The Survivalist–Part 3

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By this time I had learned his name was Karl and I think he was starting to trust me. I had listened carefully to all he told and showed me and I was genuinely interested.

“Karl, I’m impressed with the car?shelter idea and I’d like to know more. In fact, I’d like to buy one of your books and I could even have an outlet for you in Cincinnati. But I’m a survivalist too and I want to tell you about my area of concern. First of all, I agree times look like they could go critical soon, at least we should be prepared in case they do. But you know the old saying about how dangerous the world is. It’s so bad that nobody has ever made it out alive. Except two, that is, Enoch and Elijah.”

“You mean the rapture,” he said. “I  believe in it, and when I read The Late Great Planet Earth it really helped me to decide to get serious about preparing for trouble because I know it’s coming. Helga is a Lutheran, or was a Lutheran .She said they are great people, but a little conservative for her. She tried to tell them about the same kind of things I worry about but they said she was getting fanatical. She’s tough?minded, but I think she’s scared. She’s not too sure about what the Bible says will happen to Christians in the time ahead. I can’t tell her for certain myself. A lot of people say the church will be raptured during the great tribulation and I think that’s what she’s preparing for.”

“Karl, you probably know there are three main views on the rapture that people believe today. Quite a few, like the old time Lutherans, for example, don’t think about it much at all.  Some of them still talk about the Millerites who sold all their property, dressed up in white robes and stood on hills and roof tops waiting for the Lord’s return. These people just make fun of the rapture, or dismiss it entirely. It’s always easier to make fun of people or ideas then it is to study the Bible and see what’s true. But among those who believe in our being caught up to be with the Lord, there are three main positions. They are known as pre, mid and post?tribulation rapture. And there is a further subdivision which is the partial rapture position. These people believe that when Jesus  returns he will take only those worthy to go to heaven at that time and leave the rest here to suffer through the tribulation.”

“Like that song,” Karl said "’I Wish We’d All Been Ready.’”

“That’s it Karl. This doctrine is sometimes called ‘the dismembered bride’, a horrible name for, what to me, is a horrible doctrine. They have Jesus taking part of his bride to heaven and leaving the rest behind. As far as the post?tribulationists, who believe Jesus returns after the tribulation, what can you say?  They take a passage like Matthew 24:29?31 about Jesus gathering his elect after the tribulation and apply it to the church. Matthew 24 is one of the great prophecies in the Bible, but the church is not in it except that when Jesus returns, the church will be with him. But at this point in scripture the church is still a mystery. It was revealed to Paul after Jesus had ascended. He tells about it in Ephesians 3:5 and 6. This gathering is a rapture, but it is not the rapture of the church.”

“You mean there is more than one rapture?“ Karl said a little skeptically.

“There are a number of them, some have already occurred. Enoch, who was a gentile, was taken before the flood. Many see him as a type of the church, which is mostly gentiles, being taken up before the great tribulation. Elijah was a Jew and he is a type too, in the eyes of many. I believe the church will be taken before any part of the tribulation. There are a number of reasons to believe this is true. Jesus says in Revelation 3:10 that he will deliver believers from the time of temptation that will come upon all who dwell upon the earth. In King James ‘temptation’ means trial or testing. It is another word here for tribulation. And there can be no confusion as to who is meant, it is in the letters to the seven churches. There is much more evidence in favor of the pre?tribulation rapture, I believe it is overwhelming. I could go on forever, and from the looks of that sun beginning to go down, I may.”

“But you didn’t say anything about the mid position,” said Karl.

“No, and neither does the Bible. But they deserve to be heard, it is very popular to teach and believe the mid?tribulation  today.  It puts the church into the tribulation period, which is the period of Israel‘s testing. Jeremiah calls it the time of Jacob’s trouble, Jeremiah 30:7. It also places the church exactly in the middle of Daniel’s prophecy of the seventy weeks, Daniel 9:21?24, which deals with the nation Israel and 69 weeks of which have already been literally fulfilled, all concerning  Israel and not the church. So much wrong teaching and believing comes from applying prophecies for Israel to the church. We need to study before we speak.

“I really need to leave now, thanks so much for hearing me out, and I really do want a copy of your book. I can see where such shelters could be very useful without any tribulation period, maybe just a reversal of fortune, like losing a job.”

As we walked towards his shelter to get the book, Karl asked where I was headed. “I’m looking for a little pulloff in the mountains, Karl. There is a fast?running stream. My wife and I went there on our last trip out west. She picked up a sparkling rock from the stream. She used to keep it on her desk. I want to see that place one more time, although I know I’ll cry just thinking about her not being with me any more. The last thing I said to her as she was in her casket, was, ‘I’ll see you in the rapture, honey.’”

“Before the tribulation”, said Karl, as he handed me one of his books.