Category: FAITH

RAPTURE 12: TWO MORE MULTITUDES

Greetings fellow truth-seekers! Today’s post is a continuation of my series on the rapture of the Church, and more specifically, a brief look at two more of the heavenly  multitudes found in Revelation.

Those new to my blog should be aware that I was a zealous defender of the pre-tribulation rapture for twenty-eight years, until I was of the mind to bravely face up to opposing scriptures. Herein is the twelfth excerpt from my book*

The second multitude discussed here concerns the Bride of Christ. The subject of the Bride is a big and important one in relation to the rapture, which will be covered in more depth in subsequent posts.

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A MULTITUDE OF ANGELS

After we meet the twenty-four elders and other beings around the throne, we read about millions of angels, also close by around the throne (Revelation 5:11). They’re praising the Lamb of God, and are joined quickly by “every creature in heaven and on earth” (5:13). The word translated “angels” means “messenger” and can refer to human messengers, but normally refers to spirit beings. There’s no reason given to assume that these are raptured Church people around the throne. They’re not identified or named in the book as people, the Church, the bride, saints, or even martyrs. All Bible versions such as the NIV, the KJV, the NASB and the ESV translate this word as “angels”. Since they are joined in praise by every creature in heaven and on earth the significance of this praise-party is thrown wide open. It may just be a symbol of the fact that all of nature is designed and created to worship God and will do so. It could be a millennial praise event, in which the whole earth will be under the authority of the Lamb.

John and the twenty-four elders are the only people, or representatives of people, around the throne. This is not a scene of the Church raptured before the tribulation.

A GREAT MULTITUDE AND THE BRIDE

A great multitude in chapter 19 praising God is commonly identified in pre-tribulation theory as the “Bride of Christ” also known as the Church. They are there, it is assumed, since before the tribulation, and now, it is also assumed, they’re enjoying the wedding supper, and preparing to go down to earth with Jesus Christ to attack his enemies. However, this great multitude is not named as the Bride or as the Church in Revelation. More importantly, the multitude is speaking about the Bride in the third person-even in the King James Version. Those in the multitude are not  speaking of themselves:

For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready” (19:7).

This fact cannot be ignored by those insisting that the twenty-four elders of chapter four are speaking of their own redemption, and are saying “you have redeemed us” (see the previous post-part 11). Given that they were speaking of themselves,  it’s clear that the multitude here in chapter 19 is speaking of someone else, and not themselves. The pre-tribulationists can’t have it both ways.

The bride is “ready” in chapter 19. Wasn’t she ready in chapter 4 or 5, when John, it is believed, was also “raptured” before the tribulation events, and when the twenty-four elders-the representatives of the Church-were seen in heaven? The Bride and the Church were  not mentioned there. And why wasn’t she ready before the seals… the seals of judgment…were opened? What does it mean that she has “made herself ready” anyway? What can believers possibly do to ready themselves for marriage to Christ? There is only one thing they can do: they can accept the gospel and live lives worthy of him. This has been done throughout the centuries. They can also give up their lives for the sake of Christ: something multitudes will do in the tribulation.

Stay tuned for more examination of the Bride in relation to end-times events.

*All Left Behind: The Case Against the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, by Nick Fisher, available on Amazon.

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DARK MANAGERS OF TRUTH

Evolutionists are selective about the terms they use. While telling us how incredible is the makeup and working of our world, they’re very careful to avoid the possibility of us thinking that there’s anything more to life than chance and matter. If you’re looking, you can see them at their work of hiding truth… 

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I’ve shared with you before a few of the insights I’ve gleaned from a radio documentary series, published by the BBC* Among its varied subject matter the Beeb’s science and evolution broadcasts are most illuminating, being not only  informative when it comes to real scientific facts, but also giving a surprisingly candid view of the attitudes and thinking processes of evolutionists. They unwittingly expose the incredible lack of evidence for core evolutionary theory.

In the latest program I enjoyed, I was first amazed by the diversity and importance of enzymes. Enzymes are molecules within all of life and the material world which allow vital chemical reactions to take place, and/or which speed them up to the point that life is possible on earth. Without these complex molecules, there could be no life. Therein is yet another of those many incredible conditions present in our world and our universe, which make life such an astounding miracle.

Secondly, I was amused when the host of the documentary made what turned out for him to be an embarrassing error. He made the mistake-that is, in the eyes of the learned panel of evolutionists-of suggesting that the entire make-up and abilities of enzymes sounded “intelligent”. This little slip cost poor Melvyn not a little face and diminishment in the eyes of his guests, who immediately dismissed his impertinent  outburst.

