In Matthew 24 we have the account of the disciples of Jesus coming to Him and asking Him how they would know when the end of the world was coming as well as the time of His return. This is how Jesus responded, starting at verses 3-4:
“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, his disciples came unto Him apart, saying, ‘Tell us when these things shall be, and what sign shall be of thy coming, and of the end of the world. And Jesus answered, and said unto them, ‘Take heed that no man deceive you.”
Jesus gave the prophecy of Matthew 24 so that men could recognize the time of the Kingdom being established on earth. Jesus’ prophecy is then opened up in Revelation 6, which tells us exactly what would happen just prior to the return of Jesus Christ. It is always safe to interpret Scripture with Scripture, as we know that ALL Scripture is God-breathed, and God will never contradict himself. So, we look at Revelation 6:1-2 to learn of the events leading to His return:
“I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, ‘Come!’ I looked and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.”
Many people have concluded this white horse and rider are Jesus, the same as the horse and rider in Revelation 19. I believe this is a good example of what Jesus warned about when he said, “take heed that no man deceive you.” The description and function of these two are very different. In taking an in-depth look at the Matthew 24 passage, it will be necessary to go into some detail about what Jesus was talking about. It is important for us to discern the actual meaning of this prophecy as it is critical to the future of the Church.
Christ is the One that must unlock the mystery of the white horseman. Let’s look at some of the details we are given in Scripture.
The first white horseman comes with a bow in his hand while the rider in Revelation 19 carries a sword (Revelation 19:11-16).
The rider in Revelation 6 does damage and brings great suffering to the Church while the rider in Revelation 19, after destroying God’s enemies, brings peace and joy to His own.
The chapter 6 rider concentrates his intensity much more right at the end–when the Church really needs to get it right. He rides in as one bent on conquest. What does it mean to conquer? “To gain a victory by means of some type of war.” Remember that the Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 6 that we are facing a “spiritual” war, and are dealing with “spiritual enemies.” This is the kind of war included in the schemes of the white rider. The damage caused by the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th horsemen is vast but, is that devastation any worse than what is caused by the first horseman? Not really, because the damage caused by the first horseman brings spiritual death whereas the others are mainly known for the physical devastation they cause.
The first horseman in Revelation 6 conquers by means of deception. What happens to the human race is due to what the first rider is able to accomplish by his deceptions. The more effective he is, the more people are led to their death, eternally.
Now with all these things in mind, let’s examine what this horseman is all about and what it has to do with us today. In order to do this as I would like to present a way of looking at these horsemen that may be a bit different than most are used to seeing them.
It has usually been assumed by the majority of end-time prophecy teachers that Revelation 4:1 is the time of the Rapture of the Church because of the words, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” This would mean that the opening of the seals would of necessity happen after the Rapture of the Church. I would like to submit that this may not necessarily be the case. For a number of years now I have suspected that the seals may very well be opened as harbingers of the “Great Tribulation” coming right after the silence in Heaven after the sixth seal has been opened. It is quite possible that the Church is removed at that time, or very near the same time of the sixth seal being opened. There are numerous reasons that I believe this, but I have also noted that more and more students of end-time eschatology are coming to the same conclusion. What Jesus had to share with the disciples in Matthew 24, Luke 21, and Mark 13, is about this same period of time. It has been somewhat of a mystery why John did not include this very important teaching in his gospel. I am of the belief that he purposely left it out of his gospel but included it as part of the “Apocalypse,” specifically in Revelation chapter 6.
The question of when the first white horse rider actually was released to do his work is in some dispute, but I lean toward this having possibly happened at least by the beginning of the social revolution in the 1960’s but possibly even much, much earlier. How much earlier this white horse rider may have been released is discussed in some detail in a later part of this series of articles.
What happened in the 1960’s as a seemingly harmless social demonstration that drew a great deal of worldwide attention to the “flower children” of San Francisco, soon began to show its fangs by the end of the decade. This was just the beginning of a societal change that brought many problematic issues with it, including the sexual revolution. Soon, prayer in school was attacked and then eliminated. The the attacks came against anything having to do with God in the public sector. This of course is continuing full strength today. Abortion on demand then came to America in the 1970s. Soon, society was dealing with gay rights and eventually the legal right for homosexuals to marry.
The first white horse rider thrives on the fact that now, since the onset of post-modernism and the clamor for globalization, man has increasingly become more casual and shallow in his spiritual interests. This plays right into his program. The traits of spiritual casualness and shallowness in man’s pursuit of God’s ways have torn down much of the foundation of what the Church had been built upon.
