This will not be one of my most popular posts, I think.
But I cannot, in good conscience, not write this.
For more than the past decade (since I was about 13), something has been weighing on me.
The wrath and judgment of God is about to be poured out.
The exact day or hour, we do not know.
The tribulation might not come for another two, five, ten, or fifty years. Or it could begin tomorrow.
But relatively speaking, it is not far away.
Just within the past year or so (since about last October – 10/2016), I’ve had two incredibly vivid dreams about the antichrist. In the past, I had had dreams (or nightmares) about the last days, but they were never quite at this level of intensity or clarity.
In one of the nightmares, I – along with an unsaved family member – was standing in the room with the antichrist. And I was warning my family member that “this is the antichrist”. But he didn’t believe it.
People will be gazing upon the face of the antichrist, without having any idea (or believing) that he is really Satan in flesh.
And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. – 2 Thessalonians
I don’t want to dwell on Satan or his work, but it is important for us to be aware of his tactics, and to be able to recognize him when he comes to govern the world in the flesh.
We must remember, he is a deceiver.
Things will not be what they seem.
In that day, there will be things which seem right to us, but they may come at the cost of eternal life.
The antichrist may offer promises of:
And even things as simple and basic as provision.
When someone is telling you what you want to hear, or offering you something that you want, pause and ask yourself, “What’s the cost?”
For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. – Jesus
We must be able to recognize Satan when he governs the world in the flesh.
If we are being promised complete fulfillment and satisfaction in this life, we should know that something’s off.
We should know that the person promising us these things is not worshiping the true Christ, or is a false prophet or false Christ.
Because this place is not meant to be heaven.
Jesus taught us to pray “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” But a lot of us twist this and say “Great, that means that this life is supposed to feel like heaven for us.”
This is a prayer for God to carry out His will on earth, just as His will is perfectly accomplished in heaven.
But is it God’s will that we be comfortable? Rich? Healthy?
Or is it His will that we share the gospel, praise Him, and remain faithful, just as He remains faithful?
I’m not saying that comfort, wealth, or health are necessarily bad things. But in America, we have made them our gods. Worse, we have made ourselves our own gods.
For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.
Often, we make our choices and decisions in the pursuit of wealth or happiness. We put these things before everything else.
Whatever thing or person we put before everything else is our god.
If you had to make a choice between staying alive physically and preserving your soul (staying alive spiritually), what would you choose?
In the time of tribulation, Christians will be faced with this choice.
And even now, many Christians throughout the world make the decision daily to risk their lives for the cross of Christ – to worship Him and to spread the gospel.
Persecution is coming.
It will get worse before it gets better – for those who name the name of Christ.
And if we buy the promises of the antichrist – of Satan – to make life better for us here – and we take his mark in order to have these comforts – then we will pay for it with our souls.
It’s not worth it.
People disagree on the timing of the rapture.
Which is completely okay.
Many Christians believe that the rapture will take place before/at the beginning of the tribulation.
And while this could very well be an accurate interpretation, many also use the pre-trib view to dismiss or ignore the importance of being ready to follow Christ to the death.
But we need to be ready if things play out differently.
And regardless of how things pan out, we need to make Christ – and following/identifying with Him – the number one priority in our lives.
We need to be dying daily to self, and seeking to live for Christ. He died for us – why wouldn’t we be willing to die for Him?
But…living this out is much tougher than saying it – that’s for sure. 😦
Apart from the help of the Holy Spirit, it’s impossible.
As we were reminded from the recent tragedy in Texas, even now, Christians in America are being persecuted for their faith.
In the same way, any day, we could be faced with death for following Christ. Forget the tribulation for a minute. This is happening now, and here in America.
We must have the courage to stand firm and identify ourselves with Christ, whatever the cost.
We must not be ashamed of Him any longer.
I’ve lived for too long like I’m ashamed to be a Christian.
For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. – Jesus
And I’m not saying that we should “flaunt” our Christianity instead.
I’m not saying we should carry big Bibles everywhere we go, talk loudly about the sermon in front of the waitress at the restaurant, or avoid the company of unbelievers – all with the purpose of “being set apart” or showing others that we’re “Christian”.
Jesus is not pleased with this.
But neither should we water down or hide the importance of our faith, or try to downplay it. If someone asks what’s “different” about us, or what we believe, or why we have hope, we should be prepared to give an account, and not brush the true answer (Jesus) under the rug.
But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence… – 1 Peter
One reason I’ve been so afraid of identifying as a “Christian” or at least as a “strong” or “serious” Christian is because Christians have gotten a pretty bad rap. And not entirely without reason.
