Sunday, June 21, 2009

RAPTURE: The WHO and WHEN Of It All - PART 3

In this third (and last) article I will examine the book of Revelation and see if I can spot the church in any duration of time contained within Daniel's 70th week, and further take a look at passages in the New Testament that would seem to encourage the church to expect Christ's return (for His bride) at ANY MOMENT! And why, if the rapture is biblical, hasn't the church taught it for the majority of its existence?




I have provided in this article, a couple of links that I have found useful in understanding various aspects of the rapture of the church, one of these from Dave Hunt, and Tom McMahon, the other from Chuck Missler.



There are some that make the allegation that the rapture of the church is a dangerously false doctrine that was concocted by Margaret MacDonald and John Darby in the late 1800's; that there were no teachings on this subject from any church fathers or teachers of the church in earlier centuries.

While this isn't relevant in itself, due primarily because the Bible is the basis of our authority for spiritual truth, and not the teachings of any church fathers, elders, teachers from any century, and its what the scriptures themselves have to say about any teachings, be they practical, devotional, correctional, exhortational, or prophetical, that is ultimately important and valid.




Even so, there is substantiation to believe that the rapture, as well as the pre-tribulational view was held by early church fathers, and devoted Christians. To elaborate on this, I present to you, the reader, this article by Chuck Missler:




http://www.khouse.org/articles/1995/39/ (read footnote #2 in this article regarding Ephraem of Nisibis (306-373 a.d.) )



These other articles found at khouse.org may also prove useful:



http://www.khouse.org/topical_bible_study/rapture/



Its sometimes pointed out by a few mid- and post-tribulationists that the church had previously taught the rapture, but it was a teaching that faded over time, until later scholars deemed it unbiblical.



This 'fading' began after the third century and continued well into the Dark Ages; even through the time of the Reformation, and it wasn't until (so these who hold such mid- and post- views, say) Darby and MacDonald, that this 'dream' was taught as Truth.



We must bear in mind church history; over a period of time the Roman church began dominating the other cities that were centers of Christian teaching, such as Antioch, Ephesus, and others (note that I delete Alexandrius as a center for Christian teaching, even though its acknowledged by many Bible scholars; the reason I do this is plainly because these so-called Christians in Alexandrius were predominantly Gnostics, and didn't believe in the fundamentals of the Christian faith, but favored Greek philosophy such as Gnosticism, Docetism, and others: but that's another blog article!).



Central to the Roman church (and particularly the formative stage of this center of dogmatism that later became the Roman Catholic church), at the behest of Constantine whose primary interest was in uniting his kingdom, was the notion that "Christ reigns in our hearts, and that the kingdom of God is within" (both true) and that "any reign of Christ on the Earth, usurping the evil leaders of the world of their position and power" was not literal, but allegorical (not true).



Origen, one of the early church fathers (and a Gnostic himself by the way!), was the one who first suggested this idea of allegorization of the scriptures. Since at that time it was a law that everyone in the Empire was to be a Christian, many that sat in the pews were unconverted pagan leaders!


Certainly these would be offended by such teachings that Christ would one day come, and replace their rulership with His own, and reign in righteousness and truth, releasing the oppressed and trodding down the oppressors! Thus was amillennialism born, that is, the belief that no actual millennial reign of Christ would be manifested in the last days, nor would it be preceded by a time of tribulation, which itself would not be commenced after a 'rapture' of believers in Christ. This became standard dogma later in the Roman Catholic church.



Another reason a 'rapture' doesn't fit into Roman Catholic theology is the idea of purgatory; it's their belief that the sufferings of Christ was not entirely sufficient for the believer, but that they must suffer for a time in purgatory before entering heaven. If that were the case, then their entrance into heaven would be a singular, rather than a collective event; that is, each saint would arrive one at a time once their suffering was complete, rather than the church in its entirety being transported into heaven at the coming of the LORD.



