Pro and Con 473

Posted 3-26-00

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From Dr. James Tabor (translator for the Original Bible Project): Notre Dame Center, Jerusalem, 3-13-00.
I wanted to send out a short report regarding our excavation this week of what we are calling the "John the Baptizer" cave near Ein Kerem, just west of Jerusalem....The drawings are quite interesting. There are several crosses, but of a simple unusual type, a central drawing of a figure, which we are quite sure is John the Baptizer, plus a head (no body) and a hand...It is the figure which is most fascinating. He is standing with one hand raised, the other holding a staff, and you can clearly see the attempt to mark his tunic with strokes to appear as a hairy garment of skin, not cloth...We worked for four days just removing fill...Pottery was first Turkish/Arab, then consistently Byzantine (5th-7th century). We then concentrated on the niche area, wanting to reach some kind of floor....Finally...we began to get early Roman, even Horodian (1st century) pottery, in great quantities. Needless to say we were quite excited...To have a cave with such drawings on the wall, but also with 1st century habitation, sealed and well preserved--well it was a bit mind-blowing...We finally did hit the floor of the niche and found lots of broken pottery, in situ, but all early Roman--nothing Byzantine at all. It was clearly not washed in, but left there from its period. The floor was a gray plaster, much like one sees in mikvahs (ritual baths) from the Herodian period....We then began to dig a trench probe along the Western wall, just under the figure of John the Baptist...The stratification was amazing, absolutely textbook, layer by layer, undisturbed once we got past the modern layer--Byzantine, early Byzantine, and there it was again, at the same level--early Roman...turning up large quantities of fine early Roman ceramic ware.

Our preliminary conclusions are that the drawings likely date from the Byzantine period, and were put into the plaster (which appears to be at least early Roman or Herodian, 1st century) at a point when those using this cave were standing on the undisturbed early Roman fill. In which case we would have here the earliest depictions of John the Baptizer ever found, right in the Ein Kerem area where early Christian traditions concerning John arose.

Incoming email

Some info on Matthew 27:51-54 that I thought you might want to look at, which is about the ressurection of certain old testament saints....check out this article at http://www.reslight.addr.com/bodiesraised.html Also, a question that has bothered me for a while....It is about the rapture of Enoch and Elijah. How is it possible for them to be raptured to heaven when they existed before Christ did? I thought that Christ was the first of the firstfruits to have an uncorruptible heavenly body, the first begotten and first redeemed by God. If so, how is it possible for Enoch and Elijah to be transformed and taken up before Jesus made his sacrifice? Some suggest that their taking away can better be explained by them being relocated to another place on earth. This could be plausible. Great website, it offers much to think about. God bless.

My reply

In the article, The Tombs That Opened in Matthew 27, the author said,
> > At the very most it was an awakening similar to that which Lazarus experienced, and the daughter of Jairus, and the son of the widow of Nain, to die again, later on. We may be sure of this because the express declaration of `1 Cor. 15:20` is: "Christ is the first-fruits of them that slept"--the first one --the first one lifted out of death to perfection of life. The persons mentioned could have been no more than merely aroused from the slumber of death temporarily, and for some purpose of which we have no knowledge....The Greek word translated "arose" does not necessarily refer to coming back alive. The ones entering into the city do not necessarily mean the dead bodies of the saints. Nor does it necessarily mean that the dead saints made an appearance in the city; rather that their bodies had appeared to many who then went into the city.

I disagree. I simply accept what Mt. 27:51-53 (KJV) says, And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many BODIES of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves AFTER his resurrection, and WENT INTO THE HOLY CITY, and appeared unto many."

I think these OT saints were represented by the remainder of the sheaf of barley offered on the Feast of Firstfruits. Jesus is THE SEED and got his resurrection body first. We might find out later that the 12 elders, the 12 patriarchs of Israel, were in this group. They are seated on thrones in Heaven right after the Rapture (Rev. 4:4).

> > The persons mentioned could not have been the saints of the OT, perfected; because of those the Apostle declares that "they without us [the Gospel Church] shall not be made perfect." In other words, their resurrection will not be due to take place until after the first resurrection of the Church has been completed. (Heb. 11:39,40) So if these "saints" were the faithful ones of old, then they would have only been returned to life temporarily...

I think the OT saints that belong with those taken up in the Pre-Trib Rapture (the first trump of God) will come with Christ, get their resurrection bodies "FIRST: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up TOGETHER WITH THEM in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air" (I Thess. 4:16,17). Verse 15 literally means that we shall NOT PRECEDE those which are asleep in Jesus.

> > more than likely this whole passage was never written by Matthew, because it cannot be not verified by Biblical Numerics.

I believe that God has the power to bring us his word as he wants us to receive it. Whether it agrees with Ivan Panin's "Biblical Numerics" or not doesn't give us the right to throw any of it out.
---
You said,
>> Enoch and Elijah. How is it possible for them to be raptured to heaven when they existed before Christ did? I thought that Christ was the first of the firstfruits to have an uncorruptible heavenly body...how is it possible for Enoch and Elijah to be transformed and taken up before Jesus made his sacrifice?...Some suggest that their taking away can better be explained by them being relocated to another place on earth. This could be plausible

I don't see how anyone could think they were relocated to another place on Earth. I am not sure that Enoch and Elijah "already have an uncorruptible heavenly body" or that they have been "transformed," either.

I Cor. 15:53 says, "the DEAD shall be raised incorruptible. Verses 42 and 44 say, "So also is the resurrection of the DEAD. It is sown in corruption; it is RAISED in incorruption....It is sown a natural body; it is RAISED a spiritual body." Enoch and Elijah didn't die, so, strictly speaking, they may not yet have been "RAISED in incorruption" or been "RAISED a spiritual body."

Gen. 5:24 says, "Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." Heb. 11:5 says, "By faith Enoch was translated that he SHOULD NOT SEE DEATH." I don't know what kind of body he has now.

II Kings 2:11,12 says, "there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah WENT UP BY A WHIRLWIND INTO HEAVEN. And Elisha saw it." Mal. 4:5 says, "I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD." Since Elijah is killed Mid-Trib, at that time, he has a body that can die (Rev. 11:7). When he is resurrected 3 1/2 days later, won't his body at that time be "RAISED a spiritual body" and "RAISED in incorruption"?

We can't let something that we assume get in the way of accepting what we are told plainly in Scripture. There are many things that we are not told. Even Paul did not know whether he was in the body or out of the body when he was caught up to the 3rd Heaven (II Cor. 12:2-7). All I can do is accept what Scripture says as pure truth, whether I fully understand it or not.

As you said, we have much to think about. It isn't like we know it all. There are still mysteries to try to figure out. Agape

Incoming email

Re: response to your response Thank you for your input on my last post. Let me make one comment on your comment about my previous comment (How's that for a sentence.).

You said,
>> "The whole Tribulation is 7 years (Dan. 9:27)."

Daniel 9:27 says, "And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."

This scripture is the basis for the 70th week of Daniel, but no where does it call that period "the tribulation". We know that tribulation takes place up to the time of the pre-wrath rapture of the tribulation saints, but there is, as far as I know, no scripture that says the tribulation is 7 years. There must be a distinction made between tribulation and the wrath of God. The distinction is not so much the degree of destruction, (although the tribulation will be a "walk in the park" compared to the wrath of God), as much as who is doing the destroying.The tribulation, other than some judgment executed by the two witnesses, for the most part is the wrath of Satan, who, as he sees his time getting shorter, causes more and more destruction. The source of the destruction or wrath after the tribulation that ends with the sixth seal, is God. No where is that 7 and a half month period referred to as tribulation or even part of "the tribulation".

Matthew 24:21-22 says, "21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days (of tribulation) should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."

If the days of tribulation are shortened, then the days beyond that cannot be considered tribulation. It seems as if there is a correlation between the 7 years of Daniel 9:27 and the 7 seals. The seven seals are to be broken from the book or scroll which was the title deed of this earth, before the millennial reign of Jesus starts. Satan has had a lease that has allowed him to be "god of this world" (2 Cor. 4:4) that apparently only ends after the last seal of the title deed is broken. Maybe Satan thought he had time till the last seal was broken, which might have been pre-ordained to be 7 years, to kill the saints and cause havoc in the world. But God in His sovereignty, cut that time short, evacuating the target of Satan's wrath, and going on the offense through wrath that is beyond what any horror show could depict. Satan and his co-horts are driven underground (literally) and are on the defense, helpless till the 7 year lease is up. Only after that 7 year period, does Satan illegally, marshal what forces he has left for the battle of Armageddon where he is defeated and thrown in the bottomless pit.

I still believe that the shortened tribulation is 2300 days and that the rapture that takes place on "that day" is both post-tribe. and pre-wrath. Which means that all of the major rapture positions, pre-trib, post-trib and pre-wrath, among whom there is so much disputing are all right...to a degree...they are just focusing on different scriptures. It is as if we were given a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle without the picture on the cover to guide us. Some believers have pieced part of the puzzle that shows a pre-trib rapture exclusively, others only see parts that indicate a post-trib rapture and still others are adamant that there will only be a pre-wrath rapture. They haven't pieced all the parts together to realize that there is a bigger picture and that the scriptures from all these positions link together into one truth. There is a rapture of the bride before the tribulation. And there is a rapture of the tribulation saints, the foolish virgins at the end of the tribulation, that is shortened from how long it could have been. In shortening it, that second rapture that is after the tribulation, is also before the wrath of God that is about to be unleashed with the breaking of the 7th seal.

Now to respond to your question.

>>Some have asked about the dead in Christ. Knowing that the Lord is perfectly just, I think those that were like foolish virgins in their lifetime will be raised with the living foolish virgins. What do you think?

I totally agree with you. Although the scripture does not directly say so, I think it implies it, if you view 1 Cor. 15:51 as describing the pre-wrath rapture of the trib. saints at the last trump, and 1 Thes. 4:16 the first trump rapture before the tribulation, it is clear that the dead are raised both times. What criteria could God have to determine who is raised either time other than the same qualifications he has for who goes in each accompanying rapture. That criteria is whether you are foolish and lukewarm or wise and faithful.

Now for your other comment...
>> It can have that meaning, but "all" can also mean that by that time all the elect are in Heaven. It also may be that we all become immortal on that day. We have been awarded immortality, but may actually receive it that day. See what you think on that.

It is hard to believe that at the resurrection of the bride we would not be given bodies that are immortal. What would the purpose be of having His bride wait more than 7 years to receive immortality.

1 John 3:2 says, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him."

This would seem to indicate that when He appears to either group, we shall be like him . . . having the same kind of immortal body.

Thanks for being a blessing,

My reply

> > there is, as far as I know, no scripture that says the tribulation is 7 years.

Rev. 11:3 shows that Moses and Elijah prophesy 1260 days. That is the first half of the Tribulation. Rev. 12:6 shows that Israelis will flee into the wilderness for 1260 days. That is the last half if the 7 years.

Lev. 26:27,28 says, "And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins."

In Rev. 12:14, the 3 1/2 years are called "a time, and times, and half a time." Dan. 12:7 says, "...it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished." This is the final 1260 days, as in Rev. 12:14.

There are 1260 days, 1290 days, and 1335 days, counted from Mid-Trib (Dan. 12:11,12).

> > The source of the destruction or wrath after the tribulation that ends with the sixth seal, is God. No where is that 7 and a half month period referred to as tribulation or even part of "the tribulation".

In Rev. 9:2-6, the bottomless pit is opened. Out come "locusts (i.e., demons)...And to them it was given that they should not kill them (the men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads), but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it."

> > 1 John 3:2 says, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him."

> > This would seem to indicate that when He appears to either group, we shall be like him . . . having the same kind of immortal body.

That seems more likely than not. I'm just mulling over some scriptures, sort of thinking out loud. I have questions too.

I Cor. 15:42,44 says, "So also is the resurrection of the DEAD. It is sown in corruption; it is RAISED in incorruption....It is sown a natural body; it is RAISED a spiritual body."

Since the dead in Christ are raised in incorruption and with a spiritual body, I assume that our bodies will also be changed to incorruptible spiritual bodies at the first Rapture. So there is change at both Raptures. Some are changed at the first Rapture and the rest are changed at the second Rapture. After the second one, all have been changed.

The question in my mind is this. Is an incorruptible spiritual body already immortal? or does an incorruptible spiritual body become immortal at the last trump? In other words, do all of us that are parts of the Body of Christ become immortal at the same instant in time? or do we become immortal in ranks?

In I Cor. 15:51-53, Paul said, "Behold, I shew you a MYSTERY; We shall not all sleep (i.e., some will be raptured without having to die), but we shall ALL be CHANGED, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, AT THE LAST TRUMP: for the trumpet shall sound, and the DEAD SHALL BE RAISED INCORRUPTIBLE, and we shall be CHANGED (allasso, made different). For this corruptible must put on incorruption, AND this MORTAL MUST PUT ON IMMORTALITY."

Can you think of other scriptures that would shed light on this?

My thanks to you. You are a blessing too. Agape

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here are my thoughts for this year. First off, Pentacost has already been fullfilled, and therefore no rapture can happen on Pentacost.

From my Messianic Jewish learning, that I believe that the rapture occurs on September 30th, of this year, at exactly midnight Jerusalem time. This is the Feast Of Trumpets, and marks the first day of 6001 when the clock strikes midnight. Although some people have posted that April 5th marks the start of the tribulation, and Rosh Hashana, but this does not line up with the religious calander according to the Jews. So that is what my thoughts are.

My question to you is this. The apostasy, falling away from the church "must" occur prior to the rapture. What great event will be the cause of this to happen before September 30th ?? UFO invasion ? Aliens ? There has to be something to cause the falling away of the church, and it has to happen soon.. Any info would be appreciated. And remember, Rapture "will" happen this year on September 30th. In Christ

My reply

> > Pentacost has already been fullfilled, and therefore no rapture can happen on Pentacost.
> > Rapture "will" happen this year on September 30th.

Please keep an open mind. If either of these assumptions turned out to be wrong, it could keep you from seeing the truth. Scripture doesn't tell state either one definitely.

In Ex. 14,16,19, the Lord said, "Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year (Sacred year)....unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days...And the FEAST OF HARVEST, the FIRSTFRUITS of THY labours, which thou hast sown in the field ('the field is the world,' Mt. 13:38): and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast (past tense) gathered in thy labours out of the field....The FIRST of the FIRSTFRUITS of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God."

De. 16:10 says, "thou shalt keep the feast of weeks (i.e., Pentecost) unto the LORD thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the LORD thy God, according as the LORD thy God hath blessed thee....Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, AFTER that thou HAST GATHERED in thy corn and thy wine."

These are the pilgrimage feasts. "Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles" (De. 16:16). Pentecost is bookended with 7-day feasts. Both Unleavened Bread and Tabernacles mark the beginning and consummation of God's special plan for Israel. The first speaks of their perfect sinless Messiah. The last depicts Israel's gathering into Messiah's kingdom on Earth in the 7th millennium. In the first, Yahshua is their high priest. In the last, Yahshua is their king.

In between is "the feast of harvest, the FIRSTFRUITS of THY LABOURS, which thou hast sown in the field" (the world). This is the harvest out of the world, not just Israel, but including Israel, the fig tree (Joel 1:6,7; Hos. 9:10; Eze. 36:8; Jer. 24:5,6).

Neh. 10:35-37 says, "to bring the FIRSTFRUITS of our ground (Israel), AND the FIRSTFRUITS of ALL fruit of ALL trees (all nations), year by year, unto the house of the LORD: Also the FIRSTBORN OF OUR SONS...to bring to the house of our God...And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and THE FRUIT OF ALL MANNER OF TREES...to the chambers of the house of our God."

Jas. 1:18 says, "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be A KIND OF FIRSTFRUITS of his creatures." We are included in the firstfruits. The word of the Saviour went out from Israel, and this harvest is to be brought into the house of God.

Lev. 23:17,22 says, "Ye shall bring out of your habitations TWO wave loaves...they shall be baken with leaven; they are the FIRSTFRUITS unto the LORD....when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt NOT make clean riddance of the corners of thy field."

There were to be TWO leavened loaves made of wheat flour and baked. The heat kills the leaven, symbol of evil. Don't you think it is possible that the first loaf represented the 120 plus "about three thousand souls" (Acts 2:41) saved on Pentecost in 30 AD, and the 2nd loaf represented the firstfruits Rapture? We are definitely "A KIND OF FIRSTFRUITS."

Why were they "NOT make clean riddance of the corners of thy field"? Aren't those foolish Laodicean virgins that are left behind (Mt. 24:10; Rev. 3:16) at the firstfruits Rapture the reason? Lev. 23:22 says, "leave them unto the POOR." Rev. 3:17 says of the Laodiceans (meaning people of judgment), "knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and POOR, and blind, and naked."

Hos. 9:10 says, "I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the FIRSTRIPE in the fig tree at her FIRST TIME: but they went to Baal-peor, and separated themselves unto that shame."

The Lord casts Micah AS (symbolic language) a Tribulation saint. Mic. 7:1-10 says, "Woe is me!" It is the Feast of Trumpets when the 3 woes are to take place. For "I am AS when they HAVE GATHERED the summer fruits, AS the grapegleanings of the vintage (Tishri 1): there is no cluster to eat: my soul desired the FIRSTRIPE FRUIT (Nu. 13:20). The good man is perished (abad, escaped) OUT OF THE EARTH: and there is none upright among men...NOW shall be their perplexity....I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him (as Laodicean foolish virgins), UNTIL he plead my cause (at the Judgment Seat of Christ on Tishri 1), and EXECUTE JUDGMENT for me: he will BRING ME FORTH TO THE LIGHT (the Pre-Wrath Rapture on Tishri 1), and I shall behold his righteousness....Then she that is mine enemy shall see it (probably the Sign of the Son of Man, Mt. 24:30; Rev. 6:14-17)...NOW shall she be trodden down as the mire of the streets."

I think Song of Sol. 2:10-14 is talking about the Pre-Trib Rapture. "My beloved spake, and said unto me, RISE UP, my love, my fair one, and COME AWAY. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone (the latter rain of Nisan); The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle (lit., turtledove) is heard in our land (Apr. - Oct.); The fig tree putteth forth her GREEN FIGS, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. ARISE, my love, my fair one, and COME AWAY." This fits a Pentecost Rapture in the spring, the time of "the FIRSTRIPE FRUIT." The Pre-Wrath Rapture fits "the grapegleanings of the vintage" (Tishri 1). The Dispensation of Law began at Sinai at the time of Pentecost. The "LORD came down" (Ex. 19:20). The Dispensation of Grace began at Pentecost in 30 AD. The Holy Spirit came down (Acts 2:4). Will the Pre-Trib Rapture also be on Pentecost? At that time, the LORD will come down (I Thess. 4:16).

> > The apostasy, falling away from the church "must" occur prior to the rapture.

This is probably an assumption based on a misunderstanding of II Thess. 2:1-3. It says, "That ye be not soon shaken in mind...that the day of Christ (all major MSS have day of the Lord, i.e., the Millennium) is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away (apostasia, the departure, as in apostacion, divorcement, i.e., the Pre-Trib Rapture) first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition" (the False Prophet, revealed when he and the Beast confirm (Dan. 9:27) the Final Status Peace Covenant). Agape

Incoming email

Thank you so much for making the effort and taking the time to answer my questions. I soaked it all up! You are exceedingly precious! May the Lord do with you as you have with me and answer the deepest questions of your heart and SATISFY YOU FULLY. Agape

Incoming email

Subject: rapture So firstly, are you confident in your prediction and what time of the year do you think the rapture will occur?

My reply

All I can do is tell you what I think is most likely--spring (Song of Sol. 2:10-14). I am hoping for next Pentecost. Agape

Incoming email

I haven't written you in a while, and before I write this i should read all of your newest P&C, but here I go. This is incredible, the Pontif getting involved in Israel. If there was ever any doubt... Here is how I see it. What does Israel want more other than peace? the temple. How about Peace and the Temple? Who can do this. The Roman Catholic Church. Of course we all know that the beast is the Pope, but, Can the beast be and entity like the church, and then out of that entity comes the false profit, like the so called "black pope".

I think the acting Pontif will enact a treaty for the two things Israel wants peace, and the Temple. The beast (roman catholic church) will enact a treaty where Israel gives up some land in exchange for momentary peace in order to erect the temple, on the temple mount, next to the mosque.

Then, three and a half years later the "black pope" emerges as the false profit and claims deity after a recovery of some kind. At this time, the Jews will finally know that They killed the son of God, will turn to God one last time, and be saved.

What do you think?

one more question. The date(s) you are thinking of for the rapture, are they are PST or are they the time and date in Israel? I presume they are the time and date in Israel because you're going by Jewish festivals right? Could this be the reason no one could know the time of His return, beacuse it will be different times all over the world, and even different days in some parts?

I am going to Europe at the beginning of May. I want to be in Israel around the end of May, beginning of June. Could you tell me the dates in our time please. Thanks always for your time

My reply

> I think the acting Pontif will enact a treaty for the two things Israel
> wants peace, and the Temple...on the temple mount, next to the mosque.

I think both the Beast and the False Prophet will confirm the Final Status Peace Agreement. Both peace and the Temple will probably be covered.

> Then, three and a half years later the "black pope" emerges as the false
> profit and claims deity after a recovery of some kind.

I think the False Prophet is a Jew, probably of the tribe of Dan.

> At this time, the Jews will finally know that They killed the son of God,
> will turn to God one last time, and be saved.

The nation will be saved in a day (Isa. 66:8). I think it will be the first day of the millennial Day of the Lord.

> The date(s) you are thinking of for the rapture, are
> they are PST or are they the time and date in Israel?

In Jerusalem.

> Could this be the reason no one could know the time of His return, beacuse
> it will be different times all over the world, and even different days in
> some parts?

Could be, but the word knoweth in Mt. 24:36 is present tense. It was true in the day in which it was stated.

> > the dates in our time

Pentecost is Sivan 6 and 7 (June 9 and 10, 2000). Agape


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