Church, State, God and Rapture
by: Bruce Cook
As I started to write this article I had mixed emotions about it, but I watched Father Corapi on a Saturday night as I do occasionally at ten o’clock on EWTN. He is a Catholic priest, but at times preaches more like an old Christian evangelist. I don’t agree with a lot of his beliefs, as I do many other preachers, but I have to say that a lot of what he says hits the nail right on the head. I can equate a lot of it with other Christian churches and people of today. I really wanted to write about Grace, but I felt compelled to write this article. I believe that America has a death wish and we have traveled far down the road to having that wish realized. I’m going to be writing about a number of subjects, so please excuse my jumping around on them. I felt led to do it.
When I wrote before about Angels a couple of the men began to kid me and call me the angel man. Now I believe that because of some of my later talks such as Hell, We are at war, Wrath of God and Sin. I’ll probably be known as the doom and gloom man. But at the end there is always hope by repenting, serving and coming to Jesus Christ.
I have read several good books lately, What’s So Amazing About Grace? By Philip Yancey, The Seven Secrets, by John Hagee, What In The World Is Going On by Dr. David Jeremiah and Fearless by Max Lucado. Also a newsletter from Pastor Van Riper in Washington, Pa. These books have influenced my writing, as well as the Bible and my own thoughts.
You see, I turned 82 this last February and in my life time if you could have experienced the life and times that I have, I’m sure that you would feel a sense of urgency just as I do. The changes in our beliefs and actions have utterly left me wondering how much longer God will allow us to continually live our lifestyles and actions, and as Father Corapi says, before God hits us up along side of the head with a 2 x 4 to get our attention. I also worry about how many of the unsaved will see the suffering of Hell or the Tribulation.
At my age I don’t really care what people may think of my writing or speaking. For you see I am too old and don’t have the time to worry about what people may say or think. I am only concerned about what the Lord thinks and puts on my heart. When you get older your percentage of another day is such that I start, end and sometimes spend a portion of my day thanking and praising God for this one more day and asking Him to find me forgiven to the extent that I will spend eternity with Him in Heaven. You see I’ve been blessed, because I had time to realize how much God loved me while others sometimes never get or take the time to ask Him into their heart. Each day I think about Heaven and worry about those who ignore Hell, and I think about the horribleness of the Tribulation and Hell.
You’ve heard people joke about old people talking about walking two miles to and from school in the rain and snow. Well I didn’t walk two miles except for the two years I lived on Bethany Pike. But my brother and I did walk eight or ten blocks to school and church in rain or snow with no excuses being accepted by our parents who walked also. I tell you this because it’s hard for me to understand people not going to Church or Sunday School, with church attendance declining and many closing their doors. When today, all we have to do is get out of a warm bed, in a warm house, eat a warm breakfast, get in a warm car and drive to the church parking lot, enter a warm or air conditioned church to listen and study about the word of God. What in the world has happened to us?
During my growing up years Neighbors were looked upon as friends and family, not enemies, predators or competitors. Everyone looked out for one another instead of looking down on one another as being attacked by the green eyed monster. The philosophy was that you did it out of the goodness of your heart. We were family oriented. We were brought or sent to church, Sunday school, and public school each week helping to build our character as well as provide an education.
We went through a Great Depression, wars and deaths of many, but we did it together and survived it known as the greatest generation. In my 82 plus years I have watched our people and our country deteriorate to a moral cesspool. Things that weren’t even in existence in my day have been invented for good but there is also much bad with it, or should I say evil or sin? Inventions such as radio, television, computers, movies, cell phones and the list goes on and on. Being raised and living through the depression we really understood what it was to rely on God for our needs. There was no welfare or handout programs for help, just what ever work you might be able to get, if you could find any. We lost everything and had to live in my Grandparents unfinished, unheated attic. I saw grown ups eat very little or nothing so that the children could eat. We lived mostly from canned vegetables and fruit that my parents and Grandparents had put up, and my dads gardening and hunting ability. Dad got some work with the W,P.A. and provided flour for the families. Somehow God always provided. After a couple of years dad was able to get some part time work and we were able to rent a one room house at the top of Brooke cemetery. It was as big as a single car garage with two small windows, No heat, no water or electricity. Dad built a spring for our water and refrigeration. I wrote a story about these times called our depression home at the top of the cemetery. I did what ever work I could find from the age of seven years old- sometimes for people who could pay me maybe 1,5 or 10 cents. I worked on the ice and beer truck as a helper for whatever they wanted to give me. I cut grass for two years in Brooke Cemetery for 25 cents per hour, and I lived in a tent and worked for farmers for two years for $1.00 a day. At 16 I started to work in a manufacturing plant for 72 ½ cents per hour.
