by Pete Garcia
Our adversary, Satan, has used a number of different tactics to try and thwart the spread of the Gospel as his primary modus operandi.
First, he influenced the Jews and the Romans to kill the Christ, not knowing that he was doing exactly what God knew he would do, and planned for, for the redemption of not just the Jews, but all mankind.
Secondly, Satan attempted to crush the fledgling church through intense periods of persecution, but that only caused it to grow even faster. Then, because persecution failed, he attempted to (and has been most successful in) the corrupting of the Church through false teachings. But now, at the end of our age, he again, is running out of time, so the corruption is being married up with the persecution because he knows his time is short.
The two things he hates most, is our salvation by grace through faith (because of Christ's victory at the cross over death and hell), and the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the church, because that means (and he knows this) he has only around seven years left. I say around, because I don't know when exactly the Tribulation (or the Day of the Lord) will start, as the Rapture does not trigger the 70th week, but the peace treaty does. (Daniel 9:27)
How do I know Satan hates the Pre-Tribulation Rapture and the prophetic nature of the Bible in general? Just look at what is attacked the most. Just look at what is ridiculed and mocked, and belittled the most (both by the world and professing Christendom), and you'll see what Satan hates.
This world is still under management by Satan (Luke 4:5-6; Eph. 2:2; 1 John 5:19), and he will do whatever he can, to distract, divide, and destroy the faith of the Church today. In military terms (JP 3-13.4), Satan is using both the 'feint' and the 'ruse' as tactics to deceive the church:
Ruses. A ruse is a cunning trick designed to deceive the adversary to obtain friendly advantage. It is characterized by deliberately exposing false or confusing information for collection and interpretation by the adversary (this would be the Church).
Feints. A feint is an offensive action involving contact with the adversary conducted for the purpose of deceiving the adversary as to the location and/or time of the actual main offensive action (this would be the rapture of the Church).
The Church will be raptured into the air, which happens to be Satan's domain (Eph. 2:2) and will undergo the Bema Judgment (1 Cor. 3:9-15; 2 Cor. 5:9-11) along with those who had gone before us into death. When we are raptured, we step out of time and into the eternal state, at which judgment comes to the house of God first (1 Peter 4:17). We were judged for our sins at the cross with Christ, (Col. 2:13-15) and then ourselves undergo the Bema judgment for rewards at the Rapture, after which, depending on our own faithfulness and positions in God's administration, will administrate through Christ's judgment, the world and demonic hosts at the end of the 70th week of Daniel. (Daniel 7:9-27; Matt. 19:28, 25:31-46; 1 Cor. 6:3)
Just like at the end of the 1st century B.C., God will again, break into human history when the time is right, and collect up those who make up the body of Christ, by our baptism and sealing into the body of Christ, by the Holy Spirit. Not only will He transform our lowly estates from mortal, to immortal, but He will bring with Him those who have already died so that we may all receive our glorification, because as Christ (who is the firstfruits) came into His resurrection body, so too will we. (Phil. 3:21-22; 1 John 3:1-3)
Some refuse to accept this truth, because they can only understand it in a matter of 'what's fair'. They argue, "why should only we get to escape what is coming?" "Why not any other generation?" "What makes us better that we should not have to suffer for our faith?"
It's not a matter of fairness, it's a matter of God's eternal purpose. I could ask, why did Christ have to come back in the year 4BC? Why did only that generation get to walk and talk with Jesus from Nazareth? God chose that time for a specific reason, and whether it's because there was the Pax Romana, by which would facilitate the quick spread of the Gospel, or because the Roman's themselves (as the ruling empire) would also have some future role to play, I don't know. I only know that's the way it happened.
Likewise, God will again break into human history in an equally grand fashion, to retrieve those who have been added into the 'firstfruits' (ie...we make up the body of Christ), because of the order, in which God has deemed the stages of redemption. (1 Corinthians 15)
We are at the end of the ages. I say 'ages', as opposed to 'the age', because there have been a lot of 'ages'. We (in the Church age) have existed from Pentecost until today, and like all the other ages before us, had a beginning and at an unspecified time, will also have an end. Think of Pentecost as the beginning of that sliding scale, and we now (21stcentury believers) are at the other end of that sliding scale. Take a step back, and take in the mental picture and you can see the world around us ramping up exponentially. You can see how it's only been within the last 100 years that we've had the technological breakthroughs, and the escalations of: war, disease, natural disasters, global governance, economic disparity, and a thousand other signs which point to a climactic conclusion, just over the horizon. On that sliding scale, we are mere micron from reaching the end of all things.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Eph. 2:4-7 NKJV