Toward Fostering Biblical Discernment
What a beautiful day in which to live. YES, what a wonderful time to
be alive in Christ!
In the same way they’ve unfolded through human history, God’s promises
continue to be realized today. What joy for those of us who are His.
God is indeed trustworthy.
Let’s review what He has said concerning His Son’s glorious return for
His people in Jesus Christ. We hope you will find REST and JOY as you
contemplate these precious Truths.
“I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom
of God, nor
does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a
shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the
of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the
be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.”
(Note the unusual connection I Corinthians 15’s mystery has in
“mystery” in Revelation 10:4-7 … Awesome!)
(I Corinthians 15:50-52; ESV)
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who
are asleep, so
that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For
if we believe that Jesus
died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have
fallen asleep in
Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who
are alive and re-
main until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have
fallen asleep. For
the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the
voice of the arch-
angel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise
first. Then we
who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the
clouds to meet
the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
Therefore comfort one
another with these words.”
(I Thessalonians 4:13-18; NASB)
These passages are often called Rapture texts. We find in these
portions of Scripture God’s promises that those who are on the earth
(who are born-again followers of Jesus Christ) will one day be
gathered up to meet Him in the air.
Another passage addressing this awesome event is found in Matthew 24:
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be
darkened, and the
moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the
powers of the
heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear
in heaven, and
then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son
of Man coming
on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send
with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His
elect from the four
winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
(Matthew 24:29-31; NKJV)
Did you notice a common denominator through the passages? Each
passage includes a trumpet blast. Is it possible the last of the
Revelation trumpets—trumpet number seven as addressed in Revelation
11—is the last or final trumpet of I Corinthians 15?
In light of these things, we ask: Can the rapture gathering take
place at any moment?
Considering three historical events pertinent to our address will help
us stay on track … on what the Word actually says concerning this
topic of the gathering of the Saints.
The Man of God – I Kings 13
Designated only as the “man of God” in the passage, this spokesman
delivered a strong message to King Jeroboam. Having delivered the
message with miraculous affirmation, the prophet returned home another
An old prophet in the region heard about the encounter this prophet
had had with King Jeroboam and immediately pursued him. Once he
caught up to this man of God, this other prophet told him the Lord had
declared he was to return home with him. The text says he was lying
in this matter. (vs. 18)
Instead of obeying the command of the Lord to go straight home, the
man of God listened to the old prophet and followed him home. He
followed wrong counsel that day and before the day had concluded, he
was dead—judged by the Lord for heeding counsel contrary to what he
had been given by Almighty God.
The Prophet – Jeremiah 20 – 29
These chapters bear a striking parallel to our spiritual day. Many
who publicly claimed to hear from God were actually bringing false
messages. Jeremiah was different. While he also claimed to be
bringing the Word of the Lord, Jeremiah’s appeals actually were indeed
words God had truly spoken. The false prophets brought deceitful
messages and, as a result, also brought persecution against Jeremiah.
One day those who had listened to the false prophets discovered
Jeremiah was correct.
Those who the people had heeded were wrong—false prophets giving empty
promises of peace and safety. These chapters are amazing in that they
speak to our contemporary setting. Some, in the name of the Lord, are
bringing false messages of peace and safety today. “If we would only
align with the other spiritualities, we would secure a world without
war,” they say. But this counsel—called syncretism—is diametrically
opposed to both common sense and to clear revelation in the Word of
God. And again, they say: “It’s all about grace so don’t worry, be
happy, for it’s all going to pan out in the end!” But this counsel
also represents dangerous deceptive half-truths.
The Lord Jesus Christ – Matthew 15
Our Lord Jesus confronted those who pretended to bring God’s messages
and standards. In this fascinating passage, Jesus actually tells the
religious leaders (of all people!) they were worshiping God in
vain because they had 1) put their traditions above God’s clearly
revealed absolutes and, 2) went so far with this that they even
encouraged their ritual practices to the extent of disobeying God’s
standard. They elevated their own ideas above God’s and did so to the
extreme of actually rejecting the clearly established regulations of
the very God they sought to honor. As a result, they were in grave
sin and the Lord addressed their error. We do not want to make
similar mistakes, yet it’s so easy to gravitate in that direction.
Is it possible you’ve read the end-time passages quoted above and have
interpreted them to teach the idea that God’s people in Christ Jesus
will be taken before the time the antichrist will seek to rule the
earth? If so, what biblical basis do you cite for such an idea?
Recall the important question: What biblical support explicitly
evidences that idea? That’s what matters. If our tradition is not
supported biblically, is it possible we’ve been misinformed, as were
those in the examples highlighted in the preceding paragraphs?
Here are a few related questions to consider: What is the biblical
justification for claiming the Rapture event is the next event on the
prophetic calendar? Some claim the gathering of God’s elect could
happen at any time, or imminently. Where in Scripture does it ever
speak to the “imminent” rapture event? These are both fair and
important questions! (We encourage you to conduct a word study on
imminency, including a general dictionary definition of the very word
– “imminent” – AND a study of this word if and/or when it’s used in
the biblical texts. An objective study may surprise you!)
Applications of This Final Trumpet Rapture Gathering Position
These concerns have tremendous ramifications! If the timing of the
gathering of the elect takes place after the time of tribulation as
defined by Matthew 24, some end-time positions actually discourage
God’s people from preparing as our Lord Jesus has so mandated.
At the time Jesus Christ was asked by His disciples when His return
would take place, He said to be ready. But be ready for what? In
Matthew 24, 25 Jesus answers the question, “What will be the sign of
Your coming?” Note His very first response includes the counsel to
watch. He says “Take heed.” He then goes on to forewarn them much
tribulation (from the world; not from God) will come to those who are
in Christ in those closing days of human history. But this is not
The signs continue. After the tribulation of those days there will be
heavenly signs. Thereafter, the sign of the Son of Man will appear in
heaven. All the inhabitants of the earth will see Him coming on the
clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Wow! Luke 21:28 is
especially interesting in light of these signs. It says God’s people
are to look up, for our redemption draws near! In short, our Lord
Jesus states certain signs will take place before His return. Today
is a good day to be taking God’s counsel (on this matter) seriously.
So what are the practical ramifications of the Final Trumpet Rapture
Gathering position? We need to live differently than we are living
today. In ready expectancy of His soon return, we need to be
discerning the times in order to avoid the deceptions of today and
tomorrow. (For more information, go to www.endmin.com;
In Acts 17 the people of Berea checked the teachings of Paul with the
Word of God in order to see if what was being preached was correct.
Now you, too, have a crucial Berean opportunity—a challenge, if you
would … a challenge toward fostering biblical discernment.