Sometime in the future.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Make thee two trumpets of silver…use them for the calling of the assembly…And if ye go to war…then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets.” (Numbers 10:1-9)
John Darby’s Dispensationalism was examined in the post Pick a Side where its popularity was attributed to blatant racism. Another transparent reason for its popularity is its teaching that believers will not suffer tribulation.
Whaaat?? Isn’t that the the exact opposite of the theme of the Bible? Not to mention history and current events??
Not only is this frankly unscriptural, it begs the question – who on earth is available to lead the unsaved – including our own loved ones – to salvation if the Holy Spirit who indwells believers has left during the Adversary’s last and worst rampage on earth? This is beyond cowardice. This is betrayal of the LORD of hosts on par with Judas Iscariot.
The Rapture doctrine demands the scrutiny of anyone who complaisantly believes both in it, and in their salvation through identification with Jesus Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. You can’t have it both ways.
The History of the Rapture
This doctrine is new; it was never taught or even discussed prior to the 1830’s. It seems to have first come from a “prophetic vision” by Margaret Macdonald, a woman in 1830, who was a part of the cult group the “Irvingites,” while having an emotional experience…After that, another cult group called the “Millerites,” predicted the return of Christ on October 22, 1844. It did not happen; that should have been a clue, but this would not die. [Miller…went on to play a role in the founding of the Seventh Day Adventist Church]…
At the same time, this belief was then picked up by Irish born…John N. Darby…who took this new fad to America in 1862 to 1877….He was, in fact, a failed lawyer who was very “intolerant to criticism” and prideful. This should be another clue…He then developed a poor method of biblical interpretation called dispensationalism (The Problem with Dispensationalism!)—another clue…
The very popular commentary of the Bible he produced…the very first study Bible, given out to just about every preacher and evangelist beginning in 1909, and one we still have today, The Scofield Study Bible.
Where are the Bible passages for this? Is this not clear in Scripture? Many people think so, but take a look for yourself. The most popular Bible references are John 14:2–3; 1 Corinthians 15:49–55; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-7. The best thing to do is read the passages in their context and you will clearly see for yourself what they say…
Then this was further popularized the book, Jesus Is Coming by evangelist William Blackstone… This work sold more than one million copies…in 1957, when respected Theologian from Dallas Seminary, Dr. John Walvoord, wrote a book called, “The Rapture Question”…it seems he did not check his facts and read into the passage a presumption he saw as fact because it was in his favorite work,Scofield Study Bible. But he did not declare it a dogmatic fact, but left it open for further research and debate…Then, the rapture gets popular with the publication of Hal Lindsey’s book, The Late Great Planet Earth, which sold over 15 million copies;
So if someone insists this is a valid doctrine, ask for the Scripture references, then ask for any solid biblical scholarship on it. You will find none as I did not. Yes, many great people think this is true and teach it passionately. They get so caught up in it, pun intended, they do not look it up.
The Late, Great Planet Earth is a best-selling 1970 book by Hal Lindsey with Carole C. Carlson, and first published by Zondervan. The New York Times declared it to be the bestselling nonfiction book of the 1970s. [Emphasis added.] The book was first featured on a prime time television special featuring Hal Lindsey in 1974 to 1975 with an audience of 17,000,000…it was adapted…during 1976 into a film narrated by Orson Welles…Lindsey and Carlson later published several sequels, including Satan Is Alive and Well on Planet Earth and The 1980s: Countdown to Armageddon.
The Late, Great Planet Earth is a treatment of dispensational eschatology. As such, it compared end-time prophecies in the Bible with then-current events in an attempt to predict future scenarios resulting in the rapture of believers before the tribulation and Second Coming of Christ to establish his thousand-year (i.e. millennial) Kingdom on Earth. Emphasizing various passages in the books of Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation, Lindsey originally suggested the possibility that these climactic events might occur during the 1980s,
foretold a Soviet invasion of Israel (War of Gog and Magog)
Lindsey also predicted that...the European Union, was destined (according to Biblical prophecy)…to become a “Revived Roman Empire” ruled by the Antichrist…
America would not be a major geopolitical power by the time the tribulations of the end times arrived…
It is now 2020 and America is still the world’s major geopolitical power.
the Tribulation or the Rapture would occur no later than 1988.
