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Ambassador4Christ
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« on: May 07, 2003, 05:36:40 PM »

How many people, even Christian people, live in fear these days! They consider how we have gone from atom bombs to hydrogen bombs to nitrogen bombs, with megatons of explosive power. They read about all the deadly weapons being perfected by countries all over the world, and they fear that frightful destruction may at any time overtake them.

It does indeed appear that this world is headed toward the prophesied destruction, but true believers should understand that God has clearly predicted that He will recall His ambassadors before giving the world up in judgment.

Paul, the apostle of grace, made it clear that no one can tell how long the dispensation of grace will last, but he did declare that this age would close with the coming of our Lord for His own.

"For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

"Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

"Wherefore comfort one another with these words" (I Thes. 4: 16-18).

In the next chapter, we have the prediction of the pouring
out of God's wrath on the world but the believer in Christ
will escape this.

Thus Paul reminded the Thessalonians how they had turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for His Son from heaven. .." (1 Thes. 1:9,10). Thus too he reminded the Philippians: "Our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Phil. 3:20). And thus, finally, he instructed Titus to be looking for that blessed hope, and the appearing in glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ".
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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2003, 05:40:55 PM »

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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2003, 05:51:46 PM »

You've probably heard someone proclaim confidently that rapture is not in the Bible. Many have accepted this challenge to the truth at face value. But contrary to popular belief, the concept and the word "rapture" are in the Bible.

"These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so." Acts 17:11

The Root of the Issue

The Bible has been translated into many languages from the original languages in which it was written (mainly Hebrew and Koine Greek). We must keep this in mind when we affirm that something is or is not in "the Bible." The common Latin verb "rapere" (root of the English "rapture") is in the Latin Bible (2 Cor. 12:4; 1 Thes. 4:17). It is translated from the original New Testament Greek verb "harpazo." This is where we derive the English word "harpoon" from. Most English Bibles translate it as "caught up." However it could just as easily be translated "carried away," "snatched up," "seized away by force," or "raptured" (see "catch" in Vine's Dict.)! In other words "rapture," "harpazo" and "catch up" are all synonyms in three different languages (Latin, Greek, English) which are in "the Bible." Before saying something is not in the Bible, it must first be defined.

"And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32

Testing the Rule

The word "rapture" may not be in most English translations of the Bible. However, to say that it is not in "the Bible" attains to the ignorance of saying that the Hebrew words Yahweh (LORD) or Yeshua (Jesus or Joshua) are not in the Bible. The same unsound reasoning could also be used to dismiss the legitimacy of the word "Bible." It is not actually in the translated text of the English Bible, but it is a transliteration of the New Testament Greek word "biblion" ("book" in Lk. 4:17). The word "trinity/triunity" is yet another Biblical term not found in the Bible. However the concept of the three persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) of the "Godhead" (Rom. 1:20, Col. 2:9) sharing one divine nature is undeniable fact (Deut. 6:4; Mt. 3:16, 28:19; Jn 10:30; 14:16; 1 Cor. 12:4-6; 2 Cor. 5:19; Eph. 1:3-14; Php. 2:6...). Furthermore, in addition to the rapture, many English concepts are also labeled with Latin names (plants, animals, music, grammatics, etc.). For Latin has historically been considered the language of education, religion and science. This same critical examination should be used anytime a sound Biblical doctrine is challenged. Especially on as shaky ground as this.

"Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables." 2 Timothy 4:2-4


In summary, yes! Rapture is in "the Bible." The Latin derivative "rapture" is a synonym for the English "catch up." Both terms are translated from the Greek "harpazo." All three terms are found in the Bible which corresponds to their respective languages (2 Cor. 12:4; 1 Thes. 4:17). Therefore it is Biblical and perfectly appropriate that the event of First Thessalonians four be referred to as the Rapture.

"Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up (harpazo, raptured) together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words." 1 Thes. 4:17-18

MARANATHA!!! (1 Cor. 16:22, Aramaic: "Our Lord, come")


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« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2003, 05:56:16 PM »

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« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2003, 06:04:44 PM »

Confused about Christ's Coming? There are many Second Coming Bible passages which are frequently mistaken for the Rapture. Some times they are even taught as if they were one and the same. Even more confusion exists regarding when the Rapture occurs in relation to the Tribulation. But the student of the Scriptures would do well to pay close attention to the contrasting traits and purposes of each event.

"True wisdom is not manifested in trying to see resemblances in things which differ, but in discerning the real difference among those which resemble one another." - Unknown (see: Rom. 2:18; Php. 1:10)

This article is a study aid designed to be read in conjunction with the mentioned Bible references. These are the basic questions which will be answered by this article.

What is the Rapture, Tribulation and Second Coming?
Where do we find these concepts in the Bible?
What is the purpose of the Tribulation?
How do these three prophetic events relate to each other?
What resources are available for further study?

The Rapture

Is "rapture" in the Bible? Yes! The Latin derivative "rapture" is a synonym for the English "catch up" (2 Cor. 12:4; 1 Thes. 4:17). Both terms are translated from the original New Testament Greek verb "harpazo." All three terms are found in the Bible (which corresponds to their respective languages).

1 Thessalonians 4:17-18 "Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words."

The Rapture will conclude this grace dispensation (Eph. 3:2) and precede the future 7 year Tribulation (2 Thes. 2). In 2 Thes. 2:2 "the departure" has the Greek definite article and is refering back to the previously mentioned rapture. Although there was at least one Old Testament allusion/type/foreshadowing (Enoch raptured a period of 7 since Adam and a period of 7/one generation before the flood/judgement: Gen. 5:24; Mt. 24: 34; Heb. 11:5; Jude 1:14) of the Rapture, it is only specifically referred to in the Pauline epistles. Why? Because the rapture was part of the secret mystery revealed through Paul for believers in the dispensation of grace (1 Cor. 15). The next prophesied event which concerns us is the Rapture. Christ's secret coming is imminent (1 Cor. 1:7; 16:22; Php. 3:20; 4:5; 1 Thes. 1:10; *** . 2:13). We are not told to look for Antichrist or the "abomination of desolation", but for Christ's Rapture. The pretribulational approach is the only interpretation which takes the Bible literally and brings us His promised comfort.

"About the Time of the End, a body of men will be raised up who will turn their attention to the Prophecies, and insist upon their literal interpretation, in the midst of much clamor and opposition" - Sir Isaac Newton (McClain, Alva. Daniel's Prophecy of the 70 Weeks. Pg. 2)

Rapture Bible Verses

Rom. 8: 19-25; 1 Cor. 1:7-8; 15:51-53; 16:22; 2 Cor. 12:4?; Gal. 5:5; Php. 3:20-21; 4:5; Col. 3:4; 1 Thes. 1:10; 2:1, 3, 19; 3:13; 4:13-18; 5:9, 23; 2 Thes. 2:1, 3, 7; 1 Tim. 3:14-15?; 6:14; 2 Tim. 4:18; Titus 2:11-13; (NOT Rev. 3:10; 4:1!)

Purpose of the Tribulation

All believers are promised general tribulation (suffering) in this life (Rom. 5:3; 2 Cor. 12:10; Php. 1:29; 1 Thes. 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:7; 2:19; 4:12). However, believers in this dispensation are promised deliverance (Rom. 5:9?; 1 Thes. 1:9-10; 5:9; 2 Thes. 2:3, 7) "from the wrath to come" (the 7 year Tribulation).

1 Thessalonians 1:10 "...and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come."

To know whether we will participate in any part of the Tribulation, we need to know God's purpose for Daniel's 70th week of years. Who is the Tribulation for? "Jacob's (father of Israel) trouble" is stated only to be for Israel (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 9:20-25) and unbelievers (1 Thes. 1:8; 2:12), not us. We will be taken away before antichrist is revealed (2 Thes. 2:7). The reasons for the Tribulation are for God to exercise His wrath on the Christ rejecting world and to prepare the remnant of Israel (including Gentile proselytes) for it's promised King (my Lord Jesus Christ) and earthly kingdom (Deut. 4:29-30; Jer. 30:3-11; Zech. 12:10).

