—An Introduction to the "RAPTURE" Series
Nobody was home when I got off the school bus on a steamy hot Florida afternoon. That might not've concerned you, but it was a major cause of concern for me: Somebody was always home at our house! My dad was our preacher and I had been enduring many of the rites of passage that teenaged boys still find necessary today. Yeah...well, maybe "enduring" isn't the right word, there: I...uhhh...was enjoying those rites of passage. Anyhow, when I realized there was nobody home that afternoon, I thought I had missed the rapture! Had just knelt down to pray when I suddenly remembered that it would do me no good to pray if I had missed the rapture: God wouldn't listen. I was traumatized! Anything like that ever happen to you?
The words were so thoroughly burned into my brain that I can still hear them today: "Jesus is gonna split the eastern skies any day, now! Nobody knows when that'll happen; Jesus doesn't even know. If you're not right with God when it happens you'll miss the rapture and you'll have to stay here and go through The Great Tribulation! And don't kid yourself: If you can't live for God now, you certainly won't be able to live for him then!"
That trauma was with me into young adulthood. I frequently gravitated from anger to repentance to more anger. At some pivotal point, I made a conscious decision: I would no longer be angry and I wouldn't repent any more, either! I'd be an adult! For the better part of a dozen years, I was Agnostic. For those who don't know exactly what an Agnostic is, it's an Atheist wannabe. Best I can figure, the only reason I never became a full-blown Atheist is that I was determined never to allow myself to even think about anything even remotely related to any of that again. I was dead serious! Didn't shed a single tear in twelve years! Only God could've tripped me up. And He did! Whew! (If you'd like to know how He did that, just shoot me an email and I'll share: Scribe@DYPK.org.) I came back!
Like most others who were raised in mainstream Christianity, I reasoned that the faith of my fathers should also be my faith. So I joined the large denomination that my grandfather had co-founded. I schooled myself in the teachings of that church...from a new (for me) "adult" perspective. I collected their denominational literature and I was faithful to study the scriptures they cited to support those teachings. I even became an effective denominational spokesman. For decades, while pursuing a rewarding secular career, I was a Bible teacher—large classes in church sanctuaries. Something kept nagging at me, though: Were our teachings perfectly aligned with the teachings of Jesus and the 1st-Century apostles?
Adding substance to that recurring question – as disturbing as it was – is that I had diligently studied to confirm my church's doctrines, but I hadn't studied the scriptures as-if-no-one-had-ever-explained-what-they-mean. This is why that was to become critical for me: Schools and churches should teach people HOW to study and HOW to think, not WHAT to study and WHAT to think. I had been teaching churchgoers WHAT to think for decades! Why? Because, from childhood, the people I loved had taught me what to think about the Bible and Christianity. Is there any chance that the people they loved had taught them what to think, too? Please keep in mind that every denomination owns a "what 'we' believe" franchise. Every seminary teaches "what 'we' believe." Their graduates preach "what 'we' believe" and those who populate the pews typically believe "what 'we' believe." What could possibly go wrong?
It's embarrassing for me to admit this, but I must: It was near the time for me to retire from the corporate world that I was mature enough to start changing all that. On March 4, 2006, I organized a large multi-denominational Bible study group. From that group, a few acquired our serious passion for separating what's true from what's new. Together, we were to learn that there's an awful lot of new time religion masquerading as old time religion. You'll be amazed to discover how much the Gospel message has "evolved" since the First Century.
Our web site is dedicated to making it easy for YOU to learn what we've learned about that. Please use our resources to learn all you can about Satan's four (4) Weapons of Mass Deception(SM) and why their victims will be fully convinced that Satan is Jesus Christ. (Yes, Satan's masquerade will be very successful.) There's to be a great falling away. The take-home message, there, is that unbelievers cannot "fall away." Those who "fall away" will be Believers—many of today's churchgoers who've already been conned by one or more of those WMDs. Study alone or with a small group, but please take advantage of our hard work. May God bless you as you study to learn the original truth.
Now, because this is an introduction to our "Rapture" series, let's tackle just one wildly popular teaching about that:
In the KJV, 1 Thessalonians 4:17 says this: "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." But did you know that the KJV translators slipped up on the original Greek word that they translated, "clouds?" The original Greek word is singular: They should've rendered it, "cloud." Why is that important for you to know? Because that cloud will be the same cloud that guided the Hebrews by day, on their 40-year trek from Egypt to Canaan...a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Remember? (You may anticipate scriptural confirmation for this observation as the series continues.)
Still, though, we of the Link1(TM) Bible Research Team are fully convinced that the KJV is the best English translation available to us today. To confirm that for yourself, be sure to find and read G. A. Riplinger's, New Age Versions. The first edition was published in 1993. I have a copy of the eleventh printing: 2000. ISBN #0-9635845-0-2. Library of Congress catalog card #93-92561.
You will encounter several surprises as you study this series of articles about "Rapture." Enjoy the luxury of being a skeptic, but be sure that your skepticism is styled after the skepticism of the Berean Jews at Acts 17:11. The Thessalonians of that verse were skeptical, too. They poo-poo'd the teachings and ran from them. But the Bereans were the adults in the room: Paul called them "more noble." This is why:
> "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all
readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
—Paul, at Acts 17:11
In the next article, we'll examine the "Left Behind" phenomenon.
Growing up, I heard the following scripture frequently. It continues to enjoy enormous popularity among evangelicals, especially in the southeastern U.S. Bible Belt region. It became even more popular with the book/movie "Left Behind" series:
> "Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two [women shall be]
grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left." —Jesus, at Matthew 24:40,41
The context within which it is almost always delivered is, "If you aren't rapture-ready when Jesus splits the eastern skies, you'll get 'left behind' to endure The Great Tribulation." What's troubling is that the scriptural context is the reverse of that! Doubt it? Here are the three verses that come right in front of those two:
> "But as the days of Noe [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 Noe 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." —Jesus, at Matthew 24:37-39
Get it? Only the BAD GUYS were "taken" by Noah's flood. Noah and his family – were "left behind" to enjoy God's personal protection from all that frightening chaos and destruction. So Jesus said it'll be just like that when He comes back to gather the saints to himself. Quite an amazing contrast; huh?
Need more proof? Here's more: At Matthew 13:24-30 is Jesus' end-time parable of the tares (a.k.a. weeds) and the wheat. This image features a quote of what He said at verse 30:
Then, when the disciples asked our Lord to explain that parable He said this:
> "...the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the
angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the
fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall
send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom
all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and he shall
cast them into a furnace of fire.there shall be wailing and
gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the
sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let
him hear." —Jesus, at Matthew 13:39-43
Here, again, the BAD GUYS will get "taken" to be burned and then God's angels will harvest all the GOOD GUYS for the Master. (And did you notice that the harvesters are God's angels and not church people...?)
This reasonably characterizes the responses I get from my preacher friends when I ask them about these glaring contrasts: "Well, dear brother, you know there are many 'mysteries' in God's precious holy word. So we could argue about when Jesus is coming back and who'll be taken first all day long and never come to an agreement. Unfortunately, the scriptures just aren't that clear, except to those of us who have spent a lifetime studying them. Neither of us would be able to change the other's mind about it, you know. So, you go ahead and believe it your way and I'll believe it mine."
How would YOU characterize that response...? Here's somthing Upton Sinclair once said: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it."
Mysteries? Well, yes, I recall reading about mysteries in the Bible, and there are lots of questions I'll want to ask Jesus when I see him. But is God's word about the sequence of end-time events a mystery? Is it even sensibly debatable? Would God really have left us his word about something that important in a form that could only be "interpreted" by Career Professional Christians? Not. But, then, there's this:
Jesus didn't explain the mysteries of His parables to the multitudes. That was because they didn't have "ears to hear." For his closest disciples, though, and for us who are gaining ears to hear there is to be no mystery concerning the relative timing within the seven-event end-time sequence for Jesus' return to gather the saints—OR about who will be "taken" first. Expect to learn much more about that as the series continues. Meanwhile, here's something comforting: "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief." —Paul, at 1 Thessalonians 5:4
In the next article we'll take a hypothetical ride on "The First Flight Out."
—"The First Flight Out"
The content of this article is purely hypothetical. It is an attempt to imagine how a similar
event might unfold. No malice is intended toward any of the public figures that are named.
Their names appear only because it is deemed inevitable that both the media and the Christian
public would associate them with such an event. This is NOT a work of prophecy, but of satire.
The newspaper article pictured below was released early last Sunday morning by WorldWire® Press International. For the last six days all the major TV and Internet news outlets have been showing live pictures of the enormously beautiful but still unexplained "formation" that hovers motionlessly, even today, directly over the temple mount at Jerusalem, Israel.
Today is Friday. Non-stop live TV and online eyewitness interviews have focused on first reactions to "the formation" as it emerged, silently but swiftly, from Jerusalem's Eastern sky on Saturday afternoon of last week. Today, the news anchors all talk about a very special announcement scheduled for tomorrow at 10:00 AM, Jerusalem, time.
Six o'clock AM, Saturday: Billions of viewers have tuned in early for that special live broadcast on all the networks and streaming live, also, on the Internet. You and your friends and family are among them. The prevailing news is that Jesus, himself, is to speak.
Precisely at ten o'clock you and all those with you are pleased to learn that Jesus looks a lot like those paintings the artists have given us over the years. On his either side and behind him, arm-in-arm and also apparently suspended within that beautiful white cloud formation, are several of the world's most popular Christian leaders. U.S. preachers appear to dominate the gathering.
The soothing inflections of Jesus' crisp and commanding baritone voice resonate with great warmth. You perceive enormous compassion in his transparent, almost fluid eyes as he begins to speak: "You will notice that a few of my elect are standing here in the clouds with me. For those who have ears to hear and eyes to see, this miracle will confirm that the rest of what you are about to hear and see is true. I will remain within these clouds to fulfill the prophecy that my feet will not touch the ground when I am come to rapture all those who believe in me, just prior to The Great Tribulation.
