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RAPTURE 16: WHAT PAUL DIDN’T SAY

Hi everyone. Today’s excerpt from my book on the rapture is taken from a chapter titled “WHAT PAUL AND JESUS DIDN’T SAY”, because what they didn’t say is as instructive as what they did say. But first, I wish to disassociate myself with certain religious ads which are being placed upon my blog. I’m not a part of any organization or cult. For the record, again, I am a born-again Christian, trusting only in the sacrifice and resurrection of the only Son of God for my salvation. 

August 2013 010

WHAT PAUL DIDN’T SAY: CLUES FROM 2 THESSALONIANS CHAPTER 2

Paul warned the Thessalonians not to be falsely led into the notion that the “day of the Lord” had already arrived. Evidently some such deception was going around at that time. Exactly when will the day of the Lord come, and what will it look like? According to Peter, the day of the Lord includes the destruction of this present earth (2 Peter 3:10-13), and according to Paul it will include sudden destruction falling on an ungodly world of people (1 Thessalonians 5:1-4). Peter’s sermon early in the book of Acts declares that the day of the Lord will occur after the sun is darkened and the moon turns to blood (Acts 2:20). So the “day of the Lord” seems to include the tribulation, or perhaps the wrath of God as discussed in a previous chapter, and following events.

Paul told the Thessalonians what must happen before the day of the Lord can begin. He said:

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3 KJV).

In a bout of circular reasoning which says, “We know the rapture comes before the tribulation, therefore Paul is speaking of the rapture here”, it’s claimed that Paul’s motivation was that the saints in Thessalonica were afraid they’d missed the pre-tribulation rapture, and had been “left behind”. But there’s no word about the rapture here. Please notice what Paul did not say. He didn’t say anything like this:

The day of the Lord cannot come before we’re all taken into heaven and gathered to him-therefore comfort one another with these words”.

This to me is very telling. It seems a serious omission, if Paul really knew and was preaching, as some claim, that there was a rapture coming before Antichrist is revealed and before any other tribulation events occur. The whole world can today read Paul’s discussions on the rapture, in 1 Thessalonians and in 1 Corinthians. It isn’t a secret, and Paul had already shared the “mystery” of the resurrection and the rapture in his first letter to the Thessalonians, in order to encourage the Church. The rapture therefore didn’t need to be hidden any more-if it ever was-and there’s no attempt in Paul’s letters to hide the rapture as though it’s some sort of secret. Yet in his instruction to a predominantly Gentile church-to a believing church which was fearful that the day of the Lord had begun; a church which Paul said was not in darkness but in the light of salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:4-6); in his warning about the first signs of the true beginning of the tribulation, he does not mention the rapture at all. The first sign of the Day of the Lord, said Paul, will be a falling away, and the second the appearance of the man of lawlessness. The rapture is missing from the list!

OUR BEING GATHERED TO HIM

The second chapter of 2 Thessalonians is, “Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him” (verse 1). It’s very important to bear in mind that the content of this first verse is the reason for Paul’s following discussion. Significantly, and I don’t mean to be flippant, it’s connected with the second verse, and the phrase “the day of the Lord”. So in relation to the coming of Jesus and our gathering to him, Thessalonians were not to think that the day of the Lord had already come.

There’s no reason to consider “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” and “our being gathering to him” as two separate events. It’s important to see that the two are not spoken of independently in the following discussion. The “coming” of Jesus is mentioned again, and it’s undoubtedly his appearance in power and glory for all the world to see (verse 8) but “our gathering to him” is not mentioned again. Why is that, when it’s part of Paul’s subject in this chapter?

The possible answer is that if the two are actually one, and parts of the same set of events rather than being separated by seven years or more, there would be no need to mention them separately. As an everyday example of distinctions which are in fact inseparable, we might talk with our families about getting together for “the coming weekend and our trip to the mall”, or we might talk about “the coming birthday party and the cake-lighting ceremony”. The weekend and the trip to the mall are immediately and inseparably associated, as are the party and the cake-lighting ceremony.