This horseman’s goal is to destroy by conquest and he has driven this spiritual shallowness all over the world. He has unfortunately been quite effective. Part of his effectiveness comes from the fact that humanity does not recognize him. One of his attributes is that he is devious–so devious that even the Church hardly recognizes him and so plays right into his hands. Yet, we were warned by Jesus Himself not to be deceived. Let’s take a deeper look at what Jesus said and how He described this rider. Matthew 24: 1-2 reads like this:
“Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. ‘Do you see all these things?’ he asked. ‘I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
In context with everything else being taught in this chapter, I find myself wondering if Jesus was really only referring to the literal rocks that the temple was built with. I have seen these stones that were thrown down, and the literal event of the temple being torn apart and thrown down did in fact happen. But was Jesus possibly speaking of the spiritual tearing apart and the stones of another foundation being thrown down as well? Jesus here was speaking to his disciples privately. These were the men who would become the apostles of the Gentile Church. As the Church was launched, there would be an attack of the “spirit of antichrist” that would be roaming the earth starting to do its damage, which was intended to culminate in the last generation–our generation. As the final generation was born and grew up, I believe that the white horse rider began the preparation for the last devastating run in order to bring the great destruction he is slated for. This destruction will then be continued by the other three riders of the apocalypse as the time for their final stampede arrives. I believe that the other riders of the Apocalypse are now also well into the final preparations that lead directly to the final apocalyptic stampede. Anyone with “ears to hear” can already hear the impatient stamping of the horse’s feet! Their stampede is imminent. Let’s take a look at what the Apostle Peter wrote by direction of the Holy Spirit in 1 Peter 2:4-5:
“As you come to him, the living Stone–rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him–you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
As one looks back at the history of the Church, it is not difficult to see how the evil one has attacked every basic non-negotiable doctrine of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The foundation stones have been systematically attacked, torn apart, and thrown down. Although, as Jesus promised, the gates of hell would never destroy the Church, it has been damaged–especially in our generation. Jesus was warning the original apostles of what was to come in the generations to come. He was speaking to the very core of the Church and was warning about the very end of the age! The church would take a grand fall, but there would always be a remnant that holds to the “absolutes” that God’s Word teaches, and refuses to compromise! Are you one of these living stones?
Why would Jesus give this sign 2,000 years ago? He gave it so that we would recognize it and be shaken enough by it that we make sure we are not part of this fall! Jesus was not in the least subtle when He warned that His own disciples would be challenged and deceived about His Person–His true identity as the Messiah, and His message. Jesus said that this deception would become so severe that the chosen people would be deceived into thinking He was a fraud. This is far beyond just false Christianity being unleashed on the Church. This is the elect themselves nearly being deceived. When Jesus said “you”, He was referring to His own disciples, and by extension, His own people, the Jews, and then of course, the Gentiles.
It doesn’t take much research into history to find that the true “Person” of Jesus and His true message has been attacked from the very beginning. The message of the “Blood” is highly rejected. There have been many attacks made at this “archaic bloody religion.” Yet, this “bloody” religion is the only source of salvation and freedom from sin and death. In our sophisticated, educated society, there is a repugnance of the whole concept of the “cross” and the “blood.” The Apostle Jude writes in verses 3-5:
“Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe.”
The absolute worst of it all is that many of those who have been, and are being deceived have been given the Holy Spirit, salvation, the truth, and His Power. There is a passage of Scripture in Hebrews that is disturbing to many and so is given an erroneous explanation. It is found in Hebrews 6:4-6:
“It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.”
We find much the same being said in two other passages of Scripture: One of these is found in Hebrews 10:26-31:
“So, do not throw away your confidence, it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God,. you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, ‘He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.’ But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.”
The other passage is found in 2 Peter 2: 1-22. I have included the whole passage because so much of it pertains to the day we are living in.
“But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them–bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly, and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men, (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)–if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority.
“Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings, yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord. But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.
“They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed–an accursed brood! They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness. But he was rebuked for his wrong-doing by a donkey–a beast without speech–who spoke with a man’s voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.
“These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity–for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true. A dog returns to its vomit, and, a sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.”
It seems that the attack of the first horseman causes some to become immune to the true Gospel. How sad it is that these who had the Holy Spirit and His truth and as well as His power working through them, turn their back on it and trade for a false Christianity! Galatians 3:3 comments on this by saying, “after beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain a goal by human effort?”