But the end of the podcast proved to be even more enlightening. Here, material not included in the original broadcast was tacked onto the end of the podcast I acquired, in which the panel believes that the show is over, and they can discuss more freely the subject matter and whether they want tea or coffee. In the extra time the host is, more politely, upbraided again for even mentioning the possibility of  intelligence in the discussion of enzymes, or of anything else.

One of the panel tells our host that the enzyme which makes possible the use of normally un-reactive carbon dioxide molecules to produce sugars and oxygen, was “invented once”. Who invented it, the listener might ask? It was invented, he said, by evolution. It was invented in bacteria, and then it was shared with other organisms. Of course, you can’t go to any museum to see a fossil or any record of this invention taking place, and you can’t get a video of natural processes inventing the enzyme, because it doesn’t happen now. It happened only “once” in the history of our world. But if the expert says that this invention was all down to evolution, it must be true, right? We have to have faith: faith that it happened, and faith that the evolutionist’s motives are totally sincere, his knowledge born of omniscience, and his conclusions faultless.

It may have happened hundreds of millions of years ago, before anyone was around to see it or to film it, and there may be absolutely no record of it happening, but we have to believe it, because the priests of the religion of our day-evolutionism-have pronounced it so. Natural processes did it, they say: not God.

How do they know that? The answer is that they don’t. They weren’t there, they have no record of it, and they can’t watch it happen naturally in the lab, because it doesn’t happen. But it “must” have happened, they tell us. Why? Because the only way to get rid of God is to invent another way for life to arise from nothing.

The expert went on to tell of another enzyme which takes nitrogen-an un-reactive element-out of the air and creates ammonia NH3, which fertilizes plants. As he said, its one of the most important chemicals in our world. Again, he said it was “invented once”, and only once, because the chemistry is “so difficult”. This invention was luckily passed on from bacteria into plants. Phew-lucky indeed!

The enzyme which causes water to release oxygen uses a process which, he said, “we still don’t understand”. This enzyme “was made once in the whole of earth’s history”. It got made “by chance, at the beginning”, he said.

Well, what a bit of luck eh? All those singular and indispensable inventions coming about on one planet! And to think that if any one of them had not occurred, we would not be here! Notice that the great god “Chance” created this enzyme, “at the beginning”. It sounds almost Biblical, except that it’s an insult to the real creator of all things.

Another evolutionist joined the conversation, eager to prevent Melvyn from using that nasty “intelligence” concept again:

“This is one thing that we’re always very ca.reful of when we’re talking in the public sphere, because this idea of intelligence is very seductive”. He said that he often talks about it with colleagues, but he said that they are “very careful not to use it in the public sense”. “We have to be very careful that we don’t go into intelligent design, because that’s nonsense”, he said.

Here is quite an admission, but “off mic”, so that we, the ignorant rabble who have no right to decide for ourselves how life came about, don’t get the wrong idea. He admitted that “When you think about them (enzymes) they are beautifully designed”, but he doesn’t want you or I to think that way, because then we might come to the conclusion that if there is beautiful design in all of nature… there must be a designer.

*IN OUR TIME: ENZYMES, hosted by Melvyn Bragg, BBC Radio 4.

 

RAPTURE 11: THE TWENTY-FOUR ELDERS

DO THE 24 ELDERS IN REVELATION CHAPTER FOUR DEPICT THE CHURCH HAVING BEEN RAPTURED BEFORE THE TRIBULATION? This is one of the questions I examine in chapter 7 of my book*

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(The Four and Twenty Elders Casting their Crowns before the Divine Throne, c. 1803–5. William Blake)

Chapter 7 of my book is entitled “Multitudes In Heaven”. It examines the major scenes we read throughout Revelation in which there are large numbers of people or angels gathered. Who are they, and what is their significance? I will just excerpt the most relevant sections of chapter 7 on this blog, the first excerpt being today’s post.

THE TWENTY-FOUR ELDERS

When John is called up into heaven after Jesus dictates to him seven letters to seven churches, he sees around the throne of God (among many amazing sights) twenty-four elders, all seated on thrones. Some pre-tribulation teachers believe that these elders represent the raptured Church, or the raptured Church plus important Old Testament figures. Because the elders are there in heaven with their white robes and crowns before any of the tribulation events are described, experts see this as evidence that there will be a pre-tribulation rapture, which John, they say, had just demonstrated for us by being called into heaven.

