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TIME FOR TRUTH
THE ICHTHUS CHURCH > CHAPTER 5

There Is No End-Time Escape Hatch

Before the year 1830, there is no history of any teaching of a secret rapture of the church. This historical fact can be verified by anyone willing to do the painstaking research. Still, most evangelicals believe that this relatively novel notion is a cardinal doctrine of the historic and orthodox Christian Faith. Furthermore, they view all dissenters as heretics, who’ve left the camp of Christian orthodoxy for the wide-open spaces of apostasy, despite the lack of a lone prooftext in all of Scripture for this relatively novel notion.

 

According to this unscriptural and relatively novel notion—the secret rapture of the Christian church—Christians will be secretly snatched up into the safety of Heaven before they stump their toe on any end-time tribulation. Clad in this false security, today’s contemporary church smugly sits in its complacency, confident of its immunity from any end-time calamity. Churchgoers set smugly in pews, while their clergy stand smugly in pulpits, undaunted over the prospect of pending, pitiless, perilous, unprecedented, and Biblically predicted persecution.

 

Upon close examination, the false security of this false doctrine is not just proven unscriptural, but also to be the height of human hubris. The lion’s share of contemporary evangelicals believe that today’s carnal churchgoers, along with their “no business like soul business churches,” the spirituality of which is a mile-wide and an inch-deep, will be spared from the slightest prick of end-time persecution. To believe such a thing, when preceding Christian generations have faithfully suffered unimaginable persecution for Christ’s sake, is not just preposterous, but the pinnacle of pomposity.

 

Contrary to the popular opinion permeating contemporary church pews and pulpits, the Bible offers no end-time escape hatch for carnal churchgoers. Indeed, far from promising Christians an escape from end-time tribulation, the Bible predicts that we are destined to go through the throes of it. For instance, the message of Revelation, the Bible’s most important prophetic book, does not guarantee us an escape from end-time perils and persecution, but actually guarantees us the opposite, that we will suffer end-time perils and persecutions. 

 

Although the Book of Revelation offers us no escape hatch from the end-time, it does offer us a most comforting and encouraging message. This message, which we must take to heart and keep in mind throughout the perilous times of the last days, consists of three stupendous and consoling truths. 

 

1. God is over our suffering. He is sovereign. Therefore, no matter how out of control things may appear, we can be assured that God is always in control. Nothing can happen to us that God does not allow for His ultimate glory and our ultimate good (Romans 8:28-29). 

 

2. Christ is with us in our suffering. As Christ promised, He will never leave us nor forsake us, but will be with us always, even to the end of the world (Matthew 28:20). Therefore, we can count on His grace proving sufficient for us to bear up under any burden, as well as on His presence providing us with the comfort and courage we need to endure all suffering (2 Corinthians 12:9). 

 

3. We will be eternally rewarded if we faithfully endure our suffering. Knowing that our suffering in this world is only temporary, as well as completely incomparable with the unimaginable and eternal reward God has reserved for us in Heaven, we, like the Apostle Paul, should be able to faithfully endure for Christ all of the hardships and heartaches we encounter in this fallen world (2 Corinthians 4:16-18; 1 Corinthians 2:9).

 

It’s high time; in fact, it’s past time, that the church woke up from the stupor of its false security. We need to shake off this false hope of being rescued from the perilous times of the last days by a secret rapture. Instead, we need to begin swiftly preparing ourselves for the inescapable and inevitable. To do so necessitates that we immediately undertake the moving of our churches underground. Only an underground church; that is, an incognito “Ichthus Church,” will be less visible and vulnerable to the persecution of an end-time world totally possessed by the spirit of antichrist. To remain as formidable a force for Christ as we can possibly be in the dark days ahead will require us to go back to the future; that is, to return to the New Testament blueprint for the church. Remember, the New Testament church met, in a world hostile to its message, “from house to house” (Act 2:46; 5:42; 8:3, 12:12; 20:20).

Don Walton