The Imminent Judgment of God (Pt. 6)

When I was in prison, I searched every scripture for a pre-tribulation rapture.  I searched and searched.  I read everybody’s book, all the prophetic teachers’ books, and not one of them gave scripture for a pre-tribulation Rapture.  Scofield’s notes were as close as they could get to proving a pre-tribulation Rapture in the Bible and the Scofield notes are not the written Word of God; they’re notes!

Yet, here you have it in plain speak, in Matthew 24. It doesn’t get any clearer than this:

“And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn.” Continue reading

“Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant”

I’ve talked often on the show about my revelations received while I was in prison.  Going away for a while had a major impact on my life and ministry.  God corrected me through His Word and turned me around in ways that I never thought possible and shook up my theology.  Things that I had been teaching, right along with the majority of the other full gospel preachers, became glaring errors and I recognized, for the first time, my own responsibility in correcting these things.  I knew that if I ever had a platform for preaching the Gospel again, I would have to address the errors of what I had taught… without excuse.

That’s why I wrote the book, “I Was Wrong” and that’s why I continue to expose the love of money errors that were perpetuated by twisting certain scriptures to extract a certain meaning.  I will never back away from my stand on those errors, or I wouldn’t be able to stand before God with a good conscience if I did. Continue reading

The Rapture Chapter (Pt. 5)

First, there is the announcement of victory by “loud voices in heaven” (Revelation 11:15). The voices could come from angelic choirs or the saints who are already in heaven. The Bible doesn’t say specifically. What is important is the content of their announcement: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever” (v. 15). This is the moment we believers have been waiting for—the Rapture!

What leads me to view this moment as the true Rapture? I noticed that prior passages referred to Jesus as “Him who is and who was and who is to come” (1:4; 4:8). In Revelation 11:17, however, He is referred to as the One “who is and who was” (niv). The King James Version includes the phrase “and art to come,” but these words are not in the Greek. In fact, John no longer needs to include the words “and is to come” because, at this point, Jesus has returned! Continue reading

The Rapture Chapter (part 4)

The third woe found in Revelation 11:19 is the turning point in the visions given to the apostle John. Clearly, the best and the worst will happen now.

The seventh angel blows the seventh trumpet (11:15), the last trumpet blast mentioned in the Bible. This is it! Time has come! Jesus is coming back with this last trumpet! We know from the other overlays of scripture that the following events will occur simultaneously. Continue reading

The Rapture Chapter (Pt. 3)

Apparently this event is going to receive worldwide attention, because every¬one around the world will be transfixed by the images they will see on their televisions, computers, smartphones, and tablet computers, not to mention the amount of traffic on social media outlets. The news media will be over-whelmed trying to describe and analyze the significance of these developments in the Middle East. The Antichrist will want the whole world to see that he has won and that God’s prophets are dead (Revelation 11:9).

Worse still, the world will respond happily, even gleefully. The scene will be like a satanic Christmas celebration, a counterfeit yuletide, as people rejoice over the deaths of God’s messengers (v. 10). Ironically, this is the only rejoicing we’ll see in Revelation until Christians get to heaven. Obviously the preaching of these two prophets will anger most people. Continue reading

The Rapture Chapter (Pt. 2)

In Revelation 11:3, John is told about the two special witnesses who will preach in Jerusalem for 1,260 days (three and a half years). The Bible doesn’t tell us specifically who these two are, but some scholars say the two are representative characters, not real individuals, but symbols of the law and the prophets, the law and the gospel, the Old Testament and the New Testament. Most scholars, however, believe the two witnesses are two individuals, and they speculate about their identities.

Some say the two witnesses are Enoch and Elijah. Enoch walked with God and the Lord “took him” (Genesis 5:24). Similarly, the prophet Elijah was taken up “by a whirlwind to heaven” (2 Kings 2:11). Neither of these men experienced death. As such, some see them as the two witnesses of Revelation 11. Continue reading

Time Has Come (Pt. 5)

Most Christians believe that Jesus will one day return in power, glory, and judgment to reward His followers and to punish those who have rejected God. But the question that divides the hearts and minds of many believers—and sometimes even divides Christians into separate camps and denominations—is whether believers will experience some or all of the tough times described in the book of Revelation and other prophetic scriptures.

For many years I preached that Christians would not have to endure the horrors of the Tribulation, that Jesus would return and take His people out of this world. Admittedly, most of my thoughts on the matter were not original, nor were my views based on years of studying the Scriptures and reaching valid biblically based conclusions. For the most part, I simply believed what I had heard sincere men and women of God teach, namely, that Jesus was coming back before the seven-year Tribulation in an event called the Rapture.

Although the word rapture does not appear in the Bible, we based our ideas on a passage from Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians. The apostle encouraged believers with these words:

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:16–17, nkjv).

Although this passage does indeed describe the Second Coming, we drew some unwarranted conclusions about when and how this event would occur. This “catching away” of the saints, which is what the word rapture means, was to take place secretly, as far as unbelievers were concerned. Only believers, it was thought, would be able to experience and witness the appearing of the Lord. Suddenly, Jesus was to appear in the air, and in the twinkling of an eye we would be gone, whisked off the ground to meet the Lord in the sky. The dead in Christ, believers who had died prior to His coming, would rise first, and together we would all meet Him in the air. From there He would take us to live with Him eternally. Later, Christ would return again, this time in power and glory to judge the world and set up His eternal kingdom. The Rapture was to happen, of course, before any events of the Tribulation began to pummel the earth.

