Tag: The Church

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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THE OLD BRAVE NEW WORLD

When I attended school, in the days when classical works were still considered to be a vital part of good education, Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” was required reading, as was Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty Four“. Looking back, I’m not so sure now that the intention of everyone involved in writing the school syllabi was to warn us of the evils of totalitarianism, as we thought at the time…

Written in 1931, Brave New World is still remarkably relevant today, though not often read. It imagines a future in which a world state governs all the affairs of humanity, to the extent that it produces humans without any need for a womb or a family. From “conception” the state places people within prescribed and fixed classes, rather like castes, each with its own level of intelligence and ability. The state then conditions the minds of its offspring to accept their positions in life happily, and to conform without complaint to everything the world state has instituted.

The reason the book is still relevant in many ways is that it expresses some of the goals and dreams of many socialist-minded people over the last couple of centuries, up to the present time. In fact, you could probably find most of its suggestions within Marx’s “Manifesto”. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that all socialists want everyone to be equal and on the same level: those in the forefront of the movement want to be more equal than the rest of us.

Huxley, the brother of a famous evolutionist, was opposed to religion and the nuclear family (Marx’s Christian “bourgeoisie family”) and rather partial to the concept of eugenics. In Brave New World he was not warning us all of future evils, as most people, including myself, were led to believe. His imagined society was not intended to be dystopian: he was surreptitiously encouraging our consideration of its benefits. He was pushing it into our faces, much as Hollywood does today.

Growing numbers of people today, particularly in the feminist movement and among extremist liberals, have similar dreams and desires for the transformation of our world. Those desires include eugenics; total government power over a compliant and suitably re-educated populace; amorality; the end of the traditional family; the complete preoccupation with entertainment; a news media entirely in the pocket of the politically-correct establishment; totally revised or forgotten history; the end of the Church; radically controlled reproduction; the despising and vilification of anyone who does not comply; the homogenization and simplification of thought; the use of euphemisms and ambiguity for all institutions and agencies (like the current DOJ); total control over all education from birth; the moral corruption of children; a world government, and the loss of all national identity and culture.

Perhaps the only big difference between Huxley’s future utopian society and the real movement towards such a world today is that Huxley’s society worked.

THE UNPREPARED PILGRIMS

I’ll confess I’m not an authority on churchy affairs, but perhaps that’s a good thing. Perhaps it’s time political correctness within the church faced a little more opposition from those who aren’t under its power…

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I’ve no doubt that many or most church ministers are working hard and doing their best for their congregations and for their God. But my experience and my observation of today’s church world, overall, is that the flock is not being prepared for what it already faces, or for what may be coming…

We don’t have to go any further than our television or our web-based news feeds to see the direction our world is heading in. Here in the US we’re becoming more and more polarized as the haters crawl out of the closet and make their intentions clear. Our culture is being torn because those who are most intent on changing it have the power of most of the media on their side.

POLITICS AND RELIGION

Of those who take a Biblical view of culture and politics in the Church how many are talking about it? Alright, we don’t have to side openly with either major political party, but we absolutely should be discussing the issues, because they affect all of us and all our children. We don’t live in a theocracy or a church state, and I wouldn’t want to. But we all, in a so-called “democracy” or “republic” or “democratic republic” have a right and a duty to shape it, rather than just handing it over to those who want to tear down all the principles our Creator created us to live by, and even the obvious principles of nature itself.

 

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SEX

Another but not unrelated subject is sex and romance. Without these none of us would be here, right? But how many churches and their ministers discuss the hows and the whys of love: the principles God expects us to live by? How many discuss that stuff which the Bible calls “sin”? “Sin” is such a little word, but it’s so profoundly important. How many young people are being told what sin is and what its consequences are? How many are being told that the things now being forced onto the Western world regarding morality and sexuality are enough to bring eternal consequences?

…those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21 NIV).

ORIGINS

Some in the Church regard the subject of our origins as being insignificant. Where we came from isn’t important, they say. What did Jesus say about origins? He said:

If you believed Moses, you would believe me…but if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words? (John 5:46).