This white horseman not only destroys the souls of some Christians and leads them to eternal destruction, but also, through their fall, blocks many of the lost from the Gospel, as well as leading those with ‘some’ desire for God to a fleshly version of Christianity which lacks real repentance and a life of submission to the Lordship of Jesus and the holiness He requires of us. The focus is put on earthly living instead of keeping our eyes looking upward. The focus is taken off heaven, heavenly principles, and the “requirements” we have been given for living on this earth while waiting for our heavenly reward.
Instead of recognizing the extreme price that was paid for our freedom from sin and eternal death, as well as recognizing the circumspect life we should be living in response to that price, the white horse rider sees to it that a “cheap grace” is offered–an easy gospel that is really more of a “fire insurance” and a belief of convenience because we don’t have to change our ways. This lifestyle obliterated holiness and opens the door wide for the lusting of the eyes. The life that is lived is a horizontal life that has its eyes on the kingdom of this world rather than the vertical life that keeps the focus on the Kingdom of Heaven. The horizontal life lusts for the things of this world and all the pleasures and riches it has to offer–often being offered under the cover of twisted Scriptures to give it spiritual guise.
Could this be what birthed the “Gospel of Prosperity?” Look at its appeal and popularity, especially in America! Could this be the source of much of our apathy? It is present in even some of the best of our churches! There are even those that would excuse the lack of modesty in our dress and lack of circumspectness in our speech by saying that God knows our heart and so does not pay any attention to the outside. This needs to be balanced out with Scriptures like Matthew 5:27-28: that call for a higher level of responsibility in our lives than many want to accept.
One thing that the Bible teaches but is not a popular teaching in the affluent and materialistic church is, that those who are hanging onto godly holiness, humility, and righteousness have become a remnant–the remnant that will be those who truly inherit the Kingdom of God. Let’s look at Isaiah 35:8-9:
“And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it, it will be for those who walk in that Way, wicked fools will not go about on it.
A Scripture that describes the spiritual bankruptcy of our time is found in Matthew 24:12:
“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
This is a good time for us to read what Jesus had to say to the Church of Laodicea–the church age we are in today (although I believe the Church of Philadelphia is also still represented on this earth, thereby the split-personality of today’s church). We will look at Revelation 3:14-22:
“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: these are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, but you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich, and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
“Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
“To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit ways to the churches.”
It seems the greatest dispensation of darkness has befallen the earth, especially since sin and iniquity has become absolutely rampant within the church. Not long ago I watched a short program about a church near a nudist colony. People attend the church with as little clothing as they choose to wear–or not wear. The pastor himself preaches completely in the nude! I was incredulous! That sadly is not a unique situation. Apostasy has reached new highs in other ways. Today there are openly homosexual pastors and bishops being ordained to the pulpit.
Jesus said many would fall away from the true faith and turn to a false form of Christianity which lacks holiness. It doesn’t take a genius to see that the white-horse rider has been effective enough to see that heaven’s door is slammed on many who are falling for his twisted version of Christianity. It has become an absolute desolation. It is no wonder judgment is being prophesied through so many voices today. God is warning that the cup of wickedness has filled up and is overflowing.
The love of many waxing cold means that the hot flame of the working of the Holy Spirit within has lost its fuel! What is the fuel? It is not a higher consciousness, God-consciousness, nor religion of any brand. God’s expression of Agape love for mankind is Jesus Christ and nothing else. There are many who claim to be messiahs; some claim that they are the messiah, but there is only One, and His Name is Jesus Christ. He is the only One who died, rose from the dead, and is coming back again for His own.
Even in the Church, there are many who think they are automatically part of the Bride of Christ because they claim to be “Christians.” I’m afraid that many will find that they do not qualify. Too many who think they are “married” to Christ are also carrying on with a mistress, the world. Jesus had good reason to warn us about loving the world or the things of this world. The things of this world that entangle us steal from our affection of our Bridegroom. He will not share us with anyone! We must choose NOW.
What has happened to that original, primitive, simple, child-like, Christ-like church that came out of Pentecost? It seems to have been compromised! Let’s take a look at 2 Timothy 3:1-7.
