Thursday, June 9, 2016

Do You Fear Death? If So, Do You Know Why?

The following is an excerpt from our book, "Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation, which is the sequel to our first book "The End Times Passover." This excerpt is actually part of the 12th and last chapter of this book, with a similar title from the first book, but we call it, "God's End Times Passover."

We don't want to confuse the reader, but this excerpt is probably the most important chapter from both books, because it deals with the subject of death and (especially) the topic of suffering, which most folks would rather avoid. The fear of suffering and death could very well be why the topic of the Rapture to Heaven is so popular. Most people perceive that this Rapture theory represents an escape not only from death but from all of the horrors we see spoken of in the Book of Revelations. 

People also call this escape "The Blessed Hope." Those pastors, teachers and evangelists who hold to this dogma are obviously more popular than those of us who have studied deeply into this topic and found the Rapture to Heaven theory wanting. None of us cares to experience tribulation (persecution) at the hands of anti-Christian forces, much less being on earth when God pours out his wrath on unrepentant sinners. The wise know the Bible tells us that we are not destined for wrath, but it also says (in Acts 14:22) that we "must through much tribulation enter the kingdom of God."

Do we fear persecution? Not just being denied our Christian rights, but great tribulation (such as being tossed into prison and being tortured) like those poor souls who experienced great tribulation during the Inquisition and the Great Crusades. Or does the thought of dying scare us more so? This excerpt answers this question!

Tribulation or Wrath?
The biggest confusion the author has seen coming from the secret escape from tribulation camps has been their inability to recognize the difference between tribulation and wrath.  The man of lawlessness and his cohorts will afflict (Gr. thlipsis, tribulations) and even kill many Christians, but God’s wrath is designed solely for the unbelieving and unrepentant.  The wrath by the man of lawlessness is the called out ones tribulation, but God’s wrath is His vengeful punishment on the unrepentant, that wrath which He will pour out on those who did not accept His gift of salvation:

For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him, (1 Thessalonians 5:9, 10 NIV).[Bold and underline is by the author, solely for emphasis]

All of the scriptures mentioned so far in this chapter prove that God is able to deliver His people from any calamity.  He did so throughout the Bible as previously mentioned with Daniel, Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego, Noah and so many others.  Why would anyone think that God is not able to protect His chosen people while at the same time He is pouring out His wrath on the unrepentant? 

Unfortunately, what many Christians are not prepared for, nor even want to imagine, is what was spoken about in Matthew 24, where it states that Christians will be persecuted, and even at the hands of relatives and other loved ones.  That’s the true horror, that many of our so-called friends and loved ones (and maybe even fellow church members) will abandon the faith and acquiesce to the pressures of the world and literally sell out their souls to antichristian forces. Many in exchange even for mere scraps of food and water, and to avoid any pain being inflicted on them. The treachery by those who we once befriended, loved, trusted and supported in all things, will, in a self preservation mode, betray their former friends and relatives. “The horror, the horror,” is the appropriate and descriptive phrase for this time, words which actor Marlon Brando uttered so agonizingly in the movie, Apocalypse Now.
So, the truth remains that many, hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of Christians will be brought before the magistrates, kings, or government officials that will comprise the authorities of the Beast state, to face charges of treason and sedition for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Many called out ones will be tortured and even killed for what will be perceived as blasphemy against the world’s new ruling order, which will (by then) have abolished the freedom of religion.  However, God said not to worry, He will provide His called out ones with words to speak that cannot be dissuaded, words that will pierce the hardest of hearts in order to bring great glory to God and to His Kingdom.  These select Christians will become witnesses (martyrs) as a result of being accused, judged and executed as enemies of the state, at those diabolically controlled tribunals. Many in attendance at (or who view through media) these trials, who do not believe in Christ, will be moved by the power of the Holy Spirit. They will stirred by the testimonies of these called out ones to also pick up their cross for Jesus, as they themselves will witness those innocent soldiers of the cross being convicted of no crime save their belief in Jesus Christ. Many will be moved by the power of the Holy Spirit as they witness the diabolically induced injustice against the called out ones. They will repent and hitherto will instantly convert to the Lord, also placing them in harm’s way. Unfortunately, the Pre-Tribulation theory, that bespeaks Christians will be secretly caught away to safety in heaven before God pours out His wrath, has literally lulled millions into a false sense of security.  When in fact, millions will suffer for Christ’s sake and will be put to death at the hands of anti-christian forces. 
No one wants to think about death or dying, primarily because no one really knows what death truly entails.  Ecclesiastes states that when a person dies, they remember or know nothing henceforth, until The Resurrection. There have been numerous recorded accounts of out-of-body experiences by those who came close to death.  And in each of those cases, those who came back have reported that after supposedly experiencing either a hellish encounter or seeing a wonderful white light (or even seeing Jesus) or departed family members, after being resuscitated back to life, have never reported or could remember the pain of death or dying.  Who really knows what death is like until it is experienced? There must be something about death that God knows needs not to be feared. 
Humans fear death for many reasons.  Fear of leaving loved ones behind uncared for, fear of leaving their earthly possessions to others, fear of not being able to finish a work. However, as the Bible clearly states, the biggest fear is in not knowing what death holds in store. The biblical reality is that we have this fear because we don’t know true love, the love that one can only know and experience from God. Those who don’t know the love of God have fear of punishment, because there is punishment for sin, our daily sinful actions. Those who know true love have experienced the forgiveness God provided when Christ died on the cross to pay for our sins. If we have not accepted this grace and forgiveness, we will always fear death because the only judgment for those who do not accept this forgiveness is eternal punishment. In the book of 1 John 4:10-21, the author clearly explains this profound truth:

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.  13 We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.  14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.  16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love.  Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in Him. 17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the Day of Judgment, because in this world we are like him.  18 There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishmentThe one who fears is not made perfect in love.  19 We love because he first loved us.  20 If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar.  For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.  21 And he has given us this command:  Whoever loves God must also love his brother, (1 John 4:10-21, NIV). [Bold, italics and underline is by the author, solely for emphasis]

Based on our understanding of this group of scriptures, an important question begs to be asked. If Christians have already been caught up to heaven for safety reasons, seven or three and a half years before Christ returns to pour out His wrath on the unrepentant, why would John be giving Christians a warning about love being complete among them so that they should have confidence on the Day of Judgment?  If the Christian Church has already been Raptured (before this great onslaught of tribulation), obviously it has already made it to heaven and needs not fear death or judgment.  The answer is that we fear death because fear has to do with punishment.  If the Christian Church is already in heaven, God’s love for it is made complete and, at this point in time, there is no punishment due to the church because living in God is love and whoever lives in love lives in God and, if we live in God, we need not have the want for confidence on the Day of Judgment. Therefore this exhortation would not be necessary. However John does warn the called out ones about this aspect, because the ecclesia will be here on earth when Christ returns to pour out His wrath on the unrepentant. While many fear this aspect, they fail to understand that experiencing martyrdom so others can obtain salvation is the zenith of the human experience. Jesus Christ showed mankind this great love, and conquered sin and Satan by giving His life so others may live, and called out ones, during this most horrific period in history, will also have an opportunity to be conquerors themselves:

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends, (John 15:13, KJV).

Next to God’s (in the person of Jesus Christ) willingness to lay down His life so others can live, there exists no greater example than the love resident in martyr Stephen’s heart. One of the author’s all-time favorite Bible chapters is Acts 7, because it paints a perfect picture and example of what he believes Christians will be experiencing at the End Times. This chapter ends with how Stephen’s soon-to-be assassins reacted to the words of his piercing truth; and, his last dying wish as he succumbed to the stoning by those very same people, was a prayer that God had to answer:

When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him.  55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.  56 "Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."  57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him.  Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.  59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."  60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them."  When he had said this, he fell asleep, (Acts 7:1-60, NIV). [Bold and underline is by the author, solely for emphasis]
As mentioned in an earlier chapter, the author is convinced that God answered Stephen’s last prayer, and thereby called out Paul (and possibly many others) amongst this band of legalistic Jews, a man He converted and used like no other man has been used by God to bring others to His Kingdom.  The entire Chapter of Acts 7 shows us how Stephen was not only the first, but one of the greatest martyrs in Bible history, but it also shows us a profound role model and a perfect example of what Christians can truly expect to experience immediately before the Lord’s return.  

