Rapture

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” But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.” (Revelation 20:5 NKJV)

In the last post we differentiated between the rapture (a physical and forceful catching away of the saints) and the resurrection (the dead in Christ transformed with a glorified body). Those who are alive at the last trump will be changed in the twinkling of an eye. We also learned this transformation occurs prior to death’s ultimate defeat.

Matthew 5:18 states that Heaven and Earth disappear before the smallest part of the law goes away.  The picture then becomes clearer: after our Heaven and Earth are gone, Death and Hades are sent to the Lake of Fire.

Revelation 20:4-6 answers the question: “When does the resurrection occur?” John sees thrones and people seated on them with authority to judge. These are the souls that had been beheaded for Christ (cf: Rev. 6:9-11). They refused to worship the beast or his image, neither had they taken his mark. It is repeated so we don’t miss it: This is the first resurrection!

It cannot be denied, the Bible says the martyred souls come back to life at the start of the Millennium; the general resurrection occurs after the thousand years is passed.

By comparing Scripture with Scripture, it becomes evident the Rapture is not described in 1 Corinthians 15:50-54. How can so many Bible prophecy experts get it wrong? “Taken or seized in an upward direction” is not ushered into glory in a new body. Are they so married to their doctrine of any moment rapture that they deny the obvious?

When are “alive” saints changed? Revelation 20:11 informs us. Believers are glorified when the last age, the Millennium, is no more. John sees a Great White Throne and on it The Judge. Heaven and Earth flee from His face. The Greek word is pheugo (fyoo’-go) and it means “to run away, vanish, escape, flee away” (pg. 75 of “The Greek Dictionary from Strong’s Concordance” a.k.a. Strongs).

The definition that fits the above context is “to vanish”. The present heavens and earth are preserved by fire for the Day of Judgment (2nd Peter 3:7). The heavens disappear with a great noise and the elements will melt with a fervent heat (2nd Peter 3:10). To survive, those alive must be changed. How could anyone live through an inferno?

Finally, the Heavenly Jerusalem will descend on a new earth (Rev. 21:1-2). Eternity begins. As believers, this is our glorious hope. To grasp this, God’s Spirit must be our teacher. Our part is studying, comparing and examining the Word of God within its proper context. We are certain readers will arrive at the same conclusion we have: Rapture is not Resurrection.

EJ

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Behold, I tell 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 trumpet. “For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed.” (I Corinthians 15:51-52 NKJV).

In Part 1, we cited what many prophecy teachers claim about the Rapture. From 1 Thessalonians 4:17, the Greek word used for what we call “the rapture” is harpazo (“snatch or seize, suddenly or vehemently, i.e. to take away”, Bauer, Arndt and Gingrich, p. 107),.

In harpazo’s thirteen New Testament usages, it never applies to a physical change into a glorified body. Instead, it means a sudden forceful, carrying away. An objective reading of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 shows Paul teaching that saints who are asleep are the first, in order, to meet Christ in the clouds. Then, following that, we who are alive and remain will be taken up, seized or plucked to meet Christ in the air. The intended meaning portrays a gathering up by force. Conversely, if we were instantly changed into a glorified body, we would have the ability to ascend under our own power. Seizing or carrying away intimates a strong arm doing the lifting or snatching. Harpazo would not be the word Paul would choose, if Pre-Tribulation (PTR) teaching were true. Does this make you wonder why their scholars don’t consider this contradiction?

Prophecy teachers misinform and mislead when they insert the “resurrection teaching” of 1 Corinthians 15:51-57 into their teaching on the rapture. They are not identical events, but types, meaning they are similar in nature, but not the same. They are separated in time by just over 1000 years!

When one claims that believers are changed at the rapture when the last trump sounds (1 Corinthians 15:52), the logic becomes flawed. They are saying “this equals that”, but rapture is clearly rescue, not resurrection. There is no evidence that the trumpet call of God in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 is the last trumpet. Where in Scripture is “last trumpet” a reference to the snatching up in the air at Jesus’ return?

In 1 Corinthians 15:51, Paul refers to the saints’ change from mortality to immortality, as a mystery. Paul uses the Greek word for “mystery” 21 times. It is musterion (moos-tay’-ree-on, “a secret or mystery too profound for human ingenuity”, B.A.G., p.532)

The conveyed idea is that many will not understand the truth. God must reveal it. Many will be led astray by false teaching. Paul is clear as to the order of events. “Changed” occurs at the last trumpet, when the corruptible puts on incorruption. The Bible states when this transformation happens (i.e. the mortal putting on immortality), then what is written, such as Hosea 13:14, is fulfilled. “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O Death, I will be your plagues! O Grave, I will be your destruction! Pity is hidden from My eyes” (NKJV).

