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Author Claims To Debunk Rapture Theory Popularized By 'Left Behind'
Agape Press ^ | May 5, 2004 | By Allie Martin

Posted on 05/09/2004 8:35:19 AM PDT by TaxRelief

As you read this press release, watch for the attempt to create conflict within the ranks of believers.

(AgapePress) - A Christian author says the popular "Left Behind" books are filled with biblically inaccurate teachings.

The cornerstone of the best-selling book series by authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins is "the rapture." That term describes God's removal of true Christians from the world as the initial event that many Christians believe will usher in a seven-year period of tribulation leading to the visible return of Jesus Christ.

But in his new book End Time Delusions (Destiny Image, 2004), Steve Wohlberg asserts that the idea of a rapture before Christ's second coming is not biblical. "There's three major verses used in the New Testament to prove the doctrine of disappearing Christians," he says, citing 1 Thessalonians 4:17, 1 Corinthians 15:52, and Matthew 24:40. But he says the pre-tribulation rapture theory is not borne out in these scriptures.

"I have studied every one of those of those verses in the Bible and also in the light of history," Wohlberg says, "and I have discovered clearly that every one of them does not apply to a secret rapture before a seven-year period of tribulation; but they all apply definitely to the visible, loud, glorious second coming of Jesus Christ at the very end of the world."

A poll by Barna Research Group (barna.org) found that one in every ten Americans has read a book from the popular Left Behind series. However, Wohlberg feels the idea of a pre-tribulation rapture as described and dramatized in the popular books is a dangerous notion.

(Excerpt) Read more at headlines.agapepress.org ...


TOPICS:
KEYWORDS: bookreview; endtimedelusions; leftbehind; rapture; timlahaye
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Wohlberg may have a good point--that there will be no second chance after the rapture--but note the level of warning used to convey his concerns. "Dangerous", and "dangerous philosophy" are typical of the language used by the liberal left. The idea is to create so much controversy that people, particularly young people, don't know what to believe, ultimately choosing to believe nothing they cannot see or hear.

Once again the enemy attempts to create "division within the ranks". When all else fails, we have to be aware of those (atheists) who intentionally or unintentionally incite Christians to fight among themselves, Jews to fight among themselves, and, as we're seeing in Iraq, Muslims to fight among themselves.

The "intellectual left" resorted to this highly effective technique in the 50's and 60's, and they are returning to it's use now.
1 posted on 05/09/2004 8:35:20 AM PDT by TaxRelief
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To: TaxRelief
Whatever. If He comes back before the tribulation, I'm out of here. If Christians have to live through the tribulation and I'm still around, I'll probably be the first up against the wall. In which case, I'm still out of here.
2 posted on 05/09/2004 8:38:27 AM PDT by meowmeow
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To: TaxRelief
Two more books that shed much needed light on the so-called "rapture" scriptures:

"I Want to be Left Behind" by Pastor Ron Poch

and "Last Days Madness" by Gary DeMar

I found these two books to be much more indepth in their covering of the Bible Scriptures concerning end times.
Most likely they are not at your local Bible bookstore but could be found by a search..maybe Amazon.
They are well worth the effort to find.
3 posted on 05/09/2004 8:42:58 AM PDT by millefleur
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To: meowmeow
In Florida, I think, a woman was so convinced that the rapture had come that she jumped out of the sunroof of her car and died on the Freeway. To me, that goes beyond faith and moves into the area of insanity.
4 posted on 05/09/2004 8:44:01 AM PDT by EggsAckley (........"I looked out and saw rifles everywhere. That's when I felt safe." .........)
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To: EggsAckley
To me, that goes beyond faith and moves into the area of insanity.

I remember reading once that about 83% of people with schizophrenia believe that one of the voices they "hear" belongs to God. A slightly lower percentage "hears" the voices of aliens, and a slightly higher percentage "hears" voices of dead relatives.

Clearly, mentally unstable people form their delusions from their real world exposures (to TV, to culture, to society, to media, to fiction, etc.) along with their overactive imaginations.

5 posted on 05/09/2004 8:51:13 AM PDT by TaxRelief (Weed out the RINOS, for once and for all.)
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To: TaxRelief
This is one of those religious doctrines that's been debated for centuries. Church teachings (both Catholic and Protestant) have varied over that time. Whether you believe in it or not isn't really the point. Just remember that no one knows the time...so, basically, don't hold your breath. And if you wake up one day somewhere else...well...neat.

6 posted on 05/09/2004 8:55:15 AM PDT by Grn_Lantern (Lots of debate...)
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To: EggsAckley
I'll bet she didn't know much Greek or Hebrew, either.
7 posted on 05/09/2004 8:57:16 AM PDT by proxy_user
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To: TaxRelief
I remember reading Revelations many times when I was younger - it was completely incomprehensible to me. The account is St. John struck me as very mystical and heavily laden with symbolism. I think it is very difficult to analyze and I suspect that most interpretations are way off the mark. Perhaps loving and holding to God without knowing exactly what he is going to do with us is an even greater faith than clinging to various interpretations of opaque Bibilcal accounts?

