The Feast of Rapture
By Pete Garcia
On April 25th, 2017, San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral sacrilegiously conducted what I believe to be a dangerous new precedent for our post-Christian nation, the Beyoncé Mass. This blending of Christianity with pop entertainment, attempts to connect both the social-justice flavor of the week, with some nominal form spirituality. Granted, Grace Cathedral (Episcopalian) is Christian in name only, so we should not be all that surprised by the events that emanates from there. However, if my assumption is correct, then they (these apostate churches) could fill every Sunday and Wednesday service for the rest of the year with similar events.
But why is that?
Well, most entertainers crave attention.
Most mainline churches are dead and/or dying on the vine.
It is a match made in hell.
Thus, in a desperate attempt for both groups to find social acceptance and relevance, the fit seems natural. Particularly in a culture that is decidedly becoming more and more antichrist, these churches have gone the way of the Pergamos and become Laodicean (Rev. 2:12-17, 3:14-22). What this means from a historical perspective, is that instead of taking the church out into the world, the world has come into the church. Once that happens, the church becomes lukewarm. And…
…the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. 1st John 2:19
Unfortunately, the mockery, scoffing, apostatizing, and blasphemy will become the norm, not the exception as we draw closer to the end of the age. Beyoncé’s mass was not the first (nor the last) example to gratuitously blaspheme our Christian faith. As JuicyEcumenism.com notes,
The Beyoncé mass joins a long list of themed Eucharistic celebrations, among them the U2charist, the Dr. Seuss-themed “Seusscharist”, and the Clown Eucharist. Some feature artists’ popular music interspersed within an otherwise normal prayer book service, while the more outlandish have clergy dressed in costume.
Celebrities like Madonna, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and many others have long-used Christian themed backdrops in many of their performances. Not to honor Christianity, but to make a mockery of it. However, putting these acts inside an active “church” such as Grace Cathedral did seems to take it to the next level. Mocking Christianity is not something unique just to musicians though, Hollywood too has also used Christianity as its favorite punching bag with movies like: Jesus Christ Superstar, The Last Temptation of Christ, Monty Python’s Meaning of Life, Religulous, Dogma, and Rapturepalooza to name a few.
Not all this comes as a surprise though does it. I mean, the further we (as a nation) drift away from the Judeo-Christian principles upon which our nation was founded, the more deliberate and audacious these attacks will become. Sadly, this perversion is not one-sided. Celebrities are not forcing churches to make them do this. These liberal/leftist churches are dying on the vine, and in their desperation, will use anything to restore their relevance and popularity. However, they are not the only ones.
The merging of theatrics and large production type, seeker-sensitive church-concerts seem to be all the rage these days. For example: Hillsong (NY), Bethel Church (CA), IHOP (MO), the Vineyard (OH), Willowcreek (IL), Saddleback (CA), and the crown jewel of megachurches, Lakewood Church (TX) all have tens of thousands of attendees each week. They don’t get crowds that large anymore by simply preaching the Bible. The messages have to be massaged and tweaked so that they do not offend but still remain culturally relative. The worship has to be carefully framed in a theatrical production, with mood lighting and special effects. It is exceedingly difficult to have a ministry that large, and still hold to true biblical Christianity.
Why is that you ask?
Primarily because the Biblical Gospel is offensive. It offends our humanistic sensibilities. It is offensive to think that we cannot contribute one iota to our own salvation. Furthermore, we have to admit we are sinners, incapable of our own salvation. We have to turn our faith solely over to the only One in human history who can save us…the Man Christ Jesus.[John 3:16-17, 14:6; Romans 3:23, 6:23, 10:9-13; 1st Timothy 2:5]
Secondly, when you have a church that large, it is no longer just a church. It is an enterprise. A brand name. A business. And when you add money and power into the mix of church leadership, it is only a matter of time before that becomes corrupted.
I used to believe that at the Rapture of the Church (John 14:1-3, 1 Thess. 4:13-18, 1 Cor. 15:51-56, Rev. 3:10), the world would be instantly thrown into anarchy in the wake of our departure. That this destruction and chaos would render a great outpouring of remorse and repentance in light of what just happened by those left behind.
Perhaps I had too much faith in humanity.
Perhaps I had it all wrong.
What if it is not remorse they feel, but rather, rejoicing?
For sure, there will be chaos and destruction in the wake of the Rapture. I mean, you cannot remove millions of people instantaneously from the earth without there being significant impacts to the economic and political order. However, given the fact that those who remain are given over to a strong delusion (2nd Thess. 2:10-12), perhaps they are persuaded that the rapture was a good thing. As if the earth finally purged all those “close-minded bigots” and now humanity can evolve into whatever it is they think they will become.