"The time has not yet come for me to establish my kingdom here. But I will walk on the earth with you later. That time for my Glorious Appearing will come after seven long years of extreme anguish and pain for those foolish ones who will follow the anti-Christ, accepting his mark in their hands or in their foreheads. All of you that are to be Left Behind will accept that mark. Otherwise, you and your children will starve to death. As it is written of that son of perdition, Judas Iscariot, 'It would be better for you if you had never been born.' My heart is broken, already, for you.
"Believe in me and you, too, will soon be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. My Bride will include all those who will be caught up soon to meet me here, in the air. They have believed in me. They have loved me. They will be with me and my Father in Heaven for our long anticipated seven-year celebration of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. When we come back to Earth they will rule with me, here, for 1,000 years. Will you be among them? If you think maybe not, please reconsider. (A pulsating tear swells.) Don't be among those who will be Left Behind. Please."
His arms are outstretched now. Those nail scars in his wrists are briefly visible. The camera zooms in for a much-too-short close-up. "Will you come to me now, my beloved? My yoke is easy and my burden is light. I am not willing that any should perish. Because I love you my Father loves you, too."
America's favorite Christian preacher moves to Jesus' right-hand side. They embrace. Lights flashing non-stop, all cameras zoom in on that preacher's familiar face. He makes clear eye contact and begins to speak: "There is no need for you to be afraid, my friends. This is 'the great hope' that we Christians have anticipated for many years.
"Those who accompany our Savior with me today will be appearing in major cities throughout the world over the next several weeks, in facilities that will seat thousands of you. At those 'Rapture Readiness Revivals,' we will be sharing much more about what is to come. At least one of those critical gatherings will be in a city near you. If anyone is physically, mentally or spiritually sick bring them and they will be healed. Their sins will be forgiven and they will be included in the 'catching away' of the saints. They, too, will be changed…in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye."
All cameras focus, again, on the face of Jesus: "I must remind you that I do not know the exact day and time of the catching away of the saints. Only my Father knows that. But I do know it will be very, very soon. You must be alert but patient and keep watching—for in an hour when you think not, one shall be Taken without warning and the other Left Behind.
"For years, the faithful have prayed that this flight would not be in winter. They have prayed for you ladies with infants on the breast, that you would be kept safe. It may also help you to know that my Father is not slow as some consider slowness. Watch and be ready. If not ready, get ready. Please don't be Left Behind to suffer the terrible atrocities of anti-Christ and his evil host."
The cameras pan as all the well known Christian preachers kneel and then bend forward on their hands, heads up, facing Jesus. Large tears begin streaming from both of Jesus' eyes as he raises his hands to pray, "Father, please forgive them, for they know not what they do. Cause them to learn the truth, for only truth can make them free. Make them one as you and I are one. Please, please do not allow even one of them to perish. Nevertheless, not my will but thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Amen."
Again, while his hands are raised, the cameras zoom in for a lingering close-up view of those nail scars. Someone in your group begins to sob uncontrollably. Another starts wringing her hands and praying frantically. Some people embrace while trembling and crying together. One faints. Another scoffs, "I hope you know that that guy is not really Jesus Christ! Why are you people so doggone gullible?" You are spellbound, not knowing exactly how to react or what to think.
Scenes like that play out in small groups all over the world. In larger gatherings of people, boisterous heckling is observed. Groups of believers wrestle some of the hecklers to the ground or pull them away, to silence them. There are reports of numerous outbreaks of bloody mob violence in Middle Eastern and North African regions. Bitter quarreling is reported among Muslim clerics, worldwide. There are rumors of new wars. Two large earthquakes rumble simultaneously, on opposite sides of the Pacific rim. Tsunami warnings are issued for all land areas that border the Pacific Ocean.
Network and live-streaming Internet cameras alternately zoom in and fade away from those remarkable scenes, lights flashing profusely. For weeks to come, all regular TV programming is preempted. The world has never witnessed a non-stop media frenzy like this one. With uncharacteristic enthusiasm, major network news anchors report thousands of "decisions for Christ" at the Rapture Readiness Revivals.
Network cameras focus occasionally, but always very briefly, on obscure (i.e.: not well known) preachers who debunk the entire scenario, saying it is nothing more than the clever deception of Satan, himself. They warn other preachers whom they say are leading their uninformed followers directly into Satan's clutches. A well known major network anchor was quick to cut one of those preachers short yesterday when he began crying out, "Satan has come first! He's masquerading as Jesus, just like Paul said he would do at 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12! Jesus doesn't come until the seventh trump—the last trump!" The cameras cut away quickly, too, and there were commercials.
What follows is a long series of interviews with "respected" members of the clergy, each assuring viewers that this is the real thing. According to them, the naysayers are Satan's agents of confusion and deception.
A spirited choir sways in unison as it belts out the Rapture Readiness Revival theme song, "I'll fly away, Oh! Glory! I'll fly away, in the morning!" Almost all the choir members have tears streaming down their faces as they sing, hands uplifted in worship and adoration of the Savior. Some of them are seen contorting their bodies and others are heard talking very loudly, in unknown languages. There are numerous video clips of tearful teenagers and adolescents requesting prayer for their parents and other family members and friends who still don't believe all this is for real.
Is it for real? Will you sign on for the first flight out?
Although some are familiar with just one theory concerning the sequence of end-time events—the one prescribed by their respective denomination. You may have gained knowledge of a second or third theory, from Christian Television and/or discussions with friends and family members. The objective of the next article is to level the knowledge/insight playing field for all readers, where that's possible: "End-Time Theories."
These brief overviews of five of the more common theories of the sequence of end-time events should help:
"Kingdom Now" —a.k.a. "Kingdom Grace" or "The Latter Rain"
There will be no rapture of the church according to this theory. Instead, the emerging church will bring world peace, thereby paving the way for Jesus to come and set up his earthly Kingdom here, as it is in Heaven. Proponents believe that much of end-time prophecy and The Great Tribulation were fulfilled in the 1st Century—and that it was only for the Jews. They insist the church is in the process, now, of bringing in a new world order. They think the era of that new world order will be character-ized by progressively observable improvements in the affairs of mankind on Earth, thereby paving the way for Christ's Kingdom here.
"Kingdom Now" preaching and teaching are said to seldom deal with "sin," preferring a more positive message. No need to prepare, personally, for Christ's return, no "catching away," no persecution or trouble, only blessings and easy theology and carefree living.
Parcel to this theory are two schools of thought: "full preterism" and "partial preterism." Given their assumption that the prophetic one week is the equivalent of one year to us, the full-preterists are convinced that the seven years of Daniel's 70th week were completely fulfilled in A.D. 70. The partial-preterists think that just half of Daniel's 70th week were fulfilled in A.D. 70. Both factions cite the following scriptures to support their conclusions: Matthew 6:10, Luke 11:2; 17:21, Psalm 102:22, Revelation 11:15, Joel 2:28, Acts 2:14-19 and John 17:22.
The late Bishop Earl Paulk, of Atlanta, Georgia is said to have been the premiere pundit for this theory.
"Pre-Tribulation Rapture" (This is the end-time theory I grew up with. It's also the one I taught for decades.)
Pre-Tribulation Rapture experts typically speak of a "split" (or two-stage) second coming of Christ, the first of which is to be "secret" and the second of which is to be globally visible. They've labeled that second, globally visible, return "Christ's Glorious Appearing."^ It has become one of their pet clichés. Among their favorite Bible passages are 1 Corinthians 15:49-55 and 1 Thessalonians 4:17. (We'll explore those scriptures later. Stay tuned!)
^ The term, "glorious appearing," appears just one time in the KJV—at Titus 2:13. It refers to
Jesus' visible radiance and his worthiness to be worshipped and praised. It has nothing
(zero, zilch) to do with the second coming of Christ.
They preach often and with passionate ecstasy about Jesus' first, "secret," return. That's when they insist all true Christians (including the dead ones) will rise to meet Jesus in Earth's blue, but partly cloudy sky and then fly blissfully away to Heaven. Once there, they'll supposedly celebrate "the marriage supper of the Lamb" for seven wonderful years. All the rest of God's children who will have believed the Gospel message, but somehow didn't qualify^ for rapture will stay behind, along with God's favorite people, the elect, to endure the barely sufferable times that are to follow.
^ Many pentecostal pre-trib rapture experts teach that all those believers who've gotten "saved"
but who will not have talked-in-tongues at least once before the rapture will be left here to endure
The Great Tribulation.
Many of their non-pentecostal counterparts teach that all those who have believed the Gospel
message, but who will have never gotten "truly saved" before rapture-time will get left behind
to suffer the consequences.
Pre-Tribulation Rapture enthusiasts believe the saints who're to be secretly raptured out are The Bride of Christ, and that they will return to Earth with Christ promptly after the seven years of the Great Tribulation, to reign with him here for a thousand years. But that's a contradiction of scripture:
> "…and [I saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of
God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark
upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and THEY lived and reigned with Christ a thousand
years." —Revelation 20:4
Take this to the bank: "He that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved." —Jesus, at Matthew 24:13 and Mark 13:13
First preached in the U.S. a little more than 100 years ago, this still-new wind of doctrine quickly became popular, especially in America's "Bible Belt" region. The notorious "Left Behind" series contributed to the theory's nationwide popularity. Because its popularity with a global audience is also growing, many scholars conclude that it has now gained critical mass.
This theory is known, today, as the "Pre-Wrath Rapture" doctrine—that the Church will be raptured after Anti-Christ's 3-1/2 years of Tribulation, and just before God's 3-1/2 years of "Wrath." Norman B. Harrison is said to have developed this theory after WWII. He believed that war had begun the Great Tribulation. Marvin Rosenthal,^ former director of "Friends of Israel," may be its strongest current proponent.
^ Baptist preacher, Marvin Rosenthal, was born into the Jewish faith. He is also an author
and founder of "The Holy Land Experience" and a magazine called "Zion's Hope."
Citing Daniel 7:25, teachers of this theory insist that the Seal judgments are the working of Anti-Christ and not from God, hence they cannot be identified as the wrath of God. They conclude that the first half of Daniel's 70th week is not the Great Tribulation and not part of God's wrath. They believe the Church must endure the first half of the seven years, through the "beginning of sorrows" of Matthew 24:8, but not through The Great Tribulation of Matthew 24:21.
