Q. I just received an email yesterday from a friend of mine. She forwarded an email to me about situations going on in Iraq and the takeover by ISIS in Queragosh, Her friend is a missionary who feeds 50,000 people per day in Iraq and he is dealing with this tragedy. Some of the members of his church who he knows personally just experienced having their children executed. The insurgents went from house to house and asked the children to denounce Jesus or be killed. These teenagers refused to denounce our Lord and Savior and they were executed. So my question is this? What do you say to the parents of these children about Christians not suffering Wrath?
To be honest I would think you would have a very difficult time suggesting to them that the Christian church will not suffer persecution even unto death. I feel very strongly that this doctrine of a pre-tribulation rapture gives people a false sense of security. That they do not really have to get their lives right with God, all they have to do if believe and they will go up to Jesus in heaven and let the other two thirds of the planet be killed and destroyed. I truly believe that this doctrine is going to make it very difficult for those to be prepared to have to give up their life if called upon.
A. The Bible never says, nor have I, that believers won’t suffer and die for their faith. All through the Church Age Christians have suffered and died for their faith. It’s a fact that more Christians are dying for their faith in our time than did during the entire Roman and Jewish persecution of the 1st and 2nd Centuries. It’s also a fact that none of this persecution can be attributed to God’s wrath.
What the Bible says and what I teach about the rapture is that the Church will be delivered from the end times judgments, a specific seven year period of God’s Wrath that will immediately precede the Second Coming (Isaiah 26:19-21, Romans 5:9, 1 Thes. 1:10, 1 Thes, 5:9, Rev. 3:10)
When you say the suffering of believers proves the pre-trib rapture is wrong you are misrepresenting the Scriptures. You would be doing both the Lord and the people you talk to a much better service by telling them the truth about the rapture.
What I would say to the grieving parents is that Jesus said in this world we would have tribulation but to take heart because He has overcome the world (John 16:33). He wasn’t talking about the Great Tribulation, He was talking about the fact that this world is an evil place, under the control of the evil one (1 John 5:19) and because of that believers suffer and die at the hands of evil people. But because of what He did, these children are with Him right now and will be forever, and because of their faithfulness they will be awarded the crown of life directly from the Lord’s hand. There is no greater honor for a believer.
James 1:12 tells us, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” And Jesus said, “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10).