“But mark this: there will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God–having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.” (NIV)
The church was warned from the very beginning not to get itself tangled up with this false religiosity. Too much of the Church today has gotten commercialized with the selling of everything from “prayer cloths” to every conceivable form of “blessed” trinkets. This isn’t a matter of feeding the poor. It has to do with getting the rich richer–in the Name of the Lord! It is a sham! These same billions of dollars could have done so much to meet some of the very most basic needs of destitute believers around the world. There are millions of new believers around the world that would trade a month’s worth of food for their own Bible to study! Most won’t ever get them because the money has been wasted on the Church’s mistress! What most don’t realize is that we will all have to reckon for our time on this earth, how we lived it, and what we did with the provision we were blessed with. Many will never hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
I think the Church reads Scriptures about “many” losing the fire of their faith and becoming lukewarm and don’t accept what the Bible is really saying. It says that “most” will grow cold. We forget that the road we are to walk is a narrow road and the gate is a small gate. Most won’t find it because they don’t look for it!
Much was said by Jesus about the Church being a split church just before the Rapture. This is a sure landmark of the Lord’s soon coming. Matthew 24:36-42 makes it clear:
“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”
The first horseman of the Apocalypse will have taken the majority of those who claim the “Christian” identity, right out of the main flow of God’s river and into the stagnant shallows. In spite of the consistent warnings Jesus gave, most at the end will belong to the Church of Laodicea and the minority will belong to the church of Philadelphia.
One of the most important ways that the rider of the first white horse deceives the Church, is by getting their focus away from the person of Christ while gradually leading them away from Christ’s message. It is amazing how many people are led to a canned salvation prayer without them realizing what they are doing and as a result, never making Him Lord of their lives.
Most people today are being deceived because they do not understand the Bible–not even the essential basics. Very, very few “Christians” bother going to any depth in their study of the Scriptures. God speaks to us very directly in His Word but we have to make the choice to go find for ourselves what He has said.
We read about the two men working in the field as well as the two women working at the mill. I know it sounds like they may be just normal people living their lives, one being taken and the other being left behind, but could it be more than this? Many commentators have said that all four of these people were working in the work of the Lord, but only two were living a life of intimate fellowship with God through the Holy Spirit, and were laboring from the Holy of Holies. The other two however, were still out in the outer court, and had not made any attempt to develop intimacy in their relationship with the One who provided them the means of walking with Him. They had had no concern about defiling their garments and so were not fit to be taken when it was time.
None of us dares take a chance with our relationship with God. How can we dare be as flippant as so many are–riding as close to the fence as possible. There will be people who choose to walk the narrow road and pass through the narrow gate and then there will be those who listen to the white horse rider. The route found in Matthew 7:13-14 is not the popular route today:
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
The pure gospel of the Blood and the Cross has been made irrelevant to the lives of many Christians today or maybe just impractical in the “blessed” setting they find themselves in. Choosing a holy and meek life of righteousness and living in godly holiness can prove to be tough to do in the modern day Christian world. It’s not popular, and if you try living that type of life, you’re liable to be called a fanatic. This life will always prove to be a life of self-sacrifice.
Looking a little farther into the contrasting lives that one can live, you can live a life that is empowered by the Holy Spirit, or you can just teach “religion.” We always have to keep in mind the disdain expressed by God for lukewarmness when we are deciding how we are going to live during this tempestuous time. People can be working in the same vineyard, as the two men used in the example, so it must be the quality of their work that distinguishes them. The deeper one looks into what is said here and in other Scriptures, it becomes quite obvious that there are two “religious” roads at the end. In studying Church history, I believe that this is the only era where two churches overlap each other more than just a handful of years. Jesus makes a promise to the Church of Philadelphia in Revelation 3:10-12:
“Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.”
I would like to couple the above Scripture with one found in Luke 21:36:
“Be always on the watch and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
God is very plain and direct in His promises to those who live up to His expectations, but He is just as explicit in His condemnation of the unholy and self-sufficient religious Church of Laodicea. The Church of Laodicea was the only one among the seven written to that Jesus gave no commendations to. All of His statements were criticisms and directions on what must be done if there was to be any hope of an eternity in His Presence. What Jesus had to say must be taken seriously. There is no negotiating the position He has taken. We are the ones that need to make the adjustments if we want life eternal.
So, in looking back over this very wordy subject, what can we say about the disastrous work of the first white horseman of the Apocalypse? He has managed to take the Church from being like the Philadelphia Church, which had no corrections made to it, to a Church that Jesus could not find anything good to say about! The Church has become lukewarm. Even those of us who may pride ourselves in being “good people”, nice neighbors, paying our bills on time, raising kids who behave themselves, and everything else good we can think of to pat ourselves on the back for, can be lukewarm.