Alternatively, perhaps it is the introduction (or disclosure) of extraterrestrials as being the ones who removed all those “evil Christians” as if doing the world a favor. This would certainly explain the past 60-years plus of sci-fi desensitization we have undergone via Hollywood and the significantly increased UFO activity, we are currently experiencing (2nd Thess. 2:9).
Regardless, this recent Beyoncé mass gave me a profound insight into things to come.
If the world is capable of conducting this level of blasphemy and mockery towards Christianity with the Church still in it, how much more blasphemous will it be without the true Church?
What if the Rapture-event itself is turned into some kind of global religious holiday? The Antichrist will need the world to rally around this crisis in order for him to consolidate his authority. Furthermore, since believers from every tribe and tongue will have gone missing at the Rapture, this is something the False Prophet can use to draw all faiths into a final religious system we know as the Harlot. The Rapture (probably called the global purge) will be something the whole world can celebrate together for the next few years. As to the Harlot, John notes what he sees-
So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written:
MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT,
THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS
AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS
OF THE EARTH.
I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement. Revelation 17:3-6
If there is a gap in time between the Rapture and the start of the 70th Week of Daniel (The Tribulation), then this Rapture-Day (perhaps called the Feast of Rapture) will have even more time to become the most blasphemous religious holiday ever devised in hell. Everything about it will center on mocking Jesus and Christians. I can see the leaders then pompously and ceremoniously taking blasphemy to the greatest levels the world has ever seen. It will make the infamous Roman orgy seem rather tame by comparison.
The Rapture of the Church is largely a New Testament/Christian construct first put forth by Jesus in John 14:1-3, so when it happens, many Jews who currently live in Israel will be perplexed. Since the Jews (orthodox and otherwise) are neither Christian nor read the New Testament, they will not understand what just took place. However, I believe the Rapture, along with the Gog-Magog War, and the arrival of the Two Witnesses will be what begins to change their understanding for all of this. And many will begin to understand what is beginning to happen.
Let me not end on focusing on the negatives of where this world is currently going. One of the greatest arguments for teaching, preaching, and writing about bible prophecy, is that it first points people to Jesus. Revelation 19:10 states…Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. The Apostle Peter writes in 2nd Peter 1:21…for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. Prophecy is something God wants us to know, hence, why 30% of it is prophetic in nature. Not just the percentage mind you, but that this 30% is interspersed amongst all of Scripture. On the road to Emmaus, the resurrected Christ pointed to all of the Scripture (at that time was just the Old Testament) that pointed to Him and His coming. Almost all of prophecy, points either to Christ’s first coming, or to His Second. In fact, all of history centers on these two seminal events. If God constructed the universe and all therein, then naturally, Jesus should be the focal point by which all of human history (past, present, and future) centers around.
Bible prophecy also adjusts our situational awareness of the times in which we live. Think about the handful of people that were actively anticipating the arrival of Christ at His Incarnation. How blessed were they to understand the times in which they lived (Matt. 2, 16:17, 24:46, Luke 2:25-38). Contrast that with the sadness Christ expressed towards people who did not understand the times in which they lived (Matt. 16:1-4; Luke 19:41-44). A proper understanding of bible prophecy lets us know just how close we are to the end.
Bible prophecy also acts as shield against false doctrine. You cannot have a consistent, orthodox biblical worldview, but have an incorrect eschatology. That is impossible because Bible prophecy is so interwoven into every other doctrine (soteriology, ecclesiology, pneumatology, etc.) that an incorrect eschatology (study of last things), inevitably, influences other areas of your belief system negatively.
Furthermore, how much easier would the strong delusion be if the church never taught about prophecy? True biblical eschatology came back into serious discussion and study in the early 19th-century. However, that study was largely confined to those who attended churches who taught it. The fact that bible prophecy was brought back into the mainstream as it was, is in large part due to the popularity of Hal Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth. That is a testament to the power of the Holy Spirit’s moving and prompting us that we are indeed, close to the end.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2nd Tim. 3:16-17
Aside from the fact that ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God, the Holy Spirit stirs the hearts and minds of believers to what is pertinent for the times in which they live. Noah did not go around preaching about the Law, the Promised Land, the Gospel, or social-justice issues before the flood came. He preached about the coming judgment of the Flood, because that was the pressing concern for his generation.
However, there will be some who repent after the Rapture (Rev. 6:9-11, 7:1-17), and these might even be those who even now currently mock us for believing in such things. But only because we have chosen not to be silent about it, they (the current mockers and scoffers) will at least been told beforehand so that when it comes to pass, some might believe.
Finally, for those churches out there who refuse to discuss it for fear of getting into the sensational, teaching prophecy is not an either/or scenario. You can share the gospel and still teach how prophecy relates to the times in which we live. You can preach about God’s coming wrath and help the helpless. Our ability to love and grow should absolutely not impede our ability to warn as many people as we can about the things to come.
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.
Amen Jude 1:20-25
Even So, Maranatha!