By Pastor F. M. Riley
February 14, 2011
“Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”
It should be obvious to any reader willing to deal honestly with the Scriptures, from this statement of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself that some are going to be “accounted worthy to escape” all the terrible earthquakes, famines, pestilences, raging of the seas, shaking of the heavens, wars, persecutions, terrible trouble, and destruction and death, that Christ predicted to come upon the earth during the Tribulation period as recorded in His Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, and Luke 21.
In spite of the lack of serious Bible study and “willing ignorance” of some “professing Christians” today, the inspired Word of God still teaches that the Tribulation will bring God’s righteous and well deserved judgment UPON THE ENTIRE EARTH. See Isaiah 13:9-11, 14:26, 34:1-2, 66:15-16, Jeremiah 10:10, 25:31-33, Nahum 1:5, Haggai 2:6-7, Zephaniah 3:8, and many other similar passages. If one studies these passages and believes what is actually and literally stated, the Tribulation judgments will include every square inch of the earth’s surface plus the interior beneath the surface.
It should then be obvious that since the Tribulation is to come upon “all the earth,” the ONLY way to “escape” will require being total removed from off the earth. This being the case, then it should also be obvious that those “accounted worthy to escape” will either have to physically DIE en mass just before the beginning of the Tribulation, or they will have to be bodily and supernaturally removed [raptured] from off the face of the earth. There is no other logical, reasonable, and SCRIPTURAL conclusion that even makes sense. Hello!
Now just where in the Scriptures are we told that God’s people [true believers] are going to DIE en mass just before the Tribulation begins? Where? It isn’t going to happen!
But the inspired Word does tell us….. “Behold, I show you a mystery; We [true believers] shall not all sleep [die; sleep of death], but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed,” 1 Corinthians 15:50-51. Now compare this statement with Philippians 3:20-21 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, and you will KNOW what kind of “change” the Lord Himself has in mind for every true believer at the time our Heavenly Father has appointed for the Pre-tribulation Rapture to occur, Acts 17:26.
Dear readers, it doesn’t really matter who or how many want to deny it, the Pre-tribulation rapture of God’s people IS SCRIPTURALLY ESTABLISHED TRUTH! Regardless of how many people “professing” to love God and His Word refuse to believe it and even stand up to deny it, it will still occur right on schedule whether they believe it or not. How can I be so sure?
Because it was also the Lord Jesus Christ Himself who explicitly stated to His church and all those who “hath an ear,” “Because thou hast kept the Word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation [peirasmos…look it up]; which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth,” Revelation 3:10; 3:13. The Lord Jesus I believe in and serve IS NOT A LIAR!
The question then to be considered is not whether the rapture of God’s people is going to occur, for
it will! Neither is the question whether some will “escape” the Tribulation by being raptured, for the Lord’s own statement makes it evident that those who are “accounted worthy” will “escape.” The real question then to be considered by those who claim to believe God’s Word is.....
WHO IS GOING TO BE TAKEN IN THE RAPTURE?
Here we are faced with another topic which is causing considerable controversy in the ranks of Christianity today. Who is going to be taken in the rapture, and who is going to BE LEFT BEHIND? This controversy is totally unnecessary if people would just seriously study the Word and pay attention to what they are reading.
Now WHO did the Lord Himself say would “escape”? Read our text for this study again… The Lord explicitly said that it will be those who are “accounted worthy.” Now how do you read that Scripture? Did the Lord just say “worthy”? He absolutely did not! Then why do so many today read the Scripture that way? Is your attention span that short? Do you not know how to read? Or are you just dull witted? No, I’m not deliberately trying to be offensive! The Lord knows my heart and He knows that I mean no offense to any reader. God forbid! Rather, I’m trying to get those who claim to be God’s people to get serious about studying the Scriptures and pay attention to what they are reading. What the Lord actually and literally said was “accounted worthy.” Is this stated plainly enough?
Dear readers, with the exception of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, there has not been a single member of Adam’s race who has ever lived, or who is living today, who is “worthy” of God’s grace, God’s mercy, God’s salvation, God’s blessings, God’s Heaven, or of “escaping” God’s “wrath.” Yes, every one of us, myself included, DESERVE nothing better than eternal damnation in the lake of fire and brimstone “for ever and ever, Revelation 20:15. Why? Because we have “all sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23. Read Romans 3:9-18 and let the truth stated there soak in. Any reader who doesn’t like this statement or agree with it should read Galatians 6:3 and Romans 3:3-4. By God’s grace I have stated the truth whether some like it or not!