Now why did I tell you these things? Because I wanted you to know how good God was to us in those tough times and how much I appreciate his love and the personal and religious freedoms I have had in my lifetime. How important the church was and still is today. How important God was and still is today, and how His word has never changed. God was always there and we knew that we were never alone.
Today we hear a lot about the separation of church and state. I have heard the pros and cons about this subject. My belief is that the church has kept quiet to long, I believe that we should be active in having a say about the way we worship in this country as our founding fathers of this country meant for it to be. We should make ourselves heard at the ballot box by not supporting candidates that believe and vote against our moral issues. We should examine each person that’s running for office and vote accordingly. My belief and moral conviction is that we have a moral obligation to form and vote our conscience in a free country, there is a moral obligation to vote in a way that will reflect right reason, authentic justice and good morals. How we vote makes us accomplices and collaborators in the policies and administration of the politicians that we freely elect. We can sin, quite possibly seriously by voting for those who promote such intrinsically evil things such as abortion, homosexuality, cloning, euthanasia, and same sex marriages. We need to ask ourselves what we will gain through these vices and ask ourselves what we will lose.
II Timothy 3: 1-5 Tells us that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good. Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: We are at the point now where structure of sin exist in society that are normalized in peoples minds. People don’t even recognize sin and evil anymore, it is too common place. All that evil requires to prosper is that good men and women remain silent. The hour is late. We have had years to change course. Instead we have obstinately refused and gone from bad to worse.
Fulton Sheen said “the prophets voice of Christ has all but been stilled in the church today.” To the degree we fail in this prophetic mission, the world will sink into oblivion under the weight of sins in my lifetime, the United States has gone from quite a wholesome, rational, and moral country, to one that is largely decadent, irrational, and immoral. Most people seem to be hardened to it, unconcerned that we have a death wish in process.
A few months back I talked to you about families and how Satan has attacked our families and country every way imaginable. The very heart and soul of our country. I told you that when Satan attacks your country it will take over the town in which you and your family live, they will seize and control city hall (political and taxation control.) They will pass and interpret laws that will undermine our way of life. They will control the newspapers, radio, and television stations and phone companies controlling the means of communication. They will control the banks and financial institutions gaining monetary control. They will control major businesses including the electric power and water plants controlling the means of production. They will also eventually seize control of the churches and schools. Psychological warfare is interwoven throughout all of this control and these demonically oppressed souls are control freaks! Just look at what has happened to us in our country today, and ask yourself if any of this sounds familiar to you. Politicians are spending our tax money to support evil schemes. The family is the basic building block of our society.
How many times have you heard someone say or ask where is God? How could a loving God allow all of these terrible things like tsunamis, earth quakes, fires, floods, terrible terrorist acts like 911 and all other horrible events that are happening to us in this world lately. But you see God gave us a free will to make decisions on our own. We should come to Him for help to make the right decisions in our journey through life. He allows evil so that a better good can come from it.
But I want you to consider what we have done: We have told God to get out of our lives and we did it by being meek and saying okay. Our society is getting more anti God every day. When we say nothing, we say okay.
They said that they didn’t want any more prayer in school class rooms and we said okay.
They said they didn’t want Jesus' name mentioned in public buildings or schools and we said okay.
They didn’t want biblical scenes on public property and we said okay.