8 posted on 05/09/2004 8:58:25 AM PDT by Avenger
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To: TaxRelief
Hope nobody holds their breath waiting for the rapture, ain't gonna be one.
9 posted on 05/09/2004 8:58:39 AM PDT by Cap'n Crunch
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To: TaxRelief
I'd say its dangerous only as far as it doesn't drive believers to put some stake in the future. Will you fight the Islamofascists if you figure faith will get you out of the end times?
10 posted on 05/09/2004 9:01:56 AM PDT by Liberty Tree Surgeon (Buy American, the Nation you save may be your own)
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To: TaxRelief
"Dangerous", and "dangerous philosophy" are typical of the language used by the liberal left. The idea is to create so much controversy that people, particularly young people, don't know what to believe, ultimately choosing to believe nothing they cannot see or hear.

Good point. But, it IS a dangerous doctrine, in that, if the "rapture" ain't happened (which it will not), the Christians who believe it are set up to fall for the great deception which shall surely come.

From previous discussions on the board, this one may get real hot, real fast.

Folks should be willing to look at the history of this teaching, and lay it along side what the Christian Church taught for 1800 years, until a vision seeing woman in Scotland came along.

11 posted on 05/09/2004 9:02:17 AM PDT by don-o (Stop Freeploading. Do the right thing and sign up for a monthly donation.)
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To: meowmeow
Whatever. If He comes back before the tribulation, I'm out of here. If Christians have to live through the tribulation and I'm still around, I'll probably be the first up against the wall. In which case, I'm still out of here.

Amen. All this "you guys are deceived by the devil because you believe in a pretrib rapture" mess is silly. I don't go around saying that those who don't believe it have a "Rambo complex" and are the ones with the LEAST faith because they wish to hang around to "prove" how tough they are. Heck, why wait for the end; if they want persecution and hard times, go to any Muslim country where it is a death sentence to be a Christian. Why talk all big about how they want to be "left behind"? They can have their "tribulation" now in other parts of the world where Christians are getting persecuted. Guess it's easier to say that when you're in the comfort of your home in America, I suppose. It's ridiculous. It's impossible to predict with absolute certainity about an event that has YET TO OCCUR.

Jesus said to be ready. Period. Whether death or rapture, whenever it occurs, we are to be ready to meet Him.

12 posted on 05/09/2004 9:03:16 AM PDT by Sister_T (Democrats AND The Partisan Press are the REAL enemies to freedom in the world!)
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To: millefleur
Most likely they are not at your local Bible bookstore but could be found by a search..maybe Amazon.

Interesting to note that most books that deviate from a 'pre-tribulation' platform can't be found in 'Christian' bookstores. I would like to add a few other books to your list, if I may..."God's Wrath on Left Behind", by Lisa Ruby; Marvin Rosenthal's "The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church"; and Before God's Wrath", written by H. L. Nigro. Bottom line...Jesus warned about deception multiple times. We should be as the Bereans...studying the Scriptures to see "whether these things were so". Don't take ANYONE's word for it...the Scriptures have the FINAL say.

13 posted on 05/09/2004 9:05:07 AM PDT by who knows what evil? (Under the personal care of the Great Physician...full coverage.)
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To: Sister_T
if they want persecution and hard times, go to any Muslim country where it is a death sentence to be a Christian. Why talk all big about how they want to be "left behind"?

Deliberately seeking martyrdom is a sin

Counting on being disappeared into heaven before the great deception is a false hope.

14 posted on 05/09/2004 9:14:28 AM PDT by don-o (Stop Freeploading. Do the right thing and sign up for a monthly donation.)
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To: TaxRelief
Interesting information on the bigoted "Moonie" co-hort Tim LaHaye: False Profit.
15 posted on 05/09/2004 9:15:24 AM PDT by A.A. Cunningham
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To: TaxRelief
"I have studied every one of those of those verses in the Bible and also in the light of history," Wohlberg says, "and I have discovered clearly that every one of them does not apply to a secret rapture before a seven-year period of tribulation; but they all apply definitely to the visible, loud, glorious second coming of Jesus Christ at the very end of the world."

I wish Wolberg had amplified on his reasoning here. The consistent testimony in Scripture is that God does not leave His own to go through His terrible acts of judgement, ex - Enoch, Noah, Lot, etc.

If God is consistent, the rapture should be before the tribulation.

16 posted on 05/09/2004 9:18:37 AM PDT by nightdriver
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To: nightdriver
What about the 144,000 from the 12 tribes who are sealed by Jesus after the rapture?

Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: 3"Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God." 4Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.