The writing of Moses, and the prophets, and the apostles, all speak of our creation: not our evolution. We’re made by God in the image of God, not by chance, random mutations and billions of years of time in the image of a lemur or an ape-like creature. Calling into question our creation is calling into question our salvation from sin, and our eternal destiny. If all the writers are wrong about creation, so are they wrong about salvation.

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Our kids are being taught that they evolved from soup. The church which is not working to correct this view is not, I repeat not, caring for its flock.

WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD

I believe in the rapture of the Church. However, what many ministers in churches and on the radio and internet are teaching is that before all that’s foretold in Revelation and elsewhere occurs we’re all going to be taken to heaven…

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Why did our God go to so much trouble to foretell last days events if we aren’t going to see them or experience them? Why do so many prophecy “experts” make a living at what they do if all the time we’re going to disappear before it all happens? Why are so many in the Church sticking their heads in the sands of rapture, when half way across the world many of their believing brothers and sisters are already being martyred for their faith? We are not all going to escape what is to come. We are not all going to get out of here, without some very serious opposition first. So why are the churches passing out buckets full of sand when they should be equipping the saints for what may come and for what has already come in many parts of the world?

FELLOWSHIP AND WORSHIP

One powerful way to prepare the Church for what it has to deal with and for what it may have to face is through fellowship and worship. Sadly, I see very little. I see cliques and little groups who like each other and turn their noses up at the rest. I see very few Bible studies where the  Bible is studied and where it’s not just another opportunity for someone to give a sermon rather than openly discuss Scripture in relation to today’s world. And I see a kind of worship where if you don’t like or accept a very specific genre of music, i.e. Christian “contemporary” music-an innocuous and generic form of pop-you’re out of luck and probably out of any possibility of fellowship.

APOLOGIES

We all get bombarded with lies from every direction. And who did Jesus say was the father of all lies? The devil.

Our history is being revised and scrubbed out by our education establishments and our media. Our “news” feeds are not giving us news at all any more but propaganda, gossip, slander and fakery. Our schools and universities are teaching that we all evolved out of nothing, that there’s no truth to Christian “myths”, and that the Christian Church is the cause of all that’s wrong in the world. Our entertainment world is stuffing gross immorality and extreme violence down our throats, sometimes dressed in special effects, and always with attractive people, to get our attention. Our politicians are (generally) out of touch with reality, with their own voters, and with any sense of Godly wisdom, and our judges are making laws and ignoring others to suit their own agendas.

So how is the Church countering all the lies and deceit we all face every day? I’ll rephrase that last question. Is the Church countering all the lies and deceit?

 

 

 

TALKING POLITICS

Some believers tell the rest of us that we shouldn’t be involved in politics: we shouldn’t speak politics, and we shouldn’t run for office. That’s just “worldly” stuff, they say. Thank goodness George Washington and his peers didn’t see it the same way. I don’t either…so here I go…

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Those actors and other big names currently attempting their own little revolution in the US should either hold their peace (was that polite enough?) and then run for office, or they should leave the country as they promised to before the election, and go somewhere where their brand of politics reigns, like Iran or North Korea.

If they don’t like the rules of the election, why didn’t they say something about the rules before the election, when they were convinced that their side was going to win? When you play a game with someone-let’s say a board game-you begin with the understanding that there are rules to be followed. You don’t start shouting about the rules and throw the board across the room when you lose. If you do, you can’t “legitimately” (to use a popular word these days) claim that you won the game. Both parties knew about the electoral college before the US election, which is why both candidates campaigned in such a way as to win the electoral college, with the media claiming that Trump had “no path to 270”. One candidate won, the other lost,  according to pre-agreed rules.

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I received a letter from that nice Inland Revenue Service about my lack of health coverage, and about how much money I’ll have to give them as a penalty. True, it’s my fault I didn’t obey the law-the rules-and sign up. But my impression was that Mr Obama’s intention in the “Affordable Care Act” was to help those who couldn’t afford coverage, not to slap huge “penalties” (fines) on them.