According to the Bible’s judgement on prophets, Hal Lindsey is a false prophet. But he’s still going strong, because he and other rapture teachers like him give a false hope of evading suffering.
And what is it that the Church — or all true believers — is watching and preparing for? The “Blessed Hope” that the Apostle Paul describes in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.
When we read that passage we find resurrection of the dead and transformation of the living, AKA the rapture, but where is the description of this as the “Blessed Hope”?
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise 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: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (I Thessalonians 4:16-17)
When we look up “Blessed Hope” we discover the following passage
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” (Titus 2:13)
OK, so the blessed hope is the resurrection of the dead in The Promised One / Messiah / Christ at his appearing on earth, but does it prove the claim that, for the first and only time in history, believers will not experience tribulation?
Not according to the Bible.
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also…and hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:1-5)
“Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints;” (Romans 12:12)
“We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you…For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel…to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel…whereof I Paul am made a minister; Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:” (Colossians 1:1-24)
“Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father…And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost. So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad…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.” (I Thessalonians 1:3-10)
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? (II Thessalonians 2:2-5)
Someday soon, Jesus Christ is going to leave heaven and call for those who are watching for His return to leave this earth and meet Him in the air. This even includes those who have died during this Church Age…
Those who are left behind will be the ones who experience the “Day of the Lord,” which begins with the great Tribulation. You don’t want anyone you know or love to be in that number…
And how do you make certain you’re ready to experience the “Blessed Hope” and miss the “Day of the Lord?” Simple. [Emphasis added.]
Recognize that you’re a sinner who has fallen short of the standard that God has set. (Every human being has!) Confess your sinfulness and ask God to forgive you. Accept the free gift of pardon that Jesus Christ purchased for you with His atoning death on the Cross. Believe God’s promise (“…whosoever believes in Him shall not die but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16) and receive His pardon in your heart. Then ask God to make of you what He wants you to be. Thank Him for giving you eternal life with Him.
You are now a part of God’s forever family and have just changed your eternal destiny. Now, you are one of those watching for the “Blessed Hope.”
Hal Lindsey’s use of the “Sinner’s Prayer” as a legitimate means of salvation without crucifying the flesh is consistent with his anti-biblical promise that Christians are promised a soft life.
The following passage is used by Dispensationalists as proof of a pre-tribulation physical removal of believers with their resident Holy Spirit.
- “…be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled…as that the day of Messiah / Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come
- a falling away / apostasia: defection, revolt first,
- and that man of sin be revealed / apokaluptó: to uncover, reveal, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (II Thessalonians 2:1-4)
The fact that apostasia most likely has the meaning of physical departure is a clear support for pretribulationism. If this is true, (Dr. Tim LaHaye and I believe that it is), then it means that…Paul teaches…that the rapture will occur first, before the Day of the Lord commences. It is not until after the beginning of the Day of the Lord that the Antichrist is released…This is the only interpretation that provides hope for a discomforted people. Maranatha!
For starters, these teachers have got the Day of the Lord all mixed up with the Reign of Antichrist, which in itself tells us just unqualified they are to teach anything about either event. The reign of antichrist has to occur prior to the Day of the Lord’s Christ.
Secondly, a basic investigation of how apostasia is translated reveals that the claim that this word has the meaning of a physical departure is just a flat out lie. It is only used one other time, and that in absolutely a spiritual context.
- Original Word: ἀποστασία, ας, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Phonetic Spelling: (ap-os-tas-ee’-ah)
Definition: defection, revolt
Usage: defection, apostasy, revolt.
Acts 21:21: they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.
This one investigation into the pre-tribulation rapture teaching should shock us into awareness of “because they received not the love of the truth…God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Even human armies execute soldiers for desertion. Should God shrug it off when eternal life for the people his son died to save is at stake?
The argument of the passage itself does not allow a pre-tribulation rapture interpretation. Paul is assuring Gentile converts that the sight of Antichrist in the temple is a sign that Yahweh’s Savior / Yeshua / Jesus will shortly return to rescue them. Ergo, believers must be on earth to see it.