17 posted on 05/09/2004 10:06:37 AM PDT by TaxRelief (Weed out the RINOS, for once and for all.)
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Comment #18 Removed by Moderator

To: Avenger
"Left Behind" is a diversion from the scriptures. It is just more false teaching for the gullible who do not want to read the bible.
19 posted on 05/09/2004 10:34:59 AM PDT by tessalu
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To: nightdriver
Matthew 24 Jesus does tell us about the last days, and he does speak of the tribulation. and the time before his coming again.
20 posted on 05/09/2004 10:37:58 AM PDT by tessalu
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To: Grn_Lantern
I would beg to differ -- basic Church teaching has not differed since the council at nicea, and most of it not since apostolic time.
21 posted on 05/09/2004 10:42:11 AM PDT by Cronos (W2K4)
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To: A.A. Cunningham
Interesting information on ... Tim LaHaye: False Profit.

Ironically, you cite Jimmy Akin, a converted Catholic who has done more to create controversy within the church than most (proving my point, perfectly).

Jimmy Akin may have some good points, but he relies on defamation and name-calling (liberal-left techniques) to defend his case. He avoids moderated debate and hides behind the guise of intellectual snobbery to avoid the checks and balances that would route out the errors in his theology.

He may be generally right in his biblical analyses or he may be generally wrong, but because he rejects peer review and because he sidesteps priestly intercession, his followers will never know how accurate his commentary is or is not.

BTW, Wohlberg is a pussy-cat compared to Akin.

22 posted on 05/09/2004 10:44:04 AM PDT by TaxRelief (Weed out the RINOS, for once and for all.)
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To: A.A. Cunningham
Akin demonstrates his mastery of the liberal-left name-calling technique in this passage:

"Chick’s material is weirdly compelling. It’s amateurish, paranoid, lurid, garish, ham-fisted, and viciously hateful at times. It’s incredibly intense, and something about that intensity makes people want to read them. They generate a kind of bizarre fascination."

http://members.cox.net/jimmyakin/x-meet-jack-chick.htm
23 posted on 05/09/2004 10:51:23 AM PDT by TaxRelief
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To: millefleur
Do you think reading the Left Behind series launched you on your quest to learn more about the "end times"?
24 posted on 05/09/2004 10:57:50 AM PDT by TaxRelief
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To: Cap'n Crunch
Hope nobody holds their breath waiting for the rapture, ain't gonna be one.

Why are you so sure?

25 posted on 05/09/2004 11:07:54 AM PDT by TaxRelief
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To: TaxRelief
Do you think reading the Left Behind series launched you on your quest to learn more about the "end times"?

24 posted on 05/09/2004 1:57:50 PM EDT by TaxRelief

I have not read any of the "Left Behind" series because I do NOT believe in their "rapture" concept.

I have attended both Baptist and Pentecostal churches, even a Presbyterian church in the past that taught various "rapture" theories and they were all woefully short on scripture but mighty long on speculation.

That is why I recommended in my earlier post the two books that show the errors of the "rapture" concept.

The best of them IMHO being the book by Pastor Ron Poch "I Want to Be Left Behind".

He points out the terminology of Rev. is based on O.T. incidents.


26 posted on 05/09/2004 11:28:40 AM PDT by millefleur
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To: nightdriver
If God is consistent, the rapture should be before the tribulation.

Your view doesn't square with scripture. The Jews were delivered from Egypt until after Egypt was judged. Jesus wasn't raptured from the cross. Nor was Peter or the other apostles.

We are not destined for wrath, but God's wrath doesn't begin until the last (7th) trumpet.

27 posted on 05/09/2004 11:31:13 AM PDT by aimhigh
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To: TaxRelief
Because it doesn't make sense. The Son of God suffered for us and we (miserable sinners) think that we are not going to have to suffer through tribluations.

Plus it's not based firmly in scripture, it's an obscure reference that I believe, and many others believe, has been taken out of context with scriptural evidence to show otherwise.

Proponents of the rapture can't even agree at what period of the tribulation that it's going to take place in.

I find it interesting that Christians who believe in the rapture and commit all kinds of sin think that Jesus is just going to take them out of this world when things get tough.

28 posted on 05/09/2004 12:34:05 PM PDT by Cap'n Crunch
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To: nightdriver
"If God is consistent, the rapture should be before the tribulation."

Actually, the bible quite plainly states that followers should NOT expect to be preserved from suffering:
"If anyone wishes to follow me, let them take up their cross."
29 posted on 05/09/2004 2:31:22 PM PDT by dangus
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To: Grn_Lantern
Actually, you are almost precisely correct since the
rapture theory was first advanced in 1830.

I guess that 174 years is close to "centuries"!
30 posted on 05/09/2004 3:49:24 PM PDT by newberger
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To: Avenger
I remember reading Revelations many times when I was younger - it was completely incomprehensible to me. The account is St. John struck me as very mystical and heavily laden with symbolism. I think it is very difficult to analyze and I suspect that most interpretations are way off the mark. Perhaps loving and holding to God without knowing exactly what he is going to do with us is an even greater faith than clinging to various interpretations of opaque Bibilcal accounts?


8 posted on 05/09/2004 9:58:25 AM MDT by Avenger

If you had read it at least once, you would know the word is singular not plural.