So when is death ultimately defeated? 1 Corinthians 15:56 teaches that the sting of death is sin and the strength of sin is the law. While during Jesus’ 1000 year reign on earth sin will be restricted and death delayed, both will exist. The Law must also exist since not the smallest letter or least mark will disappear from the Law until all is accomplished (Matthew 5:18 ).

Our answer to the question about Death and Hades’ ultimate defeat will come next time. In Part 3, we will see another major problem PTR teachers have by confusing rapture with resurrection. EJ

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” Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (1st Thessalonians 4:17, NKJV)

The sun sets over the ocean as two lovers embrace. The waves gently roll onto the beach. The sky is clear blue and the world seems perfect for the couple. In an instant, as the man and woman peer deep into each other’s eyes, this moment of serenity turns into chaos. The woman literally vanishes and immediately, the bewildered gentleman hears screams from panicking mothers on the boardwalk. Children are gone and the sounds of a plane plummeting toward the ocean is heard. A moment of love turned into a scene of heartache, death and destruction. What caused this? Many in Christian circles would say that the Rapture of the Church had just taken place. Those adults who believed in Jesus and all children are in Glorified bodies in Heaven. Christian literature and movies have portrayed similar events. Is this Biblical?

Paul described what we call the Rapture as a catching away of believers to meet the Lord in the air (1st Thessalonians 4:16-17). The Greek word for caught up is harpazo (har-pad’-zo). It means to seize: catch (away or up), pluck pull, take (by force). There is nothing in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 that suggest believers are given glorified bodies and are in heaven. Paul says we will meet the Lord in the air. The Greek word indicates a physical gathering of the elect. When we compare this event with Matthew 24:31 we see that angels are the ones who are taking the elect of the Lord up (after the great sound of a trumpet). The saints are in physical bodies but in the air with Jesus. Now let’s look at other scriptures that use the term harpazo.

In Acts 8:26-39, we read the story of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch. The Angel of the Lord told Philip where to go and it was a divine appoinment to preach the Gospel of Salvation. The eunuch believed and was immediately baptized, then the Spirit caught Philip away (harpazo). He was bodily transported to another city, Azotus. (Acts 8:39-40). There was no resurrection into Heaven.

Paul himself says that he remembers a man 14 years earlier caught up into the 3rd Heaven (Paradise). He used the word harpazo again, yet he did not know if this was a physical or spiritual catching away. The fact is that Paul entered God’s throne but he did not have a glorified body. In fact, he is recounting this event 14 years later.

Finally, we see the term harpazo used in Revelation 12:5. The man child was caught up to God and His throne because the dragon (Satan) wanted to devour the child, who is God’s plan of salvation. This catching up is an example of rescue not resurrection. Conversely, Luke describes Jesus as being carried up into Heaven (Luke 24:51). Jesus has a resurrected body at this point and when He ascends into Heaven, the Greek word that Luke uses is anaphero (an-af-er’-o) which means to take up, bear, bring (carry, lead up, offer up). Jesus ascends with the Resurrected power He received from the Father. Harpazo, the term meaning rapture is not used.

When we follow the 5 Rules of Biblical interpretation (see definition section), truth will be realized. In the next post, I will show how 1Corinthians 15:51-52 (where believers are changed in the twinkling of an eye) is not the same event as the Rapture. It is a parallel event that follows rule 5 of Biblical Interpretation: Look for the Near/Far in Bible Prophecy. EJ

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Wisdom cries out in the street. Will someone listen to what She has to say (Proverbs 1:20)? It’s not that Wisdom wants attention or recognition; She wants to be heard. That is our desire as well.

One reason for a blog is to promote discussion about a philosophy or a set of ideas. We endeavor to promote wisdom in an age of foolishness. We have something to express of major importance, that—as far as we can determine—no one else is saying.

Below are six insights from our study in the Word that makes our blog unique and our books full of intriguing discoveries. It all became possible when a Pre-Wrath Rapture position was adopted. Some of what you read may seem far-fetched; but, rather than dismiss it, put it to the test. If we were not certain of the truth, we would not share our findings (Revelation 22:18-19). Since we are sure, how could we keep these revelations to ourselves?

What makes our message unique is “We Believe…

1)  The five major rules for Bible Interpretation must be carefully observed to rightly understand prophecy. A face-value hermeneutic is often taught with regard to interpreting Scripture, but abandoned by many who interpret prophecy. If rigidly applied, the correct understanding of prophecy can be determined by the weight of Biblical evidence, beyond a reasonable doubt.