In our subsequent discussion of the weekend we may not need to mention the mall again: the subject of the mall is already accepted as a part of the coming weekend. When the weekend comes we will go to the mall. We may not mention the lighting of the cake again, but just the birthday party. The cake lighting is already an acknowledged part of the birthday party. When we have the birthday party we will light the cake. Similarly, “our being gathering to him” in Paul’s first verse of this chapter may well just be an intrinsic part of “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”, so that when Jesus Christ comes we will be gathered to him, and there’s no need to mention the “gathering” again.

THE DAY OF THE LORD

In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul associated “the day of the Lord” not with a pre-tribulation rapture, but with judgment:

For you know very well that ‘the day of the Lord’ will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety’, destruction will come on them suddenly…” (1Thessalonians 5:2-3).

In his second letter Paul says about the day of the Lord:

Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed…” (verse 3).

Believers were not afraid that they’d missed a pre-tribulation rapture: that isn’t what Paul said. It seems instead that they were afraid that the day of the Lord had come, and perhaps that they had missed “the coming of the Lord”.

Since Paul had said at the beginning of the second chapter that his following discussion concerns “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him”, and if by this Paul meant a pre-tribulation rapture, the following discussion should be about the rapture, if that was what the believers thought they had missed, should it not? Instead, it’s about “the day of the Lord”-the time of prophesied events on the earth, and “the coming of the Lord”, which, Paul informs us, comes after two unmistakable signs. Put simply: first in the realm of significant events would come a “falling away” and the revealing of Antichrist, as signs of the coming of the day of the Lord.

So where is “our being gathered to him” in the remainder of the second chapter, if this phrase is referring to a pre-tribulation rapture? Has Paul forgotten his subject? It must be there somewhere. Wouldn’t a more honest, straightforward reading tell us that “the day of the Lord”, and “the coming of the Lord” is synonymous or closely contemporaneous with “our being gathered to him”? Is this perhaps why Paul placed “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” in the same sentence as “our being gathered together to him”?

The only “coming of the Lord” which Paul writes about in this chapter is the one which sees the Antichrist brought to justice:

…whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:8 ESV).

There’s not a separate and distinct “coming of the Lord” in the passage to bring about our gathering to him.

The two signs Paul gives-or rather the fact that they haven’t yet occurred- are given to believers in the church as reassurance and evidence that the day of the Lord had not yet come. However, the rapture is not given- in any form. Paul did not say, “We would not be here if the day of the Lord had begun”. There’s no mention of the rapture not having taken place yet as reassurance. And perhaps more importantly, there’s no mention of the coming of the Lord before the day of the Lord! Surely, if Paul is aiming to inform the people and to stop them being deceived into thinking the rapture had happened already, he would say something about the rapture. He might say “Hey church, we apostles are still here-we haven’t been snatched up yet, so don’t sweat! Our snatching-up is still to come, and it will come before these events unfold!”

We saw that Paul’s topic in this chapter is “the coming of the Lord and our gathering to him” (verse 1), yet his following discourse is on the day of the Lord and things that must happen before it. Why didn’t he write about the rapture? Trying to squeeze the pre-tribulation rapture into this passage, when it is not here, is a way of avoiding facing up to the reality of what it is saying.

Again, Paul’s topic is the coming of the Lord and our being gathered to him. At what point in Paul’s discussion does he write of Christ’s coming? Is it before Antichrist is revealed? No, it’s after the point when we see Antichrist defeated:

And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the splendor of his coming” (verse 8).

The “coming” Paul speaks of is the event at which Antichrist is stopped and judged (verse 8). Paul does not speak of the “gathering” as a separate event, either here or earlier in the sequence of events.

Let’s look back at Paul’s first Thessalonians letter, and the passage widely seen as Paul’s informative talk on the rapture. In it he says:

…we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord…” (1 Thessalonians 4:15).

Paul is using the same phrase “the coming of the Lord” in his rapture talk as he uses in his “day of the Lord” talk to bring judgment in the second letter, again indicating that the two are one.

Thanks again for reading this long post. The next post will continue with what Jesus didn’t say.

*ALL LEFT BEHIND: THE CASE AGAINST THE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE, by Nicholas Fisher, available on Amazon (see the link below).