We can go to church every Sunday and even put money into the offering. We may sing all of the songs; we may even raise our hands in worship, but if we don’t carry this with us throughout the week in such a way that it impacts what we do or do not do, we are lukewarm. We can put on our Sunday faces along with our Sunday clothes, but what is it that happens Monday through Saturday? We can watch our language on Sunday, but cut loose the rest of the week. We can act holy on Sunday but then watch some of the worst programming on television or at the movies–the very things that the Bible teaches us against. Today’s TV programming is packed with immorality of every kind. The homosexual life has made inroads into television today; so much so that it is becoming hard to avoid. If we truly believe it is an abomination to the Lord, why would we watch it on TV and fill our minds with it? There will be a continual battle between the work of the Spirit in our lives and the work of the evil one with us at the same time. We have come to a time when we need to make clear choices–choices that will bring us into the Presence of our KING, instead of the KING having to shut the door on us because of our poor choices while we still had time.
The majority of the Church today is mixing the sins of the world with the hard won salvation at the Cross of Calvary. It has become a “no pain” salvation today. God’s decree on separation has been forgotten and living the separated life is something that the Church has forgotten. It’s a shame when unbelievers cannot tell the difference between the Church and the non-churched! Here’s how 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 reads:
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said, ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.’
“Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”
As unpopular as it is to say, it must be said: The separated Church will be raptured away while the lukewarm Church may stay to face the full wrath of the Tribulation. Is the Bride of Christ being picked today? Lukewarmness lacks holiness and God requires holiness of those that are going to see Him. This is one reason Jesus warned the Church to be on the watch–especially at the last watch! If we miss the urgency of the time and we aren’t on the watch, we probably won’t prepare ourselves. This plays into the hands of the apocalyptic white horseman!
Lukewarmness causes us to get so very much involved in the things of the world around us that our connection with our Master is full of static–or maybe the static of our connection with the world causes our lukewarmness! Could this whole emphasis be the reason Jesus rebuked his closest three disciples when they were asked to watch and pray with Him? Let’s take a look at Matthew 24:42-44:
“Therefore keep watch because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
Scripture makes it abundantly clear that the Messiah will come at an unexpected time. More and more prophecy buffs fall into the trap of predicting the time of the return of Jesus to rapture His saints, but that is impossible. In the traditional Jewish wedding, the bridegroom was known to quite often come “early”! A little before when he was expected!! This tells us that we need to live every moment of every day as if He could very well show up right then! Thieves catch people unawares most of the time. This analogy is used to tell us that we need to be on the watch all the time. But, being on the watch is not enough. We need to be prepared for Him at any time! Most Christians are NOT prepared! They are too busy with all the things in this world that they have fallen in love with! What a tragedy it will be for so very many!
The danger for Christians is more than just “drifting away”, but being “led astray.” Those that drift away may miss the Rapture but will have a chance to be part of that great crowd found before the Throne of God in Revelation 7:9-17. These were said to have washed their robes. If their robes had to be washed, they must have been defiled at some time. Could these have been those who had “drifted” a little too far away? I am leaning toward that understanding more and more. They may also be those who find themselves not being part of the Bride who is scooped off this earth just prior to the unleashing of God’s judgments.
But then there are those that are “led astray.” God will hang onto us with a power that we don’t even understand, but in the end, we still have the power allowed us that is our own free will. God will not force Himself on anyone! Those who get led astray I believe, will be those who throw their salvation away as is described in Hebrews 6 and other places in God’s Word. This is happening today! And…it is going to get worse–much worse! It is not the unbeliever that is led astray, it is the believer! In our generation, this has directly to do with the first white horseman. The Word of God is being perverted as well as being removed as the absolute foundation of the Church. The absolutes are being sacrificed for religious tolerance!! Biblical principles are being mixed with and then replaced by the contemptible philosophies of man–which behind the scenes are laced with the doctrines of demons! 2 Timothy 4:3-4 tells us about this:
“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. they will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”
1 Timothy 4:1 adds this:
“The Spirit clearly says that in later times, some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.”
Following after doctrines of devils brings about an eternal fall, not just a slip and fall while still on the right path. This is a very dangerous hour, folks! Choose you this day whom you will serve, and if it is in fact the Messiah Jesus, serve Him well! He paid the ultimate price by giving His life as a sacrifice. The least we can do is sacrifice for Him and LIVE for Him!