By Pastor Mike Taylor
“19, Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
20, Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.
21, For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” (Isaiah 26:19-21)
“The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.” (Isaiah 57:1)
“And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.” (Luke 17:26-30)
“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:2-3)
There are many who have doubts about the above subject when speaking of the “catching away of the Church” the Body of Christ. Although not a salvation issue, they fail to understand biblical prophecy or refuse to look at it and have the Holy Spirit teach them, by revealing what Paul called a “mystery”. Why did Paul call it a “mystery”?...It was a well known subject about the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ throughout the Old Testament prophets that spoke of the “Day of the Lord” coming in great wrath to deal with a rebellious God rejecting earth and it's nation dwellers, but the lesson that Paul preached was not revealed until Jesus our Lord revealed it to Him in a revelation when Paul was taught personally by Jesus Christ. What are Paul's well known words?
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52, 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.
53, For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54, So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1st Corinthians 15:51-54)
Without knowing Jewish life and customs, one would make the mistake of linking the 7th trumpet blown by the angel in Revelation and think this is the trumpet Paul speaks of. One would fail to realize that Paul is making a reference in several passages to a well known “Feast of Trumpets” where trumpets are blown in succession until a “Last Trumpet” is blown and gives one reason to believe that the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ will be on a future Feast of Trumpets fulfilling that first festival in the autumn, just as the Feasts of the Lord has been fulfilled in the spring, on the very day of their observance.
But you can speak of verses that point to a “catching away” of the body of Christ, and folks will not believe it, and even get angry and belligerent over something that would be glorious for any Bible believing Christian. Why would not everybody embrace a teaching, searching if it be true and be elated and joyful in discovering that it is all over the Bible. I even have members in my own family when given the truth of the Bible will not believe. Why does something so wonderful and mind boggling to the spiritual heart bring such feelings and displays of anger from “rapture deniers”? I would only pray that they would take the evidence presented, lay it beside their bible and do what any good Berean would do and search the scriptures to see if these things be true.
FEW REASONS WHY THERE ARE DENIERS:
#1.THE CHURCH NEVER TAUGHT SUCH A DOCTRINE
This is their first argument and then point to a Scottish girl's dream/vision, of Margaret McDonald, and taken up by one John Darby into a “new” doctrine referring to the “rapture of the church”. They argue that it is a new doctrine that came into being and taught as truth by a deceived young girl, and a preacher of heresy. But are they right? Was the concept of the “Harpazo” interpreted as the catching away of the Church, a new doctrine, or was it a resurrected doctrine that had it's roots even far back as the 1st Century of the Church? By doing a simple Google search, you can find the writings of early Church Fathers that support a belief, even from the time of St. John the Apostle of the concept of a Pre-Tribulation removal of the church from God's coming wrath upon this earth. I won't go into great detail here, for lack of space and time, but the evidence is free for the seeker of the truth about something our Lord Jesus, Paul the Apostle, John the Beloved taught and passed down to their disciples from the 1st century and even into the 3rd century under increasing Roman persecution and finally Roman Catholicism's attempt to eradicate the belief...you can read their writings online and a brief explanation of their teachings here:
Understand, that their teachings and writings are not to be equal with Divine Truth as the Bible is, but it shows their understanding and discernment of what the Bible taught. It is my firm belief that the doctrine of the Pre-Tribulation rapture was squashed and hidden away for almost 500 years because of the “Dark Ages” of the Roman Catholic Church and its rule as it interfered with their lust for power upon the earth. So the doctrine was re-introduced by the likes of John Darby and many evangelicals down through the last 200 years speak of a doctrine that has it's roots even in early Christianity and it's Church Fathers, as it is not a new doctrine at all.
#2THE BIBLE DOESN'T SPEAK OF A RAPTURE EVENT
Oh, but it does.....just not in a verse that you can point to for definitive proof. No, the Bible has it sprinkled all over the OT and the New Testament and the wise reader of the Bible mines it like gold and silver searching for the truth as precious metals or diamonds. What does the Bible say we must do and what must we discern from it's pages?
“"Whom shall He teach knowledge? And whom shall He make to understand doctrine? Those who are weaned from the milk and drawn from the breasts,
10, For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little;
11, For with stammering lips and foreign tongue He will speak to this people.” (Isaiah 28:9-11)
All one has to do is take a cup of coffee, sit down in a comfortable chair and read where God has given us the puzzle picture of what His plan is for mankind. I want you to go and read verse after verse of Bible passages that speak of a time when God's people will be removed from this earth...go here:
If I were to quote every scripture that points to a “mystery” that Paul spoke of in his epistles and spread out all over the Bible, I'd be doing part 1-4 on this subject. I've investigated, preached, and believed in everything I have written concerning the “Catching away” of God's Church and have asked God many times to correct me, if I speak anything but the Truth of His Word. I never have wanted to speak falsely about prophecy and have sought the Lord many times for His correction if I be in error. Only thing that has happened down through the years is God has NOT corrected me, He has re-enforced it in my spirit by His Holy Spirit and confirmation in His Holy Word that what I preach, is TRUTH and lines up with God's Word.