The elders sing of redemption (5:9-10) and the NIV translates certain words in their song to ‘they’ and ‘them’, suggesting the elders are referring to the redemption of others who are not present. Pre-tribulation teachers insist that these words ought to be translated ‘we’ and ‘us’, just as they are in the King James Version, meaning that the twenty-four are actually the people who’ve been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. In other words, the redemption the elders are singing of is their own, and that of the entire Church. This scene, say the experts, signifies that the Church will be in heaven before the tribulation, because it’s described before any of the tribulation events are described, and before any of the seals of the scroll are opened.

There can be no doubt that the elders do represent the Church, because angels are not redeemed, but humans are:

…for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (5:9 KJV).

However, the observation that these elders are in heaven before the seals of the scroll are broken does not automatically prove a pre-tribulation rapture. To aid in a different way of interpreting this scene, we can ask if the seals, as they break, are setting in motion the real future events they foretell. Was John transported not only to heaven but forward in time, to witness real-time implementation of the judgments of the book? Or was he being given a prophecy; a fore-telling; a representation of the events yet to come? Was he seeing a picture; a vision of the future, rather than the real thing?

My first observation in answer to this is to recall that John had to see the entire sequence of Revelation events, or he would not be able to relate them to us. There would be no point in him being taken into heaven mid-way through the Revelation events, if it was his job to relay it all to us: he would only know half of the story, as would we. And without meaning to take this point to the absurd extreme, there would be no point in him being taken to heaven at the end of all the events for the same reason. He had to see the whole thing. The reason John was taken to heaven before any of the seals are seen to be broken is that he had to witness all the events Jesus wants us to know about.

Next, notice that when John arrives in heaven and surveys the scene, the elders are already there and settled in. They didn’t arrive at the same time as John in his ‘rapture’ (chapter 4 verses 4 and 9 to 11). Therefore, if the rapture takes all believers, living and resurrected, why did John arrive late for the party? Why are the twenty-four already sitting there like they belong, while he’s only just arrived and wondering what it’s all about? Why isn’t the entire raptured Church there, instead of just a small representation? Isn’t Jesus “the disciple whom Jesus loved”? Then why isn’t he one of the twenty-four elders? Why isn’t he sitting there on one of the thrones with a white robe and a crown on his head? Why doesn’t he say, “Oh, Hi Peter! Hi Thomas! Hello Paul-good to see you! Oh look-there’s me over there!

And why didn’t any one of the twenty-four say to John “Hey John-it’s great to see you-we’ve been waiting for you!”

The twenty-four elders are not only settled in, but they already know everything about what’s going on and proceed to tell John (5:5; 7:13-21). This seems strange since John was an original member of the Church, and one of Jesus’ twelve disciples. But on the scene he isn’t even invited to take his place with them. Surely, there should have been twenty-three elders and one empty chair for John?

The answers to all of these questions must be that these elders John sees are not the literal Church or literal Church founders or apostles, they only represent them. It isn’t literally Peter and all the others of Jesus’s inner circle sitting there. John has not traveled forward in time to see the actual, live, real-time events of the tribulation. Instead he’s watching something like an informative, inspirational documentary; a staged vision which represents the most significant aspects of the tribulation.

On top of that, The prophecies of Revelation are not all in chronological order from chapter 5 up to the end: they’re told and re-told. The story is told in some detail, then we’re taken back to see some different detail.  Some of the events and scenes and characters of the Revelation are not just of tribulation events, but they span the entire history of mankind. For example, consider the Harlot: Mystery Babylon. She’s been “riding the beast” of human history. She’s been an integral companion to the kingdoms of the world all the way along.

Some prophecies in Revelation speak of the past, and some of the future: they’re  not all events of a seven-year period. Therefore it’s not necessary to conclude that the representatives of the redeemed in heaven are, by their presence, foretelling a pre-tribulation rapture. The fact that the twenty-four only represent the Church, and that the entire Church does not seem to be present, must be significant. Why would only twenty-four Church members sing of their redemption, if the entire Church is there? Why do only twenty-four represent the Church in this scene, if all are there? Shouldn’t they all be described as being one body at this point, if the entire Church has been raptured?

Moreover, the fact that the Church is not mentioned by name in heaven is very significant evidence against the pre-tribulationist’s claim that the Church is not mentioned as being on earth in tribulation passages of Revelation. The Church is no more “mentioned” by name in heaven than it is on the earth. 

It seems most likely that this scene is speaking of the status of the Church in a history-wide sense, and of the future authority the Church will have when they reign with Christ.

*My book, “ALL LEFT BEHIND: THE CASE AGAINST THE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE”, by NICK FISHER, is available in paperback and electronic form on Amazon.