NAsbU Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John,

a bondslave to the Christ

chuck


31 posted on 05/09/2004 4:03:06 PM PDT by Uri’el-2012 (Y'shua == YHvH is my Salvation)
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To: TaxRelief
In reality it doesn't matter - pre / mid / post - you better be ready!
32 posted on 05/09/2004 4:16:17 PM PDT by roylene
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To: roylene
When times of tribulation come, there maybe so called Christians cursing God, telling him that he promised to take them out of tribulation, but read Matthew 24, and Jesus says nothing about people being removed from the earth before his second coming.
33 posted on 05/09/2004 5:48:57 PM PDT by tessalu
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To: tessalu
Matthew 24 speaks to Jews during the Tribulation, not the raptured church.
34 posted on 05/09/2004 6:27:29 PM PDT by marbren
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To: don-o
Good point. But, it IS a dangerous doctrine, in that, if the "rapture" ain't happened (which it will not), the Christians who believe it are set up to fall for the great deception which shall surely come.

That is where I agree with you. I am concerned also that rapture believers will not recognize the real signs and think it can't be happening because they are still here. Other than that, It doesn't matter much what you believe about it. As another poster said, if it happens, I am out of here, if it doesn't, I am still out of here later in effect.

35 posted on 05/09/2004 8:12:31 PM PDT by ladyinred (Kerry has more flip flops than Waikiki Beach)
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To: TaxRelief
I read every single book in the series actually, and I do not believe in the rapture. It was great reading in most cases, and I welcome any book that has a Christian theme and good clean stories!
36 posted on 05/09/2004 8:14:01 PM PDT by ladyinred (Kerry has more flip flops than Waikiki Beach)
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To: millefleur
Will the Tribulation Precede Christ’s Coming for the Church?

Some students of Bible prophecy today insist Christians should not have any immediate expectation of Christ’s return. Instead, they say, we should be looking for the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation period, the fulfillment of certain judgments and preliminary signs, the rise of the Antichrist—or all of the above. When they talk about future things, the emphasis is heavily weighted toward dread and disaster for the people of God. As far as they are concerned, “the blessed hope” becomes relevant only after the church has gone through the Tribulation.

At first glance, this position seems not altogether devoid of biblical support. After all, when Christ outlined the events of the last days, He included many prophecies about tribulation and hardship, and He said these signs would precede and point to His return (Matt 24:21, 30).

The epistles also contain prophecies about apostasy and persecution in the last days preceding Christ’s return. For example, the apostle Paul forewarned Timothy of perilous times that would come (2 Tim 3:1-3). He told the younger pastor, “The Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith”(1 Tim 4:1)— and he went on to describe an apostasy that would precede and signify Christ’s return to earth.

Those who believe the church must suffer through the hardships of the Tribulation period invariably cite 2 Thess 2:1-3 as proof:

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition (emphasis added).

So on the one hand, the NT is permeated with an eager sense of expectancy and conviction that the blessed hope of Christ’s return is imminent. On the other hand, we are warned about trouble and affliction that will precede Christ’s return. How can we reconcile these two threads of prophecy? How can we cultivate a daily expectation of Christ’s return if these preliminary signs must yet be fulfilled before He returns?

Several points must be borne in mind. First, all the general “signs of the times” given in the NT have been fulfilled—and are being fulfilled before our eyes. They are, in fact, characteristics of the entire church age. Apostasy and unbelief, self-love and sin, wars, rumors of wars, and natural disasters have all been common throughout the church age. Practically every generation of Christians since the time of Christ has believed they were seeing the end-times signs fulfilled before their very eyes. So how are we to know whether our own time is the true “last days” of Bible prophecy—or just more of the same general apostasy and calamity that have characterized the entire Christian era?

The apostle John settled that question under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration when he wrote, “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18). The church was already in “the last days” even before the apostolic era ended. In fact, “last days” is a biblical term for the Christian era itself (Heb 1:1-2). This entire age is a prelude to the final culmination of human history. These are the last days—and so was the early church era.

Second, nothing in the NT ever suggests we should defer our expectation of Christ’s appearing until other preliminary events can occur. The one apparent exception is 2 Thess 2:1-3 (quoted in full above), which says, “that Day [the day of the Lord] will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed.” That is obviously a key text for those who believe the Tribulation is next on the prophetic agenda, and that the church should be expecting the reign of Antichrist rather than the return of Christ. Indeed, if 2 Thess 2:1-3 actually means Christ’s coming for the church cannot occur until after seven years of Tribulation, it nullifies everything the NT teaches about the imminence of Christ’s return.

But look carefully at the context of 2 Thessalonians 2. The Thessalonian Christians had been confused and upset by some false teachers (possibly people pretending to speak for the apostle) who were teaching that the persecutions and sufferings they were currently experiencing were the very judgments associated with the day of the Lord. (The expression always refers to judgment and usually to a time of apocalyptic judgment—cf. Isaiah 13:9-11; Amos 5:18-20; 1 Thess 5:2-3; 2 Pet 3:10; Rev 6:17; 16:14.) Many in the Thessalonian church, in the midst of their own severe hardship and distress, had evidently believed that lie, and they believed it meant they themselves had become objects of God’s final apocalyptic wrath. Obviously, they were deeply troubled by this, for in his earlier epistle, Paul had encouraged them by telling them of the rapture (1 Thess 4:14-17)—the coming of Christ for his church. Paul had even instructed them to comfort one another with the promise of Christ’s coming for them (v. 18).

