Faith or Fear? By Nathele Graham It seems that everyone is upset today. No matter…
Christian Scoffers Abound
By Ronald Graham
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant…” 2 Peter 3:3-5a. For the last 2,000 years Christians have been anxiously awaiting their Lord and Savior’s return. Why? Because of Jesus’ own words in John chapter 14. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye 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 unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:1-3. Then again, for that same period of time there have been those who challenge the rest of us with these words “Where is the promise of his coming?” 2 Peter 3:4a. Of course, we who truly trust God know that He will return.
Before Jesus returns to earth He has a prior commitment to accomplish. He must first remove His saints from amongst the earth dwellers. There’s nothing tricky about it, He’ll simply say “Come up here” and we who love Him and who’ve put our faith, trust, and hope in Him, and Him alone for salvation, will all instantaneously go missing. God the Father will say to His Son, “Go get ‘em Son”. At which point Jesus will remove His Church and then approximately seven years later He’ll return again and take His rightful place on David’s throne. “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:” Luke 1:31-32. From that vantage point Jesus, our Messiah, will rule and reign as King of kings and Lord of lords, along with His saints, for 1,000 years.
In John’s Gospel chapter 14 in verses 2 & 3 Jesus isn’t just trying to get His followers to appreciate Him for what He can do for them with some pie in the sky heavenly enticements (mansions). He’s being extremely forthright telling us just what awaits those who follow Him. As His followers, these words should give us great comfort. When the Creator of the universe tells His followers, “I will come again” we should be more secure with that statement than we are with the fact that we have air to breathe.
Jesus is coming back in the flesh to set up His monarchy on earth. Many Christians perceive themselves to be too intellectual to believe such a thing as Jesus re-appearing in the flesh; most have been taught by their pastors or seminary professors that Bible prophecy is irrelevant, or that prophecy is all in the past, it’s all been fulfilled, there’s nothing else to come. They may be folks who are in love with their worldly pleasures and have no longing for His appearing. Remember the world loves those who belong to her. Don’t allow yourself to be deceived, Jesus will return, and in the flesh. He was flesh and bone when He appeared to His disciples and He will return in the same glorified body He left earth in. “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” Luke 24:39.
Scoffers are plagued with unbelief. Peter says scoffers will come in the last days, to which I must add “And how”. Any mention of the Rapture in one of my commentaries and the flood gate of letters opens for all who feel the need belittle me and point out my blindness concerning my interpretation of God’s Word. As Jesus tarries the scoffers seem to be further emboldened all the while neglecting to recognize He’s running the show, not us.
Christians who’ve studied eschatology should not be surprised at those who scoff at every prophetic scripture in God’s word. They hold to their own erroneous interpretation of God’s Word and defend their misguided ideas with all tenacity. They come at us from all walks of life. Peter said it would be so. What surprises this Christian is the fact that many of these scoffers, while claiming a relationship with Jesus Christ, criticize His Word. That fact is astounding.
In his first epistle the Apostle John tells us “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” 1 John 2:19. John doesn’t mince his words. They called themselves Christians, yet they were not.
“…The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” Matthew 13:24b-30. The tares are professing Christians yet are not of us. They infiltrate the Church and spread untruths but are perceived to be quite knowledgeable. Many listen to them. They are the enemy’s property, thus they scoff at the truth as they disseminate their lies to the biblically illiterate Church.
Many people simply want to reject God so they can go about their lives without the need to be accountable to Him. They would prefer to wallow in their sinful lifestyles with impunity; they don’t realize that the consequence of sin is death. It is ludicrous for a professing Christian to deny the truth of God’s Word and then ignore the fact that that denial has consequences. Jesus said He would return, why is that so difficult to believe? Could it be that many would rather live on this earth with its manmade rules and laws than to be governed by a perfect awesome King? I pray that is not the case, but I’m concerned that it is.
Many denominations believe that Jesus is currently ruling over His Kingdom in our hearts. To these folks it’s extremely farfetched to believe God will snatch His saints from the face of this earth at some point in the future. The 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth is an anathema to many professing Christians. These folks are also scoffers. “…for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” 2 Peter 3:4b. In other words, they may believe in creation but believing in Jesus’ promise that He will return becomes much more obscure. Peter goes on to enlighten us with a much deeper look into their motives. “For this they willingly are ignorant…,” 2 Peter 3:5a. Willingly ignorant means deliberate. They deliberately refuse the truth, and they knowingly mouth opposition to the prophetic scriptures. The question is how can professing Christians deny God’s truth and say they love Jesus? Why profess to be a follower of Jesus Christ in one breath and call Him a liar with the next?