Like Stephen, God will use many called out ones during the End Times to bring others to Christ. And the author believes that many of those called out ones will be mere humble and faith-believing servants of God, unknown by many, and not necessarily will include renowned evangelists, pastors, Bible teachers, prophecy writers and others who take so much pride in their knowledge of theology and seek worldly acceptance as great religious leaders:

But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake.13 and it shall turn to you for a testimony. 14   Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: 15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. 16 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. 17   And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. 18   But there shall not an hair of your head perish. 19 In your patience possess ye your souls, (Luke 21:12-19, KJV). [Bold and underline by the author, solely for emphasis]

Of course, none of us wants to think about death and dying, but that’s what many Christians will truly experience in the End Times, especially those who choose not to shrink back, those who hate their lives and will find it, as opposed to those who love their lives and will lose them. [To grasp a greater understanding of the phenomenon of dying for Christ, please read Foxe's Book of Martyrs after finishing this book]

It is interesting to note that the true beauty of Acts, Chapter 7, is that the word Stephen (stephanos, in the Greek) is the very word used for the ‘crown of life’ reward Jesus brings with Him upon His return, as mentioned in Revelation 22:12. Nevertheless, as profound an example of what true Christians can and should be prepared to experience during the End Times, most humans (Christians, too) still have this inbuilt fear of death. The author is not claiming that all Christians will experience martyrdom during this period immediately before The Second Advent. However, the possibility of persecution unto death is highly probable for many Christians. No one truly knows if God has chosen us for this fate; but, individually, each and every true believing Christian alive today is a strong candidate for martyrdom. Some (or many) will have to face this possibility. Others may escape death before The Second Advent.

To Know and Feel the Love Of God

Scriptures abound that speak of the love of God for His creation. Those who have experienced the regenerative power of forgiveness can attest to the knowledge and feeling of God’s love. Many a Christian who was once bogged down in the swamp of sin, who openly welcomed the forgiveness of God, can attest to the wondrous feeling of His love.
The author believes Christ loves each and every one of us and does not want us to suffer pain. This is so clear especially in the Book of John, Chapter 17.  While true faith is not based on feeling, as we read this chapter, one can feel the special and personal closeness and love Jesus has for each and every one of us, as He prays to the Father for our protection during the End Times.  Read this in its entirety, and feel His tremendous love:

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: "Father, the time has come.  Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.  2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.  3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.  4 I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.  5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. 6 I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world.  They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.  7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you.  8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them.  They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.  9 I pray for them.  I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.  10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine.  And glory has come to me through them.  11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you.  Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name--the name you gave me--so that they may be one as we are one.  12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me.  None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled13 "I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.  15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.  17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.  18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.  19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. 20 My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.  May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23 I in them and you in me.  May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.  24 "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.  25 "Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me.  26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them, (John 17:1-26, NIV). [Bold and underlines is by the author, solely for emphasis]

The most important verse in this chapter, which is crucial to the major premise of this book, is verse 15, which bears repeating.  My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.”  If there is any one scripture that confirms that there will be no secret Pre-Tribulation escape to heaven before The Second Advent, it is this one verse.  Here, Jesus Christ Himself is praying to God for Him not to take us out of this world, but to protect us from the evil one. God is perfectly able to do this without removing us anywhere. God is able to pour out His wrath on the unrepentant, and still provide protection for all of His saints, as Peter so boldly states:

For if God did not spare angels, when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men 8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard) – 9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to Hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment, (2 Peter 2:4-9, NIV). [Bold and underline is by the author, solely for emphasis]

Yes, my friends, God truly has an End Times Passover program.  Many of the called out ones will be persecuted and killed by the man of lawlessness and his demonic minions, and maybe even by friends, neighbors and relatives; and, sadly, even by former church members.  Many will be alive when the Lord snatches His ecclesia to meet and greet Him in the air, to escort Him back to earth, where each called out one will actually see Him pouring out His wrath upon the unrepentant.  Some of members of the ecclesia might still feel a little squeamish about the possibility that they will be tortured or killed for standing up for Him, while others will escape unscathed through His End Times Passover.  Regardless, when He does return, whether we die a martyr’s death or remain alive upon His return, we will finally be united forever with Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God; we will be able to look Him in the face and hear Him say “Well-done, good and faithful servant, you were faithful in a few things; I will put you in charge of many, (Mathew 25:23, NIV).

Therefore, the author herewith boldly encourages his fellow called out ones. As we begin to faintly hear in the distance, the imminent hoof beats of that great white horse, carrying our soon-to-return Messiah, to stand firm and, as Ephesians 6:10-18 so boldly exhorts, let us:

…be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  11 put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.  12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.18 and pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints, (Ephesians 6:10-18, NIV).

