Pro and Con 385

Uploaded 9-10-99 wrote, Re...the Rapture:

***From Marilyn: Before I begin, I want to tell you as gently as I can, and in God's agape love, that you have been deceived. The (Preterist) bill of goods you have swallowed is simply not true....

***Most of the things in the book of The Revelation of Jesus Christ are still future today. They could not have taken place in 70 AD, when Vespasian was emperor of Rome. Vespasian was the one who sent his son, Titus, against Jerusalem (Josephus Wars. IV.5). Revelation was written after John was exiled to the Aegean island of Patmos in the 15th year of the reign of Vespasian's other son, Domitian (Eusebius, "Ecclesiastical History III, 18). The Concordia Cyclopedia, p. 581 says that the Flavian emperors ruled from 69 to 96 AD. Unger's Bible Dictionary says, that Vespasian began the Flavian line. "Three Flavian emperors ruled, Vespasian (69-79), during whose reign Jerusalem revolted and was destroyed in 70 A.D., Titus (79-81) and Domitian (81-96)." The Revelation was probably written in 96 AD (81 + 15 = 96). These different sources all agree, and you could find many more.

***Any thinking person should be able to tell that most of the events of Revelation were still future in 96 AD. Jesus was not recording past history from Rev. 4:1 on. He said, "Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be HEREAFTER" (i.e., after the Rapture).

***Mid-Tribulation, God's two witnesses, Moses and Elijah, are killed, resurrected after 3 1/2 days, and told, "Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them" (Rev. 11:12). In Green's Interlinear, under the Greek words, it says, "and they heard a voice great out of the (tou) heaven, saying to them, Come up hither. And they went up to the (tou) heaven in the cloud." It is not talking about merely going up in the air; it is talking about going all the way up to THE Heaven. These two will be seen ascending, demonstrating, for those foolish virgins who are left behind the first time, that the Rapture is real.

***Some will see the Rapture happen the first time. If you are not part of the Pre-Trib Rapture, I hope you see it happen. Then you will believe it. Psa. 40:1 says, "I WAITED patiently for the LORD; and he inclined (bent down) unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit (out of the Earth), out of the miry clay (our bodies of clay), and set my feet upon a rock (the heavenly planet), and established my goings. And he hath put a new song (sung after the Rapture in Revelation 5:9) in my mouth, even praise unto our God: MANY SHALL SEE IT, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD."

***Isa. 57:1,2 says, "the righteous is TAKEN AWAY (abad, evacuated) from the evil TO COME (the Tribulation). He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness."

***In Rev. 3:10,11, Jesus says, "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will KEEP THEE FROM the hour of temptation (peirasmos, trial, i.e., the Tribulation) which shall (in the future) come upon ALL THE WORLD, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." Jesus comes quickly at the Rapture.

***He promised, "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I WILL COME AGAIN, AND RECEIVE YOU UNTO MYSELF; THAT WHERE I AM, THERE YE MAY BE ALSO" (Jn. 14:2,3). This has nothing to do with each person dying and going to Heaven, one at a time. This is the Lord coming at the Rapture to receive the living Bride of Christ unto himself, so that we can be in Heaven with him. He brings the ones that have died with him. They get their resurrection bodies. Then we who are living rise up to meet them in the air and are taken to Heaven, that where Jesus is, we may be also. This is not the Second Advent. At this point, Jesus does not put his feet on Earth. We rise up to meet him in the air and are whisked off to Heaven to be with him where he is.

> ...1 Thessalonians 4:17...Most Christians today view this verse as describing an escape from
> the troubles of this world. They believe that one day soon, (it is always soon, it was "soon"
> when Jesus spoke it to the Thessalonians and it is still soon today) Jesus is going to
> physically appear in the sky, and immediately all the dead are going to be resurrected
> and rise to meet Him, and the living Christians will be caught up in the clouds with
> them to be with Christ. They believe that Christians will physically be "raptured" off
> of this planet....

> Are you aware that this "rapture of the church" idea is not a historical teaching of the
> church but something that was started around 1830 by the Plymouth Brethren? It was
> popularized in America by the Scofield Reference Bible and by elaborate End Time event
> charts published by Clarence Larkin. During the twentieth century, the "physical rapture"
> of the Church became a dominant eschatological view.