Moreover, using one verse to prove one’s private interpretation is a violation of the scriptural – and legal -requirements for at least two witnesses to establish truth. Anyone who cares at least as much about the truth as police investigators or psychiatric providers determining a course of action in this life can extend their investigation of the veracity of the pretribulation rapture doctrine to the other witnesses provided in scripture.
What we find is that the other passages describing the climax of human history unquestionably direct the action of falling away with the faith, defecting to the enemy whose lies they choose to believe.
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” (I Timothy 4:1-2)
Phonetic Spelling: (af-is’-tay-mee)
Definition: to lead away, to depart from
Usage: make to stand away, draw away, repel, take up a position away from, withdraw from, leave, abstain from.
Luke 2:37: she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
Luke 4:13: when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.
Luke 8:13: They on the rock are they, which, for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
Luke 13:24-28: Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able….shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
Acts 5:34-37: stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space; And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men. For before these days rose up…Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed. And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.
Acts 15:37-38: Barnabas determined to take with them John…But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.
Acts 19:8-9: he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly…persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples,
Acts 22:28-29: Paul said…I was free born. Then straightway they departed from him which should have examined him: and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.
II Corinthians 12:7-10: there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me…For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
II Timothy 2:15-19: Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker…and overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
Hebrews 3:12-13: Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God…lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
“…account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.” (II Peter 3:15-17)
- Original Word: ἐκπίπτω
Part of Speech: Verb
Phonetic Spelling: (ek-pip’-to)
Definition: to leap out
Usage: I fall out, fall off, fall away; hence in nautical language: I fall off from the straight course; of flowers: I fade away, wither away; I fall from, lose, forfeit; I am cast ashore; I am fruitless.
Romans 9:6: Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect.
Galatians 5:4: Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
As for the claim that rapture prior to tribulation is the only interpretation that provides hope for a discomforted people! Talk about taking a verse totally out of context. Read the surrounding passage in which Paul comforts the Thessalonians.
“we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels…When he shall come to be glorified in his saints…Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ…he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work..” (II Thessalonians 1-2)
Much is made by Dispensationalists of Paul’s statements to the Corinthian church.
“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep [in context this is clearly a euphemism for 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.” (I Corinthians 15:50-52)
The Apostle Paul spoke of the Rapture as a “Mystery” in 1 Corinthians 15:51-54. A “mystery” is a new truth that a New Testament writer reveals as part of God’s Plan for the church age. This supports the notion that the Rapture is for the church and is a separate event from that of the Second Coming.
The Second Coming was predicted in the Old Testament (Daniel 12:1-3; Zechariah 12:10; 14:4). Paul would not identify the Rapture as a mystery if it was revealed in the Old Testament. His rabbinical training and his mentor Gamaliel would have precluded this possibility from the record.
Thus because the Rapture is a “mystery”, it is a newly revealed event and it is distinct from the Second Coming of Christ Jesus. This understanding supports the Pre-Trib Rapture view, which places the Rapture before the Tribulation and the Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation.
The attack on “Dispensationalism” is Satanic-inspired.
When we begin at the beginning and systematically compare the above Dispensationalist’s statements to Paul’s statements in scripture, we find a remarkable number of discrepancies. Who is Satanic-inspired?
First, Paul never spoke of a Rapture.
Many Christians believe in a future End Times event when all true believers still alive before the end of the world will be taken from the earth by God into heaven. The term describing this event is the Rapture.
The English word ‘rapture’ derives from the Latin verb ‘Rapere,’ meaning ‘to carry off,’ or ‘to catch up…’
The term ‘Rapture’ first became popular in the United States toward the end of the 19th century through teachings on…dispensationalism by John Nelson Darby, an Irish evangelist. The rapture theory continued to grow in popularity among evangelicals largely due to a preacher named William Eugene Blackstone (1841-1935). His book, Jesus is Coming, sold more than one million copies…
The Rapture theory gained even greater interest during this time due to the books of Hal Lindsey. In The Late Great Planet Earth Lindsey predicted an imminent Rapture based on global conditions at the time…
the popular Christian book series based on the events surrounding the Rapture is the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins…
What Paul discussed was not “rapture” as a public event but “change” as an individual evolution, from corruptible to incorruptible. This concept is so clearly expressed in “the change” as euphemism for menopause, when women stop experiencing the monthly corruption of potential new life, that it is hard to comprehend how this got so distorted into “I’ll Fly Away.” Other than loving the lie that Jesus’ followers don’t need to follow Jesus into battle against evil.