Tribulation Scripture References

Dan. 8:24-27; 12:1-2; Mt. 13:30-50; 24:15-31; 1 Thes. 1:9-10; 5:4-9; 2 Thes. 2:1-11; Rev. 4-18; 6:16-17; Jer. 30:7; Dan. 9:20-25; 1 Thes. 1:8; 2:12; Deut. 4:29-30; Jer. 30:3-11; Zech. 12:10

The Second Coming

Remember that all the Bible is for us (Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:6; 2 Tim. 3:16), but only the apostle Paul's letters are 100% applicable to us (Acts 9:15; 22:21; 26:17; Rom. 2:16; 11:13; 16:25; Gal. 2:8-9; Eph. 3:1, 8; Col. 1:27; 1 Tim. 2:7, 2 Tim. 1:11; 2:Cool in the dispensation of grace. All references to Christ's coming in the Jewish (non-Pauline) letters are referring to the second coming of Christ at the end of the future 7 year tribulation. There are also a few references to Christ's coming in judgment in the Thessalonian letters.

Zechariah 14:3-4a "Then the LORD will go forth And fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle. And in that day [end of the Tribulation] His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east."

There were also many Old Testament allusions (foreshadows, types, examples) to the second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Noah (remnant of Israel) was saved through the flood (global judgment).
Lot (believing remnant) flees (to the hills) the destruction of Sodom (spiritual Jerusalem).
Parables of Jesus often have a first and second coming divided by a king in exile aspect .
Moses (foreshadow of the Prophet to come, Jesus), David and Joseph had a first (lowly) and second (kingly) coming divided by a period of exile (dispensation of grace, Eph. 3, Rom. 11).
The plagues and the exodus foreshadow in microcosm the world wide tribulation and deliverance of the remnant of Israel from Armageddon.

Second Coming Cross-References

Deut. 30:3; 32:41-42; Dan. 2:44-45, 7:9-14; 12:1-3; Ez. 43:2-7; Zech. 12:10; 14:1-15; 41:1-3 Mt. 13:14; 23:39; 24: 15-44, 48-51; 25:13, 31; 26:64; Mk. 13:14-27; 14:62; Lk. 12:36-48; 17:24; 21:25-28; Jn. 14:1-3; Acts 1:9-11; 3:19-21; 15:14-17; 1 Thes. 5:3; 2 Thes. 1:6-10; 2:2, 8; Heb. 9:28; James 5:7-9; 1 Pet. 1:7, 13; 4:12-13; 5:4; 2 Pet. 3:1-14; 1 Jn. 2:28-3:2; Jude 14-15; Rev. 1:7-8; 19:11-20:6; 22:7, 12, 20; Rev. 1:10; 2:25; 3:10; 4:1; 19:11-21; 22:20

Differences

The Second Coming (Revelation 19, Zechariah 14, Matthew 24, Daniel 7) is not the Rapture (1&2 Thessalonians, 1 Corinthians 15). The Rapture takes place before the 7 year Tribulation (wrath of God/Lamb, the day of the Lord, Jacob's trouble, Daniel's 70th week, the great day of His wrath, etc.). It is a secret coming in the air (not on the ground) for (not with) the believers of all nations. Jesus never touches the ground and the world does not see him. The resurrection of the rapture takes place during (not after) Christ's partial decent.

The second coming is 180 degrees different. It occurs at the end of the 7 year Tribulation. The resurrection of tribulation saints takes place after (Rev. 19-20) Christ's complete decent of the second advent. The unbelievers are taken away (Mt. 13) as the Lord returns to the earth to save Israel (Rom. 11, Rev. 19). It is not a secret, for it is seen by the whole world (Mt. 24:30). Although there are a few similarities (clouds, Jesus, believers, coming) between the Rapture (secret, air, church, pre-trib., deliverance) and the Second Coming (public, ground, Israel, post-trib., vengeance), let us discern the differences. For this purpose, I highly recommend the resources below.