Proponents teach that the first seven Seal judgments as well as the first six Trumpet judgments take place in the first 3-1/2 years [Revelation 6:10] and are not a part of The Great Tribulation. Again, they insist the word "wrath" is reserved only for The Great Tribulation and that there is no "wrath" in the first half of Daniel's 70th week.
Their position is based upon the belief that the Great Tribulation begins at the seventh trumpet of Revelation 11. They've also concluded that the "seventh trumpet" of Revelation 11:15, the "last trump" of 1 Corinthians 15:52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16 are all the same "trump." On that specific part of their theory, we have found no basis for intelligent scriptural rebuttal.
This theory is based on interpretations of Matthew 24, Mark 13, Daniel 9 and chapters 4-18 of Revelation...that the message of the whole counsel of rightly divided scripture is clearly characterized by the familiar words of Jesus: "He that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved." —Mathew 24:13 and Mark 13:13
Although there are three sub-divisions of post-tribulation rapture theories, the focus of this theory is on the division identified by the word, "futurist" – meaning that the literal seven-year Great Tribulation and the subsequent 1,000 year reign of Christ on Earth with his saints are in our future, as described at Daniel 9 and Revelation 4-18.
A leading proponent of this view was George Ladd (1911-1982), a Baptist minister and professor of New Testament Exegesis and Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary at Pasadena, California. (As an aside, Ladd was also a staunch critic of the doctrines of Dispensationalism that John Nelson Darby had introduced and C. I. Scofield had popularized.)
You may already have detected the primary difference between the Post-Tribulation "Rapture" and Post-Tribulation "Resurrection" theories. That one-word change makes a BIG difference: "Rapture" is taken to mean "to be caught up in the air and the clouds, instantly changed and then to promptly 'fly away' to somewhere 'out yonder'." "Resurrection" is to be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.
Proponents of the Post-Tribulation Resurrection theory cite strong scriptural support for "Resurrection" instead of "Rapture." As an example, the word, "air," at 1 Thessalonians 4:17, per Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, has nothing at all to do with our atmosphere, but everything to do with "the breath of life." (We'll explore that further in a subsequent article.)
Because Heaven (i.e.: "The New Jerusalem" of Revelation 21) will come down to Earth, the just-resurrected saints will have no need to "fly away" to it, but will simply enter that beautiful domain of Christ, to reign with him from that literal heaven-on-Earth residence for 1,000 years.
To make it easier for those who will aggressively and objectively seek to understand the critical differences between "Rapture" and "Resurrection," proponents offer the following clear contrast: Jesus was "Resurrected" on the third day but He was not "Raptured" until some time later—from the mount of transfiguration. Some of them describe "Resurrection" like this:
"That twinkling-of-an-eye 'change' we are to experience will be characterized by the spontaneous swapping of these physical bodies for our new spiritual bodies. Those new, other-dimensional bodies will be like the one Jesus put on in the twinkling-of-an-eye moment of His Resurrection." Jesus became "the firstfruits" of (i.e.: the prototype for) our Resurrection.
What was His resurrected body like? It had physical characteristics in that he was able to eat real food, everyone could still see the nail scars in his hands and feet, Thomas was able to feel the scar from that spear wound in his side and Jesus had to tell Mary Magdalene not to hold onto him so tightly because he hadn't ascended to the father (i.e.: been "raptured") yet. It had some rather exciting spiritual (other-dimensional) characteristics, too, in that he was able to appear and disappear, and even move through walls and closed doors.
Many proponents of the Post-Tribulation Resurrection theory interpret Jesus' words at Mark 13:23 to mean, "I have now told you all you'll need to know about when I'll return." They believe that statement to be applicable, primarily, to all of Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21 and to such parables as those at Matthew 25 and at Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 and 47-50.
In those clearly pertinent Matthew 13 parables, Jesus' words are straightforward and easy to understand: Both the tares/weeds and the unworthy fish were removed and discarded first, while the harvest-quality wheat and the worthy fish were "left behind" for the angels to gather for the Master. That's why proponents of Post-Tribulation Resurrection have been heard to ask, "Are you absolutely certain you want to be among those who're to be 'taken'?"
You may or may not know that some of the church people at Thessalonica thought they had missed Jesus' second coming. Sadly, those passages in chapters 4 and 5 of 1 Thessalonians that had confused them still confuse people today. Informed students of God's written word consistently sift those messages of 1 Thessalonians 4 and 5 through Paul's critically important correction and instruction at 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, which he clearly wrote to eliminate that confusion. See 2 Thessalonians 2:2 in your Bible to confirm that.
Post-Tribulation Resurrection proponents are amused by the fact that Pre-Tribulation Rapture preachers almost always avoid 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12. One of them recently remarked, "When they do acknowledge it, they add a SPIN to it that is laughable…as if 'regular' Christians aren't quite smart enough to recognize their slithery cunning." (Another's words; not mine.)
Objectively (i.e.: sensibly) comprehended, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 clearly confirms Jesus' straightforward description of the timing for his return, as recorded at Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21 and in his end-time parables at Matthew 13 and Matthew 25.
Some who teach Post-Tribulation Resurrection insist there should be no break between chapters 24 and 25 of Matthew. They point out that the original manuscripts had no chapter and verse breaks or punctuation; that those were added by the translators. Their reasoning includes the perception that Jesus' Matthew 25 parables are clearly a continuation of his Matthew 24 answer to his disciples' question, paraphrased, "How can we know when you're coming back, Master?"
Surmising that Jesus' parable of the 10 Virgins, at Matthew 25, was his clear attempt to counteract Satan's inevitable future Pre-Tribulation Rapture ploy via Occult practitioners, they suggest a primary focus not on the oil, but on the light. While they agree that the oil may well represent the Holy Ghost, its function in that parable is to provide power for the LIGHT. (We'll expound on all this in a subsequent article, too.)
Post-Tribulation Resurrection subscribers sometimes ask, "Must a person really grasp all the grotesque imagery and complex symbolism of Revelation and Daniel, etc., in order to gain truth about the critical sequence of end-time events?" Still, the more scholarly of them study diligently to show themselves approved regarding that imagery and symbolism. I take great pleasure in the company of people like that.
They typically distrust the superstar "experts" who claim they've got it all figured out. And they view those as naïve who, having itching ears, continue heaping unto themselves the stereotypical end-time prophecy superstar teachers. [See 2 Timothy 4:2-4.]
Next, we'll introduce you to the Occult practitioners who gave birth to the very first ever "rapture" theory and expose the colorful fame-and-power-hungry clergymen who nurtured and promoted it. That article is entitled, "The Magic Twins." (It follows the "BREAKING NEWS" bulletin, below.)
In March of 2016, we discovered something that startled us! Is it simple coincidence? Is it more likely the brilliant timing of Satan to yield confusion to the majority of sincere believers? It's the latter, we think, and we think YOU really need to know about it.
The Springtime of 1830 was a truly "magic" time on BOTH sides of the Atlantic. Some of Satan's lieutenants – successfully masquerading as angels of light – established at least three (3) new winds of doctrine. All three of them are now highly visible. Two of them have slithered their way into the visible church's denominational mainstream and have become wildly popular.
On the American Continent in the Spring of 1830, the angel, Moroni, delivered to the infamous Joseph Smith his "new revelation" of the gospel of Jesus Christ to latter-day saints. On April 6, 1830, Mr. Smith and company organized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. You may think that's the ONLY church, today, that was founded on Moroni's "new revelation." Not so! The Church of Christ, with its seldom-acknowledged headquarters at Independence, Missouri, tries to keep that a secret. Why? It could be because they're aware that many informed believers are familiar with the strong warning at Galatians 1:8 about ANY new wind of doctrine that's delivered by "an angel from heaven."
In the British Isles in the Spring of 1830, the two new winds of doctrine that have become wildly popular within the visible church's denominational mainstream were both born—in the exact same Occult settings. Read on for news worth sharing about "The Magic Twins."
—"The Magic Twins"
Less than 200 years ago (1829-1831),
there was a magic time of emerging spirituality on the East side of the
Atlantic—notably at Port Glasgow, Scotland. The operative word, there, is "magic." You'll understand why in a moment.
for not just one but two new winds of doctrine started with the pivotal lighting
of two fuses at Port Glasgow in April
of 1830. Because they were joined-at-the-hip from the time, the geography and
the context of their obscure conceptions, we are compelled to share with you
some of the critical things and people they have in common.
News of the infant "magic twin" doctrines soon made its way South to London and then across the Atlantic to North America. Once in the U.S.A., "The Magic Twins" were to follow separate, but adjacent paths to critical mass^ in the Twentieth Century.
^ In this context, "critical mass" is defined as the minimum number of adherents and
resources needed to yield sustained growth and the eventual permanence of a
religious, social or political ideology. As an example, in late 2013 and early 2014,
proponents of the U.S. "Affordable Care Act" were struggling to yield critical mass
for that ideological pursuit.
Five burning questions about that cry loudly for straight answers:
1. What are those two new winds of doctrine?
2. Who were the characters who "lit those 'fuses'?"
3. Why do we call those doctrines "The Magic Twins?"
4. Why were 'The Magic Twins' to follow separate, but adjacent paths to critical mass?
5. To what extent does either of those two new winds of doctrine enjoy the reasonable support of
Therein lies the uncommonly fascinating saga of "The Magic Twins." Expect sensible answers to each of those questions here:
"What are those two new winds of doctrine that've become so wildly popular?"
The first magic twin masquerades successfully, today, as "Pentecost." But she bears very little or no resemblance to the magnificent Day-of-Pentecost phenomenon that's recorded at Acts 2. For solid scriptural confirmation of that observation, explore our www.DYPK.org/pentecost page. Most of today's pentecostals have also embraced the second magic twin.
Twin #2, the "pre-tribulation 'rapture'" sister, is substantially more popular than her pentecostal sister.
In addition to most pentecostals, her fan base
includes gazillions more who're staunchly non-pentecostal. You'll be truly amazed when you discover how and why that
"Who were the characters who 'lit those fuses'?"
Not all spirituality is righteous: At Port Glasgow it was Occult spirituality. Some of those Occultists were key players in the rebirth of Corinthian pentecost and the first-ever "rapture" theory. Yes; the well-documented historical record has been fully vetted. But there are "rapture" institutions and pundits, today, who would suffer substantial financial loss if what we're about to share with you were to become common knowledge.