Unfortunately this ammillennial view held Europe and all lands dominated by the Roman Catholic church in its grip for centuries, and when the Reformation was at its apex, the focus then was "sola fide" that is, salvation by grace alone in faith alone, apart from works; as well as "sola scriptura" which means that the singular and exclusive authority for the church was the holy scriptures and not dogma, tradition, edicts from any church authority, be they pope, bishop, priest, etc.



What the Reformers didn't address, much to the tragedy of the church, was eschatology, that is the prophetic study of the last days. They more or less 'borrowed' the Roman Catholic views of amillenialism without revision, amendment, or valid correction of ANY KIND (They even propagated the view that the church was 'the new Israel' and this of course led to much persecution of the Jews at the hands of both Catholics and Protestants)!


Thus its understandable why those who deny a pre-tribulational view would assume that any idea of a rapture, which occurs BEFORE Daniel's 70th week, was a concoction of 19th century abberant theology.



Again, the ultimate authority of scripture is, and must be, the standard by which all doctrine is based; don't adhere to the words of your favorite Bible teacher, or your local pastor, or what you personally believe doctrinally. Every saint born of God is responsible to adhere to what the scriptures say, and understand the Truth by the Divine revelation which inspired the scriptures; and as long as pastors, teachers, etc. remain faithful to the Word, we owe them their due respect as leaders of the church.





Most of us know this verse any way, but I feel its important enough to post it here now:

Act 17:11
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.



Here I would like to insert a link to several video clips by Dave Hunt and Tom McMahon, and their views of the rapture. In light of what I just stated previously, we must examine the statements these brothers make in the light of scripture to determine if what they are saying is true.



While I have looked into these videos, and am quite familiar with Dave Hunt's position on the Bible, I confess that I don't agree entirely on all the views of The Berean Call, but for the most part, I believe what they teach is fundamentally correct, and I submit these for your perusal:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDhd7I6HU6k&feature=PlayList&p=69CB782FD5B6E810&index=0



There is over an hour and a half worth of clips to view and please feel free to review them at your leisure.
UPDATE (as of 6-23-09): Here is a link that provides an excellent treatment of the Rapture, from Southwest Radio Ministry:
http://swrc.com/ministry/faqs/second_coming/premil.html


THE DOCTRINE OF IMMINENCE is something revealed in scripture through various inspired writers who spoke of the LORD's return for His church, the body of Christ at ANY MOMENT.



Here are some verses that speak on this issue, take particular note of those sections in green:





Mat 24:36-44
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.


Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.


Remember that the coming of the LORD will be on a day when we think not; as the days of Noah were. The people of that time didn't expect the calamity to strike, which was foretold them, but when it occurred, they were surprised. So shall the coming of the Son of man: IF there were any precedent event that must take place before the rapture, then the time of the rapture wouldn't surprise us, and it would occur at a time when we "think so" not "think not".


The same with the following reference below in Mark: observe the statement, "you know not when the time is". For this same reason this couldn't be a reference to the Second Coming, for that won't occur until all the signs of the Revelation are complete, and the Beast reigns supreme on Earth, with his one world government; the myriad judgments declared by broken seals, blaring trumpets, and dreadful bowls will have already been accomplished prior to the Second Coming. How could at that point, any one think: 'The LORD won't be coming back any time soon. I think it's not for a long time yet'??




Mark 13:32-37
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. (see also: Luk 12:34-40)


"watch" here means "to keep awake, vigilant, as opposed to being lax and indifferent."


Phil 3:20
For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.




Of course this reference is parallel with the verses found in 1 Thess. 4, and 1 Cor. 15, as these both speak of our translation from this world, into heaven; the latter reference also speaks of the transformation of our corruptible flesh putting on immortality.



Phil 4:5
Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.




1Th 1:9-10
For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.



1Th 5:4-6
But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.






For those who keep watch, and are ever vigilant in our expectation of our LORD, we will certainly know the times and the seasons (and those of us who are watching, can we not say, we are living in that very time and season?), thus we won't be "overtake[n]" (katalambano- to suddenly come upon and to seize, as in the Day of the LORD), but when that actual day occurs, we will not experience stunned delight?