When reading writings on prophecy, it will serve you well to keep in mind that direct rapture passages only occur in the Pauline books of the Bible (Rom. - Phm.). All references to the coming of Christ in the non-Pauline books are referring to His second coming/advent to save Israel. Just as Moses was the primary revelator to Israel "under the law" program, so Paul is our apostle in "the dispensation of the grace of God" (Rom. 6:14; 11:13; 2 Cor. 5:16; Gal. 2:8; 5:18; Eph. 3:2; 2 Tim. 3:8-10). Therefore it only makes sense that our apostle and not the 12 apostles of the law/kingdom program would receive and convey our "blessed hope" of resurrection and rapture. Hence we are "looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13).

MARANATHA!!! (1 Cor. 16:22, Aramaic: "Our Lord, come")

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« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2003, 06:07:11 PM »

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« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2003, 01:04:07 PM »

In Matthew 24:37-42, we are told that conditions on the earth prior to the Lords coming will be similar to those in Noahs day.

The record in Genesis 6:5-7 states that, "the thoughts of mens hearts were only evil continually," and, "the Lord was grieved that he made man upon the earth."

An honest appraisal of present-day morals must conclude that we are heading in the same direction. To the Lords people, it is a comforting thought that when evil has reached its peak, God always calls a halt. It was so in Noahs day. While the multitude of people were "eating and drinking, marrying and being given in marriage," entirely indifferent to their eternal welfare, suddenly the flood came and took them all away. Only Noah and his family were spared because they had entered the ark. Those who were "taken" died in the flood.

"That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field. One will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill. One will be taken and the other left (Matthew 24:39-41).

Taken where?

Not to Heaven, as is sometimes taught, but to judgment. The one who is left will enter the kingdom which Christ will have come to establish.

To God's people in this present evil age, the Apostle Paul by inspiration tells of a secret coming of Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 1 Corinthians 15:51,52). Then, instead of being "taken away," members of the Body of Christ will be "caught up" to meet the Lord in the air and "so shall we ever be with the Lord."

How wonderful to have this hope of being "caught up" and not "taken away." It can be yours by simply believing the good news, trusting in Jesus Christ for your forgiveness and eternal salvation.

"God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21).

"Therefore, having been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1).

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« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2003, 01:05:54 PM »

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« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2003, 04:28:42 PM »

The rapture has several purposes: (1) It brings the all true grace age believers, whether living or dead, together forever. (2) It is "that blessed hope" (Titus 2:13) which will bring us together with our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the head of the body. (3) It motivates us to watch in faith, love, and hope (1 Thessalonians 5:6-8). (4) It is a comfort to us as 1 Thessalonians 4:18 says. It rescues us from the wrath that God is about to pour out upon those that dwell upon the earth in the tribulation. (5) It fulfills the prophecy of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. When God says He is going to do something, it has to happen. (6) It ends this dispensation of grace by removing the church from the earth. Then, the Old Testament form of worship and the kingdom program can resume, with God's focus being on the nation of Israel the seven years which is the last week of years in the 70 weeks or years described in Daniel 9:24-27. This is yet another of God's prophecies which must be fulfilled.
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« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2003, 04:31:00 PM »

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« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2003, 01:23:46 PM »

Its seams like we are having so many disasters happening in the world today, that maybe we are getting close to the end time. Fires, floods, tornadoes and so many other things. It seams like people would wonder how much longer this world will be able to take all the destruction. I am thankful for all the people who are doing all they can to try and put out the fires and helping everyone they can. But I believe Christ is coming back before man destroys this world. We have computers now and that is all we need for the antichrist to be able to control the world. In the Book of Revelations chapter 13:16-17, and he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads. Verse 17, and that no one may buy or sell except those who take the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. You can read Revelations chapter 13:14-18,  and you will be able to understand how computers will be used to fulfill the Scriptures. When you go to buy food or other things they have computers to scan the things you buy. I wouldnt want to be left behind when the Lord comes back for His Church, 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, Behold I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18, for this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep, for the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God: and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. I want to try to help to win everyone I can to the Lord. In Romans 10:13 for whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Now we have the terrorists in our country and some are afraid to fly or get into crowds since we dont know what will happen next. We have never thought things would get so bad in this Great Country of freedom we live in but it is here!