They told Him to get out of our bedrooms and lives and we said okay.
They ruled that abortion and partial birth abortion was the law, and we said okay.
They said no more displaying of the ten commandments in public places or schools and we said okay.
We’re not allowed to discipline our children by spanking now. Dr Spock said that it will cause them to have emotional problems. We said okay.
As a result we have police stationed in most all of the schools, murder and drugs in school. Children killing children, teachers, and parents. Children growing up with no conscience and some with no respect. And we say okay.
Radio, Movies, and television have become a cesspool of bad morals and we say okay.
Stand up comedians have to be potty mouths to be funny for people and we say okay.
Workers in stores are now being required to say happy holidays instead of Merry Christmas and we say okay.
They legalize gambling claiming to help schools, seniors or build new roads and we say okay.
They said to keep Christmas displays out of schools and public places and we said okay.
Politicians lying to us or going against the will of the majority or beliefs and we say okay and keep returning them to office.
Divorce rates are over 50% and we say okay.
Couples are just living together and we say okay.
They said that same sex marriages are legal and we say okay.
Teachers, politicians, priests, and preachers setting bad examples and we say okay.
Government and some churches are saying that it is okay to be a lesbian or homosexual, and appoint them to high church and political positions. And we as a society say okay.
Pornography on the rise and we say okay.
Spouses that cheat on each other and we say okay.
Euthanasia and outright killing of disabled and sick such as Terri Schiavo by starving her. And we said okay.
On Saturday April 17, I read in the Wheeling Paper that a federal judge ruled that the day of prayer is unconstitutional. Are we going to say okay again?
In Maine girls were going topless to protest not having the same rights as men in going without shirts. I understand that in Maine this is okay.
A suit has been filed to force congress to remove under God from the pledge of Allegiance. And we say okay.
In God we trust is in danger of extinction. And we say okay.
Teachers are forbidden to carry a personnel Bible in view of students. And we say okay.
Christian literature is being removed from library shelves. And we say okay.
Easter vacation is now spring break. And we say okay.
Gideons are being denied access to hand out Bibles at some schools, the Gideons are trying to work around it. But are we saying okay again?
So help me God has been taken out of oaths of office, and swearing in as witnesses at court trials. And we said okay.
And we have the Gall To ASK where God is? I’ll tell you where He is, He’s standing outside of the door of our people and our country wanting us to ask and invite Him in so that He can bless us as a people and a country and save us. Most can remember the classic painting of Jesus standing outside a door waiting to be allowed entry. That poignant portrayal of Christ outside wanting to fellowship with his creation has never been more powerful than it is today. If we and America don’t invite Him hack into our lives, is this the beginning of the end? The earth is groaning for its release from the curse of Adam’s sin. Is this the birth pangs that have started before the Rapture? I can’t say if it will be years, months or days but I do believe that in God’s time schedule we are getting close, what ever close means to Him.
The tiny nation of Israel of less than six million has become the geopolitical center of the world. Why is a fledgling country with a total land space hardly larger than New Jersey mentioned in the nightly news more than any other nation except the United States. Why is Israel so important? It is important because the fulfillment of God’s covenant with its founder, Abraham, greatly affects everyone of us. Those who befriend Israel will be blessed. Those that do not will be cursed. The playing out of prophetic events concerning Israel places us in the last days of history’s time line. The existence of Israel today is exhibit A in the line up of convincing evidence that the Bible’s prophecies concerning the future ahead of us will be fulfilled. This reveals the reality of God. His overwhelming power, the authenticity of His promises, the certainty of His existence, the urgency of His call to us, and His claim on our very being.
This all led me into the Rapture, titled “without a trace” . According to the Bible, a time is coming when this very thing will happen on a massive global scale. A day is coming when Millions of people will suddenly vanish from the face of the earth without a trace. Christians call it the rapture. The Bible tells us that on that day, millions of people will disappear from the face of the earth in a millisecond. This evacuation will remove God’s people from the disastrous effects of coming earthquakes, fire and global chaos. The evacuation itself will create considerable chaos and destruction.