Perhaps you've already guessed why modern pentecost (actually Corinthian pentecost; not true Pentecost) is our Weapon of Mass Deception(SM) #3 of 4. You may also have concluded that the "rapture" theory – birthed by the exact same Occult practitioners – is our WMD #4. The following people were the key players in the birth and nurturing of both of "The Magic Twins"...all but one really, really important character. He was the reason why the twins were to follow separate, but adjacent paths to critical mass during the 20th Century. We'll introduce you to him later in this article:
Mary Campbell— "...was a young woman of intense psychical power…Had she lived at the end of the 19th Century instead of at the beginning, her energies would probably have found expression as a 'medium.'" —Edward Irving and His Circle, 1937, pp. 141-2
Isabella Campbell— ...was Mary Campbell's younger sister who often participated in Mary's escapades of Occult ecstasy.
Margaret Macdonald— ...was Mary Campbell's best friend. By April, 1830, 16-year-old Margaret Macdonald had been bedridden for at least 18 months...tuberculosis. The Campbell sisters were her frequent visitors. Chronicler Robert Norton provided additional insight 31 years later. This appears on page 25 of his The Restoration of Apostles, 1861:
> "I have seen both her [i.e.: Mary Campbell] and Miss Margaret Macdonald stand
like statues scarcely touching the ground, evidently supernaturally."
Note: Some, today, who teach the Occult practice of levitation often seek to entice
naïve Christian believers with this: "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and
he shall lift you up." —James 4:10
A this point, my fellow researchers and I haven't been able to determine whether these three girls were part of a larger group of Occult practitioners or not.
James and George Macdonald— ...were the older brothers of Scots lassie, Margaret Macdonald, they were partners in a maritime shipping business. Enthralled by the never-before-witnessed hyperspiritual manifestations of the Campbell sisters, the Macdonald brothers started hosting regular cottage prayer meetings. The excited guttural sounds of indecipherable words and phrases of the Campbell sisters and 16-year-old Margaret were commonplace at those prayer meetings.
Edward Irving (1792-1834)— ...sent a delegation of churchwomen to Port Glasgow from his London church, for the purpose of observing the "tongues" phenomenon there. Their subsequent report included personal spine-tingling reactions to the magic of it all.
We have uncovered no historical evidence to indicate that Edward Irving ever talked in tongues, himself, but he did encourage the frequent spontaneous and ecstatic utterances of indecipherable sounds and phrases by several women and at least one man in his church. Among those hyperspiritual women Irving encouraged was Mary Campbell. Remembering that Miss Campbell was Margaret Macdonald's best friend at Port Glasgow, I was shocked to learn (in 2011) that she moved to London to be a part of Irving's church, perhaps "to help with the ministry" there. Best I can determine from our research, her move was in late 1830 or early 1831.
There is no evidence to even suggest that the female-dominated "tongues" at Irving's London church were naturally intelligible to foreign language speakers who may've been present, as on the Day of Pentecost. Nor is there even so much as a suggestion that any unbeliever was ever drawn to repentance and "salvation" because of them. This is quoted from page 234 of John F. MacArthur's Charismatic Chaos:
> "...Irving and members of his congregation practiced speaking in tongues and prophesying.
Irvingite prophets often contradicted each other, their prophecies failed to come to pass,
and their meetings were characterized by wild excesses. The movement was further
discredited when some of their prophets admitted to falsifying prophesies and others even
attributed their 'giftedness' to evil spirits. This group eventually became the Catholic
Apostolic Church, which taught many false doctrines, embracing several Roman Catholic
doctrines and creating twelve apostolic offices."
Preacher Irving is sometimes called the father of modern pentecost. While it's true that he played a substantial role in nurturing the early resurgence of Corinthian pentecost and the first-ever notion of a pre-tribulation rapture, the credit for having given birth to those two new winds of doctrine belong to the Campbells and the Macdonalds of Port Glasgow.
"Why do we call those doctrines 'The Magic Twins'?"
The Campbell girls and little Margaret also practiced automatic writing. That was the predecessor of the Occult Ouija Board phenomenon you may know about. Just 61 years later, "In February, 1891...advertisements started appearing in papers: 'Ouija, the Wonderful Talking Board,' boomed a Pittsburgh toy and novelty shop, describing a magical device that answered questions 'about the past, present and future with marvelous accuracy' and promised 'never-failing amusement and recreation for all the classes,' a link 'between the known and unknown, the material and immaterial.'..."
during one of those times of Occult ecstasy at a Macdonald home prayer meeting in
April, 1830, that Margaret
Macdonald uttered the first-ever "rapture" prophecy. On the very same evening
she also uttered another prophecy—that
Robert Owen (1771-1858), the leading Socialist of the day, would become the
future desolator; a.k.a. Anti-Christ. What does your Bible say about the
credibility of hyperspiritual folk whose prophecies don't come true?
Miss Macdonald promptly gave extensive handwritten copies of her two-stage pre-trib rapture utterance to at least two leading Protestant clergymen: Edward Irving and John Nelson Darby. You can learn more about this and even read the verbatim text of little Margaret's rapture utterance at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_McDonald_%28visionary%29.
"Why were 'The Magic Twins' to follow separate, but adjacent paths to critical mass?"
John Nelson Darby was the culprit. After he had read little Margaret's rapture prophecy, he became a frequent visitor to the Macdonald home. The historical record clearly confirms that. It's unlikely that he attended any of those prayer meetings, though: He quickly distanced himself from the blasphemy of unknown tongues. He was justly convinced that they were the utterances of evil spirits. [See 1 Timothy 4:1 and 1 John 4:1.] That's precisely the scenario that caused "The Magic Twins" to follow separate-but-parallel paths to critical mass. Curiously, Darby soon became a principal proponent of lassie Margaret's "rapture" theory. You may have the same question about that that I have:
> "How on God's green earth could Darby have concluded that the resurrection of Corinthian
pentecost was of the devil but Margaret's 'rapture' prophecy was of God?" Our best guess
is that something the apostle, Paul, wrote at 1 Timothy 6:10,11 may've had something to
do with his decision:
"For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred
from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God,
flee these things…"
A craving for admiration and a yearning for power may also have played important roles.
You may not be surprised to learn that Darby's 21st-Century followers continue to insist that the world's first "rapture" prophecy was given, not to Margaret Macdonald, but by the Holy Spirit, Himself, to their hero—preacher John Nelson Darby. Those notorious, Pied-Piper-styled pre-tribulation rapture experts are still trying to discredit the fully-vetted historically fact that Darby's writings about the imminent rapture of the saints were printed and published substantially later than Edward Irving's rapture theory publication in September of 1830. Still, they insist that Mr. Darby was the original revelator. Their desperate claim that Darby had already published his pre-tribulation "rapture" views in January 1827, three years prior to Miss Margaret's fully transcribed and well-documented utterance has been conclusively debunked. So why do they persist with that claim? Why might it be so incredibly important to them?
their reasoning is the same as was the reasoning of their patriarch, preacher
Darby: They're aware that those two new winds of
doctrine that emerged from the Macdonald prayer meetings are co-joined maternal
twins: Like Darby, they want nothing to do with the clear and
frightening blasphemy of unknown
tongues. That's the reason why "The Magic Twins" continue to follow
separate-but-parallel paths within the visible Christian church.
We of the Link1(TM) Bible Research Team find all this both disturbing and amusing. You?
Got questions? Just ask: www.DYPK.org/contact.
"To what extent does either of those two new winds of doctrine enjoy the reasonable support of Scripture?"
None. Review our www.DYPK.org/pentecost page to confirm that about Magic Twin #1. We have already offered you some credible confirmation about Magic Twin #2 in this series. That is to continue: Our next article is entitled, "the 'CHANGE' & the 'AIR' & the 'CLOUDS'." You'll need your Bible handy for that one...and a copy of Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, too, if you have one.
—"the 'CHANGE' and the 'AIR' and the 'CLOUDS'"
A copy of Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
can help you to comprehend the more-academic content of this particular article.
When Jesus died, He became "the firstfruits of them that slept" [1 Corinthians 15:20]. Upon His resurrection, He became the firstfruits of them that will be resurrected [1 Corinthians 15:23]. As the "firstfruits" of our resurrection, Jesus' experience is our benchmark; i.e.: the best example of what our own resurrection experience will be like. You very likely remember that Jesus' resurrection was not accompanied by "rapture." Instead, our Lord was "caught up" (harpazō'd) into that wonderful new other-dimensional body. That's the "twinkling of an eye" CHANGE that those who're to be included in "the first resurrection" of Revelation 20:6 can anticipate. It happened for Him just like it'll happen for us—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye:
> "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed[G-236], 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[G-236]." —1 Corinthians 15:51,52
G-236, allassō: "to change, to exchange one thing for another, to transform"
^ Note: the "last trump" of 1 Corinthians 15:51,52 and the "trump of God" at 1 Thessalonians 4:16
are the trumpet of the seventh angel of Revelation 11:15. Take this to the bank: Just seven angelic
trumps are sounded in the Revelation account. The seventh one is the LAST one.
—More about that as the series continues.
Yep; it's one thing to be "changed" but quite another thing, altogether, to "fly away" to somewhere up yonder. Nobody taught that in the First Century. Nobody taught it, nobody thought it and nobody wrote anything to even imply it until London preacher Edward Irving published his thoughts about it in September, 1830.^ While the previous 18 Centuries rolled by, Bible experts (often called "the church fathers") were divided on just one related question: Some of them were convinced that our Resurrection would be before The Millennium and others were convinced that it would happen post-Millennium. If you were ever a seminary student you know that; don't you? What's curious, then, is that most of those who faithfully warm the pews in today's visible church don't know that.
^ Correction: Sixteen-year-old Scots lassie, Margaret Macdonald, was the first to write about what
we call "rapture," in April, 1830. Preacher Irving was the first to actually publish anything about it.