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« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2003, 01:25:18 PM »

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« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2003, 10:31:12 PM »

Can people who reject Jesus Christ before the rapture still get saved during the tribulation?

Referring to the Anti-Christ, 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 says he will come, "... with all power and signs and lying wonders. And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." Those that "received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved" must be those who rejected the gospel of grace prior to the rapture. From this passage, it looks like those who have rejected the gospel of grace before the rapture, do not get another chance after the rapture. I will not go so far as to be dogmatic about this doctrine for which I only know of one passage of scripture. But I must admit that this does look very clear. They will believe the lie, and accept the mark of the Beast, if they live that long. Even so, there will be many from all nations saved after the rapture, during the tibulation. I believe these are those who did not hear the gospel of grace before the rapture. These tribulation saints are those that will respond to the gospel of the kingdom preached by the 2 witnesses and the 144,000 young, virgin, men of Israel.

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« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2003, 10:33:00 PM »

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« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2003, 08:03:26 AM »

Those Christians who are alive when the rapture occurs will all be raptured. Any adult who does not believe the gospel of grace will not be raptured. But the question of whether children who are too young to believe the gospel will be raptured or not is a difficult one, which I cannot answer completely. However, there are some scriptures that provide some insight. On the surface, there seem to be 3 possibilities for any one particular child: (1) The child will be raptured and go to heaven, (2) The child will remain on earth and be saved during the tribulation. (3) The child will remain on earth and not be saved during the tribulation.

We know that King David (himself a prophet), after the death of his infant child, said "I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me" (2 Samuel 12:23). We know that King David went to paradise (the place of comfort where the old testament saints went prior to the resurrection of Jesus Christ), and later, to heaven. From this we know that at least some babies and young children who die, will go to heaven. This does not necessarily mean that all babies go to heaven. Nor does it say that some babies will be raptured. But this passage does tell us that some babies that die will go to heaven. It therefore seems reasonable that some babies and very young children will be raptured.

We must keep in that mind God is all-knowing, even about the future. A trillion years ago, God knew what clothes you would wear today and how many hairs would be on your head. So God knows what an infant will turn out to be when he grows up. Would it have been just for God to have taken the life of Adolf Hitler when he was an infant and to have sent him to hell? Or would it only have been just for God to have waited until Hitler had killed millions of people first? Obviously, God, in His sovereignty, did the latter. However, I see no reason, as far as justice is concerned, why the all-knowing God could not have done the former, if He so chose.

We do know of many instances in which children were put to death along with their parents by God, as in the great flood (Genesis 8:21), or by his orders, as in the conquest of the land of Canaan (Joshua 6:21). This was the punishment for evil people whom God knew would get more and more evil with each successive generation. Because of passages like these, I believe that some babies will not be raptured.

There are some who believe that the faith of one or more of the parents covers the child until the child is old enough to make a choice. They often refer to 1 Corinthians 7:13-14 as evidence. However, it seems unclear whether this scripture passage can be properly applied to the topic of the rapture.

It may very well be that God, with His all-knowing, future-knowing wisdom, will make His decision based upon what that child would have become, had he been allowed to remain on earth. Paul tells us about Jacob and Esau in Romans 9:11-13, "(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth It was said unto her (Rebecca, their mother), The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." This brings up the question, what if the pregnant Rebecca had been a Christian at the time of the rapture? Would she and unborn Jacob have been raptured to heaven and unborn Esau transported directly to hell? Who can say? But I would certainly not discount that possibility.

One thing is absolutely certain. God is just and will do the thing that is just. We must be careful that we do not try to put ourselves in God's shoes and try to make the judgement for him. I think this is what some people do when they try to say that "all babies will go to heaven" based upon their unscriptural opinion of "the character of God" and their own opinion about what would be just. God said in Isaiah 55:8-9, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."

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