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=all+left+behind+the+case+against+the+pre-tribulation+rapture&ref=nb_sb_noss

MIND BURP 14: THE ANTI-RENAISSANCE

Take time to thank our Creator for clothing. Most of us would present a terrifying, revolting sight to the world without it.

How is it that someone who writes poorly written blog posts, with elementary-grade grammar and reasoning, attacking the Church and her Lord and her inspiration, can gain thousands of followers? Does one pay to gain wider coverage on sites like WordPress and so more sympathizers, or is it just a sign of where the heart of the average reader is? And why is it that the ads planted on my posts are so yucky? Don’t people want to sell flowers and perfume and stuff that people actually want?

The mayor of London has compared Trump to anti-Semitic dictators of the 20th Century (note 1). Ironically, leaders of the mayor’s religion sided with anti-Semitic Hitler during WWII, and remain vehemently opposed to the existence of the Jewish state and anyone in support of it-such as Trump.

Those interested in quality literature will be aware that many classics have already been removed from public access, particularly in the world of education (ex. note 2). In their place has come shallow, politically-correct social justice mush which does nothing to enrich our culture or to educate. Are we living in the “Anti-Renaissance” period?

If we evolved, then it’s evolution which produced God, religion, religious wars, death and suffering: all those things seen by the atheist as the enemies of mankind. Chew on that one.

How do I know God exists? The answer is Beethoven’s Sonata 14.

Don’t like big business? In a socialist state, the government is the biggest business you could possibly have. Even if it allowed other companies to exist, it would exert dictatorial power over all. It would be far beyond your reach, and beyond competition and comparison. It would allow you no choice and no remedy. Do you really trust your local and national politicians that much? They would be the only people between you and The corporation.

ICONOCLASM: intentionally removing or dismantling religious icons, traditions or established beliefs apart from religion.

One day recently I was pondering why, in my youth, I rejected and gave the cold shoulder to the girls who were sweet and warm towards me, and why I instead chased the girls who gave me trouble and pain. Then I remembered a great Groucho Marx line, not a verbatim quote:

“I wouldn’t belong to any club which would have me for a member…”

NOTES

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/sadiq-khan-compares-donald-trump-16242145

BLOGGING FOR HEALTH

People have different motivations for writing a blog, but for me one of the best reasons is in its similarity to keeping a journal…

Snowflake_Detail

In a journal, if we have the time for such a luxury, we record, we examine, we condense and clarify our thinking on life and on our view of our world. So in a blog. We have the opportunity not only to share our thoughts, but (and I hope I’m not exposing myself as being overly narcissistic or introspective here) we’re able to transport to the forefront of our minds and to organize many of those things lurking around in our sub-conscious.

There they are, sometimes like festering garbage to be thrown out; sometimes un-used tools or piles of unwashed clothes, languishing in the no-man’s land of our brain and soul, needing to be organized and focused or rejected, and needing to be put to use as functional and refined ideas and conclusions. Then we can move forward in our lives, and perhaps help others to do the same.

AXING DARWINISM

Just as our ruling media and education establishments dictate what we should believe about politics, so they sway the masses on the subject of origins also.

Priscacara-liops
I was reading a book by Steven Meyer called “Darwin’s Doubt” (1). Meyer received a PhD from the university of Cambridge in the philosophy of science after working as an oil industry geophysicist. He’s a proponent of “Intelligent Design”, and such people aren’t out to validate Biblical creation. Indeed some of them are not Christians, but simply want to research and draw attention to the reasons for their conviction that nature has been designed, and didn’t just come about by random processes. While I’m a young-earth creationist myself, I find Meyer’s works fascinating and inspirational.
The one thing that’s struck me most while reading “Darwin’s Doubt” is that the majority of evolutionists (though not all) when confronted with, or upon discovering facts that put a wrench right in the middle of the cogs of neo-Darwinism, just start building other cogs. They have no intention of backing out of their faith in naturalism, no matter what obstacles they encounter. After all, they don’t want to lose their funding, their jobs, respect among their peers, and their hope in total annihilation without judgment. Meyer’s honesty and willingness to search for truth rather than to bury it, incurring a considerable amount of opposition and ostracism, impress me. If only more were man (or woman) enough to do the same.
Meyer’s book is a little difficult to follow in places: it’s semi-technical. But I’d like to relate one of his experiences here.
Meyer described research carried out in the early years of the new millennium by secular chemical engineer Douglas Axe, and Alan Fersht, a professor at the University of Cambridge. It revealed the rarity of proteins in genetic sequence space, and therefore the incredibly long odds against any mutation along with natural selection ever finding a functional protein to act on. These results along with other equally stunning research results, in the words of Meyer, demonstrate that no “Neo-Darwinian scenario for producing a new gene is at all plausible”.
Axe’s research was peer-reviewed and published in the “Journal of Molecular Biology” in 2004.