Rapture theorists consider 1 Thessalonians 4:17 to be foundational to their doctrine. Truth, alone, can withstand objective scrutiny. At 1 Thessalonians 5:21, Paul wrote, "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." So, then, it's clear that we really should examine 1 Thessalonians 4:17 for its Original Truth:
> "Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds,[G-3507]
to meet the Lord in the air:[G-109] and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
—Paul, at 1 Thessalonians 4:17
G-3507, nephelē: "a cloud [singular] used of the cloud [singular] which led the Israelites in the
"And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night
in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:" —Exodus 13:21 [See, also, Numbers
14:14 & Deuteronomy 31:15.]
G-109, aēr: "From aemi (to breathe unconsciously, i.e. respire; by analogy, to blow)."
This is how Strong's defines aēr, the original Greek word for the KJV, "air," at 1 Thessalonians
4:17: "the air, particu-larly the lower and denser air as distinguished from the higher and [thinner]
air...[i.e.] the atmospheric region."^
^ This is not the "air" in which birds, airplanes, kites or any special class of raptured christians
might fly. If it were, Paul would have written the Greek word, ouranos[G-3772]: "Behold the fowls
of the air[G-3772]:for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly
Father feedeth them.Are ye not much better than they?" —Jesus, at Matthew 6:26
G-3772, ouranos: "the vaulted expanse of the sky with all things visible in it...the aerial heavens
or sky, the region where the clouds and the tempests gather, and where thunder and lightning
This is NOT the low-level, much denser air that we breathe at sea-level.
1. If Paul had chosen to use the Greek word ouranos,[G-3772] instead of aēr,[G-109] at 1 Thessalonians 4:17, then the rapture "experts" might have a reasonable basis for rebuttal. He didn't and they don't. Take that to the bank.
2. Those who've never been taught the importance of using Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible to either confirm or refute the claimed meanings of the original manuscript words/phrases can easily be misled on topics like "rapture." Most of those who mislead the uninformed are, themselves, uninformed, misinformed or naïve. Shouldn't they have at least done their basic homework? On the other hand, some of those who mislead the uninformed are fully uninformed...
"'Not So Bright'...without enough 'light'" is the interesting title of our next article.
—"'Not So Bright'...without enough 'light''"
At Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus shared a 1st-Century illustration about ten young girls who were preparing for a long walk to a wedding feast. Because they were all acquainted with the bridegroom, each of them had an official invitation to that special event. If they were anything like 21st-Century girls they had new dresses and new hair-dos, too. The excitement of anticipation was strong...but they waited and waited and then waited some more for the bridegroom to come and accompany them on their journey. One-by-one, they fell asleep.
That parable is a continuation of Jesus' answer to his disciples' Matthew 24:3 question that's justly characterized as, "How can we know when you're coming back and what's it gonna be like then?" So here's what it's gonna be like:
At midnight, those young girls were startled by the announcement, "The bridegroom cometh!" It was at that moment that five of those girls first knew that somebody had deceived them. It had been somebody they had respected, maybe even somebody they had loved.
Whoever it was had duped them into thinking, "Our beloved bridegroom would never, ever make us travel through the darkest of nights to that wedding feast." They were CERTAIN the bridegroom would come for them before nighttime. That's why they hadn't bought enough lamp oil to provide the LIGHT they'd need for nighttime travel. If you're familiar with that story you know that those five girls got locked out and the bridegroom said he didn't even know them!
> "...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
might all be damned who believed not the truth..." —Paul, at 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12
^ At Matthew 24:13 (also recorded at Mark 13:13), Jesus specifically identified "the truth" that
Paul was referring to: "But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved." The
context is not intelligently debatable: Jesus was talking about the Great Tribulation. If God's
favorite people on Earth, "the elect," will have to endure it, then so will you and I...unless we
Here's something about Paul's 2nd letter to the Thessalonians that you'll want to know: He wrote it to clear up
the confusion that some of the text of his 1st letter had caused: Some of those
church people at Thessalonica had come to think they had missed our Lord's second coming! Those same 1 Thessalonians
verses are still causing confusion, today. That's one of the reasons why rapture theorists tend to avoid 2 Thessalonians
2:1-12. It just doesn't
support the "rapture" narrative.
But Jesus didn't stop with the parable of the ten virgins in answering that burning question, "How can we know when you're coming back and what's it gonna be like then?" He continued with His talents/money illustration at Matthew 25:14-30. In that parable, He used talents/money to symbolize that same Matthew 24:13/Mark 13:13 knowledge—that those who will endure to the bitter END of The Great Tribulation will be saved.
In this illustration, though, Jesus' take-home message is this: Once you have gained that critical knowledge, you must invest it in others. For those who fail to invest that knowledge, at least with family and friends there will be consequences:
> "And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and
gnashing of teeth." —Jesus, at Matthew 24:30
Then, for the benefit of those who'll still feel obligated to hold fast to what people they love have taught them about "rapture," Jesus shared yet another illustration:
> "But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin
to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The
lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for [him], and at an hour when
he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the
unbelievers." —Jesus, at Luke 12:45,46
Because it has focused on the symbolic "oil" in Jesus' parable of the Ten Virgins, traditional teaching has unfortunately missed the amazing (and critical) significance of the "light," there. Jesus used that "light" to symbolize knowledge. Upon close, objective observation it quickly becomes clear that the knowledge He wanted us to have is that we must ALL "endure to the end" of The Great Tribulation "to be saved." Our best guess is that He knew Satan would be very effective with his 19th-Century Occult "rapture" heresies [our WMD#4] to yield a false sense of security for millions of sincere, but naïve believers.
Somebody once told me that nobody who buys a 1/4-inch drill bit really wants a 1/4-inch drill bit: They want 1/4-inch holes. True? Then, nobody who buys a flashlight really wants a flashlight: They want some light to get rid of some darkness. Got light? Consider this:
If you and I were going for a long, long walk through the woods we might pack a 21st-Century flashlight for each of us. But if we were planning for that same walk on a dark, dark night we'd both pack some extra batteries. In this end-time illustration, five of those girls were smart enough to pack enough extra 1st-Century lamp fuel for travel through the darkest of dark nights. The other five prepared only for daytime travel.
There's to be a Great Falling Away before Jesus returns. Remember? Millions will follow Satan and his prophets, fully convinced that he is Jesus Christ. Most of today's unbelievers will be among them—but can they "fall away?"
False teaching typically sounds "a lot more religious" than sound doctrine. Just be really careful how you pack for our upcoming endurance journey; okay?
Our next article may include some surprises for you, too: "The 'Last' Trump."
—"The 'Last' Trump"
Did they do it on purpose or do they just not know? The writers and producers of the notorious "Left Behind" series neglected to disclose some really critical insight—that the last trump of 1 Corinthians 15:52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16 are both the trumpet of the seventh angel of Revelation 11:15.
> "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last [i.e.: 7th] trump: for the trumpet shall
sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."
—1 Corinthians 15:52
> "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."
—1 Thessalonians 4:16
> "And the SEVENTH [i.e.: last] 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." —Revelation 11:15
That seventh (last) trumpet will sound precisely 3-1/2 days after God's TWO WITNESSES come back to life—a startling event that will be seen by tens of thousands, worldwide. I hope you'll read that entire passage in your own Bible but, for your added convenience, here's part of it:
> "And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the
bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
And their dead bodies [shall lie] in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called
Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and
kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half,
and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the
earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another;
because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. And after three
days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood
upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great
voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to
heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. And the same hour was there a
great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of
men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of
heaven...And the seventh [i.e.: last] 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." —Revelation 11:7-13,15
The knee-jerk response of the typical seminary graduate is Jesus' Matthew 24:36 statement: "But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only."
Can't refute that. It's true. Know this, though: While Jesus doesn't know the day nor the hour for His last [7th] trump return, he clearly knows the precise timing – within the seven-event final countdown – for His return to gather those who will have endured to the end of The Great Tribulation. [See Matthew 24:13 and Mark 13:13.] Those people will be fully informed: "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief." —Paul, at 1 Thessalonians 5:4
My nephew once asked his pastor (a really large pentecostal church near us) about all this. Here's how that pastor responded: "Oh! That's a different last trump!" Apparently in a hurry, that pastor offered nothing more...ever! My nephew's intelligence was fully insulted. Never took his family back into that incredible environment. Didn't attend any church for years. Shame. How might YOU have responded?
Someone in whom you've invested the lion's share of your Faith Equity(SM) may have convinced you that an "extra special" group of saints who're gonna get raptured out'a here before all the really bad stuff happens are the ones who'll reign with Christ for 1,000 years. (People you don't trust can't deceive you.) The Bible clearly and completely refutes that claim:
> "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and
[I saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word
of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had
received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and THEY lived and reigned
with Christ a thousand years." —Revelation 20:4
But how about the 1 Corinthians 15:52 "...and we shall be changed" verbiage? Is being "changed" the same as "getting raptured?"
When Jesus died, he became "...the firstfruits of them that slept" [1 Corinthians 15:20]. Upon His resurrection, He became the firstfruits of them that are to be resurrected [1 Corinthians 15:23]. As the "firstfruits" of our resurrection, Jesus' experience is our benchmark—i.e.: the prototype for our own resurrection experience. Jesus' resurrection was not accompanied by "rapture." Instead, He was "caught up" – i.e.: harpazō'd [Strong's G-726] – into a wonderful new other-dimensional body. That's the same "twinkling of an eye" CHANGE that those who're to be included in "the first resurrection" of Revelation 20:6 can anticipate. Bank that.
By now you should
be sufficiently informed:
1. The last trump of 1 Corinthians 15:52 is the seventh trumpet of Revelation 11:15—precisely 3½ days after the two witnesses come back to life and are transported to Heaven. See Revelation 11:7-13,15 to verify that.
2. That event and "the first resurrection" will be at the END of the Great Tribulation, not at any point before that. There is to be no resurrection (and not even the remotest possibility of a rapture) before it. Read Jesus' own proclamation at Matthew 24:13 and Mark 13:13 to confirm that.
3. The saints who are to reign with Christ for a thousand years will NOT be some really special group of super saints who'll have partied with Jesus and the angels in Heaven for seven years, while God's favorite people on Earth, the elect, are left here to endure hell-on-earth. Refresh your comprehension of Revelation 20:4, above, to confirm that.