2)  The focus of Bible prophecy is not the Church, but Israel. God’s sovereign plan for the future becomes clear when we key our study on the people of Israel. When Scripture mentions Jacob or the Israelites, it is always in relation to the offspring of Abraham and his grandson Jacob.

3)  The third age is the Millennium, the 1000-year reign of Christ. We are currently near the end of the 2nd age. Those on the ark were born in the 1st age, but died at the outset of this present age. Prophecy describes a coming kingdom on earth where Jesus rules over a happy and prosperous people. The last age will begin soon with a great multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language of this age’s survivors.

4)  The next prophetic event may happen at any moment. It is “the day of disaster”.  Imminency, or “any moment”, is a term often applied to the rapture of the saints. But the gathering up of God’s people is preceded by signs (Matthew 24:3-33), so, it cannot be imminent. Destruction will come suddenly, like a thief in the night, especially, for those unaware of prophecy.

5)  The coming rapture is rescue, not resurrection. This may be the hardest one to digest. For 150 years, Paul’s resurrection passage (1 Corinthians 15:50-58) has unfortunately been blended with his teaching on the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). The events are similar but, in fact, are separated by 1000 years. In The People of God and Lifesaver, there is an in-depth, objective look at prophecies such as Revelation 20:1-6 to back it up this little known assertion.

6)  The timing of the last day’s events, such as the Day of the Lord’s coming, are knowable as opposed to unknowable. Upon close examination, we learn that the events surrounding the first coming of Christ were fulfilled on the major Spring Feast Days of the Hebrew Religious Calendar. Therefore, the Bible gives important clues in regard to the timing of things in the last days. Major Second-coming events will happen on the major Fall Feast Days of the same religious calendar.

There we have it in a nutshell. For those who can be persuaded by Scripture, the above is provable. Check these and other nuggets out for yourself in the books available on this site. You’ll be ahead of the rest of the class if you do.

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America is the home of the cover-up. It has become an art form. When scandal hits, the three cardinal rules are: Admit nothing, deny everything and demand proof. The present administration and its minions have taken artful dodging to another level. They are masters of the craft using deception, obfuscation, buck-passing and shifting attention from the holes in their story.

In recent posts, I’ve focused on one of the scandals now before the American people—Benghazi.  Four died in service to their country when they were sent on a doomed mission. That is a fact. The truth of what happened and why has been much harder to gather.

My purpose is not to pile on the folks in charge for their alleged wrong-doings. Yes, evidence seems to indicate that the official explanation from Washington was fiction. Christian leaders, unwittingly or not, have been doing the same for a long time—and getting away with it.

Re: Benghazi, major media in the U.S. is reporting that initial info sent up the chain of command was “scrubbed.” In a series of emails between those involved in the president’s re-election and political-minded operatives in the State Department, references to “terrorism” or the al-Qaeda-related group responsible for the attack were deleted. Talking points eventually ended up with those in the government’s executive branch with access to the cameras and microphones.

Recently, emails were released to investigators. However, the surrendered communications do not cover the first 67 hours after reports of the attack hit Washington. Even so, what was given to Congress clearly shows a scenario was crafted that became the fiction our leaders told the public for a week.

In Lifesaver, I detailed how the PTR or Pre-tribulation Rapture storyline has been cleverly-crafted and “scrubbed” since it originated in the first part of the 19th century. Jesus offered facts when he said, “But before all these things, they will lay hands on you and persecute you.” (Luke 21:12)  What we hear from many in our pulpits, Bible schools and Christian media, has “scrubbed” all prophetic references to God’s people under-going a time of global persecution.  The official PTR version has evolved over the years. Names and events have disappeared or changed in its revisions. Rest assured the truth will stand. God’s Word will come to pass.

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Question 12- What would you like readers of Lifesaver to take away from the experience?

 

Answer 12-I hope that they’d say the book was fair. I hope they appreciate the objective way I presented my case with Scripture. I hope they realize after reading Lifesaver that truth matters. I hope they can see that Christians can disagree without making the other side out to be villains. I hope they can process everything and be able to take a stand against popular opinion. And, I guess, I want them to know if a brother or sister supports the “any moment rapture” position, it doesn’t mean they have horns. It only means they do not fully understand what the Bible teaches or correctly interpret prophecy–therefore, they are in trouble of being deceived.

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Question 9: The Bible gives hope, indeed, but what is hopeful about experiencing the tribulation?

