Dead Man

“Well,” I said that morning as we finished breakfast, “if everyone’s ready, we can leave for Slidell.”

          “Slidell?” Steve repeated.

          “It’s another city in Louisiana,” I told him. “About an hour and a half away.”

*                            *                            *                            *                            *

          “Good evening,” Pastor Mast greeted us at the door.

          “Good evening,” I replied.

          “Mr. Short-hand,” David greeted, coming over.

          “You all are early,” Pastor Mast observed.

          “It would seem like it,” I agreed, since only David and his family and the Masts were here.

          A couple of minutes passed and the Martins pulled in.

          “Mr. Short-hand,” Edward greeted me. “How do you do?”

          “Good, thank you,” I replied.

          “Name’s Edward,” he stated. “Though most call me Ed. My wife, Emily; oldest daughter Anna; our oldest son, David; second daughter, Ruth; and these are our twin girls, Rachel and Rebecca.”

          “Amos Kauffman,” I replied, and introduced the rest.

          “David said you’re housing the Millers,” Felicity remarked.

          “Sure am,” Edward agreed. “It’s a little strange with two Anna’s in the house; Antoine’s wife is named Anna, also.”

          “This must be Mr. Short-hand,” Antoine remarked as he neared the spot.

          I shook my head and smiled. “Sure am,” I replied. “But my actual name is Amos Kauffman.”
          Introductions were made. We actually met the Millers.

          “Oh, by the way,” Antoine remarked. “You know why they call it shorthand?”

          “No,” I replied.

          “Well you see, before it appeared,” Antoine began, “there was a news agency up somewhere; I think New York or somewhere, and they were doing really good. But one day they ran a bit shorthanded on reporters during a press-conference, so the editor had to try his hand at reporting, so scribbled down his notes. When his secretary got a hold of his paper, she couldn’t quite read it, but compared her brother’s notes with the editor’s, and along with a couple of other papers, managed to re-create the speech. That’s why they call it shorthand.”

          Antoine and Ed laughed. I smiled and  looked at Felicity, who snickered.

          “So ever since then,” Antoine continued, “they called it shorthand because they used it for when they were short-handed!”

          They laughed again. I chuckled slightly.

          The prelude began after several minutes of conversation, and we parted to our seats. More families had come now, and it was 6:28.

          The service began as usual, and then Brother Matthew Kurtz took the floor.

          “Good evening,” he began, then looked around.

          “I said, ‘Good evening’,” Brother Kurtz repeated.

          “Good evening,” the rest of us replied.

          “There we go,” Brother Matt stated. “Now, my text is 1st Corinthians 15:51-57. 1st Corinthians 15:51-57, and my title is ‘Your Death Sentence’. ‘Your Death Sentence’, Amos,” he repeated, “just in case you need me to say it, since you’re writing every word.”

          Laughter ripped across the audience.

          “1st Corinthians 15:51-57,” Brother Kurtz repeated, and began reading:

          “‘Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

          “Now, I don’t know, how many of you believe in a Post-Trib Rapture?”

          No hands went up.

          “Well that’s good,” Matthew replied. “Tonight I want to speak about the Post-Tribulational view, or, as it is to be referred to hereafter, the Post-Trib view.

          “The Post-Trib view stated that the Church of Jesus Christ (uh, not the Morons—Mormons, I’m sorry) will be on earth, in bodily form, to experience the trouble that occurs on earth. Post-Tribulationalists, or Port-Tribbers, believe that all, repeat, all Christians must go through literal tribulation, persecution, because, after all, even Paul promised it when he said that ‘all that will live godly, in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution.’

          “Post-Tribbers are also confused about Israel; they mix the Church and Israel in the same pot. They also think that those who are suffering persecution in China and the Middle East (and other places) are experiencing tribulation. Those who teach a Pre-Tribulational Rapture would be labeled as ‘heretics’ by these persecuted Christians, according to these Post-Tribbers.

          “Post-Tribbers do not like the terms ‘The Great Tribulation’ or ‘The Tribulation’. They say, ‘While the word tribulation is used to denote what takes place during the end times, it is never used as a title for this period.’ Folks, this is their argument that all of their theory is based upon. They interpret all uses of the word tribulation (and its synonyms) to mean the ‘time of Jacob’s trouble’, and springboard from that to say all believers must go through tribulation; must experience physical persecution.

          “Contrary to Post-Tribbers,” Brother Matt continued, “I think Pre-Tribulationalists would be gladly received by the persecuted believers, as they know their Bibles, and a Pre-Trib Rapture offers them hope that, one day, they might get out of here!”

          “Amen! That’s right!” someone called out.

          “I don’t have time to cover everything, but I will say this,” Brother Matt went on, “if, and only if, the Post-Trib view was correct, here’s what would happen: The Antichrist would appear and settle a deal with Israel as Daniel 9:27 says, ‘And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.’ Persecution might get worse, based on this theory. Three and a half years later, the Antichrist will break his covenant, set himself up as God as 2nd Thessalonians 2 says, and rule the world with an iron fist for forty-two months as Revelation 13 says.

          “Christians will have to endure all this trouble, by themselves, by the way, since ‘he that now letteth will let until he be taken out of the way’ 2nd Thessalonians 2:7. The Holy Ghost has to be removed, or else Satan’s scheme can’t go. God has to remove the Holy Spirit in order for the Antichrist to solve the world’s problems. How sad we have no comforter during these times!”

          “Amen!”

          “Preach it, brother!”

          “At the end of this hypothetical ‘time of Jacob’s trouble,’ Brother Kurtz continued, “all the armies will be gathered against Jerusalem to battle; Jesus will Rapture all the dead saints, and then the armies of Heaven will crack the skies. Yes, I said, ‘dead saints’. According to Revelation 13, verse 5, those who do not worship the beast are killed. Revelation 20:4 says, ‘And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.’ There will be no Christians left, as they will all be dead; beheaded, you’re fly bait!”

          The audience clapped. Someone shouted amen.

          “Now I must say,” Brother Mast stated, smiling, “it’s a good thing Jesus is God. All them white horses, He’s either got them all tied to His saddle individually, tied in a long line behind Him, or He’s dragging them all behind, holding on to all those bridles; must have really big hands!”

          Laughter ripped across the congregation, as applause erupted in the congregation.

          “Actually,” Brother Kurtz resumed, “the Bible says that Jesus told us to watch. Mark 13:32-37 says, ‘But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.’ Matthew 24:36-51 says something similar. Verse 36 says ‘of that day and hour knoweth no man’. If Jesus was to return for the Church at the end of the Tribulation, you could easily calculate the time.

          “1st Corinthians 15:51-52 says we shall not all sleep,” Brother Kurtz continued. “Post-Tribbers ignore the first part of that passage, ‘we shall not all sleep’, and say the mystery is ‘we shall all be changed’. The Bible says that the mystery is ‘we shall not all sleep’ and ‘we shall all be changed’. I already mentioned the Restrainer; also consider, if Christians were left on this earth, we would expose the Antichrist.

          “I mentioned Jesus dragging all those horses behind Him. I must ask, what’s the point of us going up there, if we have to come right back down? It’ll be ‘Hi, Lord!’ and down we come!”

          Several clapped; a couple laughed.

          “So in conclusion,” Brother Kurtz stated, “let’s remember 1s Corinthians 15:51-52:           ‘Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.’”         

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