But now, in a time of severe persecution and trial, the Christians at Thessalonica had fallen prey to the false idea that God was already pouring out His final wrath—and they were among the objects of that wrath. They obviously feared they had missed the rapture and were about to be swept away in the final and epochal judgments of the Day of the Lord. So Paul wrote, “Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come” (1 Thess 2:1-2). “The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him” is a clear reference to the rapture. “The day of Christ” is the day of the Lord (in fact, the older manuscripts use the expression “day of the Lord” in this verse).

There were two aspects of the error troubling the Thessalonian church: one was the notion that they had missed the rapture. The other was the accompanying fear that they had already entered into the apocalyptic judgment that signaled the day of the Lord had arrived already.

And so when Paul says, “that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thess 2:3, emphasis added)—he is talking about the day of the Lord and its apocalyptic judgment, not the rapture. He was not suggesting that the coming of Christ for the church would be delayed until after the Tribulation events had all played out. He was certainly not suggesting that the Thessalonians should defer their hope of Christ’s coming for them until the end of the Tribulation. He had spent his entire first epistle urging them to be watchful and expectant and to encourage one another with the news of Christ’s imminent return (cf. 1 Thess 1:19; 4:15-18; 5:6, 9, 11). If the apostle now meant to teach them that all the events of the Tribulation must be fulfilled before Christ could return for them, that would be scant “comfort” indeed. In fact, it would overturn everything the NT has to say about Christ’s return being imminent, comforting, and hopeful.

So the consistent teaching of the NT is that Christians should be looking for the imminent coming of Christ for His church, and 2 Thess 2:1-4 is no exception.

37 posted on 05/09/2004 8:31:07 PM PDT by LiteKeeper
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To: millefleur
Question,

Is the rapture before or after the seven-year tribulation?

Answer

It's become kind of popular today, in the last two or three years, to believe in the rapture occurring at the end of the tribulation. There has been three positions, historically, "pre-trib," "mid-trib," and "post-trib." What that means is the rapture occurs at the end of the tribulation: "post-tribulation;" the middle of the tribulation: "mid-tribulation;" the beginning of the tribulation: "pre-tribulation." Now if you wanted to catalog me I would have to claim to be a "pre-tribulationist"--I believe the Church will be taken out before the tribulation.

Now if you would like a full-length answer on that we have a series of tapes on that very subject, so I am not going into that other than to just give you two reasons, that I believe, are the most difficult arguments for a "post-tribulationalist" to deal with. If a person comes along, and this is popular today, there are a lot of people who want to go through the tribulation. We have got some sort of a martyr-complex. You know in a mechanized society, and a very high-powered society, and a very easy kind of existence, a lot of people kind of think that it is neat to go through the tribulation. They see the movie about "A Thief in the Night" and they can see themselves running from the beast and all this intrigue. Now I am saying this truly, because this is happening in the minds of--not the educational people, not the theology people, so much as it is a popular kind of a thing. I think Hal Lindsey's books, which took a firm pre-tribulational stand, forced some theologians out of the woodwork to write on a post-tribulational position. So you have the theological battle, and it is going on, on those two positions, but you have this new popular thing, and sometimes I will listen to those Christian television programs and they are talking about, "Well, you know I am not convinced that we are going to be taken out. I think we may go through....oh......." And it is all very dramatic.

There are two primary things that you have to deal with if you are going to take a post-tribulation position:

1. The sheep and goat judgment. In Matthew, chapter 25, at the end of the tribulation period--Matthew 25, you have a judgment occurring. We know that it is at the end of the tribulation because it discusses the tribulation period in chapter 24. We know that the "abomination of desolation" occurs in the tribulation (24:15 and all these things and so forth), and then verse 31 of Chapter 25, "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory." Now what's that? That's not the rapture is it? That has got to be the Second Coming to set up the Kingdom--"when he comes in His glory to sit on His throne."

Now the post-tribulation position says this--watch--that at the end of the seven years there is a quick rapture and a quick return--you go through the tribulation and then "up and back." There is a big problem with that and it is this: if all the regenerate people go up and come back, then how come when Christ comes back the first thing He does is separate the sheep from the goats--who are the sheep? See? who are the sheep? They can't be Christians because there aren't any left--they all got raptured. But if you move the rapture to the beginning of the seven years, then you have a seven year period in which people will be saved that will constitute the sheep at the end of the tribulation--understand?

So if you jam it all at the end--I see that as the major problem of the post-tribulational view--where do you get the sheep for the sheep and goat judgment, because if Christ takes all of us up and comes right back, then there aren't any sheep left--it's not going to be a problem to say, "You sheep come over and go into my kingdom, and you goats here..."--there aren't any sheep left, they have already been raptured and glorified and all set. That's the first problem.