“that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed…the invisible things of him from the creation of the world…even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:…they…changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man.” (Romans 1:19-23)
“Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remaineth…and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail…Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.” (Hebrews 1:10-12, 12:26-27)
As detailed in Everything New is Old Again, Paul drew every bit of his teaching from the Old Testament. When we don’t add the word “rapture” up into heaven to scripture, but stick with “change” from mortal to immortal, we understand that this was a known phenomenon just as clearly described in the Old Testament as every other aspect of salvation.
Enoch was a prophet/priest/king whose transformation from mortal to immortal without going through physical death was timed to coincide with the end of his exceptional “walk through the valley of the shadow of death” while he preached of coming judgment to the most wicked population ever to walk the face of the earth.
“And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” (Gen 5:24)
“there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ…Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (Jude 1:13-14)
Elijah is a major spokesman for God who established his credentials during a time of vicious persecution of God’s people. His transformation, like Enoch’s, can be seen as a reward for an exceptional life’s service under fire, not an escape from it. The timing of his transformation signals not the beginning, but the end, of the enemy’s reign of terror.
“Elijah…said…the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. And the LORD said unto him, Go…anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. (I Kings 19:9-17)
“And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal….And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, 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, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.” (II Kings 2:1-12)
Since this instant change from corrupt to incorrupt is documented in the Old Testament, why don’t dispensationalists base their teaching of the future recurrence of this phenomenon on them? Their silence has thundering implications. They don’t want to admit the evidence for believers experiencing tribulation prior to the change.
So instead of referencing Enoch’s change experience, they wrest scripture to reference Noah’s experience.
Look at what Jesus says:
Matthew 24:37 “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 Noah 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…
This disappearance spoken of by Jesus…is called the “Rapture” by those who know about it.
It is simply a “taking out” or “taking away” of Believers in Jesus Christ from the earth.
Uh, no. Noah and his family remained on the earth. Or we wouldn’t be here. You may recall that they repopulated the earth. They were not raptured out.
The days of Noah are referenced by Jesus because they are famous for unimaginable wickedness, giants, and the corruption of all human and animals flesh, i.e. hybridization. See the posts Seed of the Serpent and Mark of the Beast for details. For now, just note that diverting attention from the true examples of the “change” by Enoch and Elijah and the true reason Jesus references the “days of Noah”, the false prophets of Dispensationalism have left their followers in the dark about the worst era of history coming upon mankind.
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as their’s also was.
But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. [But not by some imaginary rapture!] Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them…the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (II Timothy 3)
“He who is taken away” is most assuredly the Holy Spirit, but not in the form of the Church being raptured up to God. According to Daniel and Jesus, it is in the form of the God’s people falling away to the enemy, led by corrupt leaders who ally with the enemy. We like to blame all persecution on the villainous Roman emperors and communist governments, but poseurs in our midst who out for personal gain do a whopping amount of damage to us.
- And now ye know what withholdeth / katechó: to hold fast, hold back that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only
- he who now letteth will let /the same word katechó: to hold fast, hold back until he be taken out of the way.
- And then shall that Wicked be revealed…[for who he really is] after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
- And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
- And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.“ (II Thessalonians 2:2-12)
There is a battle going on and it’s not a smackdown between champions Jesus and Satan. Satan is smart enough not to go up against the power of the universe. It is between the followers of the Seed of the Woman and followers of the Seed of the Serpent.
- The battle strategy is the opposing actions of standing against vs falling away to the forces of evil in a vicious spiritual conflict. Paul uses the same familiar Roman imagery in another of his epistles describing the face-off between the Seeds’ armies. Do you think Paul gets across the need to STAND?”