#3.THE BIBLE SPEAKS OF ANGELS GATHERING HIS ELECT
Another reason for unbelief of my brethren is a passage found in the Gospel of Mark. It speaks of a time when Jesus said, He will come and send His angels to gather “His elect” from the four winds of the earth. This is at the end of the Tribulation.
“And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.” (Mark 13:27)
But notice that Jesus goes right into an explanation of the Parable of the fig tree...who are the subjects our Lord is speaking to and about in this passage? The answer is Israel. In the Old Testament, God calls the Hebrew nation of Israel His elect, His chosen people. When Jesus came and died on a cross, the beginning of the Church Age began when Jesus sent God's Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost and the Church members were called “saints”. To be born again makes you a child of God and a saint by adoption into His Family. But notice in Revelation that the word “church” is not used, not one time after chapter 6 and never again until chapter 19 when those depicted as being clothed with linen white and clean (a sign of the saints or the Church) come with Jesus riding on white horses. Those who are saved in the Tribulation will be gathered together who have died as martyrs for Christ and they are “the Elect” who the angels gather. Now some take issue that the angels are gathering only the living to bring them all to Zion in Jerusalem. That is probably part of it, but there may not be many Jewish people left, or people at all left, but a remnant to be gathered...what I believe is also gather, as we were gathered and changed into immortal beings at the rapture, these who have died in martyrdom will be changed into immortal beings as we were and this is also part of the end of the 1st resurrection. They have been under the altar of God waiting for their brethren to be slain as they were...they were not given immortal bodies until this resurrection. Folks may not see it that way, and that's OK..because God will gather His elect either living or dead from the 4 winds. They will be in the majority of Jewish birth and an Israelite. There will be Gentiles that will believe based on the 144, 000 Jewish evangelist and their preaching God's Word and many will be saved and they too, will be regarded as the “elect” at the coming of our Lord to set up His Kingdom. Now I can hear those who are scoffers, saying that the “church” is also the “elect”..and that would be true, but there is a distinction between those saved in the Church Age, and those who are saved in the Tribulation.
Those saved in the Age of Grace will be Kings and Priest to God and our Lord Jesus Christ for His 1000 year reign on earth as King of kings, and Lord of lords. Those who are saved in the Tribulation will be servants in the New Temple of God, but not Kings:
“9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language,standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
10 And they cried out in a loud voice “Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,and to the Lamb.”
11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,
12 saying “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”
13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”
14 I answered, “Sir, you know.”
And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 Therefore,“they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.” (Revelation 7:9-15)
Notice the difference? They are servants of God in His Temple, much like the Levitical priesthood. They have palm fronds in their hands, (I believe a symbol of the nation of Israel) and they came out of the Great Tribulation as martyrs and died for their faith, because they did not accept it by faith not seeing, but accepted when the evidence was plainly in front of their face and seeing it first hand. They do not receive the same rewards as the Church Age saints and it's blessings.
#4, JESUS DOES NOT COME BACK TILL THE 7TH TRUMPET OF GOD
I find this so sad, that a large portion of the denominations in this world, have followed the teachings of the Catholic Church, that there is no removal of the church, and that everyone, saved or unsaved will be subject to the horror of the Tribulation, and it's even more horrific Great Tribulation. As briefly mentioned above, many in modern day Christian churches link what Paul said in 1st Corinthians about the “last trump” and automatically start looking for another “last trump” and logic tells them that the 7th trump that the angel blows to release the bowl judgments is the same trumpet that Paul speaks of.
Notice the difference between the two events. The one Paul speaks of brings incredible and unspeakable joy to those who are looking for the return of their Lord God, Jesus Christ. The 7th trumpet of Revelation brings unspeakable and horrifying death and destruction on all who have denied Jesus Christ and have taken the “mark of the beast”.
Notice also, that the “saints” are not mentioned again until chapter 19 of the final book of the Bible.
“6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. (my emphasis)
9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” (Revelation 19:6-9)
Notice verse 8 that “fine linen” is a symbol of the saints of God, the Church of the Living God. Thus we are ushered into a time of unspeakable glory and honor because of our faith and trusting in the blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ. But that is not the end of the story...