2. 2 Thessalonians 2:1. The second problem, and I think that they have to face if they take a post-tribulation view is 2 Thessalonians 2:1--these are primary arguments--there are many others, but these are just ones that I'll give you quickly. 2 Thessalonians 2:1, and I think maybe that these are the two best arguments against a post-tribulation position. Some of you don't even know what I'm talking about--you just relax and do whatever you want and we will be back in a minute.

2 Thessalonians 2:1, "Now we beseech you brethren,” now listen, “By the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him.” "Jesus is coming,” says Paul to the Thessalonians, “and we will be gathered together unto him.” Episunagoge, gathering together. Its used one other time in the New Testament, that’s Hebrews 10:25. And in Hebrews 10:25 it says “forsake not the sunagogoge, the assembling of yourselves together.” It is a word reserved in the New Testament for gathering together of believers. So, the Thessalonians Christians were saying, "Oh, are we already in the time of trouble, is it already too late. And he says Now wait a minute, we beseech you brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus and our, our specific gathering together to him, don’t be shaking let no man deceive you." And then he says, "I believe that after will come the day of the Lord. And then the falling away and the man of sin is revealed and all of that." But I see is the primary event the gathering together, a special gathering together, a special coming together of the church, a unique one separate from anything else. And I think Thessalonians 2:1 has a great amount of weight towards that end.

So, my belief is that the church does not go through the tribulation. And again I I would say that that’s just putting it together the best way I can, it’s a very difficult problem. There are many other reasons that I have tried to share with you and I stand on that ground and we’ll find out sooner or later. And I feel like Dr. Saucy who said, “I know there are some errors in my Theology, I just wish I knew where they were.” And there will be some somewhere and we’ll see whether that works out.

38 posted on 05/09/2004 8:38:37 PM PDT by LiteKeeper
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To: meowmeow
Pretty much how I feel about it....If I go in the beginning, middle, or the end it doesn't matter to me.

"not mine, but thy will be done,"
39 posted on 05/09/2004 8:51:52 PM PDT by Blue Scourge (Off I go into the Wild Blue Yonder...)
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To: who knows what evil?
I definitely endorse Marvin Rosenthal's book "The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church.

There are a few key verses that can help tie in the search for the gathering of the elect.

First is Daniel 9:27. This establishes the start of the seventieth 'seven' with the covenant made with many. Ostensibly, this is with Israel as the context of Gabriel's remarks to Daniel center on Jerusalem in part. This prophecy also establishes that this person will come from the same people that destroy the city and the Temple, i.e., he will be in the Roman line. Thirdly, it sets the midweek as the point for the Abomination(s) Desolator (the NASB has 'one who makes desolate' because of the prefix in the Hebrew rendering desolate as a noun).

The key verse giving a sequence of events is given by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse. Here referencing the Abomination(s) in Daniel, Jesus lays out a sequence of events after which we have the sun/moon/star event and then the gathering. Matthew 24:15-31

This allows us to tie in the seal chronology in Revelation with the same sun/moon/star event in 6:12. With the opening of the sixth seal, three things happen, the sun/moon/star event foretold from old which occurs with the Day of the Lord, the sealing of the 144,000 and the great multitude (or what would the gathering in Matthew 24:31 look like afterward in the heavenly realm?).

Jesus allows us to place Daniel and the seal chronology in Revelation together at this key juncture. What you have is some time after the mid-week (because no one knows the day, and when the day comes, no one will know the hour) a sequence of events transpire and those that are left (most of the saved will have already passed away) will witness something new.

This places the Rapture at some point in the latter half of the seventieth 'seven' after the great tribulation (megas thlipsis - a unique and specific event concerning a much smaller amount of time than the whole seven year period) but before the wrath of God is poured out (literally in the end with the third woe being the seven bowl judgments) with the seventh seal.
40 posted on 05/09/2004 9:29:02 PM PDT by Teleosis
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To: LiteKeeper
Matthew 24:40, up until a rapture was proffered, was thought to be refering to the second coming of Christ. I don't know when it happened but sometime during the 20th century, many Christians began to associate this verse with the Rapture.

This idea did not come from Darby, who was credited with the Rapture doctrine. Grant associates the verse with the second coming. Scofield does not seem to be concerned, as he may not have anticipated a problem.

Compare Matthew 24:38-40 with Revelation 14:14-20. In Matthew, the unbelievers are taken(vs.39), but in Revelation, the unbelievers are left behind.

This needs an explaination.

41 posted on 05/09/2004 9:55:31 PM PDT by Seven_0 (It is the character of theWord of God to leave something to be the reward for diligence-FW Grant)
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To: Avenger
"I remember reading Revelations many times when I was younger - it was completely incomprehensible to me."

Woah! A person after my own heart. I could never understand all that end times stuff.