Jumbo jets will plummet to earth as they no longer have a pilot at the controls. Drivers of buses, trains, subways, and cars will cause unimaginable disaster. Class rooms will suddenly be without teachers. Doctors and nurses seem to abandon their patients in the middle of surgical operations, and patients will vanish from the operating tables. Children disappear from their beds. People will run through the streets looking for missing family members who were there just a moment ago. Panic grips every household, city and country. The word Rapture is the Latin version of a phrase the Bible uses to describe the catching away of all Christians before the end times. All true Christians will be caught up from the earth and raptured into the presence of the Lord before the seven year period of evil, the tribulation, breaks throughout the earth. This will fulfill the promise He made to His disciples in John 14: 1-3. That is indeed a cause for true rapture on the part of those who love the Lord and long to be with Him.
The rapture is not to be confused with His second coming after the tribulation. The rapture will be a “stealth event” which will be witnessed by believers only. His second coming will be a public event, everyone will see Him. Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every life will see Him, even those who pierced Him, there are no events that must take place before the rapture occurs. It’s all a matter of God’s perfect timing.
The signs that are to develop concerning the Lords return, must yet occur before the return of Christ in the second advent. But that does not mean that the rapture does not figure into prophecy. Future events cast shadows that are precursors of their coming. The signs that point to the second coming cast shadows that close us in on the imminent rapture. The fact that the rapture precedes the second coming makes the signs portending the advent all the more immediate and ominous. For those who are left behind, the rapture will give irrefutable conformation of end-time events, seven years before they come to pass. The rapture awaits us on the horizon – it could happen at any moment.
The apostle Paul was the first to reveal the details of the rapture. It was in his first letter to the church of Thessalonica that he presented his most concise teaching on the subject. I Thessalonians 4: 13-18.
Paul tells us in I Thessalonians 4-17 that we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them (the believing dead who have arisen) in the clouds to meet Him in the air and always be with the Lord. The definite order of sequential reunions are as follows.
Dead bodies reunited with their spirits.
Resurrected believers reunited with living believers.
Resurrected believers and Raptured believers meet the Lord. Our union and communion with them will be uninterrupted and eternal.
Today as never before, we are beginning to see the signs of our Lords impending return. Some if these signs are the rebirth of Israel as a nation, the growing crisis over oil, the reformation of Europe in accordance with Daniel’s prophecy, and the growth of militant, radical Islam. All these developments point toward when our Lord will come to rapture His followers out of this world.
The rapture will trigger the cataclysmic upheaval that will ravage the earth for the seven years that will follow it. Mathew 5: 13-14 says that Christians are the salt and light of the world. Salt prevents decay, light proclaims truth. When all the Christians in the entire world are removed from the earth in one day, all the salt and light will suddenly be gone. As bad as things are becoming we can hardly overstate the rampant greed and immorality that will occur when society loses the tempering influence of Christians. When all Christians are removed from the earth, the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit will be completely absent. NO salt, no light, no indwelling spirit of God. The results will be horrific. Jesus himself described what will happen next: For them there will be a great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved, Mathew 24: 21-22. God’s promise is that we who are believers will not experience the horror of the tribulation, and this is an enormous source of comfort.
The more Christians are caught up in the good things of this life, and the more they neglect genuine Christian fellowship and their personal relationship with Christ, the less they will long for His return. The three great Apostles, Paul, Peter and John all said that we should take care to live lives of purity and holiness, soberly, righteously and Godly in the present age looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
God has sounded the warning loud and clear. If your name is not in that Lambs book of life (Rev. 21: 27) when the rapture occurs you will be left behind. I hope you will not wait another day: turn to Jesus Christ now, before it is to late, become one of those who will hear His call on the great and terrible day.
President Hoover wrote a warning that our greatest danger is not from invasion by foreign armies. Our dangers are that we commit suicide from within by complaisance with evil.
Let me ask you, where will you spend eternity?