“…my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might…1) stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to 2) withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to 3) stand. 4) Stand therefore
Warning: Hazardous Duty.
“...when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service…But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them...It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.” (John 16)
How is the Comforter going to get his message across? Through Holy Spirit-filled followers of Jesus Christ! This is what keeps evil at bay! Can we not look around us and recognize that evil is spreading across our world like a visible black cloud? What is the underlying root cause? Apostacy and failure to fight against evil with the Word of God – not in politics, but in everyday holiness by individual anointed ones.
“Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street…he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law…I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles.” (Isaiah 42:1-7)
Yes, this was fulfilled by Jesus.
“That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.” (Matthew 12:17-18)
It was also fulfilled in Jesus’ followers.
“he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. And Ananias…said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me.” (Acts 9:15-17)
“Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said…the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.” (Acts 13:46-47)
- The weapons and kit are the opposing powers of truth & righteousness vs lies & unrighteousness
- having your loins girt about with truth, and
- having on the breastplate of righteousness; And
- your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
- Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
- And take the helmet of salvation, and
- the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel…” (Ephesians 6:10-19)
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep / inactivated, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise 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: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (I Thessalonians 4:13-17)
“And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit…The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we [those of us who have joined identity with YHWH’s Promised Savior Jesus Christ] shall also bear the image of the heavenly…flesh and blood cannot the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep / die physically, 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.” (I Corinthians 15:40-52)
“And when he had opened the seventh seal...I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets…and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake…
- The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
- And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea:
- and the third part of the sea became blood;
- And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died;
- and the third part of the ships were destroyed.
- And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
- And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.
And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!
- And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit…And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth…And to them it was given that they should not kill them, 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; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their was to hurt men five months. And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
- And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, [i.e. a specific appointment time] for to slay the third part of men. (Revelation 8-9)
- “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever…And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: (Revelation 11:16-19)
And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs. And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.
And I saw…them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying…all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.
“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” (Matthew 25:41)
Notice the categories of beings listed in John’s vision of heaven described in Revelation chapters 4-5,7,20-21.
- Almighty God: a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
- Human elders who rule with The Consecrated One/Messiah/Christ: And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold…And they sung a new song, saying…thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
- Humans from every nation who remain faithful despite persecution: …an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel [this works out to be about 1% of the current world’s population of Jews, or about 50% of the current world’s population of Messianic Jews] and…a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb…These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
- Sons of God: He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
- Spirits: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
- Holy Beasts, i.e. living beings who don’t fall into a known (by humans) category of creature, identified by features “like” and “as” known beings: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind…And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him…and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
- And the first beast was like a lion,
- and the second beast like a calf,
- and the third beast had a face as a man,
- and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
- Messiah, the sacrifical Lamb, the star of this event: in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain…the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb
- Heavenly angels: And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
- Dead individuals from the sea and hell: …And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works…
- The unholy beast (describing another one of those unknown creatures), always paired with the human false prophet: And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
- The devil: And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
- The unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death…
- And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
So who goes to hell? The short list includes the devil, for sure, also the enigmatic “beast”, the false prophet, the abominable, and, to sum it up, “whosoever was not found written in the book of life.” How do we make sure we are written in the book of life? What is this book of life?
According to the following psalm describing the development of a human embryo, God keeps a register, a log book of all human beings ever conceived. An aside note – if we take our convictions from the Bible, then this establishes that life begins at conception.
“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalm 139:14-16)
From Moses we learn that that God will blot out, from this book, the names of people who have sinned grievously against him. This would account for individuals who are “not found written in the book of life.”
“And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. And the Lord said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.” (Exodus 32:31-33)
Centuries later, in the letters written to the congregations that were under great pressure to forsake Messianic Judaism (or nascent Christianity depending on your viewpoint), we find the same potential to be blotted out of the book of life.
“And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write…I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead…He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” (Revelation 3:1,5)
The threat of being blotted out of the book of life gives us to understand that the members of the Sardis congregation were in the same set of circumstances as the members of Moses’ congregation. Both groups had not yet overcome the obstacles to resisting the lures of lies in order to believe the hard truth spoken by Lord Yeshua Messiah. Both groups had yet to decide whether to
- surrender to an easier life in alliance with, i.e. in slavery to, the gods of this world, or
- take up the fight for reclaiming our territory.