1Tim 6:13-15
I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;



There are six references to this word "appearing" in the N.T., and of these, five have the same Greek word, and among these, is this verse above. The other references are as follows:



2Tim 1:10; 2Tim 4:1 and 2Tim 4:8; Titus 2:13; the sixth reference uses a different Greek word, and this is found in 1Pet 1:7.




In the first five references the Greek word used is epiphaneia, and it means "a manifestation, a shining forth", and is related to all the various appearances of Christ, at His first Advent, and His Second, and also when He appears to His church at the rapture as mentioned here in 1 Tim. 6:14.





In the 1 Peter 1:7 reference the Greek word apokalupsis is used, and this is a "disclosure, revelation, manifestation" and its more comprehensive than epiphaneia and depicts the progressive and immediate unveiling of the otherwise unknown and unknowable God to His church.




Titus 2:11-13
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;


Hbr 9:27-28
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.


Hbr 10:36-38
For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.


Jam 5:7-8
Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.


Rev 22:20-21
He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.



There are those skeptics and cynics, humanists and atheists alike, that like to criticize and mock Jesus Christ and His Word for this scripture, for they say, He said He was coming 'quickly' and yet He's been away for 2,000 years! Did He lose track of time? Did He get a flat?

The Greek word used here is tachu, which means, "shortly, without delay, soon, or by surprise, suddenly, readily, quickly, swift". It refers more to the manner of one's coming rather than a time duration. We know that the LORD is longsuffering and not willing that any should perish, and so He waits for those last of the Gentiles, who in His wisdom, are all accounted for, and awaits the time when they will receive salvation, and then, He will come "suddenly" without warning.



The following are verses that depict the Second Coming of Christ; the second group of verses deals with the rapture of the church. If one examines each group of scriptures and compares them, the differences will become more apparent.


Daniel 2:44-45; 7:9-14; 12:1-3;


Zech. 14:1-15; Matt. 13:41; 26:64


Mark 13:14-27; 14:62; Luke 21:25-28


Acts 1:9-11; 3:19-21; 1 Thess. 3:13;


2 Thess. 1:6-10; 2:8; 2 Peter 3:1-14;


Jude :14-15; Rev. 1:7; 19:11-20:6; 22:7, 12, 20.


In these verses about the Second Coming there are no references to a translation; translated saints come back WITH Christ Jesus to the Earth.

The Earth is judged; definitive and predicted signs precede it. It affects all the people of the Earth. It concludes the day of wrath. Satan is bound.

Christ comes WITH His bride. Every eye shall see Him.



The Rapture of the Ekklesia (church):
John 14:1-3; Romans 8:19; 1 Cor. 1:7-8; 15:1-53; 16:22;

Phil. 3:20-21; Col. 3:4; 1 Thess. 1:10; 2:19; 4:13-18; 5:9,23;

2 Thess. 2:1; 1 Tim. 6:14; 2 Tim. 4:1; Titus 2:13; Heb. 9:28;

James 5:7-9; 1 Peter 1:7, 13; 1 Jn. 2:28-3:2; Jude :21; Rev. 2:25; 3:10.


In these verses there is the translation of believers, and these go TO heaven; the Earth is not judged; this event has no precedent conditions, and we are admonished to expect it at any moment (in a time when you think not). Believers only are involved in this event and it occurs prior to the time of wrath which God has not appointed us to. There is no reference to Satan or the Beast. Christ here claims His bride and receives her to Himself. Only His own will see Him.



FINDING The CHURCH In The BOOK Of REVELATION -


Those persuaded of a mid- and post-tribulation rapture would have to show the church present during that time, within the context of scripture. Knowing that this time of Daniel's 70th week is expounded upon in the book of Revelation, ch's. 6 through 19, it would seem evident that if indeed the church is present for any duration of time of "Jacob's Trouble" we would find references within this time frame.

