Spirit of Fear

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

I first wrote an article by this name in October of 2014. The level of fear among pre trib evangelicals was on the rise even then. From the number of emails I have received lately, I’ve concluded that if anything, the spirit of fear has gotten worse.

I believe this is largely due to all the hype we’ve heard in the past year from preachers and writers who seem to be obsessed with a coming judgment. Some base this on numerous signs in the heavens that the Bible never speaks about. Others focus on a highly questionable interpretation of scripture meant for a different purpose, a different people, and a different time. Although they don’t come right out and say so, it seems pretty obvious that they are warning us about the time of God’s wrath.

For generations the rapture has been referred to as our blessed hope and our great escape, the time when Jesus will come in the clouds to snatch us away from this dying world in advance of the most horrifying time of judgment ever to be visited upon it. This view has been supported by several hints in the Old Testament that the righteous would escape this judgment leaving the unrighteous to suffer through it.

The clearest examples are Enoch, who was snatched away by God to walk with Him before the great flood. Then there was Lot who had to be removed from Sodom before the angels could bring judgment upon it. And let’s not forget Daniel who was unaccountably missing during the episode of the fiery furnace. These are hints that tell us God planned for some of His people to escape the end times judgments all along. (For more detail on these and other Old Testament references read Rapture References Part 1 )

During New Testament times, these hints became much clearer and more specific, as the following references will show. In spite of this, some are beginning to doubt the validity of the pre trib position. Others see everything happening around them and are worried they will not qualify for the rapture. Still others are afraid they may not even be saved. I believe much of this doubt is due to the fact that the judgements seem so close, and yet there are no signs to indicate the rapture is even closer. This is because:

  1. The rapture is a signless event.
  2. The teachers getting most of the attention are focused on the nearness of the coming judgments. You hardly hear anything about the nearness of the coming rapture.

With that in mind, lets take a quick look at the clearest indications that the Bible does teach the pre trib rapture position. After that we’ll review the clearest passages confirming the security of our position in Christ.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! (Romans 5:9)

Doing a word search on the word “wrath” it seems clear that God reserves His wrath for His enemies, those who disobey and rebel against him. Those He has justified by His own blood are not His enemies. In fact, the word justified comes from a Greek word that means “to render righteous.” The word “from” in Paul’s statement above means a physical separation of time and place from the event being referenced, which is God’s wrath.

What Paul’s saying here is that the Lord went to a lot of trouble to save us from our sins. It took the shedding of His blood to do it in one of the most selfless and heroic deeds in the history of man. Why would He then subject us to God’s wrath? And then, only one generation of all those He has saved. It doesn’t make sense.

… to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. (1 Thessalonians 1:10)

Here Paul said our time on earth is meant to be spent waiting for God’s Son from heaven. We’re not supposed to be walking around waiting for some terrible calamity to befall us. We’re supposed to be waiting for Jesus to come rescue us from that time. This time Paul used another word for “from.” It means out of, or away from, the coming wrath.

When we see the time of calamity coming we are to stand up and lift up our heads for we know the time is near. “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:28)

 …putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:8b-9)

Our destiny is to be justified by the blood of Jesus and saved from the penalty of our sins, not to endure the time of God’s wrath. Therefore we walk by faith not by sight, (2 Corinthians 5:7) even in the face of those who walk by sight not by faith using incorrect interpretations of the Bible to instill a sense of fear in our hearts.

Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. (Revelation 3:10)

Here the Lord is speaking to the church in Philadelphia. This is the one church about whom He could find no criticism to offer. That means they were perfectly righteous in His sight. This is the church that remained true to His word and was enduring patiently for His return. Many scholars see the church in Philadelphia as a model of the body of born again believers at the end of the age, with a righteousness from God that makes us perfect in His sight. Accordingly, He has promised to keep us from the end time judgments. Just like Paul did in 1 Thessalonians 1:10, Jesus used the word for “from” which means out of, or away from, the coming wrath.

As these verses clearly promise, it’s the destiny of the Church to be rescued from this time. And yet a handful of teachers and writers have been trying to persuade the Church that we’re about to endure it. And judging by the quantity of books, CDs and DVDs being sold, a great part of the Church has bought into this.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the Bible promises that everything will be gumdrops and lollypops until the day of God’s wrath suddenly commences. But what I am saying is that world wide economic collapse and wide spread warfare, famine, and pestilence are things all associated with the time of His wrath. Therefore, the Church is not to fear these things but to live in faith of our coming rescue from them.

Over my years of study I’ve been persuaded that the Bible does not give us options to choose from where the rapture is concerned. It teaches only the pre trib rapture position, as long as you read it in the most literal way, staying in the context in which it was given. And it was written the way it was, so the diligent student could know God’s plan for His Church in advance. I think the reason we’ve been led off the path so easily is that most Christians get their understanding of what the Bible says from what other people tell them, not from their own study.

For the next year or so we’ll have people giving us “proof” that certain years and certain signs are coming to fruition. But our role is to live by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Now let’s review the security of our position in Christ to reassure those who are wondering if they are really saved, or if they really qualify to be included in the rapture.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

In this verse Jesus identified belief in Himself as the condition for eternal life. Nothing in the New Testament negates or contradicts that statement.

“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24)

Here Jesus clearly indicated that those who believe in Him not only have eternal life, but will not be judged.

Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” John 6:28-29

And in these verses Jesus declared belief in Him is the only thing that God requires of us.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30)

If you believe that the Lord’s sacrifice paid the price for your sins, He has you in His hands. In other words, you belong to Him now and no one can take you away from Him. Not even you.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

This is Paul confirming and expanding on what Jesus said about no one can take you away from Him. Notice in both these passages, “no one but you” does not exist.

Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)

Once you come to the Lord He accepts responsibility for your salvation. He actually takes ownership of you and puts His Spirit in you heart guaranteeing what is to come. You are not your own anymore; you belong to Him. And nothing or no one can change that.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14)

Here Paul says the same thing in a different way, and added the duration of the Holy Spirit’s guarantee which is the day of your redemption. He confirmed this by declaring it again in Ephesians 4:30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

There are numerous other verses I could have used to make my point, that once you are saved you are always saved. (So many, I’ve compiled them into a free ebook) Nothing you or anyone else can do can ever change that. And if you are saved you will go in the rapture. There’s no further qualification. In 1 Thessalonians 4:17 Paul said that after the dead arise at the rapture then we who are alive and are left will join them. He didn’t say those of us who qualify, or those of us who persevered in our belief. He simply said “we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds.”

It’s essential that we remember that we are children of God. (John:1:12-13) We have actually been adopted into His family  and made heirs of His estate, (Galatians 4:4-7) and are destined to dwell with Him forever. (Psalm 23:6) And He has told us very clearly that when all these end times signs begin to take place we’re not to duck and run for cover, but to stand up and lift up our heads because our redemption is drawing near. (Luke 21:28) We walk by faith not by sight. That means our thoughts and actions are guided by what we believe from our study of the Bible, not by what we hear from others or even see with our own eyes. 10-03-15