THE RAPTURE: A SUMMARY SO FAR

At some time in the future a lot of Christians are going to wake up to a very serious reality: the preachers of the pre-tribulation rapture theory were horribly wrong…

Rays Of Light Coming Through The Clouds And Over The Mountains And ...

I’ve been excerpting my book on the rapture. But it may have been all too much for some of you, and if I’ve been far too long-winded, I apologize. This summary- a summary of  excerpts from my book published on this blog-assumes that the reader has some knowledge of the issues involved. The book gives a more complete picture* as do the excerpts.

WRATH

When Paul  wrote that we are “not appointed to wrath” in his first letter to the Thessalonians, he was not speaking of a pre-tribulation rapture, but contrasting salvation with the judgment of the wicked, who were and are “the children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:1-3).

Christians have been persecuted all through the centuries, including this one, but were not under God’s wrath.Get Free Stock Photos of Lightbulb with idea concept icon Online ...

The manifest wrath of God will not fall on day one of a seven year period. In Revelation the kings of the earth only acknowledge that the day of God’s wrath has come upon the opening of the sixth seal (Revelation 6:15-17).

If the four horsemen of the apocalypse are considered as an outpouring of God’s wrath at the beginning of a seven year period, this is in conflict with the view of Antichrist being a peacemaker, since the Four will take peace from the earth.

According to Paul, The Day of the Lord cannot begin until Antichrist is revealed, which will not be until three and a half years before the physical return of Christ, not seven (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4;  Revelation 13:5).

CLEAR STATEMENTS IN SCRIPTURE

The saints who are persecuted in Revelation are “blessed”. They are not cursed and are not said to have been “left behind” (Revelation 14:12-13).

Paul told the Thessalonians that they will receive reward and relief from persecution “when Christ is revealed in blazing fire”, not before (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10). This is a clear statement of the timing of the rapture, ignored by the “experts”.Get Free Stock Photos of Lightbulb with idea concept icon Online ...IS JESUS A THIEF?

Jesus’ coming like a thief relates to judgment, not rapture (Revelation 3:3).

It is “the Day of the Lord” which will come like a thief, not the rapture (1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10).

Jesus’ coming will be like a thief, but Jesus is not a thief. He will not “steal” his Church. He will bring judgment suddenly and without warning, just as a thief does.

THE HOLY SPIRIT

There is no statement in Scripture saying that the Holy Spirit will be taken to heaven with the Church: it’s an assumption. The Spirit does not have to be taken to heaven in order to allow Antichrist to be revealed.

Antichrist will not be revealed until three and a half years before the end of the tribulation. Therefore, the Holy Spirit will not be “taken out of the way” until that time. With pre-tribulation reasoning that the Church will go to heaven with the Holy Spirit, this fact moves the date of the rapture to the mid point of the proposed seven year period, not the beginning of it.

The gospel will be preached during the tribulation, and there will be “saints”, but t isn’t possible for people to be saved apart from the  Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Why would God leave tribulation saints behind to fend for themselves against persecution? How could they stand firm in the faith without the Ho(y Spirit?Get Free Stock Photos of Lightbulb with idea concept icon Online ...IMMINENCE

The doctrine of imminence cannot be applied to a pre-tribulation rapture, because Jesus declared that even those who see the tribulation events will not know the day or the hour of his coming (Matthew 24:28-36).

If the tribulation saints were to see or know that the rapture had occurred, they would know which day and hour it happened, and so be able to calculate (by pre-tribulation reckoning) exactly when Jesus would return. But he has said that they will not know. This is yet another strike against pre-tribulation theory.

SEVEN YEARS?

Jesus, speaking about the signs of his coming, did not mention a seven-year period, and did not mention a “peace treaty”. The first signs Paul and Jesus gave to look out for were a falling away from the faith and the “abomination of desolation”.

REVELATION AND THE CHURCH

The word “church” is not even used to describe anyone in heaven during tribulation events.  Therefore the claim of pre-tribulation teachers that the Church is not mentioned in tribulation chapters of Revelation is of no value.

The same chapters contain no mention of any gatherings of tribulation saints on earth, or of the Jewish remnant. This also discounts the use of the lack of the word “church” in the same chapters.

The entire Revelation-including the tribulation chapters-is given “for the churches” (Revelation 22:16). The prophecies are all to be known by the churches. Why do the churches need this information if they will not be present on the earth? Why do preachers talk so much about the end times if we will not be here?