I’ve learned that many who have coverage end up paying large deductibles when they do get ill, and those who have government assistance to pay for the required coverage are only covered for the most basic procedures. For example, the government will pay to pull your tooth out, but not for a root canal. It is, as justice Kennedy declared enabling the Act to pass into law, a “TAX”, and governments can legally tax all they want. Somehow this particular tax was massaged and shoved down the public’s throat by dressing it up as compassion for the poor. I know from experience that free treatment or reduced costs were already available before the Act to those who couldn’t afford treatment, and that huge numbers of immigrants-including illegals-were also able to take advantage of those benefits. There was no “penalty” for those who didn’t have coverage, and nobody went untreated. Ergo, the Act actually made things worse, not better. Oh, the intricacies of politics!

Politics affect us all. And in a nation with the benefit, blessing and privilege of voting-of at least having a little say in who runs the country-believers should take an active interest, for many reasons. We have the ability to influence how millions of people are treated; what kind of society we have; whether godly standards are implemented or if immorality will dismantle our families and our homes; whether money will be used wisely or wasted; whether or not the nation and the world is secure; whether or not we have real freedom of speech or a creeping belief system attempting to shut down our minds and our way of life.

Yes, actors can say what they want-just as we all (in theory) can. That’s thanks to those of today and those of past generations who’ve shaped a relatively free society, by prayerfully getting involved, instead of ignoring the world they lived in.

Microphone symbol by Juan Jimenez

WHY ARE THERE SO MANY CHURCHES?

Why are there so many churches? This question is frequently more of an attack on the Christian faith than a genuine inquiry. The underlying assertion is that if Christianity were “true” and real, and if Christians weren’t “all hypocrites”, there would only be one denomination, to which all Christians would belong in perfect love and harmony…

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Here is my own un-churchified, un-theologicalized answer to the question, offered to anyone with an open mind. I say “open mind” because some of the people who ask such questions, while thinking of themselves as being open minded and tolerant, have a very closed mind when it comes to the Christian Church.

The whole matter of “religion” in general comes into the answer here, because what needs to be considered is that other religions and belief systems are divided to at least as great an extent. Hinduism is an umbrella religion consisting of many different beliefs, “paths” and millions of gods. Buddhism has sub-divided endlessly since its inception, often with friction between the schools and organizations. Muslims are clearly at each others throats (literally) in many parts of the world and have been since Mohamed. So to accuse only Christians of division is unrealistic and intolerant.

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The problem lies not in the nature of the Christian faith but in human nature. When Jesus Christ walked the earth there was one Christian faith, and Jesus even had a hard time getting some of his followers to understand or to accept what he was trying to teach them then. From the moment he left this world human nature began to attempt to wrest the Faith from those he entrusted it with. Some thought they had better ideas. Some wanted to ride on the success of the movement. Some wanted to benefit financially from it, and some simply misunderstood it. Some insisted that their own “revelations” trumped those passed on from Christ and the apostles.

Now bring the whole problem forward to our present age. When someone with a strong opinion and personality doesn’t like what he sees in his denomination, he attempts either to change it, or to go off and start his own church. He may have very good reason to, if what he has seen is in fact a serious departure from the faith once delivered to the saints. Many churches and denominations have been started as a genuine way of attempting to right what has gone wrong.

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Alternatively, he may be mistaken, misled, or self-serving. He may alter what he’s heard because he really thinks he’s right-even if he isn’t, and he proceeds to convince others that he’s right, possibly using a little exaggeration or deception to help the process. In such a way entire pseudo-Christian cults are born, and millions of people-gullible or just fooled-are misled.

When a man or woman claims to be a Christian there’s no immediate guarantee that he or she really is one, any more than a box popping up on your screen claiming to offer your computer a clean-up for free is genuine or hassle-free. And this problem is humanity-wide. It’s not just within the Church, it’s in politics, the retail world, advertising, the workplace, education and the home: it’s everywhere. So do yourself a favor: don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Just because there are numerous divisions in the Church-some of which are perfectly legitimate-it doesn’t mean there’s no truth to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

So what’s the fix?

The fix is to consult the instruction manual-the Bible-as it was originally written, and use it to discern who’s telling the truth and who isn’t. Don’t even believe your organization’s claim that its own translation of the Bible is the right one: check it out for yourself. And what about the common accusation that the Bible was “All written hundreds of years after the fact”, and that “It’s all been changed hundreds of times”? Please refer to my post:

https://nickyfisher.com/2015/06/14/a-spiritual-defense-strategy-acronym-2/