Now are our readers beginning to get a mental [and spiritual] picture of just how precious “the grace of God” really is? And yet the Lord has graciously and lovingly chosen to bestow His grace upon hell deserving sinners? Praise God! Glory to God! Hallelujah!
What does it mean to be “accounted worthy”?
Since no human being, living or dead, has ever been or ever will be “worthy,” then who is it that is going to be “accounted worthy to escape all these things…..and to stand before the Son of man” in glory following the rapture? I’m so glad you asked…..
If our readers really want the answer to this question settled in their hearts and minds once and for all, then why not pay attention to what the Lord Himself said about being “accounted worthy”? The only other time in the entire New Testament where this particular expression occurs is in the preceding chapter in Luke 20:35-36. In this context the Lord was answering the silly question of the unbelieving Sadducees. In replying to them the Lord explicitly said, “…The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die anymore: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” Glory to God! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!
The Lord Himself in this passage explicitly stated that those who are “accounted worthy” are
“children of God” and are also “children of the resurrection.” Glory to God! In other words they are true believers who have been saved by the grace of God [Ephesians 2:8-9], born of the Spirit of God [John 3:3-8], washed from sin by the precious blood of our Lord [1 Peter 1:18-19], and have the righteousness of Christ Himself “imputed” to them, Romans 4:1-25. In this chapter in Romans notice especially verses 23-25. The Father in Heaven and the Lord Himself therefore no longer see the true believer as a lost sinner deserving of eternal damnation, but rather our Heavenly Father sees us as His children, clean, pure, holy, undefiled, and ready to be raptured to glory, Romans 8:14-17. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Glory to God! Thank you Lord Jesus!
Every reader should be able to understand that the “spiritual position” of the true believer in Christ then makes a distinct difference between those who are saved, and those who are still unbelieving and lost in sin. Sadly, even some “professing Christians” today fall into the latter category.
Before we return to the main point of this study, let’s examine some differences that many today in the ranks of Christianity choose to ignore.
Profession…….Dear readers, there is a vast difference between “professing” faith in Christ and genuinely placing one’s faith in Christ, Galatians 3:26. Talk is cheap! Any lost “religionist” can make a “profession.” Walking up a church aisle and shaking the pastor’s hand and making a “profession” of faith IS NOT SALVATION! If a “vain profession” is all any reader of this study is counting on for their salvation, your “profession” was nothing but an exercise in futility. You are still lost in sin and on the broad way “that leadeth to destruction, Matthew 7:13-14.
Baptism…….There is also a vast difference between being “born of the Spirit” [John 3:3-8] and being dunked, poured, or sprinkled by someone or some church or religion. Many today who “profess” to be Christians look back to the time when they were “baptized,” and claim that experience as their salvation. Hogwash! Yes I said “Hogwash!” One can wash a hog until the hog is sparkling clean on the outside, but the hog will still inevitably go right back to their “wallowing in the mire.” God’s Word says so! Read it for yourself in 2 Peter 2:20-22. Baptism [immersion in water, or the corruptions of it through pouring on water or sprinkling] has never saved anyone, nor will it ever save anyone! If baptism is all any reader is depending on for their salvation, then they are still lost in sin and on the road to hell, 1 Peter 3:21.
Church membership…….There is also a vast difference between being written in “the Lamb’s book of life” in Heaven [Revelation 21:27], and having one’s name on the roll of some church on earth. Over and over again throughout the New Testament people are warned about “religious” lost people who would infiltrate the churches, pretending to be “Christians.” It would take an absolute “dunce” to deny that it has happened! In most churches today are lost church members who are depending on their church membership for their salvation. God have mercy on such spiritual ignorance! Being a member of a church has never saved anyone, and never will save anyone.
Folks, as of this approaching month of May I will have been in the Lord’s ministry for 57 years. The Lord has graciously used me in His ministry, and I have had the blessing of seeing hundreds of precious souls come to a saving knowledge of Christ across these many years. I rejoice and thank God that they finally found the Lord Jesus Christ as their own personal Savior, for the sad truth is that an estimated three-fourths of them were lost church members when they finally got saved. If “church membership” is all some readers are depending on for their salvation, they are going to be terribly disappointed when they stand before the “Great White Throne” in eternity, Revelation 20:15.