Tribulation saints are referred to as “those who hold  to the testimony of Jesus” (Revelation 12:16; 17:6).  However, John, a first-century. born-again, Spirit-filled Christian being persecuted for his faith, described himself in exactly the same way, and the angel speaking to him described John and his contemporaries with exactly the same words (Revelation 1:9; 19:10). John commonly used the word “testimony” in his writings to first century believers. Tribulation saints will be no different to us. They may even be us.Get Free Stock Photos of Lightbulb with idea concept icon Online ...JOHN’S RAPTURE/ SAINTS

John’s calling into heaven in Revelation cannot rightly be seen as a type of the rapture, because he came back to earth as a mortal and died. John had to see all the events prophesied in order to report them, which is the reason why he went to heaven at the start of them.

Those martyred over all the centuries by the Harlot are described as “those who hold to the testimony of Jesus”. Therefore tribulation saints, described in the same terms, are no different to us. They may be us.

The word translated “saints” to describe believers in tribulation chapters is the same word translated “saints” throughout the New Testament.

SAINTS AND REMNANT

The tribulation saints “obey God’s commandments”, a fact which some have used to suggest that they are the Jewish remnant and not the Church. However, John wrote in his letters to first century born-again Christians that they were to obey God’s commandments (1 John 2:3).

The saints of Revelation cannot be simply the Jewish remnant, because both groups are seen to be separate and distinct (Revelation 12:14).

*Stay tuned for more excerpts. My book, “All Left Behind:The Case Against the Pre-Tribulation Rapture”, by Nick Fisher, is available in paperback and electronic form on Amazon:

 

 

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YOUR TRUTH, MY TRUTH

A good Christian friend of mine posted on Facebook some thoughts about the nature of truth, and immediately received a negative response. “Your truth is your truth, and mine is mine”, was the thrust of the response, a very common view. I’ve written a lot about the nature of truth, and it almost seems like a tired old topic now. But there’s an incurable conflict here, ever-present in our culture and our daily lives.

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The conflict, if we’re all honest with ourselves and each other, really boils down to the fact that some people want to follow the ways of God and some don’t. The ones who are keen to dismiss the whole concept that there is any absolute truth do so because they want truth to be fluid, bendable and changeable, in order to feel free to do what they think they should be able to do without feeling guilty, and in order to purge the Christian God from our world. They don’t want to think that there might be any supreme authority which might cramp their style or that of their favorite people. It’s like the man or the woman (sorry those in the middle) who tells his or her mate or lover that he thinks they should have an “open relationship”. This little warm-sounding euphemism is really an excuse not to be faithful and not to be committed. It’s not love, it’s selfishness.

Granted, we can argue or discuss what any absolute truth might entail, and where it might emanate from. But I can tell you one thing: without God at the center of our culture, government will inevitably become God. It will be the ultimate authority. It will dictate what is right and what is wrong; what you can and cannot do; where you can and cannot go; how long you should live; what your value is; what you can have and what you must part with, and so on. And anyone living with the thought that we can hold government accountable and shape it to our own will is living in a dream world-a false utopia which history proves over and over again cannot ever be.

Who would decide what this God has said in regard to truth? That’s a good rhetorical question. I don’t want any of the known religious organizations of the world telling me what God has said: I don’t trust any of them. The beauty of the Establishment clause in the US constitution is that it hands freedom of religious thought, and even freedom from it, to the people. Yes, the clause says that government must not establish a religion, but it also states that government cannot prevent the free exercise of religion-the part of the clause which is always ignored by secularists. Therein is balance and freedom.

God, from the start, from the beginning, has given us the dignity of free will, and the dignity to seek him by our own choice and not coercion, in contrast to the dictates of one or two world religions we could name. However, there are certain principle and laws at work in our universe which are undeniably fixed and unchangeable. If our planet did not follow the laws of space-time and gravity in its fixed orbit around the sun, there would be no life. And it seems obvious to me that the God who has established fixed laws to govern the universe and all of nature, would also have fixed ideas of truth, and of what’s right or wrong. I’m convinced that the Bible is our guide book for life. It contains our Creator’s expression of Truth for us to live by.

Most of the peoples of the world have a commonly-held set of ethics and beliefs to live by. It’s only in the West that absolute and universal truths are being rejected, a phenomenon which the Bible calls “lawlessness” and “sin”. The West cannot survive without those fixed principles, a fact known by some who are at work internally to bring the West down. To them, the West and its Judaeo-Christian roots and values must be destroyed. The West of D-Day was for the most part united with shared truths and beliefs and principles. By demolishing Truth, and inviting a flood of “truths”, we are not fostering unity, but division and decay.