“Being set-apart” has come to mean: “Not talking to unbelievers”, “frowning when we hear the f-bomb” (many Christians are more bothered or “hurt” by this than when God’s name is taken in vain), “dressing a certain (“holy”) way” (not just dressing “decently”, but purposely in an “old-fashioned” or “traditional” way, with the assumption, perhaps, that “traditional” is equivalent to “moral” or “righteous”), “not smiling – or only smiling primly – when interacting with someone who ‘seems like an unbeliever'”, and “Being cheap and thrifty” (to the extent of not stewarding our health well or caring for our bodies). (And I know I said that health shouldn’t be made into a god. But the goal is not to ignore our health, it’s simply to accept the fact that Jesus did not die to physically heal us, and to still worship Him when our health is frail. But this doesn’t mean we should “bring on the sickness” with poor stewardship.)
So, yeah. I didn’t really want to seem like “one of those Christians”.
And I figured that that’s the image which would first come to mind for most people upon hearing the word “Christian”.
And I feared that they’d automatically apply all of that crap to me, and see me through that filter.
But how can the view of Christ and Christianity be changed, unless people who identify as Christians show that some Christians really are different – that the true heart and Spirit of Christ is still alive in the Church?
How are people going to be drawn to Christ if all they see are the shamelessly rude (but “bold”) Christians, while the gentle and compassionate ones remain in hiding?
Being “bold” about my faith doesn’t mean transforming into a fire-and-brimstone preacher every time I’m with “unbelieving” friends.
But if they ask what I believe (or what “religion” I follow), I shouldn’t have to apologetically or fearfully say, “I’m a Christian”, or “I’m a Christ follower”. I should be able to tell them without being sorry about it.
And I should be ready to give an account for the hope that is in me – and the reason for that hope.
Friends, the hour is near.
We need to ask Christ to help us not be ashamed of Him.
We need to prepare for hardship and a time of testing.
We may have a pre-trib rapture. And then we’d be caught up with Christ in the air and be forever safe.
But…why wouldn’t God allow his Bride to endure a time of persecution, to test, sift, and “find” those who are truly His – those who will remain faithful to the end?
Why wouldn’t a groom want to know that his bride wouldn’t commit adultery or cheat on him if things got rough? That she would remain truly and completely his?
What if, in a time of trial, some of the “Church” were to commit adultery – with Satan?
If her members would choose to be unfaithful, then why should they be “raptured” (and the marriage be consummated)?
None of us knows the timing of the rapture for sure. Many people who are very certain about a particular tribulation view (pre, mid, post, etc.) are going to be wrong.
But my point is this. Regardless of the timing and course of events, we need to be ready for the day when Christ comes to claim His bride.
And we also need to be ready for the trials that we may face for the name of Christ.
We need to ask God to help us remain faithful in the time of testing.
Even now, those who are His are being tested.
But things are going to get worse before they get better.
You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved. – Jesus
We must repent.
We must again cry out to Jesus, and draw near to Him.
Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. – Hebrews 7
We must kneel at the feet of Jesus and ask Him to sanctify us, draw us closer to Him, and prepare us to stand firm to the end.
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Thessalonians 5
Great persecution is coming, for those who name the name of Christ.
Intense persecution has already visited the church in many third-world countries.
It is America’s turn.
Now is the time to seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked ways.
When we are covered by the blood of the Lamb, we are made clean and acceptable in God’s sight.
Are you covered in the blood of Christ?
The time is short.
It is dangerous to wait.
You could die tomorrow.
And you would have all of eternity to regret putting it off for another day.
Cry out to Jesus – ask Him to save you.
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” – Romans
❤ The Bleeding Blogger
P.S. If you have accepted God’s gift of salvation, welcome to the family!!! ❤ I’m celebrating with you! *Big cyber hug* ❤ ❤ ❤
If there’s not exactly room in the budget for a Bible – or you prefer reading online – I recommend Bible Gateway – a searchable online Bible with many different versions, translations, and languages available.
I’d also encourage you to search for a church fellowship. Here is a church directory by CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network).
Reading the Bible and attending a church do not earn you salvation. Christ has already accomplished that for you.
But reading the Bible and fellowshipping with other believers helps us to learn more about God and to have a support system for times when we are struggling, weak, or feeling alone.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. – Hebrews
I was going to try to provide a resource on “how to pray”, but then I thought, really? Prayer is just…talking to God, like you would to anyone else.
Some common themes/practices many Christians like to include in their prayer are:
Prayer for others
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians
❤ ❤ ❤ The Bleeding Blogger