I could mention many other differences between real salvation in Christ, and vain claims that have no substance in reality. But rather than labor the point, let’s go back to the real point of this entire study. ”Who is going to be taken in the rapture”? And…….
What determines the Difference…??
Folks, who is taken in the rapture and who is left behind is totally and absolutely A MATTER OF THE HEART! I want to emphasize the real difference which will determine who will be taken when the rapture occurs and who be left behind on the earth to face the terrible Tribulation.
“But what saith it? The Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the Word of faith, which we preach;
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation,” Romans 10:8-10.
Yes, a person “professing” to be a “Christian” can still miss the rapture! In this passage in Romans 10 the “way” for a lost sinner to be saved is as clearly stated as anywhere in the entire Word of God. Notice that the word “heart” occurs three times in these inspired verses. The number, “3,” just happens to be the Bible number connected with “the resurrection and rapture” repeatedly throughout the entire Bible. The inspired Word repeatedly teaches in both the Old and New Testaments that the Lord God of Heaven is looking at what is in man’s heart. Where salvation is concerned [and even service to and for the Lord], the Lord is not at all impressed by the “outward appearance” of men. He is looking at what is in the “heart.” See 1 Samuel 16:7, Jeremiah 17:9-10, and Proverbs 14:12.
In Matthew 15:7-8, the Lord in speaking to the scribes and Pharisees [“religious” people], said, “Ye hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoreth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me.” It is obvious from the Lord’s statement that He refused to accept their outward “profession” of love for Him, when He knew what was really in their “heart.” Now what makes some “professing Christians” today think they can deceive the Lord Jesus Christ by cloaking themselves in “religion,” any more than the ancient scribes and Pharisees were able to deceive Him? Some today are deceived all right, but the Lord isn’t!
I suggest that our readers carefully read the letter to the church at Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-22 again, remembering that this particular church letter represents [typifies] the very period in church history in which we are living RIGHT NOW. Now be honest about what you read! Which of those addressed in this church letter did the Lord promise to come in to? Was it those who were “lukewarm” and “boastful” [3:15-17], or was it those who hear His “knock,” listen to His “voice,” [His Word] and “open the door” to let Him in, 3:20? Isn’t the answer glaringly obvious? Well…?? The Lord still looks on the heart!
There are many other passages in God’s Word we could use to emphasize this truth, but let’s look at only one more passage. In Matthew 5:8 the Lord Himself explicitly stated, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”
Now carefully read Revelation 4:1-11 and notice WHO it was that John and the 24 elders [type of the raptured saints, 5:8-10] saw sitting on the Throne in Heaven immediately after the “voice…..of a trumpet” commanded him to “Come up hither” in 4:1. It was Almighty God, the Heavenly Father of every true believer, Romans 8:14-17. Why will John and the 24 elders be able to see God sitting upon His throne in glory? Because the “heart” of every true believer will have been “purified” by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 1:18-23. Read the passage for yourself, and if you are a true believer then lift your eyes and heart to Heaven and give glory and honor and praise and thanksgiving to God for your salvation. Praise the Lord!
What can we conclude from these Scriptures, and many others that I could present? Simple!
PURE IN HEART…..”accounted worthy” and RAPTURED TO GLORY!
VAIN PROFESSION…..spiritually blind Laodicean “religiosity”…..still lost in sin and LEFT BEHIND at the rapture.
Dear reader, there is not one person who reads this study who has to be left behind at the rapture, for our gracious and loving Lord has provided a “way” of “escape” for every one of us, John 14:6; 3:36; Acts 16:30-31. The Lord God of Heaven gave you a “will” of your own and you are able and “must” make a choice, Acts 4:12. Choose carefully! Yes, you MAY be saved during the Tribulation if you are LEFT BEHIND when the rapture occurs, but you also MAY NOT be saved during that terrible time. Choose carefully! It is your own eternal soul that is hanging in the balances! Choose carefully!
I am going to bring this study to closure with this simple but awesome truth stated in God’s Word,
“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent,” Acts 17:30.
May the Lord graciously bless His Word to the hearts and minds of every reader is my prayer.
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Permission is granted to any true believer or Bible believing Christian ministry to reproduce this study to share with others, or to quote from it in context as written.
All questions, comments, and correspondence should be addressed to: Pastor F. M. Riley, Last Call Gospel Ministry, 184 County Road 108, Harrisburg, Missouri 65256, or I can also be contacted via email at: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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