One of my favorite prophetic Scripture verses is, “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36, nkjv). I placed a heavy emphasis on the word escape, because I was convinced it went against God’s loving nature to allow His people to go through the horrors of the Tribulation.

My thinking on the subject changed when, in prison, I searched out the passages that described the Rapture that precedes the Tribulation. To my amazement, I could not find any. I found certain scriptures that other preachers .and I twisted and conveniently interpreted to fit my “prosperity” messages, but when I allowed the Bible to speak for itself, I realized that my notions of a pre-Tribulation Rapture were not based in scripture.

(Excerpt from “Time Has Come”)

Time Has Come (Pt. 3)

Many first-century believers—including, no doubt, the Apostle John—expected Jesus to return within their lifetime. When He didn’t, some people became disillusioned and discouraged. They did not understand that certain things had to happen in history before Christ’s return. For instance, according to Jesus’ own words, Jerusalem had to be under Jewish control before the end-times events begin to happen. That did not occur until 1948, when the nation of Israel was re-established, and Jerusalem once again came under the governance of the Jewish people, though both Christianity and Islam have sacred sites there.  Consequently, most, if not all, of the prophecies recorded in Revelation, can easily be fulfilled in our generation. Now, when the prophetic mysteries begin to unfold, they will occur in rapid succession. That’s why you need to have your heart right and your house in order now, ready today for the return of Jesus Christ.

At the same time, the Apostle Paul warned that “the day of Christ,” including the Lord’s climactic return, would not happen until the “man of sin” is revealed.  This is the Antichrist who “takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.”

If the Antichrist is going to be on the rise, wisdom says we should prepare to go through some difficult days before the Lord’s return. I know you are hoping that Jesus will come prior to the tribulation period, and so am I.  But what if you are living right where you are today when the “four horsemen of Revelation” begin to ride, when unprecedented natural disasters strike the world, and when the Antichrist appears?  What will you do? Will you even understand the significance of these developments? All of these things and more are definitely going to happen; the only question is when.

Excerpt from Time Has Come

Will We Go Through the Tribulation? (Pt. 7)

A False Hope

The more I studied the Scriptures, the more I became convinced that we are living in the last days, and that we will soon begin seeing the fulfillment of the predictions in the prophetic books of the Bible, including the cataclysmic conditions on earth, which will precipitate the rise of the Antichrist.

I also saw a connection between the escapist Rapture and those who espouse a materialistic gospel.  I became convinced that we are wasting so much time and energy teaching people how to get rich and how to become self-fulfilled, we have not adequately prepared them for what is to come.  Instead of the Church presenting a false hope by preaching the pretribulation Rapture, we should be spending this time informing believers that they will have to go through the Tribulation, or at least some part of it.  We should be teaching people to fall in love with Jesus.  We should be spending our time, energy, and resources getting spiritually ready for a severe period of persecution and a time of unparalleled upheaval.

To think otherwise, one must totally ignore church history.  Brutal persecutions have often been the normal experience for believers.  From the earliest years of Christianity, believers were stoned, burned at the stake, dragged through the streets with their feet tied to stampeding animals, and used as human torches.  During these persecutions God did not magically remove His people from their tormentors’ grasp, but He gave them the grace necessary to go through their tortures.  What makes us think God should cut us a break and allow us to escape before the onslaught of hell comes on the earth?  Have we been more faithful than those early saints?  Are we more worthy of an easy ride to heaven than they were?

Going back to Matthew 24, I found that throughout Jesus’ listing of the signs of the times, He does not even hint at a pretribulational Rapture.  In fact, He laid the emphasis on just the opposite order of events.  Jesus described some of the signs that are even now beginning to take place, but the overall tenor of the passage is that even though we will see these things, the end is not yet. Jesus then said:

For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall.  And unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days shall be cut short.  (vv. 21-22 NASB)

Reading the account naturally, without imposing our own ideas or wishful thinking into it, the order of events seems to take place logically.

But immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken, and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.  And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.  (vv. 29-31 NASB).

Notice the order of events.  These things happen after the Great Tribulation, “and then… (we) will see the Son of Man coming.”  And they certainly do not seem to be done in secret.  In fact, the tribes of the world, those who do not know the Lord, will mourn at His coming.  In the chapters ahead, we will see that they have good reason to mourn.

Will Christians go through the Great Tribulation?  I believe we will experience at least some part of it before Jesus Christ returns.  When I speak on this subject nowadays, I facetiously tell audiences, “I tried my best to keep us out of the Tribulation.  For years I preached that we would escape it.  In my studies while in prison, I searched for hours on end, trying to find some way that believers would escape the difficult times about to come on the earth, but I couldn’t do it.  I am convinced now that we are going through.  Hold on tightly to Jesus.  It’s going to be a wild ride!”

(To Be Continued)

Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 1
Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 2
Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 3
Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 4
Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 5
Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 6
Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 8
Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 9
Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 10
Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 11

Excerpt from Prosperity and the Coming Apocalypse

Published in 1998