4. Prior to the 20th Century, when literacy was the exception, Christian believers had no choice but to trust paid professional Christians to do their Bible studying and critical thinking for them. You're literate and, per 2 Timothy 1:7, God has also given YOU a sound mind. That'd be a terrible thing to waste, you know. Review Jeremiah 17:5 to grasp the enormous gravity of that.
5. The great end-time "falling away" will be the direct result of the fact that millions of churchgoers will refuse to be informed about all this. 2 Timothy 4:3,4 serves to verify that. (Can unbelievers "fall away?")
Those you've come to trust, who do they trust? Shouldn't your trust be restricted to what's WRITTEN?
Finally, you can bet your bottom dollar that someone had promised each of those thousands of Christians who're currently being raped, sold as sex slaves, tortured, beheaded and even burned alive that "Jesus is gonna rapture y'all out'a here before all that really bad stuff starts happenin', praise God!" What could be more CRUEL and unscriptural?
> "The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read and write, but
those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn." —Alvin Toffler
So far, we've
received two separate clergy rebuttals to this article. The first one reads like this:
"The seventh trumpet in
the book of Revelation could not be the last trump spoken of by Paul since the
last trumpet in Revelation was not revealed to John until about 36 years
after Paul wrote about the last trump."
I responded thus:
"Given the fact that Jesus was the
revelator in both cases do you think it
possible, sir, that Paul learned on the road to Damascus what John was to learn
I didn't hear back from him, so perhaps he's still pondering the simple logic of my question. If I had heard back from him I would gladly have shared this:
"After Jesus got Saul/Paul's full attention on the road to Damascus, something truly remarkable happened: Jesus shared with Paul enough critical information as to have enabled Paul's amazing knowledge and insight to have apparently exceeded that of all the original apostles—including John."
The second clergy rebuttal was longer. It cited the arguments of third-party "experts." Here it is, verbatim:
"We cannot go to the Book of Revelation and say that the voice of the seventh angel (Revelation 11:15) is the last trump. In the first century, the last trump (shofar) meant a specific day in the year. In Judaism, there are three trumpets (shofarim) that have a name. They are the first trump, the last trump, and the great trump. Each one of these trumpets indicates a specific day in the Jewish year. The first trump is blown on the Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost) (Exodus [Shemot] 19:19). It proclaimed that G-d had betrothed Himself to Israel. The last trump is synonymous with Rosh HaShanah, according to Theodore Gaster in his book, Festivals of the Jewish Year, in his chapter on Rosh HaShanah. Herman Kieval also states the same thing in his book, The High Holy Days (Volume I, Rosh HaShanah, Chapter 5, Footnote 11), in the chapter on the shofar. The great trumpet is blown on Yom Kippur, which will herald the return of the Messiah Yeshua back to earth (Matthew [Mattityahu] 24:31)." (Hebraic Heritage Ministries, http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/2175/)
"(Lev 23:24 KJV) Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.
"(Num 29:1 KJV) And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing the trumpets unto you
"According to Num 10:10, Israel was to blow a trumpet at the beginning of each month. Since the Mosaic festival year was seven months long, the seventh month (Tishri) was the last month for a festival trumpet. This day, the first day of Tishri, which was the start of the Jewish civil year, was known as Rosh haShanah (the Feast of Trumpets or the Day of Trumpets). "The last month in the seven months' series was always sounded on this New Moon Day. This made it the final trumpets' day." (Ernest L. Martin, The Star that Astonished the World, (c)1996, pg 95)
"Martin further signifies this day by relying on the work of Theodor Gaster and his book titled "Festivals of the Jewish Year." It is stated that early Jews recognized the Day of Trumpets as a type of memorial day. More than our modern versions of the holiday, it was instead a day that was symbolic of the time "when the dead return to rejoin their descendants at the beginning of the year." Martin also quotes Gaster in saying that this was "the time that became a symbol of the Last Trump." (Martin, pg 96)
"(1 Cor 15:52 KJV) 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.
"(1 Th 4:16 KJV) 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:
"It is quite possible that Paul, being Jewish himself and surely knowledgeable of the Jewish feasts and customs, was making a symbolic reference to this time of year -- the Day of Trumpets. "The 'Last Trump' of the early Jews was when the dead were remembered. And to Paul the 'Last Trump' was the time for Jesus' second advent and the resurrection of the dead." (Martin, pg 96)."
This was my reply:
"Thanks. You're the very first preacher who has been willing to offer this oft-presumed subordinate layman any sensible rationale for the "That's a DIFFERENT 'last trump'" claim. You've afforded me the opportunity to understand some of the reasons for their resistance. It's clear that you've done some extensive homework. I respect and appreciate that. I perceive substantial flaws in the premise, though. Please let me know if you perceive flaws in my response:
"A. It's conjecture: The operative phrase in the last paragraph is, "It is quite possible..."
"B. In the first paragraph, the significant message is this: "The last trump is synonymous with Rosh HaShanah... The great trumpet is blown on Yom Kippur, which will herald the return of the Messiah Yeshua back to earth."
That contradicts this: "...the Day of Trumpets..."when the dead return to rejoin their descendants at the beginning of the year"...this was "the time that became a symbol of the Last Trump.
"C. I find an interesting parallel in the O.T. seven trumpets (one for each of seven months) and the trumpets of the seven angels of Revelation. Logically, in each case, the seventh one is the last one.
"My conclusions are these:
"1. Political parties hire accomplished SPIN masters. They write the talking points that are then memorized and broadcasted by empty-suited political talking heads. The institutional church also hires accomplished spin masters. They're called theologians. The talking points they write also feature dignified rhetoric that is expertly sculpted for glib replay by talking-heads. The observable priority for all denominational theologians known to me is to find ways to lend "intellectual" support to their respective "what 'we' believe" franchises. The uninformed and the misinformed (politically and religiously) respond, "Wow! That's beautiful!" And they ever thence repeat it.
"2. The context of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 is the relative timing within the sequence of end-time events for Jesus' return to gather the saints unto himself. That'll be the FIRST (not the second) Resurrection, as described at Revelation 11:15 and 20:6. The seventh (i.e.: last) trumpet will sound precisely 3-1/2 days after the TWO WITNESSES come back to life—Revelation 11:3-15. Neither in the O.T. nor in the N.T. can there be found any implication of a First Resurrection #1a followed by a First Resurrection #1b.
absolutely no credible scriptural support for the 19th-Century Occult rapture prophecy, the denominational
theologians went to work to FIND some believable prop-ups.
"Still, though, my appreciation for your research AND for your uncommon willingness to share is solid and sincere. I still haven't forgotten how helpful you were, earlier, in truing up my understanding of the more-likely dimensions of The New Jerusalem."
(To read that short "New Jerusalem" article, just copy and paste this link into your web browser window: www.DYPK.org/blog/0070.)
Please share how
YOU might've responded to these two clergy rebuttals: www.DYPK.org/contact.
You've likely heard the story of the boy who cried "Wolf!" but do you know about the MEN who keep crying "Wolf!"? They're next.
—"Men Who Keep Crying 'Wolf!'"
I found a paperback book in my late father's library. Still have it: 88 Reasons Why The Rapture Will Be in 1988. The prophecies in it were repeatedly confirmed by "personal messages from God" via "unknown 'tongues' and 'interpretation'" in pentecostal meetings. Explore our "PENTECOST" page to learn why that, alone, should've sent up multiple red flags. The well-known publisher's executive director concluded the book preface in my dad's copy with this: "We have seen many souls brought to Jesus after reading this book." Then came the sequel: 89 Reasons Why The Rapture Will Be in 1989...
(I have chosen to withhold the names of the author and his publisher...to spare even more embarrassment for them and their families and colleagues.)
The easily observed fact is that every time difficult times come, some authoritative Bible "expert" announces, "Get ready! Jesus is coming soon!" With each new crisis at least one of them is convinced that it's either the beginning of The Great Tribulation or the time immediately before it. Here are some examples of such times:
Adolf Hitler was responsible for the killing of roughly ten million Christians and six million Jews. The USSR's Joseph Stalin killed almost 20 million people. Prime Minister Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge killed a full third of Cambodia's people from 1975-1979. Francisco Solano López Carrillo, Paraguay's president from 1862 until he died in 1870, presided over the killing of more than 90% of that country's male population—and more than half of the total population, including members of his own family.
We might add the atrocities of China's Mao Tse-Tung, Belgium's King Leopold II, the USSR's Vladimir Lenin, China and Taiwan's Chiang Kai-shek, Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam, Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un of North Korea, Iraq's Saddam Hussein, Italy's Benito Mussolini, Yugoslavia's President Tito and Uganda's Idi Amin. And have you read about the blood-curdling human torture of Medieval times? Thousands of people were stretched without mercy until they were separated from their arms and legs. Many were also impaled on long wooden stakes in the ground and left in the open to die slowly.
To expand on that horrid list, you might start with the tens of thousands of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa who're currently getting burned alive, raped, beaten, beheaded and drowned, etc. The four burning questions that follow demand credible answers:
A. Per Jesus at Matthew 24:21, "The Great Tribulation" will be worse than any of that. But
in what possible ways?
B. Were the Christian victims of those atrocities convinced that each tyrant du jour was the
Anti-Christ and that they were experiencing The Great Tribulation?
C. Might those victims' preachers have convinced them that they'd get "raptured" before
anything really bad could happen to them?
D. How do YOU think they might respond today (if they could) to the notion that there'll be
a truly extra special group of 21st-Century American super-Christians who're gonn'a
get raptured out'a here before anything bad like that starts happening to them?
"...He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." Jesus said that at Matthew 24:13 and Mark 13:13. But WHY would God require good people to endure The Great Tribulation until its bitter end?
Bad things have always happened to good people, okay? David certainly wondered why he must endure the tribulation of the very jealous King Saul who chased him, relentlessly, with the intent to kill. Those three Hebrew boys (Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego) must have wondered similarly, during the minutes before they got thrown into that super-hot fiery furnace. Daniel must've entertained that question, too, just before the king's men tossed him into the lions' den. The good news (and our worthy precedent) is that all those guys ESCAPED their tribulations!
> "…God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will
with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it]."
