Pro and Con 467

Posted 3-18-00

Incoming email

Re: rainbow
I wonder how many of your readers have seen an unusual rainbow within the last couple of months. After reading your latest pros & cons, it came to my mind that I too saw a rainbow. At the time I did not associate it with any prophecy but it was most unusual. I turned unto a main street on my way to the supermarket and there it was. Huge and so close I felt I could touch it. At a time when it should have been snowing, it drizzled and was very warm. The atmosphere was strange. If you have ever lived in tornado country, you know how it feels right before one is sighted - very still, kinda hazy; the feeling that two worlds are intruding one upon the other. Yet, this sight was really beautiful. There was an amber glow in the air. I caught myself thinking: look what God hath wrought. I felt tearful and happy at the same time. Could this possibly have had something to do with the rapture? If many people are experiencing strange rainbows, perhaps it is a sign.

My reply

I will post this and see if others have seen unusual rainbows recently.

Incoming email

From Chris; Re: Rainbow
I have only written you a couple of times since following your web site in early '98. The rainbow story in pro con 464 had me a little skeptical. Personal signs from God seem a little hard to grasp, but as I was reading that story, I remembered seeing an unusual rainbow a few days back. I was on I-75 traveling south into Florida. The sun was setting to the west, and to the east was a magnificent double rainbow. It "chased" our car for a few miles until it disappeared. Never been chased by a rainbow before. Never seen anything quite like it before either. No big deal--,just thought it was kind of neat at the time until I read pro con 464. After I had finished reading that story and had come to my own skeptical conclusion, I glanced at my calendar and noticed that the date in which I saw that rainbow was March 11, 2000. From the best of my recollection it was sometime between 5:00pm and 6:00pm when it happened. I am not convinced that it was a sign, but I certainly thought it was pretty uncanny. Thought you might enjoy hearing about it.

May God bless you beyond measure for your hard work and patience.

My reply

Thanks for sharing this with us. It is amazing that you saw the double rainbow on the same day as the man in Canada, March 11, 2000. God bless you. Agape

Incoming email

Subject: Another insight on 1 Cor. 15:23-24 Thanks for your input into my view of the First Resurrection in Rev. 20 that you put in PC 465. I've got something else I've been thinking about to run by you. In 1 Corinthians 15:23-24 as it was mentioned in that PC, it describes the order of that First resurrection.

It reads, "23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at hiscoming.24Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

In verse 23, although we have always interpreted "Christ the firstfruits" as one phrase meaning the pretribulation rapture of the Bride, there is additional meaning when a comma is inserted after the word "Christ". In the original text there was no punctuation. It was added later by translators. Is there any reason why a translation of the original text cannot have the comma after Christ? With the comma inserted there, it indicates that the first order of resurrection was Christ himself, . . . then the firstfruits, His Bride,...then the tribulation saints, "those that are Christ's at His coming" (actually 7 months before the second advent when He comes "with" all His saints- Zech. 14:5)...and finally the resurrection of the wicked at "the end" of the millennium before the white throne judgment.

Having Jesus himself first in the order of resurrections is important, because it appears that the First Resurrection includes all resurrections from death to eternal life. The final resurrection of the wicked at "the end" of the millennium is not a part of the First Resurrection because it is from death to eternal death or separation from God. The resurrection of Jesus was the first from death to eternal life. In fact, verse 20 calls Jesus Himself "the firstfruits"

20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

He was the firstfruits (another passage, Rom. 8:29 calls Him the "first born of many brethren") of all that would be resurrected to eternal life thereafter (those that make up the First Resurrection in Rev. 20). So in a sense Jesus was the firstfruits of both of the 2 groups that will soon be resurrected,...He was firstfruits of the firstfruits (the bride) ...and firstfruits of those who are His at His coming (the tribulation saints).

Note that the resurrections of Lazurus as well as those mentioned in the old testament are not a part of the first resurrection, because they are resurrected from death to temporal life (they died again). Don't you agree that having the comma inserted after "Christ" (making His the initial resurrection in the order of those that make up the First Resurrection) is important? Your Brother in Jesus.

My reply

For a long time, I tended to think of I Cor. 15:23 as if there was a comma after Christ, but I have to admit, He actually is part of the firstfruits.

Christ has "become the firstfruits of them that slept" (I Cor. 15:20), "And he is the head of the body, the church" (Col. 1:18). We are "a kind of firstfruits of his creatures" (Jas. 1:14). The 144,000 Israelites are of the Tribulation years, yet they too are to be "the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb" (Rev. 14.4).

What is the common denominator? We are all parts of the Body of Christ, bound together by the Spirit of Christ. Jesus Christ is the head. The dead in Christ probably make up most of the torso. It seems that those living ones caught up in the two Raptures are the two feet. One is born into the new world a bit ahead of the other.

Among the other cells in the Body of Christ are those taking part in the first Rapture. They are with Christ at the time of the Pre-Trib Rapture, before the 10 kings receive their kingdoms (Rev. 17:12) and "are called, and chosen, and faithful" (Rev. 17:14). I think they are the wise Philadelphian virgins that are ready when the Bridegroom comes for them.

I Cor. 15:22,23 says, "For as in Adam all die, even so IN CHRIST (i.e., the Body of Christ) shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order (tagmati, rank); Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming (parousia, a being near, presence)."

Eze. 38:20 says, "all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence (paneh, face, i.e., the Sign of the Son of Man, Mt. 24:30), and the mountains shall be thrown down." I think this is the day of the Pre-Wrath Rapture and the two main asteroid impacts, the first day of the millennial Day of the Lord.

Therefore, I think the ranks in the First Resurrection are Jesus Christ (the seed, singular), the rest of the sheaf offered at the Feast of Firstfruits in 30 AD, the Bride of Christ caught up in the Pre-Trib Rapture ("they are the firstfruits unto the Lord" offered at Pentecost, Lev. 23:17), the resurrection and ascension of Moses and Elijah Mid-Trib, and all the rest of the Tribulation saints at the Pre-Wrath Rapture. It takes a bit more than one verse to get the whole picture. Agape

Incoming email

Subject: Further clarification of order of resurrections
Thank you for your response concerning the order of the resurrections. I agree with everything that you said but would like further clarification.

You said, "For a long time, I tended to think of I Cor. 15:23 as if there was a comma after Christ, but I have to admit, He actually is part of the firstfruits." In my letter I said, "He was the firstfruits (another passage, Rom. 8:29 calls Him the "first born of many brethren") of all that would be resurrected to eternal life thereafter (those that make up the First Resurrection in Rev. 20)." If there is a comma after "Christ" in 1 Cor. 15:23 that does not change the above statements if, as I said in my letter, "He was firstfruits of the firstfruits". It seems that "firstfruits" can refer to the entire order of the First Resurrection if the 144,000 are also considered the firstfruits (in Rev. 14:4), since they are involved in the pre-wrath rapture. So without the comma, "Christ the firstfruits" is not distinguished from those "that are Christ's at his coming ", since those that are Christ's at His coming (the pre-wrath rapture) are included in those that are Christ the firstfruits (that includes the entire body of Christ).

If there is a comma after "Christ", "the firstfruits" would refer to the firstfruits of the entire category of firstfruits (that would include the 144,000 at the pre-wrath rapture). That would distinguish it from the rank, "those that are Christ's at His coming". Otherwise, there would be no need to mention the last rank, because it is included in the term "Christ the firstfruits". I hope you followed what I just said.

Your summary was great. "I think the ranks in the First Resurrection are Jesus Christ (the seed, singular)[Christ,], the rest of the sheaf offered at the Feast of Firstfruits in 30 AD, the Bride of Christ caught up in the Pre-Trib Rapture ("they are the firstfruits unto the Lord" offered at Pentecost, Lev. 23:17)[the firstfruits of the firstfruits], the resurrection and ascension of Moses and Elijah Mid-Trib, and all the rest of the Tribulation saints at the Pre-Wrath Rapture [those that are Christ's at His coming]." Do you think the resurrection of Elijah and Moses and the rest of the first sheaf offered at the Feast of Firstfruits in 30 AD, fall in the category of the firstfruits (not the overall term "Christ the firstfruits", but the firstfruits of that overall group)? Or could it be that because Elijah and Moses and the rest of the first sheaf, (if you are talking about those that were released out of Abraham's Bosom and allowed to walk the earth after the resurrection of Jesus) are not the intended audience of the passage in 1 Corinthians 15:22-24, they are not mentioned in the ranking?

I'm not trying to make this complex, but trying to tie up some loose ends in my understanding. I hope I was able to communicate my question adequately. To summarize again, if "Christ the firstfruits" refers to the entire body of Christ, how is that phrase, (without the comma after "Christ") distinguished from the phrase "those that are Christ's at His coming" (the pre-wrath rapture and resurrection that are included in the term "Christ the firstfruits")?

Another quick resurrection question . . . do you think that only the dead that have been faithful and have been wise virgins will be resurrected at the pre-trib rapture and the dead that have been Laodiceans and foolish virgins will be resurrected at the pre-wrath rapture?

Thank you for your further clarification. Your Brother in Jesus

My reply

I agree that a comma would make I Cor. 15:23 easier to understand, and do think that way in my head anyway.

I try to remember that there were no chapter divisions or punctuation and try to understand the meanings as they dovetail with other scriptures. I was misled by the break between Dan. 11 and 12 about 1968 - 1970. It made me think the Rapture of the Tribulation saints would be in the middle of the Tribulation because Michael is mentioned. Then, I read 11:45 with 12:1,2, and saw that at the end of the shortened Tribulation, the False Prophet "shall come to his end"... And at THAT time shall Michael stand up..." The Pre-Wrath Rapture takes place on the 2300th day of the Tribulation (Dan. 8:14).

> > Another quick resurrection question . . . do you think that only the dead that have been faithful and have been wise virgins will be resurrected at the pre-trib rapture and the dead that have been Laodiceans and foolish virgins will be resurrected at the pre-wrath rapture?

Yes. I do.

I'm thinking out loud now. I want to just sift through I Cor. 15:23 and correlating passages a bit more to see what turns up. Last time I listed the ranks in the First Resurrection. Every believer is included there, the wise and foolish virgins as well as the Philadelphians and Laodiceans.

However, every believer may NOT be included in the term FIRSTFRUITS. There seems to be a difference between some classes, groups or orders of believers. Tagmati, translated "order" in I Cor. 15:23, means something orderly in arrangement, a troop, a series, a succession, a corps, ranks or a class. Both ranks and classes could apply and further our understanding. I am reminded of the feeding of thousands, when Jesus had them sit down on the grass in groups of 50. He made a helter-skelter crowd into an orderly arrangement.

At the first Rapture, I think the foolish Laodicean virgins are left behind for chastisement because they didn't repent, and the Lord specifically told them to in Rev. 3:19. They can't say they weren't warned. By the time of the Pre-Wrath Rapture, they have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb, i.e., repented and confessed their sins since accepting Christ so as to bring them under the blood of Christ too. With Peter, Jesus made it plain that he only needed to wash his feet. We get our feet dirty with sins. Confessing them lets Jesus wash us clean again. He cleanses us of all unrighteousness (I Jn. 1:9). We need to be righteous to wear the white wedding garments. The white linen is the righteousnesses of the saints. This includes both Christ's righteousness that is imputed to us and our righteous acts.

Heb. 12:14 says, "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord."

Let's assume that there are two divisions of believers, although there may be more, wise virgins and foolish virgins. Both have lamps, the sealing of the Holy Spirit. The wise are ready when the Bridegroom comes. They seem to be the Bride of Christ. They have enough oil of the Holy Spirit in their vessels (bodies) to go in the first Rapture. The foolish do not at that time.

Now, before we assume that those of the first Rapture are the entire Bride of Christ and those of the second Rapture are the rest of the Body of Christ, look at Rev. 14:3-5. It says, "And they (the 144,000) sung as it were A NEW SONG before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and NO MAN could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were NOT DEFILED with women (i.e., the harlot churches); for THEY ARE VIRGINS. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, BEING THE FIRSTFRUITS unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found NO GUILE: for they are WITHOUT FAULT before the throne of God."

Who else sings a new song? the saints caught up in the first Rapture. In Rev. 5:9, "they sung a NEW SONG." In other words, the mostly Gentile wise virgins that are caught up in the first Rapture are, at the second Rapture, joined by the 144,000 Jewish "VIRGINS." And no others caught up in the second Rapture can sing the new song. They are not called virgins here, either, even though they "have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev. 7:14).

In II Cor. 11:2, Paul said, "I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you AS A CHASTE VIRGIN to Christ."

Thus, it seems that all "ACCOUNTED WORTHY TO ESCAPE" the Tribulation (Lu. 21:36), the WISE VIRGINS (Mt. 25), will go to Heaven with Christ at the Pre-Trib Rapture (I Thess. 4:13-18). At the Pre-Wrath Rapture (I Cor. 15:51,52), only the 144,000 Jewish VIRGINS will be part of the Bride of Christ. The rest will be the remainder of the Body of Christ.

I think this is why the Marriage of the Lamb is on the day of the Pre-Wrath Rapture. The 144,000 are to be part of the Bride.

The difference in the two groups was played out for us by Noah and Lot. Lot was vexed with the sin around him, but he still chose to live among those sinners. We not only can learn this lesson from Lot, we can learn it from Samson. He thought he could live righteously among the Philistines. It just isn't that easy. We should come out from among the sinful crowd. Be separate. "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty" (II Cor. 6:17,18).

In I Cor. 15:22,34, in Green's Interlinear, under the Greek words, he has, "...in the Christ all shall be made alive. But each in his own rank: [the] first-fruit (aparche) Christ, then those of Christ at his coming." His translation reads, "all shall be made alive in Christ. But each in his own order: Christ the first-fruit, then they who are of Christ in His coming." He uses first-fruit, not firstfruits, but we say an apple is fruit, or what is in an assorted bowl is fruit.

We can be sure that Christ is the firstfruit offered at the Feast of Firstfruits. We also know that others came out of their graves on Resurrection Day. He is the seed, and they are the rest of that sheaf.

Ex. 23:19 says of Pentecost, the "feast of harvest" (v. 16), "The FIRST of the FIRSTFRUITS of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the Lord."

Besides the sheaf brought forth on Resurrection Day, it seems that there are "the FIRST of the FIRSTFRUITS" brought forth at the Pentecost Rapture and the rest of the firstfruits, the 144,000, brought forth at Christ's parousia, presence, i.e., the day the Sign of the Son of Man is seen.

So, in I Cor. 15:23, there seem to be three classes, Christ and the rest of that sheaf, then those of the first Rapture, who are all firstfruits, then those of the second Rapture, of whom only the 144,000 are counted as firstfruits. Since there are three divisions, your comma seems justified.

I like I Cor. 9:24-27. Paul said, "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the PRIZE? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a CASTAWAY."

In Phil. 3:11-14, he said, "If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren (believers), I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the PRIZE OF THE HIGH CALLING OF GOD (the first trump of God and his 'Come up hither' heard at the Pre-Trib Rapture) IN CHRIST JESUS."

By the "last trump" (I Cor. 15:51-54), ALL the Body of Christ is in Heaven. Then we are made immortal. We have earned and been awarded immortality, but we have not yet received it in our bodies. The complete Body of Christ will be changed in the twinkling of an eye, at the time of the second Rapture. Agape

Incoming email

Re: More on the order of resurrections
You never cease to amaze me. What you shared was the missing piece of the puzzle that I was looking for. Let me try to briefly summarize the essence of what you wrote. The ranks, or order in 1 Corinthians 15 can also be viewed as classes. So the first fruits is the Bride alone, but includes the 144,000 which are in the same class, but are raptured with the tribulation saints pre-wrath. That explains why the 144,000 are called the firstfruits in Rev. 14. I take it that when verse 3 in this chapter says, "And they (the 144,000) sung as it were A NEW SONG before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and NO MAN could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand", that the NO MAN has to refer only to those that have just arrived with them in the pre-wrath rapture. The Bride was not included in the phrase NO MAN, because they had already been in heaven singing the NEW SONG as seen in Rev. chapter 5. Is this the way you see it? Exodus 23:19, "The FIRST of the FIRSTFRUITS of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the Lord", was a great confirming verse to share, to explain the Bride being taken before the 144,000.

Now for a few remaining questions. In your email, when you said, speaking of your list of those in the First Resurrection, "Every believer is included there, the wise and foolish virgins as well as the Philadelphians and Laodiceans." Did you mean to say the wise virgins and Philadelphians as well as the foolish virgins and Laodiceans, or is there something that I don't see in that first sentence. It seems to be redundant.

Secondly could you share some scripture that indicate that the Old Testament Saints will be "friends of the groom" and the Tribulation Saints (except the 144,000) will be considered "friends of the Bride" at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb?

If the 2 witnesses, Elijah and Moses, are friends of the groom, where do they fit in the orders of resurrection? Even though they have their own separate order of resurrection in the middle of the tribulation, are they in one of the 3 classes that you mentioned? The rest of the sheaf that were resurrected right after Jesus, were some of the Old Testament saints that were in Abraham's Bosom, but not all of them. What do you think? Where do all the Old Testament saints fit as far as the classes of resurrection?

I know you hear it all the time, but your ministry is greatly appreciated. I know it takes time to answer all the emails that you do, but eternity will show the incredible amount of fruit that your obedience to His call has produced. I studied everything that you wrote for 2 years before I was able to write you the first email of thanks. (It seems with all the questions that I've had lately, I'm making up for lost time.) I'm sure there are a multitude that are out there, like I was, that you are unaware of now, that you will meet for the first time at "the gathering", and thank you in person for the impact on their lives. What a great day that will be! The faithful effort you make to share your insight in an attitude of Agape, day in and day out, both individually and to the many that read your web sight, have endeared you to so many of us. Thanks again. Your Brother in Jesus

My reply

Thanks for all your kind words. Everything is for the Lord's glory, not mine. I am just amazed at how he has answered my prayer to understand all the deep things. There is plenty that I don't understand, but many of my previous questions have answers. Many hazy things have come clear. I have had some big surprises at what turns up in my studies too. As I type, my mind makes associations that I had not seen clearly or not seen before at all. That has to be by the Lord's guidance. He doesn't show me directly, but he helps me find my way to the answer somehow.

I think you summarized what I said correctly. I think the Philadelphians are the wise virgins and the Laodiceans are the foolish virgins. We can pair them up for a fuller picture. The Philadelphians are not told to repent, they already have. The Laodiceans are warned to repent.

> > could you share some scripture that indicate that the Old Testament Saints will be "friends of the groom" and the Tribulation Saints (except the 144,000) will be considered "friends of the Bride" at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb?

Jas. 2:23 says, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God." In Jn. 3:29, John the Baptist said, "He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled." From these two scriptures, I assume that the OT saints are called friends of the bridegroom and that the apostles are the first group classed as the bride.

Once we can identify who the friends of the bridegroom are and who the bride is, what is left but for the rest of the Tribulation saints to be called friends of the bride? Who else is normally at a wedding? These grew up among those that would be the bride. They literally have been friends with some who end up as part of the bride.

> > If the 2 witnesses, Elijah and Moses, are friends of the groom, where do they fit in the orders of resurrection?

I don't know, their treatment so far has been so special that they may have their own category. I have a suspicion that they are the two that will sit on the right and left of Christ. Mk. 10:37-40 says, "They (James and John) said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory...And Jesus said...to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared."

Rev. 11:4 says, "These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth." Zech. 4:11,14 says, "What are these two olive trees upon the RIGHT SIDE of the candlestick and upon the LEFT SIDE thereof?...These are the TWO ANOINTED ONES, THAT STAND BY THE LORD OF THE WHOLE EARTH." Moses and Elijah stood with Christ at the Transfiguration.

> > Where do all the Old Testament saints fit as far as the classes of resurrection?

I think that those that belong with the wise virgins will be in that group, and those that belong with the foolish virgins will be in their group. One of the attributes of God is perfect justice.

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." Agape

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