From The Cross in the End-Times
One of the important questions explored in this book, is whether or not this all-important journey of faith, which is a God-led tour into the discovery of the fundamental issues that are the basis for eternal happiness and peace, comes to an abrupt halt for Christians at the start of Daniel’s seven-year tribulation period through the rapture of the church? If the seven-year tribulation is a culmination of the theme of the story that God has been writing over the last six thousand years, through the Bible, through the nation of Israel, through the church age, and through the journeys of faith that Christians are currently experiencing, then the natural conclusion would lead a person to think that the church would be a major participant, rather than an absentee raptured bystander, in this final chapter of redemptive history.
The tribulation is the crisis-filled environment of events and circumstances capable of bringing the substandard qualifications of the deceiving, negative attack-ad specialist Lucifer out into the open. God has perfectly timed this absolute and final exposure of truth versus error, of the demonstration of pure love versus self-centered ambition, of the characters and motivations of everyone, to be revealed for all to see at the close of human redemptive history. The universe and our natural world were created for just such an explosive final ending.
Finally, if Jesus was the leader of a small band of warriors like David, when He stood up to read from the scroll of Isaiah in the synagogue in Nazareth, the townspeople would never have reacted with such outwardly violent opposition to His words (Luke 4:28-30). The townspeople would have respected His worldly power and feared His military might, keeping their opinions to themselves. Jesus is led by the people of Nazareth to the edge of a cliff to be thrown over to His death because Jesus has no worldly influence, honor, or respect to intimate anyone.
The townspeople in the synagogue in Nazareth ask: “…is not this the carpenter, the son of Joseph?” The growing reputation of Jesus as a prophet came from areas outside of His hometown (Luke 4:14). Jesus had no reputation as a “somebody” in a worldly sense to be feared and respected. Jesus was an outcast and lowly among his native town. He did not fit-in in a worldly sense. Otherwise the people of Nazareth would never have thought they were free to be offended with Jesus to the point of throwing Him off a nearby cliff.
Jesus is the perfect, sinless Lamb of God sacrifice for our transgressions within a worldly-free package having no pedigree, wealth, social standing, or outward appeal. Jesus did not resort to appealing to worldly power. Jesus lived a spotless life amidst no worldly influence, material success, or cultural acclaim. Yet Jesus purchased through the cross and the resurrection the power to give eternal life. Jesus has the power to effectuate the second birth of John 3:3. Eternal life through the Son of God comes through zero worldly stature or authority. This means we can live godly lives “in Christ” pleasing to the Father, likewise with or without any worldly acclaim, influence, or stature.
But more importantly for the discussion in this chapter, the complete lack of appeal to worldly influence in the life and ministry of Jesus tells us that Jesus as King and Ruler is the diametric opposite of hypocrisy. Jesus does not have to resort to worldly acclaim, influence, and appeal to impress the world. Jesus is the perfect, sinless Lamb of God sacrifice despite being devoid of outward worldly appeal.
By contrast, the son of perdition of 2 Thessalonian 2:3 to be shortly revealed by the upcoming events and circumstances of the great tribulation…the negative attack-ad character-assassin specialist…is the vilest hypocrite. He promises peace and safety according to a modified version of the promise of worldly power he made to Jesus of Nazareth in the temptation in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-13), without the lightest intention or capacity to offer anything other than destruction and ruin for all who choose to follow him.
In my opinion, the Christian church has to participate in the exposure of this vast contrast between the genuine King and Ruler of the realm, and the counterfeit impostor who would like to overthrow God and assume His position. The only Person in all of existence smart enough to outmaneuver and trap Lucifer in his deceptive lies and hypocrisy is God Almighty. But for our benefit, for a discovery of the knowledge of good and evil to reach its full extent, the Christian church will be engaged in the middle of the action as previewed in every narrative story of faith recorded in the Bible.