What We Can't Not Know By Pete Garcia Professor and author Dr. J. Budziszewski, wrote…
The Tin-Foil Hat Brigade
By Pete Garcia
You know who you are. You’re the person other people tiptoe around when it comes to discussing current events or religion. You are the person who can spend hours devouring scripture or news with equal vigor, pointing out ‘last days’ events to anyone who would listen to you. You are semi-shunned at church. You are disinvited from church socials because you are just too intense and narrow-minded. You’re called a ‘conspiracy theorist’ or a ‘Jesus Freak’ behind your back. You’re always going on about the Lord’s return and that “Rapture thingy”. Admit it. You are one of them, one of those “prophecy nuts.”
Isn’t it ironic how we live in the most prophetically active times since the days of Christ, and yet the world has somehow reached the pinnacle of its skepticism and cynicism? Now, I’m not even talking about the unbelieving, Christ-rejecting world. They have always been skeptical and mocking of our faith. But it would seem that the trend these days within the majority of professing Christendom, is to join in on the mocking of those who believe in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture and literal understanding of future events as laid out in the Bible.
When Christ walked the earth, the dominant world super-power at the time was Rome, and they worshipped the gods such as Diana and Jupiter. Furthermore, Jesus Himself performed hundreds of miracles, the biggest of which was bringing Lazarus back from the dead, and then resurrecting Himself, after the most brutal, public, and painful death a person could have…being publicly flogged, then nailed naked to a cross to suffocate to death. No faking that. And yet, the nation was not convinced.
For the last 150 years, Christianity has spent a significant amount of time and energy trying to defend itself against secular science and academia. But by spending so much time and energy trying to quantify and validate our belief, we have in large part, neglected the supernatural aspect of our faith; primarily that we worship a God who exists outside of time and space. Even though our faith isn’t indefensible by any stretch of the imagination, we still believe in things that can’t be tested in a laboratory.
1. We believe in a human soul
2. We believe in a God who is one Being, yet expressed in three separate Persons
3. We believe in an afterlife.
4. We believe in Angels.
5. We believe in a Devil.
6. We believe that God’s word is inspired by the Holy Spirit.
7. We believe that God spoke the universe into existence.
8. We believe that God flooded the earth in a global flood, saving only eight people.
9. We believe that Moses parted the Red Sea.
10. We believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of the God-Man, Jesus Christ.
11. We believe that the Church age began at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was given.
Yet, why do so many professing Christians find it ridiculous and hard to believe, that the Church age will also come to an end?
Instead, when we bring the idea up that Christ will soon return for His Church and we are relegated to the ‘tin-foil hat’ group who go around promoting conspiracies? Is Christ’s return for His Bride a conspiracy?
But it is a biblically-based one, and Satan hates it. In fact, he has invested almost two thousand years trying to debunk it…yet, it will not go away. What I don’t understand though, is that these same Christians who will give credence to the prophecies that foretold Christ’s first coming, seemingly apply a completely different standard of interpretation to the prophecies concerning His second coming, and thus, become dismissive of them. Two of the biggest groups of Christian skeptics are the Preterists, and Amillennialists, who in varying degrees to try say that all that ‘prophecy stuff’ has already happened, and the world will just keep going on in endless cycles.
But considering that all of the prophecies concerning Christ’s First Advent were literally fulfilled, let us use an equal standard of measure concerning Christ’s Second Advent. To do that, we take Christ’s own words;
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” – John 14:1-3
Now, consider these two points;
In Matthew 26, Christ has been taken and brought before the Sanhedrin, where they are conducting an impromptu and illegal court session, bringing in false witness after false witness, trying to throw anything and everything at Him to see what would stick. Yet through it, Christ remained silent, letting his accusers hurl their baseless charges at Him. But at a certain point, the Pharisees had become incensed at the lack of His participation…
And the high priest arose and said to Him, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?” But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!” Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” – Matt. 26:62-64
According to Numbers 23:19, God is not a man that He should lie, so Christ here, under oath to Himself, swore that He would return, and even they (those that pierced Him) would see Him coming with clouds and in power and glory.