***The Rapture did not begin to be taught in 1830. You are being sold a defective bill of goods. In his just-under-1500-word sermon, "On the Last Times, the Antichrist, and the End of the World," Pseudo-Ephraem (c.374-627) said, "All the saints and elect of God are gathered together before the tribulation, which is to come, and are taken to the Lord, in order that they may not see at any time the confusion which overwhelms the world because of our sins." I have the whole sermon, both in Latin and in English. This man understood the Rapture.

> ...look at...1 Thessalonians 4:13-18..."Who is the Apostle Paul writing to?" Who is
> the "you" that he did not want to be ignorant? The clear and un-refutable answer is
> the Thessalonian Christians of the first century.

***Paul also said, "Now all these things happened unto them (Israel) for ensamples: and they are written FOR OUR ADMONITION, UPON WHOM THE ENDS OF THE WORLD (ages) ARE COME. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall (I Cor. 10:11,12)." We are living in the end of the age. From 30 AD on, the Rapture has not happened yet. It will, just like Enoch was taken up before the Flood. Enoch walked with God and pleased God. That is what we must do.

> ...The Bible was written for us but not to us....Paul...was writing to Thessalonian Christians
> who live in the first century. We MUST understand this if we are going to understand...

***You mean if we are going to understand what you think he is saying. The Rapture of I Thess. 4:13-18 has not yet taken place. The Thessalonians waited, and we wait. We are closer to it today than they were in 54 AD.

> ...who are those who sleep in Jesus? To understand who they are, we need to know what
> the "hope" was that the Thessalonian believers had but that the unsaved didn't have. THE

***I Thess. 4:13-18 is talking about more than just resurrection. It includes the living who have never died.

> ...Paul taught that the resurrection was "about to happen" in his day:

***It is still about to happen in our day.

> ...To be taken out of Sheol and brought into the presence of the Lord is what > the Bible calls resurrection....

***The OT saints were taken to Heaven on Resurrection Day in 30 AD. They, and those who have died between then and now, will come with Christ to receive their resurrection bodies. Then we who are living will rise up to meet them in the air.

***Heb. 11:39,40 says, "And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should NOT BE MADE PERFECT." The OT saints and the dead in Christ of the Church Age, must wait for their resurrection bodies until the Rapture.

> ...Notice what Paul wrote: "By the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and
> remain until the coming of the Lord" The "we" who "are alive, and remain" are
> indeed TIME STATEMENTS, for the "we" MUST be seen as the collective group of
> Paul and his audience.

***Paul and his audience are among the dead in Christ today. There must, therefore, be other saints that are alive and remain. I count myself among them.
> ...(Paul and the Thessalonians) were expecting the return of Christ in their lifetime....

***Christ did not return in their lifetime....

> 1 Thessalonians 1:10 (NKJV) and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He
> raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

***Correct. Jesus will deliver the Bride of Christ from the wrath that is coming at the consummation of this age.

> 1 Thessalonians 2:19 (NKJV) For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is
> it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?

***True. Every soul that Paul brought to the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ will be Paul's crown of rejoicing at the Rapture.

> ...1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NKJV)...may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved
> blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul and the Thessalonians were
> clearly expecting to see the return of Christ in their lifetime.

***At the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, our whole spirit, soul, and body will be preserved, not just those of the Thessalonians.

> ...Paul, speaking to the Thessalonians of the first century, says that God will repay with
> tribulation those who trouble them thus giving them rest. When does he say he will do this?...
> 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God...

***This is the same day Mark 13:27 is talking about. This is the first day of the Millennium. His feet do not touch the Earth that day. This is the Sign of the Son of Man of Mt. 24:30. When the heavens depart as a scroll and they see Christ that day, men will say "to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" (Rev. 6:16,17).

***This revealing is the Sign of the Son of Man. However, the Pre-Wrath Rapture happens that same day. It takes place between the breaking of the 6th and 7th seals. Rev. 7:14 says, "These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God."

> 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the
> Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 WHEN HE COMES, IN THAT DAY, to be
> glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe,
> because our testimony among you was believed.