“11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed infine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:11-14)
We, as His people, His Kings and Priest have been at a “marriage supper of the Lamb” to be joined spiritually with her betrothed, Jesus our King of kings. To be adopted as “children of God”.
“16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Romans 8:16-17)
And one of the most symbolic, but definitive example of the Church being in heaven with our Lord God, is the 24 elders spoken of in Revelation 4.
“4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.” (Revelation 4:4)
I've seen some labored reasoning of who these elders are...obviously, they are human, not angelic, as no angel has ever received a crowns of gold and a throne to sit upon. Notice the attributes of these who sit around the throne of God? They are the number 24, a multiplication of the number 12 which is a sign of government. They are representative the saints of God in the Old and the New Testament. They are clothed in white raiment, a sign of righteousness. They are seated, so they are at rest from their labor and are seated upon thrones. They have crowns and have been rewarded for their service to God by our Lord Jesus Christ, at the Bema Judgment seat for this service. It can be no mistake to give these 24 elders the designation of the Church saints who have overcome the world and are seated around God's throne. And from this time, until chapter 19, you will see no mention of saints or church.
Also note that there is an invitation from the Bride and the Bridegroom at the end of this powerful book of prophecy:
“17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Revelation 22:17)
Who is the bride and her Bridegroom calling to? I believe they are calling to those who were not ready for the return of Jesus in the Age of Grace. They are calling to all who have not given their heart and life to Jesus. They are both together and giving a call to join them. Obviously, in my mind, there is still time to join them in human time. That would give the belief that the Bride has gone on before those she and her Bridegroom are calling to.
AS WAS IN THE DAYS OF NOAH
Jesus made a point to compare our time with the days of Noah and of Lot. Jesus said things would be going on as normal, eating, drinking, giving in marriage...you know, living your life without worrying about the judgment of God coming upon you...that is until, as it was in Noah's day and in Lot's time, when Noah was in the ark, and Lot was removed from Sodom, judgment fell that very day. The world was destroyed by water and fire and brimstone fell upon Sodom and Gomorrah. To each that were caught up in this judgment, they had no idea that their destruction was at hand.
In our time, the world continues on like there is nothing to worry about. They're not looking for Jesus to come. They are too busy being what Paul described would be this world that we live in:
“2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2nd Timothy 3:2-7)
If this warning by Jesus concerning our day would be like the days of Noah and of Lot, would it be a usual day at the end of the Tribulation? Would Jesus coming be as a thief in the night, unaware of the population who wallow in sin and degradation? The coming of Jesus for His Church will be a complete surprise. Nobody but believers will be watching and living for God expectantly of the coming of their Lord Jesus.
“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
2, For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3, For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4, But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5, Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” 1Thessalonians 5:1-5)
Just as it was in the days of Noah, so shall those who are in darkness say “peace and safety” and then sudden destruction. Will it be without warning? Yes, without warning. But what of the coming of the Jesus to set up His kingdom..? Will it be a day, just like any other day? Will they be going about their usual daily routine, or will it be death and destruction, signs in the heavens, environmental disasters, and the death of nearly ¾ of all living human beings and other living things? How could it be any happiness in a world like that? The world will just be trying to survive, until Jesus comes and destroys all rebellion on this earth and wipes it clean of it's sin. The explanation of what Jesus said can only be applied to his first coming in total surprise, like a thief who breaks into your house. You weren't expecting him either, until your belongings are missing and your back door caved in.
“9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” (1st Thessalonians 5:9-11)
“13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:13-14)
Those who read and digest what I have written here, and read and compare scriptures that I've posted on other websites, if taken prayerfully and asking God for His Holy Spirit to reveal to them the truth, then I believe you will become a Pre-tribulation rapture believer as well. But you must put away your bias and your pre-conceived notions that you were taught even from an early age in your own denomination. But in the end, why does it matter? What it does do for those who are diligently looking for Jesus, is to get their life and actions before God, right in His eyes. They are not speaking “false Christianity” but putting their faith and their very lives into the hands of their Savior, Jesus Christ. Those who are just playing around, thinking they are saved for every reason known to organized religion except in the One and the only One who can save their souls and deliver them from the wrath to come.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosover believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.
God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)
Reader, don't put it off another day. Jesus Christ return for His church is imminent...meaning at any given moment without warning. If you don't believe in your heart the above verse found in John and repent of your sins, and follow Jesus Christ as Lord of your life, then you will experience the fear that will grip you, when you realize what I've written is true....if you scoff, and don't believe, can you take that chance? Believe on Jesus today.
“For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2nd Corinthians 6:2)
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying for your salvation before the wrath of God falls upon this earth. If you need counseling, prayer, or just a listening ear, email me firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit me online at www.churchofgod-usa.org, God bless you all,
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET.