Rapture, the way I see it – Part 3

However, before Christ’s return there will be tribulation here on earth and the church will still be here on earth while it happens. The beast and the false prophet will force people to accept the mark which is not at all a physical mark. They shall be quite subtle in their deceit and will seem quite genuine. One will have to be discerning to see through them.

 

The book of Revelation echoes 1 Thessalonians 4 in respect of the resurrection of the dead at Christ’s return with 1 Corinthians 15 describing the process

 

3 But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back. 24 After that the end will come, when he will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power. 35 But someone may ask, “How will the dead be raised? What kind of bodies will they have?” 36 What a foolish question! When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it dies first. 37 And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of wheat or whatever you are planting. 38 Then God gives it the new body he wants it to have. A different plant grows from each kind of seed. 39 Similarly there are different kinds of flesh—one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are also bodies in the heavens and bodies on the earth. The glory of the heavenly bodies is different from the glory of the earthly bodies. 41 The sun has one kind of glory, while the moon and stars each have another kind. And even the stars differ from each other in their glory. 42 It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. 43 Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. 44 They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.

 

The book of Revelation tells us further that Satan shall be bound for a 100 years and all who were part of the first resurrection shall rule with Christ for that period.

 

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven with the key to the bottomless pit and a heavy chain in his hand. 2 He seized the dragon—that old serpent, who is the devil, Satan—and bound him in chains for a thousand years. 3 The angel threw him into the bottomless pit, which he then shut and locked so Satan could not deceive the nations anymore until the thousand years were finished. Afterward he must be released for a little while. 4 Then I saw thrones, and the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus and for proclaiming the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They all came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 This is the first resurrection. (The rest of the dead did not come back to life until the thousand years had ended.) 6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. For them the second death holds no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him a thousand years. Revelation 20

 

It also makes it clear that the church will be present through the ‘tribulation’ and some will lose their lives during it.

 

14 And I said to him, “Sir, you are the one who knows.” Then he said to me, “These are the ones who died in the great tribulation. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and made them white. 15 “That is why they stand in front of God’s throne and serve him day and night in his Temple. And he who sits on the throne will give them shelter. 16 They will never again be hungry or thirsty; they will never be scorched by the heat of the sun. Revelation 7

 

Scripture is clear about the persecution of Christians for their faith and we’ve seen that in the bible as well as in history and this makes the doctrine of rapture out of sync with the bible. It preaches escapism.

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Rapture, the way I see it – Part 2

History has it that this event occurred in AD66. Jerusalem was besieged by the Romans and the Christians remembered the words of Jesus. They fled as soon as the gates of the city were opened briefly and not one of them was hurt.

 

The siege Jerusalem was under got so bad that people began to starve to death and some women even killed and ate their babies. In AD70 when the Romans gain entry into the city, most of the Jews fled into the temple and a fire broke out that raised it to the ground and killing some Jews in the process. About a million Jews were slaughtered and only about 100,000 survived. If the siege had gone on any longer it would have likely wiped out all the Jews.

 

The rest of Jesus’ words covered His return and the end of the world. Jesus did mention that 2 people will be together and one of them shall be taken will the other left and this has been used to teach the rapture doctrine. However, what really does that word taken mean? The original Greek word from which it was translated actually means ‘to be associated with’. It implies recognition and acceptance and does not conjure any impression of being spirited away someplace.

 

1 Thessalonians 4 is also used in support of the doctrine because of the use of the words ‘caught up’

 

15 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.

 

Caught up here is translated from the Greek word harpazo which means to ‘to carry off by force’. This same word was also used to describe how people gain entrance into the kingdom of heaven

 

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. Matthew 11: 12

 

It does not refer to a ‘rapture’ but to taking possession of something and making it yours. Jesus will descend to make the church His! When He descends at His second coming, those who have died in Him shall be resurrected as per 1 Corinthians 15 and those who are alive shall be transformed and together with the Old Testament ‘cloud’ of witnesses shall be with Him.

Rapture, the way I see it – Part 1

I had written something previously on the mark of the beast and have decided to follow that up by examining the doctrine of ‘rapture’ which is widely taught in Christian circles. Even though the word does not exist anywhere in the bible that has not stopped this from being taught.

It is the favourite of scaremongers and dooms day prophets. It is usually used to scare people into giving their lives to Christ. Such tactics do not last unfortunately because people give their lives out of fear instead of knowledge and faith. I was taught that after Christ has raptured the church, the antichrist will be released and there will a great tribulation on the face of the earth. Those who were left behind will be forced to accept the ‘mark of the beast’ if they want to buy or sell anything and there will be great anguish.

Christ will finally return (again?), destroy the antichrist and punish those who accepted the mark as well as Satan. And those who did not make the rapture but did not accept the mark of the beast will pay for their salvation with their own blood. That is it in a nutshell.

There were so many inconsistencies with this teaching and the more I searched the scriptures, the more confused I became. Now I know the reason for this confusion was because I was still trying to interpret these scriptures in the light of what I had been taught.

Matthew 24 has been used in support of this rapture doctrine. Jesus’ disciples had asked Jesus when the temple was going to be destroyed, when will be the sign of His coming and the end of the age. Anytime I heard this portion of scripture taught, the first question was always ignored; the destruction of the temple.

Jesus was very explicit to His disciples about what was going to happen to the temple. It was going to be completely destroyed! They will know this is about to happen when they see the abomination of desolation and those who were in the fields should not go back to Jerusalem. They were also supposed to pray that their flight did not happen on the Sabbath or during winter.

15 “The day is coming when you will see what Daniel the prophet spoke about—the sacrilegious object that causes desecration[d] standing in the Holy Place.” (Reader, pay attention!) 16 “Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. 17 A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. 18 A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat. 19 How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. 20 And pray that your flight will not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again. 22 In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones. Matthew 24