broke during a lifetime of daredevil jumps.
When I saw the footage, I wondered what could have caused these jokers to defy so many God-given rules of common sense. The answer is that they had their own view of reality. Their blind optimism certainly had zero influence over the laws of physics. The boy who was severely injured will carry physical scars the rest of his life to remind him of his need to use good judgment.
I fear people who try to shun the reality of the end times are in for an equally dreadful surprise. Simply slapping a happy face on world events doesn't work. The power of positive thinking cannot mitigate the fact that the truth is the truth and a lie is a lie.
No More Mr. Nice God
From day one, mankind has been entangled in a multitude of errors regarding the characteristics of God. A large portion of the population has refused to believe in a divine being. Of those people who do believe in a “Great I Am,” many have a grievous misunderstanding of God's disdain for acts of disobedience.
I've met people who basically believe the Lord has no standards regarding sin. The average person you'd meet on the street will tell you, "Well, I've been a pretty good person most of my life."
I work on an Air Force base, and to get on base I need to show an ID card or have a military sticker on my car. Anyone lacking the proper authority is be turned away at the gate. Heaven will also have requirements for all people seeking to enter its gates.
The humble image of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, or sitting on a rock talking with children, seems to be permanently implanted in people's minds. But we need to become familiar with another image of Jesus: A Jesus with a rod of iron dispensing judgment on the nations. The Bible is full of ominous comments about God's sternness.
“And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Rev. 6:15-17)
I'm always telling people that one of the main reasons I continue to maintain Rapture Ready is that someday I'm going to have to go before the Lord of Lords and give an account of my life. I'm sure many of us have read some of the lighter references that show God's merciful side; however, we also read some rather strong words that describe how strictly our earthly deeds will be judged:
- "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men..." (2 Cor. 5:11).
- "And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" (1 Pet. 4:18).
The Great Escape
Nonbelievers love to complain about how prophetic-minded Christians are fascinated with dire circumstances. If you look at the daily news page on any of the main prophecy sites, you'll find probably around 90 percent of the posted news articles deal with every type of calamity under the sun.
I find it odd that I'm rarely asked why I'm so eager to post bad news. A side to man loves to wallow in negativity, but my motivations are all positive. Before the tribulation begins, all believers are going to be supernaturally caught up to Heaven. This is the “blessed hope” that the Apostle Paul spoke of in the Book of Titus:
"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and
our Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13).
I'm constantly being dogged by post-trib folks who abhor the idea of a pre-tribulation rapture. Because it doesn't involve suffering for our faith, the rapture is something they can't accept.
I could argue, "What business do they have telling God how to conduct His affairs?" However, I do partly agree that a price will need to be paid. To qualify for the rapture, you have to be a believer. A large portion of the population will greatly regret missing the rapture.
If it were made known that the translation of the Church was going to take place tomorrow, I would expect everyone to be on his or her knees tonight confessing sins. After the rapture, I firmly believe one of the greatest shockers is going to be how many people were found unworthy.
"Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man" (Luke 21:36).