***Verse 11 (KJV) says, Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would COUNT YOU WORTHY OF THIS CALLING." This "CALLING" is the "Come up hither" of Rev. 4:1. It is the "CALLING" of II Peter 1:10,11: "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your CALLING and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an ENTRANCE (the Rapture) shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."

***This "ENTRANCE" is the same as the "ESCAPE" in Luke 21:36. It says, "WATCH ye therefore, and PRAY ALWAYS, that ye may be ACCOUNTED WORTHY to ESCAPE ALL THESE THINGS (the Tribulation) that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." The word for escape is EKPHEUGO, "escape OUT OF or AWAY FROM." We get our word EXIT from the prefix, "EK." Strong's gives "vanish" as an alternate meaning for EKPHEUGO. From ESCAPE to VANISH, not the slightest hint of "survive through."

> The Thessalonian believers will be given rest from their enemies when the
> Lord returns in His second coming. If the second coming did not happen in
> their lifetime, the Lord gave them false hope and, in fact, deceived them.

***...You are just mixed up about when the Second Advent will take place. It follows the Day of God's Wrath by seven months (Ezek. 39:12).

> Paul is assuring the Thessalonians that Christ would return in their lifetime
> and that those who were alive at that time would not go into God's presence
> ahead of the dead saints. Young's Literal Translation puts it this way:
> 1 Thessalonians 4:15 (YLT) for this to you we say in the word of the Lord,
> that we who are living -- who do remain over to the presence of the Lord --
> may not precede those asleep,

***Here it is from Green's Interlinear. These words are under each Greek word: "For this to you we say in [the] word of [the] Lord, that we the living who remain to the coming of the Lord, in no wise may anticipate those who are fallen asleep; because himself the Lord with a shout of command, with voice archangel's and with trumpet of God shall descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we the living who remain, together with them SHALL BE CAUGHT AWAY in [the] clouds for [the] meeting of the Lord in [the] air; and thus always with [the] Lord we shall be. So encourage one another with these words."

> ...As we compare Scripture with Scripture, we see that this is apocalyptic
> language speaking of judgement.

***It is not speaking of judgment, but of the Rapture.

> Comparing this text to a parallel text in Matthew 24 will help us to better understand its
> meaning. Matthew 24:30-31 (KJV) And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven:
> and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming
> in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send hisangels with a
> great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from
> one end of heaven to the other. Does that sound familiar? It should, this is a parallel text
> to the Thessalonian passage. Jesus spoke these words in the context of the destruction of
> Jerusalem and said that their generation would see all these things fulfilled (Matthew 24:34).

***I Thess. 2:13-17 takes place at the Pre Trib-Rapture. That is the first trumpet call for the saints.

***Mt. 24:30-31 takes place on the Day of God's Wrath. That is the 2300th day of the Tribulation (Dan. 8:14). These two verses are not talking about the same day. However, the Day of God's Wrath is also the day spoken of in Mark 13:27. It is also the day spoken of in I Cor. 15:51,52. This is the day of the "last trump," not the first trump. It is the day of the Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Tribulation saints...

> ...A comparison between 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and Matthew 24 is fascinating. As we keep in
> mind that Jesus uses apocalyptic language in Matthew 24: 29-35, we can't expect the same
> language to be literal in 1 Thessalonians 4-5. Those who believe the coming in Matthew refers
> to the spiritual events surrounding Jerusalem's fall would insist that we not literalize
> the clouds, the angels or the trumpet blast....
> 1. Christ Himself Returns Matt. 24:30 I Thess. 4:16

***Mt. 24:30 is the Sign of the Son of man, seen in the heavens on the Day of God's Wrath. I Thess. 4:13-18 is the Pre-Trib Rapture. They happen at different times, and the clouds, angels and trumpet blast are literal. In I Thess. 4, it is the first trump calling the Bride of Christ up to Heaven before the Tribulation takes place. In Mt. 24, it is the "last trump" of I Cor. 15:51,52, calling the Tribulation saints to Heaven on the Day of God's Wrath.

> 2. From Heaven Matt. 24:30 I Thess. 4:16
> 3. With a Shout Matt. 24:30 I Thess. 4:16
> 4. Accompanied by Angels Matt. 24:31 I Thess. 4:16
> 5. With Trumpet of God Matt. 24:31 I Thess. 4:16
> 6. Believers Gathered Matt. 24:31 I Thess. 4:17
> 7. In Clouds Matt. 24:30 I Thess. 4:17
> 8. Time Unknown Matt. 24:36 I Thess. 5:1-2
> 9. Will Come as a Thief Matt. 24:43 I Thess. 5:2,4
> 10. Unbelievers Unaware of Impending Judgment Matt. 24:37-39 I Thess. 5:3...
> 12. Believers to Watch Matt. 24:42 I Thess. 5:4
> 13. Warning Against Drunkenness Matt. 24:49 I Thess. 5:7

***Mt. 24:49-51 says, "And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant (the evil servant, v. 48) shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder (cut him off, he is a foolish virgin), and appoint him his portion (2300 days of the Tribulation) with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Lu. 12:46 says, "The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder (cut him off), and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers."

> In Matthew 24, Jesus predicted his coming to gather together the saints in that generation.
> In 1 Thessalonians 4-5, Paul spoke of the same coming of the Lord to gather the saints. How
> many comings of the Lord, with his angels, in fire, in power and glory, to gather the saints,
> are there in the NT? Just ONE! The conclusion is inescapable: 1 Thessalonians 4-5 is dealing
> with exactly the same coming, judgment, and gathering that Matt. 24 is.

***In Mt. 24, Jesus predicted his coming at the Pre-Trib Rapture (37-41). He also predicted his coming at the Pre-Wrath Rapture (31).

> 1 Thessalonians 4:16...Paul is talking to the Thessalonians about Christ's coming in
> judgement on Jerusalem
in AD 70. When this happened, the Old Covenant saints were
> raised out of Hades and brought into the presence of the Lord.

***The Old Testament saints were taken to Heaven on Resurrection Day in 30 AD. John 20:17 says, "Jesus saith unto her (Mary Magdalene), Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father, and to my God, and your God." Later on that same day, he could be touched. He had taken the OT saints to Heaven and returned that same day.

> 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (NKJV) 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. This is the verse that the physical rapture theory comes from. A little time spent
> looking at the Greek words should quickly dispel many false notions.

> Let's start with the first word in the verses -the word "then." This is the Greek word
> epeita. Normally, when a sequence of events is described, the simple word eita "then" is
> used. Eita is best translated as "at that time" or "next"....

> But in our text, the Greek word is not eita but epeita, which is essentially the same Greek
> word with an "epi" prefix. This has the effect of affixing the word "after" to the word
> "then", and the best translation becomes "after then", "after that", or "after that time",
> and thereby doesn't include the idea of right after....other uses of epeita...

> 1 Corinthians 15:23 (NKJV)...each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward
> (epeita) those who are Christ's at His coming. Epeita here is referring to a period of forty
> years. The idea is: "what came at some time afterwards, after that time, not at that time."

***I Cor. 15:22,23 says, " his own order (tagmati, rank)..." This is talking about the ranks in the first resurrection, first Christ, then those at Rapture I. Those at Rapture II follow later, completing the First Resurrection.

***Epeita here is referring to a period much longer than 40 years. You are putting the 40 years in there when you have no scripture to back it up.

> ...1 Thessalonians 4:17...What would be the point of saying "the dead in Christ will rise
> first," if the living were to be also caught up and changed at almost the same time? Paul
> is saying that at the return of Christ the dead in Christ will be resurrected, after that
> time the living will be "caught up" with them in the clouds

***Exactly. The prophecy was for our days, not 70 AD.

> at their physical death.

***Some will die. Others will still be living when the Lord comes to get his Bride.

> The words "caught up" are the Greek word harpazo, it means: "to snatch away." This is where
> the word "rapture" comes from. But certainly being "caught up" means something different
> than a levitation of the physical body from earth up into the atmosphere of the sky.
> Remember, this being "caught up" happens some time after the second coming.

***At the Rapture, we are caught up to Heaven. It happens before the Second Advent, even before the Tribulation begins....