In conclusion, the author believes he has provided in these two books sufficient scriptures that literally refute both the secret Pre-Tribulation escape to heaven theory, and the establishment of a 1000-year geopolitical kingdom reign for Nationalistic Jews. God’s Kingdom reign will be established on earth, its headquarters will be inside of the soon-to-descend New Jerusalem, and it will be an eternal kingdom. Until this day arrives, the world and its people will continue to slide further down the diabolical trash heap of history. One only has to see on television, hear on radio, read in newspapers and the Internet, to realize that mankind is drifting farther and farther away from God. The world is being dragged asunder by demonic forces, appearing as angels of light, twisting God’s message set forth in His Holy word. Heathen religions (and even many Protestant denominations) are fomenting a different Gospel than the one Paul was given by Jesus Christ, the very God of creation Himself!
In the United States (especially), many churches and their leaders are propagating a soothing, titillating Gospel and lulling many uninformed Christians into a false sense of religious security. Many American citizens (especially), believing they are true God-fearing people, are being duped by religious charlatans, whose sole mission is to glorify themselves and fill their coffers by writing and promoting false doctrines at the expense of people who genuinely seek the truth, who genuinely seek forgiveness for their sinful lives, and the proper direction to serve God in truth. Many of them have fallen victim to “quick fix” religious formulae used by the thousands of false teachers and prophets, who use the media as their pulpit of expediency, charming and seducing many of God’s children away from their local congregations, and the faithful service required in their immediate households and in their respective neighborhoods. These demonically inspired (and so-called) men of God are snatching our loved ones from the flock right before our very eyes.

Yet, while many who boldly speak forth the gospel truth, which calls for the genuine sacrifice of prayer and faithful service to the poor, hungry and homeless, they are being told that they will be Left Behind to suffer God’s wrath, while their adherents are being craftily seduced to believe they will not experience tribulation through secret escape to heaven mythologies.
The choice is yours. Keep waiting for a secret escape to heaven, or pick up your cross and follow Jesus, wherever that path may lead. Are you ready to pick up your cross, and follow Him? Are you ready to lay down your life so others can also share eternal life with Jesus Christ, our God?
Until next time, maybe sooner, when we will be joined together in that great meeting in the air at His Coming, the author leaves you with this profound message:

We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.  2 For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.  4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.  5 It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking.  6 But there is a place where someone has testified: "What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 7 You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor 8 and put everything under his feet." In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him.  Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him.  9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.  10 In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.  11 Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family.  So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.  12 He says, "I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises." 13 And again, "I will put my trust in him.  And again he says, "Here am I, and the children God has given me." 14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil-- 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death,  (Hebrews 2:1-15, NIV). [Bold and underline is by the author, solely for emphasis]

For more information about the author and his books, please click on Joe Ortiz


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    1. Beautiful Joe, just absolutely beautiful.. Mankind greatest fear, dying.. There is nothing to fear, but fear itself.. You covered them all on why.. Leaving loved ones behind.. Fear of what is going to happen to their earthly possessions, etc.. God has ALWAYS protected his people since the beginning.. Such an excellent title for your book; "The End Time Passover." It brings to mind the first Passover mentioned in the book of Exodus.. He protected his people then, and he will protect them again during the End of this system controlled by satan and his minions.. Gods' word tells us that he will NEVER leave us or forsake us (but if we forsake God, he will forsake us Ezra 8:22) So that we may be of bold and say: " The Lord is my helper,I WILL NOT BE AFRAID, what can man do to me? (Hebrews 13:5-6) The worst that man can do to anyone is kill them, but God has the power to resurrect us.. That is one reason we need to Trust God with our whole Heart!!. (Proverbs 3:5) We must NOT fear man, or what they can do to us, torture, kill our loved ones, or even kill usb during the time of Wicked One, but rather we must fear (revere) him that can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Gehenna)(Matthew 10:28) It's so sad like you mention that many Christians,even our loved one, (which have been the hardest for me to get their attention, it breaks my heart) have been mis-lead by all these false teachers that are in abundance during these End Times!!.. Many of them in it just to mislead their flock and fill their greedy pockets, but that is all they will get!!.. (James 3:1) It's been a Blessing to me that I was able to read your books Joe Ortiz!!..

  2. Truly a sumptuous feast of information and inspiration from a notably accomplished pen. May we continue to hear more from the same source!