—1 Corinthians 10:13b
During times of extreme difficulty, then, we are to take comfort in the knowledge that there WILL be a way of escape and that we WILL be able to bear it. To bear it or not to bear it, then, becomes a personal choice. To choose to bear it may mean to adopt David's Psalm 27:5 resolve: "For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion; in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me..." And there's this:
> "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou
[art] with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in
the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the
house of the LORD for ever." —Psalm 23
> "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye
shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
–Jesus, at John 16:33
God's M.O. hasn't changed: Those who're to be saved will escape from The Great Tribulation...after having endured it to the end of it. Otherwise, God will have dealt unjustly with all those other good people who're featured in this article.
Beware of men who keep crying, "Get ready! Jesus is coming soon!" And, please, don't join with them in repeating that incredible refrain.
In the next article we'll give you a scripture to confirm that warning. That'll feature the verbatim words of our Lord, Himself.
—"Is Jesus Really 'Coming Soon'?"
You've often heard it said that Jesus could come "any day, now." Here's some critical insight that may cause you to seriously question the truth of that claim:
> "And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name,
saying, I AM [Christ]; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them."
—Jesus, at Luke 21:8
You may or may not have noticed that the word "Christ," there, appears either in brackets or italics in all KJV Bibles. That's to indicate that neither the word nor any Greek language equivalent of it appears in any of the original texts. The literal translations (the Interlinear Bibles) also confirm that. I'll share an example, below.
In New Testament times, the written Greek language had no punctuation marks. The KJV translators tried to make the scriptures more reader-friendly for us by adding punctuation. They added words and phrases, too, where they thought it might be helpful. It behooves us to know that they were human beings and prone to mistakes, just like the rest of us.
Do this: Take away the punctuation and the bracketed or italicized word, "Christ," from the text at Luke 21:8b and then read it. If Jesus had spoken the same thing in today's English language He might've said, "Many will come in my name saying, 'Jesus is Lord!'" or perhaps, "Many will come in my name saying that I AM."
That proclamation, "I AM," may sound familiar: At Exodus 3:14 God said, “I AM THAT I AM…” He told Moses to tell the Hebrews, "I AM hath sent me unto you." In the New Testament there's this:
> "...verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I AM." —Jesus, at John 8:58
Those deceivers (who, like true disciples, carry the "Jesus is Lord!" banner) that Jesus spoke of at Luke 21:8 are the same people He warned us about at Matthew 7:15. There, he called them "Wolves in SHEEP's Clothing." There's a really BIG difference between those who're with us today and the Wolves in SHEPHERD’s Clothing who're to appear later.
Jesus identified that second group at Matthew 24:23 and Mark 13:21,22. Each of those guys will claim that he, himself, is Christ. If they were to appear today, though, they couldn't do much deceiving. The timing's not right. Very few people would follow them. Do you know anyone who might even think about following somebody who claims to be Jesus? But today's wolves in sheep's clothing have already deceived millions—especially concerning the sequence of end-time events. Their deception is enabled because they proclaim "Jesus is Lord!"^ Their primary message, as in Weapons of Mass Deception(SM) #2 and #3, is easily traced back in the historical record to April, 1830, and those infamous Occult practitioners at Port Glasgow, Scotland.
^ Lest someone misunderstand, there are preachers, teachers and theologians out there
who're dispensing the truth about all this. God will always have a remnant He can count
on. To my knowledge, though, none of those trustworthy servants have attained the
"superstar" status of some of their wildly popular detractors...
In the interest of fairness—Most of today's deceivers are, themselves, deceived. They have typically trusted Bible experts for their information. Some of those denominational "experts" are malicious. Those you trust, who do they trust? "Thus saith the LORD; 'Cursed be the man that trusteth in man...'" —Jeremiah 17:5
The sequencing of words and phrases in New Testament Greek is quite different from the sequencing of words and phrases in English. That's why the literal translation that follows was awkward for me, at first. I was able to remedy that by focusing on the key words and phrases (i.e.: those I've emphasized, below) and then researching each of them in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. You should be able to comprehend what Jesus really said, too. I think you'll conclude that what He said is strikingly different from what we keep hearing that He said from most of today's pulpits:
> "Watch lest you be led lead astray Many for will come on the name of Me saying I AM and
the time has come not Therefore go after them" —Jesus, at Luke 21:8...as quoted from
The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, Volume IV of The Interlinear Hebrew-
Greek-English Bible, 2nd Edition, © 1985 by Jay Green, Sr.
The word, "I," there, is Strong's G-1473. It is correctly translated in the KJV. Strong's makes a special point of noting that this particular Greek word for “I” was used only when the speaker was being emphatic. From that, one might logically surmise that Jesus may have pointed to his own chest when he uttered this word, "I." If he had intended to say that each deceiver would proclaim himself to be Christ, the Greek scribes would more likely have chosen quite another word, here, perhaps Strong's G-846, G-848, G-1438 or G-1992. (I suggest that you verify all that for yourself. Need help? Just ask.)
The word, "AM," is Strong's G-1510—the conjugated first person singular verb "to be," in the present progressive (or, in context, the present perfect) tense. It is correctly translated, "am," in the KJV. Strong's again makes a special point of noting that this particular Greek word for “AM” was used only when the speaker was being emphatic. From that, one might justly conclude that Jesus may have continued pointing to his own chest when he spoke this critical word, "AM." Otherwise, the Greek scribes would likely have chosen the much softer New Testament Greek word that is Strong's G-1511. That word is translated "am," too, at Matthew 16:13, Mark 8:27, Luke 9:18 and Acts 13:25.
The phrase, "has come," is Strong's G-1448. It means to approach; be at hand; come (draw) near; be (come/draw) nigh. Given Strong's entry, the logical conclusion is that the KJV translation of this Luke 21:8b phrase, "and the time draweth near," is more accurate; i.e.: "any day, now."
Paul was also quite concerned about the inevitable deception and confusion concerning the end-time sequence:
> "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^...so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God,
shewing himself that he is God." —2 Thessalonians 2:2-4
^ "Who's the son of perdition?" Some Bible experts who haven't done their basic homework
teach that it's Judas. It's Satan.
Please follow this link to confirm that: www.dypk.org/Appendices/Appendix%204.pdf.
Can unbelievers "fall away?"
Paul's message, here, is simple and straightforward:"The day of Christ is NOT 'at hand'." Many Bible scholars think someone had convinced the Thessalonian church people that the day of Christ had already come and that they had missed it. Our research hasn't fully confirmed that, but we concede that it's certainly a possibility. In either case, both Jesus and Paul described some significant events that must occur BEFORE Christ's return to gather the saints unto himself. NONE of those events have happened yet. Could they all happen, rapid-fire, tomorrow? No. Many will be surprised to learn that the "final countdown" events do NOT include blood moons, earthquakes, tsunamis, wars and rumors of wars or even the apparent rise of Gog and Magog (Russia).
Satan will successfully masquerade as Jesus Christ: "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: [Even him], whose coming is AFTER the working of Satan..." —2 Thessalonians 2:8,9
That word, "after," will become extremely important to you as you continue your study to gain original truth about the relative timing (not to include the day or hour) of Christ's return to gather the saints. Superstar prophecy SPIN masters seduce the uninformed: "Trust me: What's written, there, is not really what Paul intended for us to understand…" Even the preachers who follow them fall for it.
Please keep in mind that Jesus told us, explicitly, at Luke 21;8, that we must not follow those people who claim that "Jesus could split the eastern skies any day now," no matter how "spiritual" or spine-tingling the message. Jesus will NOT come "any day now." How can we know that, definitively? Read Revelation 11:3-15 for full comprehension. Questions? Please ask.
I think you'll also want to read 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, as-if-no-one-had-ever-explained-what-it-means. Here are the last two verses of that critical passage:
> "…because they received not the love of truth [about when Christ will come back to
gather us^], that they might be saved…God shall send them strong delusion, that they
should believe a lie [about when Christ will come back to gather us^]. That they might
all be damned who believed not the truth [about when Christ will come back to gather
us^]…" —2 Thessalonians 2:10-12
^ Yes; the italicized bracketed text, here, is mine. My intent is to leave no doubt about the
context of what Paul wrote here.
Many of today's wolves in sheep's clothing honestly don't know they're Satan's agents of misinformation. But should they not, as paid professional Christians, know there is not even one scripture to credibly support their message? Their faithful followers who fail to figure that out for themselves will worship the wrong "christ." When they finally discover that, they'll be on a fateful flight into outer darkness (deep space?). Their weeping and gnashing of teeth won't be from flames licking at their bottoms and toes, though. It'll be from their anguish of knowing they had fallen for Satan's great con.
These are the easy-to-recognize deceitful rapture theory talking points. Beware of those who faithfully regurgitate them:
—"Get ready! Jesus is coming!"
—"Christ's return for his Bride is imminent."
—"The time for our Lord's coming draws near!"
—"Jesus could split the eastern skies any day, now!"
—"There is no prophecy that must be fulfilled before our precious Lord and Savior
comes to Rapture his Bride."
Those are really attractive and comforting messages, to be sure. I grew up believing them all. But, then, fables almost always sound more religious than Bible truth.
The "christ" who may be likely to come for them soon is Satan, himself. Like the real Christ, Satan will also ride in on a symbolic white horse...for Phase One of his successful masquerade [See Revelation 6:2.].
> "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief."
—Paul, at 1 Thessalonians 5:4
My teachers did the same thing your teachers have done: They taught me what their teachers had taught them. Where did their teachers get it? From their teachers. That's reminiscent of the children's party game called "Gossip;" isn't it? The religious-sounding fables grow more and more absurd with their year-in-year-out repeating. Might it be worth your while to invest some personal time in prayerful meditation on that...?
Ever wonder about the prophetic roles of blood moons, tsunamis and earthquakes? Our next article is about them.