Later that same year Meyer published a peer-reviewed scientific article in a biology journal called “Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington”, published out of the Smithsonian Institution. The paper was about the Cambrian explosion and the problem (for neo-Darwinian evolution) of the origin of the biological information needed to explain it. Meyer cited Axe’s results, explaining why the rarity of functional proteins in sequence space posed a severe challenge to neo-Darwinism.
However, because Meyer also suggested intelligent design as an explanation to the origin of biological information, a “firestorm of controversy” followed. Museum scientists and evolutionary biologists from around the country were furious with the journal and its editor for allowing the article to be peer-reviewed and published. After a lengthy smear campaign the editor was demoted. One of the rumors designed to destroy him was that he had no degrees in biology. The truth is that he has two Ph.D’s, one in evolutionary biology and one in systems biology. And you were led to believe that Neo-Darwinian evolution was all conclusively proven and supported entirely by unbiased scientists, weren’t you!
Meyer related on radio how his book received one-star reviews (the lowest rating possible) on Amazon, by people who obviously hadn’t taken the trouble to read it, almost before it was published. However, he has since aroused considerable scientific interest. He’s also written a sequel which answers critics of Darwin’s Doubt.

Darwin’s Doubt discusses and names some scientists-including evolutionists-who are now questioning Neo-Darwinian evolution, and who are searching for other explanations for life. Isn’t it ironic that while some honest scientists and evolutionists are questioning Darwin, the Church is inviting him in!

NOTE 1
“DARWIN’S DOUBT: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design”, by Stephen C Meyer. Published by Harper One.

GIVING FREEDOM AWAY

I’m toggling between being so disgusted with the attitudes of people that I want to give up caring what happens to the nation… and being determined to not be one of those who stick their heads in the sand and let the godless rabble take over the country and trash it.

Bury-your-Head-in-the-sand

In the blue corner (an old boxing phrase) we have half of the population who, while it suits them, side with the super-biased media and hate their president no matter how successful he is. In the red corner we have those who are just so traditional in their ways that they’re too soft and too polite and honest to play the enemies at their own game, which is getting their own way at any cost-cost to someone else, that is.

Is there any point in caring? Of course, that’s the impression the rabid dogs attempting to take down the president want us to think. No matter that he’s refused to be paid for his 24-7  service to the country, and poured many millions of dollars into his own campaign, and worked for every American-of any color or description: he has to go. Why? Ultimately, I believe, it’s because those at the top of our society, the ones who care so much about the poor that they want to give them your money while holding onto their own millions and their power over us, want to see a world socialist state in which we as individuals would have no power whatsoever except over which TV channel to turn to. They want to trash what America and the West has stood for, which is freedom of thought, conscience and enterprise, and replace it with a boa-constrictor like grip on our money, our words, our thoughts, and on everything we do.

It’s galling to see professing Christians ignoring the entire situation with the empty claim that God’s will will be done. Do they have the same view about thieves breaking into their houses or stealing their credit cards? Of course not-those things are too valuable to be left to “God’s will”.

When the nation falls totally to the globalists who will take away the rights of Christians and silence any witness they have, it will be too late to think about regaining the freedoms won by those who wanted to worship God-the one true God-freely and openly. That God will be replaced by another god, looming on the West’s horizon already.