For years the erroneous teachings of scriptures by deceived individuals has wreaked havoc on a large portion of blind and disobedient Christians. Denying the truth that Jesus will return one day soon is calling Him a liar. A question remains, by denying prophecy are they not poking a finger in God’s eye? If a person doesn’t believe in the Rapture, that unbelief won’t diminish their salvation. Still, to refer to God’s word as nothing more than something that occurred in the past or relegating His word to simply allegorical can’t possibly be very endearing to Him.
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. Denying any portion of God’s prophetic Word is akin to ignorance, which in the Greek is “agnoeo-” and it means to err or sin through mistake, to be wrong. Denial of God’s inerrant word, for a follower of Jesus Christ is worse than unbelief, it is willful disobedience. Whether Christians know it or not denial of any portion of God’s word as truth in any form connects them to a corrupt and unbelieving world. As Christians, we are set apart from the world. Christians must stand together against any and all opposition to God’s truth. Picking and choosing what we want to believe is sin.
I find it interesting that four times in his letters Paul instructs Christians to not be ignorant (without knowledge):
Don’t be ignorant about God’s plan for Israel (Romans 11:25).
Don’t be ignorant about spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1).
Don’t be ignorant about suffering and trials in the Christian life (2 Corinthians 1:8).
Don’t be ignorant about the rapture and the second coming of Jesus (1 Thessalonians 4:13).
Yet, these are areas where ignorance is still common in the Christian church. Paul instructs the Church to learn the scriptures and to obtain the knowledge God would have them to possess.
Another of Paul’s admonishments is to comfort one another with the words he wrote to the Thessalonians. “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Why would Paul give this admonition to comfort one another with these words if there is nothing comforting about them? Teaching the Rapture of Christ’s Church is clearly comforting and encouraging, otherwise there would be no reference to this event whatsoever.
The last days and the end times are spoken of constantly by prophecy teachers, yet in many Christian churches there is no comfort being offered as to the truth of the prophetic scriptures. Every prophetic scripture that has been fulfilled so far has come about exactly as God’s Word proclaimed they would. Why dismiss the remaining few prophetic scriptures as allegorical or as having been fulfilled back in 70AD? There are plenty of scripture verses that have yet to come to pass and we who study those scriptures have a clear vision as to what to expect in these last days. Comforting words are needed in our Churches today to fend off the horrible things we see occurring today. The literal truth of Scripture needs to be taught thereby heading off the lies of scoffers.
Bible prophecy is the key to understanding God’s word and for drawing closer to Him. The Bible has been laid open for our understanding, now more than ever before in the history of the scriptures. Diligent study is essential to discerning those scriptures and grasping what God clearly expects His Church to comprehend. Those who neglect diligent Bible study are missing out on a great relationship with their Savior God. Believing in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection is just the beginning, now it’s time to build on a most desired relationship with the Creator of the universe. When we talk about walking with Jesus and growing closer to Him it’s through His Word and much prayer that that relationship builds, and as it builds He begins to take complete control of our lives.
The scoffers will still come, that’s just a fact. We will never convince everyone that God’s Word is true and inerrant; even many professing Christians stand apart from that truth. It all comes down to who you allow to teach you about God and His Word. In many cases men teach the Bible as they themselves have been taught without variance; which means that if they were taught by someone who taught erroneously those same errors are then passed down to the next generation of students and so on until the errors run rampant. Studying your Bible for yourself and praying for God to enlighten you to the truth of His Word will garner a huge harvest of truth and you can take comfort in knowing God gave you the discernment to understand Him.
Opinions? Yes, we all have them. Truth? Now that’s different, we must rely on and stay in God’s word and believe all of His truth. When we discover for ourselves that all of God’s word is inerrant and prophecy matters greatly in the Christians life, our life on earth becomes even more exciting as we await the final outcome.
God bless you all,
All scripture is from the KJV and God breathed