42 posted on 05/10/2004 2:44:25 AM PDT by HarleyD (For strong is he who carries out God's word. (Joel 2:11))
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To: meowmeow
My feeling, too.
43 posted on 05/10/2004 3:16:13 AM PDT by Quix (Choose this day whom U will serve: Shrillery & demonic goons or The King of Kings and Lord of Lords)
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To: Avenger
I still feel The Lord has not made it abundantly clear to anyone. And, that He's not likely to make it ALL clear to any ONE person.

He seems to have set it up that we NEED ONE ANOTHER and to relate to each other in His Love, patience, forebearance, etc. contributing our puzzle pieces toward understanding.

I doubt it's quite time for Him to have even His Church understand that much about those events. I think He's a good general playing His key cards close to His chest.

One has the impression with some verses that Revelations is supposed to be easy enough for a child to understand. I suppose in some respects--like GOD WINS, it is. But in terms of symbolism vs literal vs sequence vs timing . . . that's a whole 'nother kettle of fish, imho.
44 posted on 05/10/2004 3:20:18 AM PDT by Quix (Choose this day whom U will serve: Shrillery & demonic goons or The King of Kings and Lord of Lords)
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To: don-o
Some variation on the Rapture can be traced back to the early church.

I personally think those denying the possibility of any such thing are more likely to fall for the Great Deception.

And, I still believe the Great Deception will likely have something to do with UFO's, ET's and the NWO.
45 posted on 05/10/2004 3:22:11 AM PDT by Quix (Choose this day whom U will serve: Shrillery & demonic goons or The King of Kings and Lord of Lords)
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To: nightdriver
I gave up a firm conviction about The Rapture decades ago. But your point is one of the main ones I still hold out some significant hope that it's true.

It seems to me God would protect His people by taking them out before His utter wrath on the world. That seems to me to be at least before the last 3.5 years of The Great Tribulation.

But what do I know. AS the saying goes, I know it will pan out in the end. Christ promised to be with me regardless and to take me to be eternally with Him. That's the key issue.
46 posted on 05/10/2004 3:25:43 AM PDT by Quix (Choose this day whom U will serve: Shrillery & demonic goons or The King of Kings and Lord of Lords)
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To: dangus
Sharing in Jesus' suffering as the Bible mentions is very different from sharing in God's wrath.
47 posted on 05/10/2004 3:28:19 AM PDT by Quix (Choose this day whom U will serve: Shrillery & demonic goons or The King of Kings and Lord of Lords)
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To: Seven_0
Compare Matthew 24:38-40 with Revelation 14:14-20. In Matthew, the unbelievers are taken(vs.39), but in Revelation, the unbelievers are left behind.

This needs an explaination.
____________________________________________________

First, the assumption you have here in Matthew that these are unbelievers is not founded in the language the Apostle uses. The same word for taken, is also the word used for when someone receives Christ as their Savior.

Rapture verbs—the general English meanings of the Greek words used:

• MT 24:31 to come upon, come after
• MT 24:40 to take over, to receive, to inherit
• MK 13:27 to come upon, come after
• MK 16:19 to carry up
• LK 9:51 a taking up: ascension
• LK 17:34-35 to take over, to receive, to inherit
• LK 24:51 to take up, raise
• AC 1:9-11 to lift up
• 1CO 15:51-54 to change
• 2CO 4:14 to waken, to raise up
• 2CO 12:2-4 to seize, to catch up, to snatch away
• 1TH 4:16-17 to seize, to catch up, to snatch away
• 2TI 2:18 (resurrection) a standing up, a raising up, rising
• 1TI 3:16 to take up, raise
• HEB 11:5 to transfer, change
• REV 12:5 to seize, to catch up, to snatch away

Now when you get to Revelation, you have to understand how the book by John is constructed. He uses parallel accounts to cover the myriad events. This makes Revelation difficult to read because the general rule of linearity in the Bible is punctuated with overlapping timelines. You cannot read through Revelation like a novel! To look for parallel construction, look for discernable breaks when John changes both scene and focus.

Now the section you have referenced starts in Rev 13:1 and goes through the end of chapter 16. Chapter 13 describes the rise of the Antichrist during the first half week. Notice the call once again for the believers at verse 13:10b: "This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints." This repeats other admonishments to 'keep the faith,' or "stand firm." (I would advance the idea that a systematic review of 'chosen,' 'elect,' and 'saints' are how the Bible does refer to Christian believers even though we don't like to use those titles for ourselves.)

The change at chapter 14 shows the same type of opposing sides as found in Daniel 9:27 to each half week of the seventieth 'seven.' Like Jesus' Olivet Discourse in the Synoptic Gospels, you have another sequence of events laid out in linear fashion.

• Jesus arriving on Mt Olives returning as He went
• The 144,000
• 3 Angels, the first of which fulfills the Great Commission Jesus said would come before the end in Matthew 24:14
• A proscription praising those “left behind” and martyred for God (at least two – which completes the fifth Seal)
• The Harvest of souls

Now about the Harvest.

First of all, it should be established as an underlying principle that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of Heaven (1CO 15:50) but our earthly body will be changed into a spiritual body albeit physical (1CO 15:44). And while most will be raised from the dead and they get to go first (1TH 4:16) some will be caught up that are still alive and are left (1 CO 15:51; 1TH 4:17).

However, does God need our physical earthly bodies? Not in Heaven as from rule one. God doesn’t need them; we are going to be changed after all in a twinkling of an eye (1CO 15:52). And since most of the great Multitude will be raised from the dead, 90-99% of all the souls will not have physical bodies to part with as they been dead so long as to have decayed to nothingness. However, God will raise up the dead imperishable (1CO 15:42). So it follows that He does need to recreate their flesh and blood in order to change it into the spiritual body. The soul goes from Paradise directly into the new spiritual body.

But what about those that are still alive and are left? What happens to their bodies? Well if God can raise those that are physically gone directly into their spiritual bodies as with most of the chosen, does God need our flesh and blood for Him to change it? No. We have just proved that with those asleep in Christ. The change we are to undergo does not have to change flesh and blood into something spiritual, but can also be a direct transference into the spiritual body we will have.

This asks a question about what happens to the flesh and blood we leave behind, because while we know that our bodies can’t inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, we will. This does tend to give us a scenario whereby the events foretold by Christ in the Olivet Discourse and Revelation could be fulfilled. Since we know that some will not die, how is it that Jesus answers where the living will be taken by describing them as dead bodies? Well we have already established that one, some of us will not die, and two He does not need flesh and blood to create a spiritual body, why does He describe in Luke where we will be taken will have dead bodies?

Those that are still alive and are left could leave lifeless bodies behind, because God doesn’t need that part. He will prepare our imperishable and immortal bodies, and all that is required is our soul. Thus, this taking of our souls out of our flesh and blood bodies would not be like experiencing death, and we will all be changed, but we will not all die. In a manner of speaking, Jesus told the disciples where they would physically go, because at that time no one knew where He had come from and where He was going.

Now we have to ask, what happens to our bodies that we no longer need? Well think how this will affect the unbelieving world which will be 99% of those left behind. (Some still are martyred in Christ after the Rapture to complete the fifth Seal.) They have been terrified by a great earthquake, the sun/moon/star event and maybe even a second earthquake with the scrolling of the sky. These people who worship the beast from the greatest to the least are cowering and crying out for the rocks to fall on them and hide them from God. Now in just one day, the harvest comes, and no retribution falls upon them from the terrible God in the sky, but lo and behold, the next day, here are all these lifeless bodies without a mark on them, some in the prime of health.

And the world will realize these are the people they have been persecuting, and that these people who looked to the Lord for Salvation seemingly have been slaughtered by the millions. Think of the fear this would send into the world of the God they’re afraid of but won’t worship. And, this would be the greatest one-time occurrence of death since the Great Flood.

Now one of two things could happen or be done in tandem. God could terrorize them further, and press the bodies and make the blood flow. He’s going to turn all the sea, water and springs to blood before he’s through anyway, so having blood flow this deep for a couple of hundred miles is just a little taste of things to come. In such an occurrence, carrion birds certainly will flock there. It could happen; we have already established he doesn’t need the bodies of flesh and blood. Or the world will have to do something with what will be the world’s greatest sanitation problem. They will have to collect the bodies and dispose of them, in which case you can expect carrion birds to gather around that process too.

At any rate, we as the Church should not be alarmed. I for one, don’t need this old body wracked with ailments and infirmaries and would gladly exchange it for a heavenly body and wouldn’t care less what happens to the discarded model.

Furthermore there is also evidence in the Old Testament about the Rapture. One that succinctly uses the Harvest analogy is contained in Amos: (from the NIV)

AM 8:1 This is what the Sovereign LORD showed me: a basket of ripe fruit. 2 "What do you see, Amos?" he asked.
"A basket of ripe fruit," I answered.
Then the LORD said to me, "The time is ripe for my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.

AM 8:3 "In that day," declares the Sovereign LORD, "the songs in the temple will turn to wailing. Many, many bodies--flung everywhere! Silence!"

If it offends you that God would discard your body, (read John 6:61) think how offensive it will be to the world - and they reject God, so be careful in what you take offense to. However, to put the whole of the Bible into a systematic review there are too many references that point to just this. The conclusion I have reached is that this Harvest is a harvest of souls, because the flesh cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, as Jesus said in John 6:63 that "the flesh counts for nothing."
48 posted on 05/10/2004 6:15:09 AM PDT by Teleosis
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To: Quix
*ALL* suffering is the result of mankind's fall. By suffering for righteousness' sake, we share in the act of redemption. Jesus took apon himself the wrath of God to spare his brothers.
49 posted on 05/10/2004 7:19:19 AM PDT by dangus
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To: dangus
AGREED.
50 posted on 05/10/2004 9:26:38 AM PDT by Quix (Choose this day whom U will serve: Shrillery & demonic goons or The King of Kings and Lord of Lords)
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