The Book of Revelation was written in the mid-’90s and here is the message John received on the isle of Patmos, some 35 years after the siege at Jerusalem, and 63 years after His crucifixion;
“Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.” – Revelation 1:7
And since those who had crucified Him had already died, and you and I exist today, wouldn’t that include our eyes? I don’t know about you, but I know I have not yet seen Him come back, so this MUST still be a future event, destined and determined to happen by God.
Then we have the Apostle Paul’s epistles, which overwhelming teach an expectant, imminent return of Jesus Christ for those that are His. We are referred to as a ‘bride’ (2 Cor. 11:2), Christ’s body (Col. 1:18), and simply the Church of God (1 Cor. 10:32). And so it was Paul’s ministry to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles (Gal. 2:8), and he taught us that Church will not be subject to the coming wrath, but will be delivered beforehand. (1 Thess. 5:1-9)
“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” – 1 Thess. 4:15-17
Satan hated Christ’s first coming. God told him about this at the Garden in Genesis 3:15, and ever since, Satan has been invested in trying to corrupt mankind to the point for which a Messiah could not come out of the race of man. But as God began narrowing down which tribe from the race of man the Messiah would come, Satan also began focusing on whom his wrath would target, which we know now was the Hebrews, then Israel, and then the Jews.
But Christ came and did exactly as was prophesied, even confounding the rulers of that age by dying (allowing them to kill Him), because that would once and forever, secure His victory over sin, death, and hell.
“However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” – 1 Cor. 2:6-8
But even more so, Satan hates the fact that Christ will come again, this time to dethrone him as the de facto ruler of this age. (2 Cor. 4:4) Satan despises the Church because we are untouchable in regards to our salvation. But like I mentioned in the previous brief, our eternal security is not going to prohibit Satan from doing his best to render us ineffective. That is the only tool he has left in his kit bag against Christians. So he has invested much energy in turning the world’s opinion against even the possibility that Christ could/would return.
The Pre-Tribulation Rapture then is just icing on the cake, because when we are caught up, we will be transiting through Satan’s domain. (Eph. 2:2, 6:12), and will be victoriously paraded in front of the entire Satanic host as Christ’s prized possessions of untouchables. In fact, I think that Michael the Archangel makes the announcement with a shout so that all the angelic hosts of heaven will line our parade. The Rapture will be then, a divine rubbing of salt in Satan’s wound. After all, aren’t we supposed to be salt and light? And as much as salt is a preservative, it’s also an irritant…and we have been an irritant to Satan and his agenda now for 2,000 years.
The Bible contains literally hundreds and hundreds of promises from the Lord, concerning His coming back to earth to deliver His people and to establish a kingdom here. The only problem is that many professing Christians have quit believing in them, and thus have quit looking for the Lord to return.
They have become embittered toward the whole subject, and not only are not looking but do not even want to talk about it. This has always puzzled me, because as Christians, our great hope is Christ, and ultimately heaven. Yet many Christians have become all too invested in this life, not realizing, that our time here on earth, is but a fleeting moment on the timeline of eternity.
We will spend infinitely far more time in the next life than we ever could in this one. Yet, so few Christians have anything invested in it. They’ve bought into the skepticism of preterism or the man-centered theology of Dominionism. Many have bought into the notion that we are the kingdom now…despite the world crumbling around them. Many have relegated His return as an unimportant or trivial secondary issue, ignoring the passages where Christ chastised the Pharisees for not knowing the times in which they lived. (Matt. 16:1-4) And so the number of faithful, watching believers today continues to dwindle down to a remnant. Even Christ wondered if there would be faith on earth by the time He came back. (Luke 18:8)
So knowing what we know from Scripture, Christ will return again one day, first for His Church, and then secondly in judgment with His Church. (Jude 1:14; Rev. 19:7-10, 14) Furthermore, even if we are almost 2,000 years removed from when Christ walked the earth, the implications are that we have more information now, than we ever did to validate our supernatural faith. As the most prosperous nation, we were blessed with a complete Bible, religious liberty, and the nation of Israel stepping back into history, after a 1,900-year diaspora. If believing those things makes me a ‘prophecy nut’ sign around my neck, then I will gladly wear it. If it puts me in the “Tin Foil Hat” Brigade, then sign me up, because…
“Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” – Luke 12:37-40