I have found scriptures that may be viewed as the church enduring the time of the tribulation or Daniel's 70th week.


Rev 6:9-11
And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?


And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.



Here we have those slain for the word of God and the testimony which they held; its obvious these were victims of the Beast's reign, and they were martyred for their allegiance to the LORD Jesus, and they were admonished to be patient until their "brethren" were likewise slain.

Some see these as the church, and yet as we have seen in the previous two articles of this Rapture subject, there will be believers that result from the beginning of this tribulation, following the rapture of the church. There will be Jews who come to faith, as well as Gentiles. However the fulness of the Gentiles at this point has already arrived, and God during this time interval is once again dealing with Israel (in this time of Jacob's trouble) as specified in Romans 11:25.

There are no defining characteristics that identify these martyrs as the church; certainly they are saved by faith in Christ, and are classified as saints, but as we also have seen before, not all saints are of the church. More on this distinction later.

Rev 7:9-17
John the apostle here is shown a great multitude of saints who have had their robes washed in the blood of the Lamb. When John is asked by one of the heavenly elders who these might be, John can't answer (if it were the church, it would seem John would recognize them) and he is told in vs. 14:

. . . These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.



The church has been in existance for 2,000 years, and if it were true that we would go through the Tribulation era, this verse would be rendered a bit differently. What it states is that these are those who ". . . came out of great tribulation . . ." rather than came through tribulation". Am I nitpicking? If I were to base my entire argument on this verse, I'd say, yes I am! However this is but only a single verse I will bring to bear.

Rev 12:1-Rev 12:6 Here we are presented with a vision of a woman in heaven clothed with the sun, the moon beneath her feet, and encircled with a crown of 12 stars. She gives birth to her son who is to rule all nations with a rod of iron, and who then ascends into heaven after his birth, and sits on God's throne.

The child is readily identifiable as Christ Jesus who will Himself rule with a rod of iron, and presently sits with His Father on His throne. Yet there are those who identify the woman as the church. This is rather confusing as the church never gave birth to Christ, but rather the reverse: Jesus Christ has borne the church with His own blood!

If this woman isn't the church, then who is she? The answer is clearly, Israel, for Christ Jesus came from the tribe of Judah. This vision correlates perfectly with the vision that Joseph had of his brothers, and of his father and mother (see: Gen 37:9-11).



Rev 12:10-12 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

Here is a voice declaring from heaven that Satan is cast down, the accuser, and this is he who accused the brethren before God day and night, and they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and yet were slain on Christ's behalf. Where are these brethren located at the time of this statement? All references to them are in the past tense: ". . . they overcame. . . loved not their lives. . ." and in reference to these, regarding Satan's accusations, this too is past tense: ". . . which accused them . . ."

I'm not insinuating that this is necessarily the church, but even if it is about the church, the focus of these scriptures is about the casting down of Satan, the accuser of the brethren. Satan has long been an accuser, and in the oldest book of the Bible, we see Satan accusing Job before God. The subject of the brethren doesn't intimate that they are at the time of this expression, located on the Earth.


On the other hand, Satan being cast down onto the Earth, is a fearful and dreadful thing to who? " . . . the inhabiters of the earth . . . " (occurs 2x in the book of Revelation). Another similar phrase is "they that dwell upon the earth (2x in Rev. 11:10)"

These both speak of residency, as in a permanent abode, whereas we look for a city whose Maker is God, our citizenship is in heaven, we are foreigners and strangers in this world, for we are not of this world.

In this verse, we have the only reference to Satan's wrath. There are ten explicit references to God's wrath in this book, only one reference to Satan's. God's wrath is towards all who have refused to receive His grace, and so they receive from God the wrath He has stored up ever since the beginning of rebellion, when Adam first rebelled, and all others who continued this rebellion and refused to receive God's grace and forgiveness. Satan's wrath is about how he will be humiliated because he was "cast down".