Answer 9: That is a good question and one that we need to thoroughly grasp. Viktor Frankl, the Nazi holocaust survivor who wrote, “In Search of Meaning,” gave good insight from his horrific experience. He said something like, “When we find meaning in our suffering, it is then no longer suffering.” Besides the testing of our love and loyalty to Christ, tests demonstrate that we are genuine and belong among the people of God. There is rich meaning to be found in tribulation. It refines us like gold. It allows us to participate in the sufferings of Christ. Tribulation takes away our love for this world; it allows us to do good deeds and express our love for our fellow man, even for our enemies.

   Peter wrote that we should not think of our suffering as though something strange was happening to us. Paul and the apostles taught the disciples outside of Lystra, where he was stoned and left for dead. Their message was in Acts 14:22, “We have to go through many tribulations to enter the kingdom of God.”

  I could go on and on. Largely, because of the PTR influence we have not connected with members of our Christian family who suffer in our day. We often fail to see reality. We live in denial. The signs are unmistakable. The U.S. and the West will soon experience a persecution of all those who claim Jesus as their Savior like we cannot imagine.

   We desperately need to develop a “theology of suffering” because the Scriptural teaching is rich on this subject. We need the mind of God about it because we are soon going to face it. Pre-tribulationalism is escapism. It is a place for those to go and listen to what their itching ears want to hear.

   I have to add that what gives suffering meaning and therefore makes it something to embrace rather than avoid is that it is the way to honor and please God and gain eternal life. It is not simply talking the talk; it is walking the walk the saints have long trod.

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Question 8: So what you are saying then, is that those supporting the Pre-Tribulation Rapture look for scriptures to support their view, rather than searching the scriptures for what is actually there?

Answer 8: Yes, you nailed it! That’s what not only Pre-tribbers do but other Christian ideologues do on a host of pet subjects. That’s how we get the cult spin-off groups.

   I have made it a point to tell my students, that if you start out with a wrong assumption, you cannot come to a correct conclusion. That’s where this is at. I saw this repeatedly in the writings or statements of Pre-Tribbers. They begin at the wrong starting place and go from there with cleverly crafted scenarios. Sincere students, those who are teachable, are susceptible because they trust teachers who love the Lord and sound knowledgeable about Scripture. Prophecy is still future so we think, “Who are we to say; they could be right.” If we would be more like the Bereans and listen intently to what our teachers give us from the Bible, then go back and examine it critically for ourselves to see if it is true, we would not have the differences we have in the church.

   I was surprised by how easy this book was to write. Coming up with Biblical arguments that dismantled PTR suppositions or starting points was not difficult. It helps that I did not just destroy. I had something valid to replace the false. Truth always gives hope.

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Question 7: So you are saying that the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view is a lie?

Anwers 7: As far as what it is, I concluded that Pre-tribulationalism is a failed ideology. PTR ideology is an extension of Dispensationalism—a theology that explains for them in a simple way God’s working throughout history and into the future. It is easy to understand and easy to teach. In regard to prophecy, it happens to be false.

  To support Dispensationalism, a Pre-tribulational story-line had to be created from the Scriptures. For reasons, it caught hold among the Biblically-minded and what was a theory is now dogma in a lot of places. Ideologues make everything fit into their way of looking at things. They believe whatever because that is the prism they choose to look at everything through.

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Question 6: Those who believe in the Pre-Trib Rapture seem to be able to find scripture to support their views. How can two totally opposite views come from the same scriptures?

Answer 6: It comes down to a difference of interpretation—a big difference. There is a reason for that. In each of my books, I place the “5 Major Rules for Bible Interpretation” up front, can’t miss them. I abide by these rules in what I write; it’s important for everyone to know that. If you want to attack my view, do it on the basis of the rules. These aren’t my rules. They are time honored rules developed by those who love the Bible. If only one is following the rules, then the one who doesn’t is free to say or do anything.

    On the subject of the rapture there is no reason for reasonable and committed Christians to have any differences. One of the principles guiding sound interpretation is “That we have not arrived at the truth until all the relevant passages on the subject are harmonized.”

    We hear PTR preachers giving lip service to the Word of God but we don’t see the same pastors, teachers, professors and supporters teaching this principle of harmonization (hermeneutics) with regard to prophecy. If they did, they could not remain Pre-tribbers. Period. There are Pre-trib zealots and defenders, but if they were harmonizing all the relevant Scriptures they would be faced with a decision—continue defending the indefensible or yield to the truth. This group remains Pre-trib because they go to the Scriptures with that mindset and look for anything confirming their view while dismissing anything that doesn’t. That is not interpretation according to the rule.

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