When we were kids, my brothers and I had this thing where we would all dance and say, "Dancin' up to heaven." I don't know why. It might've had to do with a candy bar or commercial or something. Or I may be dreaming up that it happened at all. But it happened. And it was beautiful.
Well, Luke went out for pizza with us tonight. Only, he wouldn't stop sucking on that bottle of milk. I tried to tell him there was pizza. But he wouldn't listen. Someday he'll regret giving it up for a sugary, pasty substance with lumps in it.
Oh, and if you were standing in line in front of me, (and here's where the story connects) yes, I was dancing with my son. He doesn't respond to the bouncing or the swinging so much. But the dancing. He immediately quiets at the dancing.
It is very interesting...
I will mention that the word swag was used in regard to me and him in line for pizza. I will not mention that the parlor broke into a club and we started breakdancing in the middle of the floor and jackhammer freezing on tables. Because that did not happen.
But today, God turns David's "mourning into dancing."
There must be something here.
Let's take a closer look at this guy's overall prowess, genetic ceiling, and potential.
Throw your hands in the air...check.
Hip angle = a risque 20 degrees. That is a significant range with some possibility.
Pulling out all the stops, this kid's getting down. Look at how the hands are attempting to curb him in unsuccessfully. He's definitely a Demsick.
To the right, to the right... yep, he's on his game.
Uh, I don't know that one.
Which one? Baby boom? It's cool, I made that up. It sounded bad anyway.
Don't be shocked. It's okay. You're not trying it, are you?
That look of satisfaction is scary. But so cute.
And it's confirmed. He's a Demsick. (Just look at those lips.)
And yes, of course, he's a dancer. We'll be up a few times tonight practicing.
Exodus 23:14-25:40, Matthew 24:29-51, Psalm 30:1-12, Proverbs 7:24-27
God promises to protect his people if they obey him.
Jesus tells us of the end. It's interesting that a popular new* theory called "The Rapture" is largely argued based on these verses. But in context, they clearly refute any possibility of a rapture. Jesus states he's talking about the end, not a pre-end period or one of Jesus's two or more returns.
He's coming once. It's the same one described in 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18, "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord."
That is the end. Not pretribulation. Just like Jesus is now talking about the end in Matthew. The verses about one taken and another left are right after, describing the passage about the Son of Man coming on the clouds with angels and a great trumpet.
He says miracle workers will try to deceive them during the tribulation. So no one will miss it. You won't have to ask or hear what's going on. All will know it's the Son of Man's return, like lightning across the sky.
So there's no rapture until the end when Christ returns.
Does it really matter? Well, not really.
But it's used to support the idea that true believers will miss out on the difficulties of the end times (tribulation), while all the unbelievers will have a period to figure it out and get things right. But that rejects the passage in the reading today...
Jesus specifically says collecting the believers will happen immediately "after the tribulation." That the time will be cut short so as to preserve the elect.
Basically, it's gonna get bad. We're gonna be here and be persecuted. And just in the nick of time, Jesus is going to save us and the end will come!
If it matters, it's because nowhere in Scripture does God ever share a gospel in which we will be spared from troubles. That is the inherent belief of the rapture. We will be removed before the major difficulties come. The danger is in thinking God wants to spare us from difficulties, which may cause us to be mentally unprepared to persevere through pain (if we believe God doesn't intend us to experience it).
Think about a basketball player who goes to the first practice expecting it not to be difficult. Will he quit the team or toughen up through it? The coach does not want to remove the pain of training, but through it makes the athlete strong. In a simplistic way, it's like a parent who doesn't want his or her child to go through discomfort, so he or she enables him. I don't mind Luke crying when he's being changed, because I know I will disciple him from being too weak to endure it. If I didn't want him to overcome the experience, I would be stunting his mental strength.
God doesn't want us to be caught off guard by challenges, nor believe that he will instantly remove us from them. He's not trying to cause us pain, but since he requires such strength of us, challenges in the lives of Christians hone us into maturity. Sometimes there's no way around them other than through the fiery furnace.
Challenges (suffering) produce perseverance, which produce character, which produce hope. And hope does not disappoint.
That is our gospel. God wants us to grow to be strong, like the highly tuned athlete who becomes tough through grueling practices, not like one who avoids them and avoids challenges. That's why I believe (along with the verses) God will not remove Christians from the times to come in a rapture. We have to pick up our cross and follow him.
We are strong in Christ, and He's coming soon! So let's be ready now.
*The reason I call it a new theory is because no Christian believed it, nor had even thought of it, until the 1830's. John Darby brought it to the church at that time.
For more study on this topic, check out the Matthew passage of the podcast today! Also, read Matthew 24:13, Revelations 13:5-10, and Revelations 7:14-17.
David is a dancer! Eh? Anyone? Pretty cool. Luke and David, men after God's own heart.
In case you haven't gotten it from the last few days, KEEP YOUR HEART AWAY FROM SEDUCTIVE WOMEN. Ok. Check. Nothing to see here. Move along to the reading.
To read along, click here.