I submit that the time of tribulation therefore is about God's wrath and not Satan's, and since this Divine wrath is against all who reject Christ Jesus, it would seem unreasonable to presume the church, the bride of Christ, would suffer this judgment. (see Rom 1:18, Rom 2:5, Rom 5:9,Eph 2:3,Eph 5:6, and especially these two: 1Th 1:10,1Th 5:9 )


NOT ALL SAINTS ARE CREATED 'EQUAL'

Rev 13:7-8
And it was given unto him (the Beast) to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Compare this will a parallel passage as found in Daniel:


Dan 7:21
I beheld, and the same horn (the Beast) made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;

In both passages it states that the Beast makes war with the saints, and overcomes or prevails against them. Certainly this is a proof of the church going through the tribulation!

Only if you presume that all saints are a part of the church; they are not! The Old Testament saints were certainly saved, as they had faith in the coming Messiah, and in the God of Israel that promised that the Son of David would establish His reign in Israel and over all the world!

Yet these saints were not born again: as mentioned previously in the other articles, this is a distinction that is granted to the church, and to the church alone, who would be indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Other saints would have the Spirit come 'upon' them, and by faith, they were saved. Yet they didn't have the Spirit of God residing within them, as the church does, even though to Israel, this promise was granted:


Jer 31:31-34
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:


But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.


Eze 36:26-27
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.


Many people presume that the Old Testament ended with the book of Malachi, and certainly that was the end of Old Testament canon, but not the end of the Old Testament. Others believe it ended when Christ was offered up on the cross and His blood was shed for the sins of the world, and the veil in the Temple was torn from top to bottom (I believed this once myself).

Yet the very words of Christ specify when exactly the Old Testament ended. Remember that the Jews don't refer to the Old Testament as we do, they call it "the Law and the Prophets", and so when we read these verses:

Mat 11:13
For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.

Luk 16:16
The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

We understand that the O.T. closed with John the Baptist. Remember what Jesus said of John, that of all men born of women, the greatest of these is John. Think about that statement and how profound that is! John the Baptist, in our LORD's estimation was greater than Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Samuel, Elijah, Elishah, David, Isaiah, Daniel, etc.!

Hear His words:

Mat 11:11
Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

The least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John the Baptist? Why?

Simply because the kingdom of heaven, comprises those who receive Jesus Christ as their LORD and Savior, thus they receive the promise of the new birth (which Israel would have partaken of, had they received Christ Jesus when He came to them as prophesied in Daniel 9), and become members of the body of Christ. So lofty and powerful a position, spiritually speaking, is the church, that not even the highest authorities of Satan's Kingdom, including Satan himself, his most powerful of demon-lords, the Beast, the False Prophet: the very gates of hell cannot prevail against His church:


Mat 16:18
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

So the saints that are overcome by the Beast are not the church, as we enjoy that position with Christ, being seated in the heavenlies . . .

Eph 2:6
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

The 144,000 in Revelation are saints, the two witnesses are saints, those Jews that have their eyes opened and understand that Y'shua is indeed Ha Meschiach are saints; those Gentiles who at that time, receive Jesus as Lord and Savior are saints. A saint is simply one who is sanctified, that is, set apart from the world and set apart for God in a special relationship. None of these groups will be born again as they exist apart from the church, the fulness of the Gentiles.

The book of Revelation is Daniel's 70th week, and that prophecy as given by Gabriel focuses on and is all about Israel!


Rev 14:12
Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.


Rev 16:6
For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.


Rev 17:6
And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.


Rev 18:24
And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

In each of these passages, the term "saint" is used, and its a somewhat generic term, that can mean any one who is sanctifed by and for God, and this fits a broad catagory of all believers, from all ages, from which the church alone enjoys the exclusive relationship of being Christ's body, and the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

TWO RESURRECTIONS or MORE?

Many who deny the rapture as legitimate doctrine quote the verses that speak of a general resurrection, the resurrection of the just and that of the damned; others divide this into two seperate resurrections, but limit it to only these.


Jhn 5:28-29
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.