“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God…lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Messiah/Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end…And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. (Hebrews 3:12-19)
The apostle Paul relates his willingness, like Moses, to be accursed – sacrifice his eternal destiny which would involved being blotted out of the book of life – to save his beloved people.
“I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Messiah/Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites…(Ro 9:2-4)
However, neither one of those men, nor any regular human, can trade places with another. There is only one, the man Yahweh’s Chosen Savior/Messiah Yeshua/Christ Jesus. In the following passage referencing the book of life, notice the lack of boundaries between two authors – David as a sinful human and the sinless Consecrated One/Messiah/Christ, confirmed as such in later references. This is a poetic means of demonstrating David’s merged identity with Messiah, made possible because Messiah took on David’s human identity.
“Save me, O God…I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me…They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away. O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee. Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel. Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face. I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children…But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Lord, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation…And hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily. Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink…Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them. Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents…Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous. But I am poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high.” (Psalm 69:1-29)
Here we find that there is not only the book of the living in which are written the names of all humans born into this physical dimension and from which the names can be blotted out, there is also a second book in which are written the names of the righteous who are born again into the spiritual dimension. In context, the righteous are those who acknowledge their need for a savior/Yeshua/Jesus and put their trust in The Consecrated One/Messiah/Christ’s atoning sacrifice for sin.
“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” (Romans 4:3)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:4-9)
The general life book lists those individuals who came to life physically, die a physical death, and are resurrected to face an accounting for their actions while alive. Interestingly, the Egyptian Book of the Dead describes this same fate.
But while the Egyptian Book of the Dead has a very limited audience, the teachings of the Bible have been available across cultures and over time as the authoritative source for how to attain eternal life. During that time, the Bible provides an unimpeachable means for trusting its word over other religions, science, and humanistic philosophies
“And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven [don’t forget this means angels as well as lights in the sky] fell unto the earth…and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man...said 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? [It’s at this point that Antichrist offers himself as an alternative to kneeling before Messiah/Christ.] (Revelation 6:12-13)
“Give Trump credit…He…became the twenty-first-century master of divisive rhetoric…The Nazis did not overthrow the Weimar Republic. It fell into their hands as the fruit of Hitler’s satanic ability to mesmerize enough Germans to trade their birthright for a pottage of scapegoating, short-term economic gain, xenophobia, and racism. It could happen here…”
20 serious points of comparison between the early Hitler and Trump:
Neither was elected by a majority.
Both found direct communication channels to their base…—the Nazi Party gave out radios with only one channel, tuned to Hitler’s voice, bypassing Germany’s news media. Trump has an online equivalent… tweets…
Both blame others and divide on racial lines…Again and again, Trump uses “racially tinged messages calculated to divide whites from people of color.”
Both relentlessly demonize opponents.
They unceasingly attack objective truth. “Both Trump and Hitler maintained a relentless assault on the very idea of objective truth,”
They relentlessly attack mainstream media.
Their attacks on truth include science.
Their lies blur reality—and supporters spread them.
Both orchestrated mass rallies to show status.
They embrace extreme nationalism.
Sounds like a black hole.
Heavy stuff. This is where most people choose to reject the Bible on the basis of “A good God wouldn’t send anyone to hell.” Admittedly, the idea of burning for eternity is absolutely horrible. That doesn’t mean it’s not true. The easiest way we can understand God is to put ourselves in his place. Do you have children? We’re not talking about damnation over breaking some arbitrary rules against feeling good. Can you imagine watching your beloved children suffer at the hands of evil people? What punishment is appropriate for someone who deceived most of your children into hating you and running away from you in order to betray and trap them into a lifetime of misery and eternity separated from you, while torturing and murdering as many of your faithful children as he can? The attached clip from Game of Thrones shows scenes of horrific cruelty. I don’t recommend you watch it, but if you do, you can always click off. Unlike the millions of real life victims of persecution.