—"Blood Moons and Tsunamis and Earthquakes and Such"
Like other professionals, some Christian clergymen seek the most lucrative niches for themselves. Among today's best-paying "ministry" niches are Motivational Speaking and End-Time Prophecy. In both examples it's clear that entertainment sells: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." —2 Timothy 3,4
One might reasonably presume that the accumulation of wealth and the admiration of their audiences are the primary motivators for the Motivational Speakers and for the End-Time Prophecy experts. Can't be certain, but I think money may take second place to the End-Time Prophecy experts' need to prove they're a lot smarter than all the rest of us. That could certainly be subliminal, though. Paul was concerned about such mindsets, even among 1st-Century preachers:
> "Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit..." —2 Corinthians 2:1
Sensationalism and clever fables are characteristic of both of those "ministry" niches. Also in the 1st Century, Peter expressed his concern about that: "For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty." —2 Peter 1:16
I'll share this about the 1st-Century pulpit motivational speakers and then we'll focus on the stock and trade of the current crop of End-Time Prophecy experts: The context of Paul's message^ at 2 Corinthians 12:11,13-19 is this: The people at Corinth valued the ministry of "super preachers" more highly than that of Paul and his associates. Their evaluation was in direct proportion to the money and food the super preachers had taken from them. That is consistent with what we know of human nature—the sin nature: People consistently undervalue things they get for free.
^ Paul's message there is loaded with sarcasm. Click on that bold blue link to read it for
yourself. For another example of Paul's sarcasm, see 1 Corinthians 11:20-22. There,
he was rebuking some of the church people at Corinth for getting DRUNK on the
That said, most pentecostals apparently think Paul wrote chapters 12, 13 and 14 of
1 Corinthians to EDIFY those same church people. Once one fully comprehends Paul's
penchant for sarcasm, one quickly understands that he was extremely angry with those
foolish people for their on-going Holy Ghost blasphemy. Those chapters are a flaming
rebuke! (Study our PENTECOST page to learn what you'll want to know about all that.)
Many of today's End-Time Prophecy experts gain wealth for the same reason. But they wield yet another wand that prompts so many followers to willingly part with their dollars: Sensationalism. Their fans are convinced that God has given them abilities that none of the rest of us have: They can read the mind of God between the written lines of scripture! Wow! Don't you wish you were that smart...or that gifted?
Aptly described as "cunningly devised fables" at 2 Peter 1:16, the stock and trade of the End-Time Prophecy experts includes dignified-sounding tales of an awesome array of little-known "signs" that the rapture is imminent. (For those who may not know, imminent means that it may happen any day now.) Blood Moons are among their favorite "signs" to sensationalize today. But those who ascend to superstar status are even more clever: They equate a vast array of Old Testament religious rituals and feasts with "signs" that Jesus is coming soon. In article #8 of this series, I shared the rationale that one preacher used to insist that "the last trump" is not really "the last trump"...something about the Old Testament Feasts of Trumpets and such.
In series article #9, I told you about the book, 88 Reasons Why The Rapture Will Be in 1988 and its sequel, 89 Reasons Why The Rapture Will Be in 1989. The End-Time Prophecy expert author of those two books had added the presumed 40 years of a "generation" to 1948—when the modern nation of Israel was finally established. "Eureka!" he thought, "God has revealed this truth to me for a purpose! He has hand-picked me to be His faithful witness!"
He was one of many who misinterpret what Jesus said at Matthew 24:34, Mark 13:30 and Luke 21:32, "…this generation will not pass…" Thinking a generation to be 40 years, he just did the math. His formula was flawed—for at least three critical reasons:
1. Some "experts" now claim that a generation is either 70 or 80 years. Psalm 90:10 appears to be the primary basis for their reasoning. So, should we expect more hype in 2018 and 2028? Others claim a generation is 120 years, buying more time for themselves.
2. Other "experts," apparently wishing to discredit (or at least out-prophesy) their contemporaries, have developed what might be called a more sophisticated formula. They base it on the 14 generations from Abraham to David, 14 from David to the Babylonian exile and another 14 generations from that exile to Jesus' birth. They use just the 28 generations from the last two periods, knowing that the first one may not be accurate. Subtracting Jesus' birth in B.C. 4 from David's birth in B.C. 1040, they get a difference of 1,036 years. They then divide 1,036 by 28 generations to yield an average generation of 37 years.
3. Today's superstar prophecy pundits may be as wrong on the relationship between 1948 and 1967 and the length of a generation as they are clearly wrong on everything else about the timing for Jesus' return. Although Matthew and Mark recorded Jesus as prefacing his "Verily I say unto you, This generation will not pass away, till all be fulfilled" proclamation with "Consider the fig tree." Luke 21:29 reads, "Behold the fig tree, and all the trees…" Besides, Jesus didn't even imply that the "planting" of a figurative tree might be a timely benchmark. What he did say is this: "When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer [is] nigh." —Matthew 24:32
How wise is it, then, for an End-Time Prophecy "expert" to hang his understanding and teaching of end-time prophecy on a 1948 or 1967 benchmark? Still they cry, "Wolf!" and hoards of the naïve faithful heed their cry. Today, many of them are visible in the social media: "Get ready, everybody; Jesus is coming!"
Jesus did NOT include Blood Moons as signs of His soon return. But what about Earthquakes and Tsunamis and things like that? Didn't Jesus list them as "signs?" End-Time Prophecy "experts" call the following things " the beginning of sorrows." They insist that Jesus identified them as "signs" of his soon return:
—wars and rumours of wars
—famines and pestilences
—earthquakes in divers places
Jesus was careful to explain (at Matthew 24:6,7, Mark 13:7,8 and Luke 21:9,11) that those things that've been happening throughout human history will continue to happen until The Final Countdown. Mark 13:7,8 records what Jesus said about those things...just before He listed the precise sequence of the events that will include His return:
> "And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for [such things]
must needs be; but the end [shall] not [be] yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and
kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earth-quakes in divers places, and there
shall be famines and troubles: these [are] the beginnings of sorrows."
Many of the "experts" foolishly insist that Jesus was referring to those wars and rumours of wars, famines, pestilences and earthquakes in divers places when He said this:
> "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for
your redemption draweth nigh." —Jesus, at Luke 21:28
Read the previous three verses to confirm (for yourself) that those "experts" clearly haven't completed their basic homework assignments:
> "And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the
earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts
failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth:
for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man
coming in a cloud [Remember that?] with power and great glory."
—Jesus, at Luke 21:25-27
The subject of our next article, the last one in this series, is a burning question: "WHO Must 'Endure' to the Bitter End of The Great Tribulation?" Some foolishly claim it's only the JEWS but that, dear believer, qualifies as NEWS...!
—"WHO Must 'Endure' to the Bitter End of The Great Tribulation?"
Die-hard rapture theorists will try to convince you that only the JEWS must endure to the end. That typically includes those who're in lock-step with John Calvin's once-upon-a-time-and-forever-Salvation theory (our Weapon of Mass Deception(SM) #2:) Jesus, Himself, contradicted the foolish fable that only JEWS must endure when He omitted any exception for the church: "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. "PERIOD." That's recorded at Matthew 24:13 and, again, at Mark 13:13. Paul directly contradicted it in several of his writings; e.g.:
> "...God is no respecter of persons." —Acts 10:34
> "For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all
is rich unto all that call upon him." —Romans 10:12
> "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male
nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." —Galatians 3:28
> "Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian,
Scythian, bond [nor] free: but Christ [is] all, in all." —Colossians 3:11
And is there Caucasian and/or European blood in your ancestry? In the History of England (1926), by G. Macaulay Trevelyan, there is this: "Some Iberian [Hebrew] blood probably flows in the veins of every modern Englishman, more in the average Scot, most in the Welsh and Irish." At various times in the recorded history of the European Continent the Sons of Isaac were called by a variety of names. Among them were Saxons (Isaac's Sons), Angles (<Anglo-Saxon), Engles (<English) and Iberians (sons of Eber—from which the racial designation Hebrew was derived). They were also called Caucasians, because most of them had traversed the Caucasian Pass, between the Black Sea and the Caspian Seas on their prophesied migrations." Until the Sixth Century A.D. or later, the Hebrew alphabet had no vowels: "Isaac's Sons" was rendered SXNS, from which was derived the pronunciation, "Saxons."
(See www.DYPK.org/the-dots for more on this topic. It's in article #4, there.)
Many Bible scholars find it especially interesting that neither the LION of Judah [Micah 5:8] nor the UNICORN of Israel-Joseph-Ephraim [Deuteronomy 33:16-17] is associated with the modern nation of Israel. But the heraldry of Great Britain and of Ireland include both of them! The ARROWS and the OLIVE BRANCH of Joseph-Manasseh are associated with the United States. (As info, the tribe of Ephraim was the largest of the 12 tribes of original Israel, and of the 10 tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Israel after the two nations split in 922 B.C. That's why the Northern nation of Israel is often called "Ephriam" in the Bible.)
"The tragedy of Protestant Christianity today is that men can't find the kingdom. It is still a mystery to them. They look for it in their hearts, in heaven, and everywhere in God's universe except in the midst of their national existence." —One Man's Destiny (1942) by C. R. Dickey, page 54
So! If those die-hard rapture theorists are right – that the genetic descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob/Israel must endure to the bitter end of The Great Tribulation – then they're still wrong about you and me...aren't they? In fairness, before the 19th Century almost nobody suspected any of this. But we live in the 21st Century. This is often called "The Information Age." Those Bible "experts" who still don't know (and share) all this are without excuse. You and I are wise in refusing to be among the victims of their arrogant ignorance.
There are lots of conflicting and, therefore, confusing messages out there about when Jesus will split the eastern skies: God's not the author of that confusion; Satan and his hoard of earthly emissaries are the culprits. "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief." —1 Thessalonians 5:4
to Expect as the End Approaches—
— IMPORTANT —
This section is currently being revised based on some excellent scriptural feedback
from a respected member of our Link1(TM) Bible Research Team.
Please stay tuned!
It is our sincere prayer that you – and those with whom you study – will be personally blessed beyond measure by this and the other series pages on our web site. But please remember this: Per 2 Corinthians 12:11,13-19, the church people at Corinth valued the ministry of "super preachers" more highly than that of Paul and his associates. Their evaluation was in direct proportion to the money those preachers had received from them. That is consistent with what we know of human nature; a.k.a. the sin nature: People consistently undervalue things they get for free. So please take full advantage of our hard work.
In either case, we are compelled to keep working diligently on our assigned task. God's part in this is to deliver an audience of people who will have ears to hear and eyes to see. We hope that'll include you...
Have questions? Need help with your small group Bible study? Please ask: www.DYPK.org/contact.