And yet, when was Christ raised from the dead? 2000 years ago? Would He be considered a part of the resurrection of the JUST?


Rev 1:5
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Col 1:18
And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

And what of the two witnesses in Revelation? Would they not likewise be considered a part of the resurrection of the Just? For they were received up bodily into heaven. Yet they are raised up and received into God's presence 3.5 yrs prior to Christ's Return and the resurrections of the just and damned. And what of those who were raised from the dead along with Christ, and entered into Jerusalem? (see Mat 27:51-53)

Rather than seeing the resurrections of the JUST and the DAMNED as two EVENTS, it would seem that these are two different CATAGORIES, and in the first there are the different events of resurrection of those JUST ones, of whom Christ is the Ultimate example. Included in this then, would be the resurrection of those that sleep in Christ, and likewise those of us who remain and are alive as stated in 1 Thess. 4:16).

From Revelation ch. 3 and 4 then, up until chapter 19, there are no definitive characterisitics that can readily identify the church as being present on the Earth during Daniel's 70th week.

In closing this 3 part to this article, RAPTURE: The WHO and WHEN Of It All" it occurred to me that this blog may well remain 'online' after my departure, either in death (which could be today, who knows?) or at the rapture (that likewise could be today, when the last soul that God has foreknown completes the count of the Fulness of the Gentiles; only God knows that number, and He ain't tellin'!).

If the rapture occurs, and this blog remains, and you have been reading these articles, I would encourage you to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior! If you would like to know how I myself came to the LORD, use the search engine "Scope Out This MIND" found on this blog and type in "CAN I GET A WITNESS" or you can click on the link on the right hand bar entitled "Stairway Of Salvation To Heaven" and learn about how to receive salvation.

The fear of learning that you have been left behind will no doubt be so potent as it might seem to steal your breath away and overwhelm you with the terror of it all. You probably have no idea how you will ever manage to survive this time, and endure until the end.

Christ Jesus will bestow upon you His grace, and empowerment to face these challenges, and overcome them, just as the Word has stated:


Rev 12:11
And they overcame him (the beast) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

I believe that even we, the church will face a most trialsome time, with persecution and hardships in these last days prior to Christ Jesus' Coming for us in the rapture. If we don't experience the rapture before this, I believe its certainty is unquestionable, therefore I would like to close this article with prayers for the church, and those who must endure the time of tribulation as described in both Daniel and Revelation:

FATHER, I pray to You in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and I ask you Father, please prepare Your children, the church, the body of Christ for that which is coming upon us. Open our eyes so that we may see, and understand the times in which we now live, and that the time is coming when we will have our faith tested by the forces of darkness, led by Satan and his instruments.

I pray that you lead us Father, in Your wisdom, knowledge, grace, and most of all your Love; we are ambassadors for Christ's sake, and no human being, even those who might persecute and hate us are really our enemies; rather these are creatures lost in sin and spiritual blindness that You love, and would have them come to the knowledge of the Truth, and enter into salvation via the LORD Jesus Christ and His shed blood for their sins. May we manifest Your love for them; may we bless those that curse us, and love those that hate us, and let this be done only through the power of Your Spirit in us, Your yielded vessels.

May we honor and bless you Father in this time of trial, and may it have its purifying effect in our lives; we long and yearn to hear You say to us, on that Day we see You face to face: "Well done, good and faithful servant!"

And FATHER, for those who are left behind, once the rapture takes place: give them your grace and empowerment to endure this time ahead; let them be granted all boldness and holy conviction to stand resolutely for the Truth which is in Christ Jesus. Grant to them LORD, Your love, and peace, and joy; let them experience Your sheltering arms, and lead them Father in the way they are to go. Protect them and their loved ones, and bring them to Yourself on the appointed day, when they will rest in Your glorious presence.

In the name of the LORD Jesus Christ, and in His name be all the glory and honor and power, AMEN!

yours in the battle, until then,

agape, grace & peace,

NIKAO AIONIOS AVRAS!

brother James Fire


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