> Harpazo could refer to the body being "caught up" but it could also refer to the Christian
> being "caught up" without the body. It is used this way in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 (NKJV) I
> know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago; whether in the body I do not know, or whether
> out of the body I do not know, God knows; such a one was caught up (harpazo) to the third
> heaven. 3 And I know such a man; whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God
> knows; 4 how he was caught up (harpazo) into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which
> it is not lawful for a man to utter. Paul doesn't know whether the body was involved in this
> man's "snatching away".

***Paul knew as much about it as was possible to know. He was the man caught up to Heaven...

***John spoke of himself as the apostle Jesus loved....Paul did not name himself, either, but he told enough that we know he was the man caught up to Heaven. II Cor. 12:5-7 says, "Of such an one (the man caught up) will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure."

> The body isn't necessary, then, in the harpazo event, or Paul wouldn't
> have expressed this uncertainty.

***It is just that he could not tell whether he was still in his physical body or in his celestial body. They probably look alike.

> We know that Paul didn't mean that living Christians would be caught up in their living,
> physical bodies at the second coming of Christ because this never happened. Christians were
> still around on the earth after the second coming, as history plainly tells us.

***Neither the Rapture nor the Second Coming have happened yet. And yes, Paul did mean that living Christians would be caught up. There is one group that does not have to die. They are the Philadelphians before whom the "OPEN DOOR" is set (Rev. 3:8) and who are to be kept "FROM" the Tribulation (Rev. 3:10). They are the ones that are to "ESCAPE ALL THESE THINGS" (Lu. 21:36).

> In...BEFORE JERUSALEM FELL: Dating the Book of Revelation -- An Exegetical and
> Historical Argument for a Pre-A.D. 70 Composition by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Th.D.,
> evidence is given that John was seen by Polycarp in the 90s. So, some twenty years after
> the parousia, John was still around.

***Gentry is a Preterest...trying to figure a way that Revelation could have been written before 70 AD, since the truth of the 96 AD writing is at odds with his theories. However that John was seen by Polycarp in the 90s sounds correct. Revelation was written when John was old. He was probably the last living apostle. It was not after the parousia. That has not happened yet.

***How anyone can read about the asteroid, the "great mountain burning with fire" of Rev. 8:8, being cast into the Mediterranean Sea and think that it happened in 70 AD is beyond my comprehension....One third of the sea becomes blood....

***Zeph. 2:4,5 says that on that day "Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day...Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast."

> 1 Thessalonians 4:17...Paul says that those who were alive at the second coming will later
> be caught up together with the dead who were raised, to meet the Lord in the air.

***You are putting the Second Coming in there when it isn't in there. The Rapture precedes the Second Advent. Both Raptures precede the Second Advent....

> Paul believed that the Lord would return in his lifetime. He...never spoke of a physical
> "rapture" for living Christians.

***Yes he did. I Thess. 2:13-18 is the first Rapture. I Cor. 15:51,52 is the second Rapture. The first group is seen in Heaven in Rev. 5:9 before the first seal is broken in Rev. 6. The second group is seen in Heaven in Rev. 7:14 before the seventh seal in broken in Rev. 8.

> It is not the physical body that is raptured. It is the Christian himself who
> is raptured as he leaves his body behind at physical death...

***...when Paul says, "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air...," he is talking about living believers that do not have to die. We will go with Christ to Heaven...He comes for the saints, but does not put his feet on Earth...

> ...The rapture takes place at death, when we leave our earthly house and move
> into our spiritual house.

***The Rapture does not take place at death, otherwise Christ would not have to bring the dead in Christ with him at the Rapture.

> ...The process of being "snatched" or "caught away from" death and Hades and being
> "gathered in" straight to heaven began in A.D. 70.

***It hasn't happened yet, but it is not far off.

> ...The idea of a "physical rapture" is nowhere to be found in the Bible, neither is it
> taught there. There is no Scriptural support for it. This escapist philosophy is pure
> fiction. We are not taught to escape reality in the Scripture, but rather to face it
> knowing that God will work all things out for our good (Romans 8:28-30).

***You will find out all too soon. His chastisement will be for your good too, if you, like the Laodiceans, get left behind. Rev. 3:19 says, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore and repent." By the Pre-Wrath Rapture, these people have "washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev. 7:14). It will be a tough lesson, but they will learn....

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