KOG….Rapture or Resurrection, Which?
February 8, 2013 in Activism
KNOWING OUR GOD
The “rapture of the church” or the “resurrection from the dead”, which is to occur?
As a commonly accepted theory among Christians, we hear a lot about a “rapture”, or the “catching away” of worthy Christians from a world that has become totally unsalvageable, and slated for complete destruction. In light of the current global trends, many voices, pro or con, seems to have recently felt the need to discuss the Rapture Theory. But with all this talk about “the rapture”, little is said about the Bible’s teaching on the resurrection. The idea of the removal of God’s physical people to an “off-earth” non physical location during a time of trial and judgment is foreign to the Word of God. God’s m.o., is to call forth and bring his people “out” of their distresses, after they have been “tried and purified” in them, and then to bring them “into” a better situation. And then to destroy and remove the bad things, while raising up the meek and humble, which should remain, and bringing down the proud and the rebellious which shall be taken away in the process. This is the pattern of God’s judgments, the bad is “removed” so the good may “remain” and carry on, in a new and better way. A new and better way that was forged in the furnace of afflictions and written upon the hearts and minds of the meek and humble, as they were being purified in the fiery trials, and brought forth as gold, in their imputed righteousness.
Noah was “brought out of a corrupted world” in this judgment scene and brought “into the Ark of safety”, with the animals, so that they may “carry on” or continue, while the scoffers and mockers were “taken away” by the flood. The Hebrews were “brought out of Egypt” and “into the promised land” to carry on, while the Egyptian threat was destroyed, removed from the picture, and “taken away” in this judgment scene. Lot was “brought out of Sodom and Gomorrah” and “into the city of escape” (Zoar) to carry on, while the Sodomites were “taken away” in judgment. They were removed so that the good may remain. The Apostles and the New Testament saints were “brought out” of sin and bondage, and the corruption of the law, and “into” the eternal life of God and the freedoms in Christ Jesus. While the unrepentant Jew and the Jewish economy was “taken away” in judgment with the destruction of the Holy City in 70ad.
The idea of “taking away” the good is foreign to the Bible’s judgment scenes. The good is always seen as being translated into a better way of life, transformed into righteous people and transported from the valleys (lowly estates) to the mountain tops. The Bible does speak of a “heavenly calling” to the faithful and to those who “overcome the world” by abiding in the doctrine of Christ thru troubling times. This is represented as a gift of God. For only by the Power and Voice of God do we hear, along with the Apostle John, the call to “come up hither”, to be shown the spiritual authority of Heaven over all creation, and the divine agenda, written upon heavenly scrolls, proceeding from the Hand and Throne of God. Being called up by the Voice of God, and Caught up to heaven by the power of God, into the spiritual understanding and revelations of the Throne of God, the power of the “Risen and glorified” Christ and the operations of the spirits sent forth from before his throne to fulfill his will and his word. This “calling up” occurs with the rebirth “from above” and “of the spirit”, the “renewing of the mind”, and with the putting on of the “mind of Christ”. Paul speaks of a “meeting of the Lord in the air” to those who are alive and remain. But please note to whom he was talking to. To whom was to be instructed and comforted by his words. We make many mistakes in interpretation when we lift a passage of scripture out of it’s historical context. Paul, a spiritually minded man (having received direct revelation from the risen and glorified Christ himself) was talking to a spiritually minded and spiritually anointed people, and is here discussing a spiritual matter. For although we know that they all died and are buried here among us, we do read of them as being seated in the heavens, as part of the Christ (ruling from Heaven) administration. For we Read:
And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? [This entire scene takes place in Heaven] And I ( the Apostle John) said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (There’s only one group of men and women that overcame troubling times by abiding in the doctrine and warnings of Christ, being “saved”, by escaping the judgment of the Roman occupation) Therefore are they (as overcomers) before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. (in heaven they receive the royal treatment and are given authority to rule with Christ from heaven and earthly matters are no longer a concern)
It should be noted, in acknowledging the dual revelation of heavenly and earthly matters within the Word of God, that Jesus in the Mount Olivet discourse was describing and outlining a physical scene of discriminative judgment, and a way of escape (so as to be SAVED). This was entirely an earthly matter and an earthly concern for those hearing his words, by which they were “brought out”. But the teaching and instructions of the Apostle Paul to the Thessalonians describes not a “coming out of ” but a “going into”. Paul is addressing a concern of the spiritually minded believers, in light of their current trials under the Great tribulation, as to whether dying before the Lord comes would prevent their going to heaven to be forever with the Lord. Paul reveals to them that the calling is an “Spiritual Event” and a spiritual matter that encompasses the dead and the alive. Jesus speaks of an earthly matter with earthly concerns and Paul speaks of a spiritual (heavenly) matter with spiritual (heavenly) concerns. This is how the scriptures should be properly divided. For one (the earthly witness) brings us out of the ways of the world and out from among those “dead” in sins and trespasses, and the other, (the heavenly record) brings us into the eternal and abundant way of “life”, while raising our consciousness into the heavenlies and our spirits into the presence of God.
Getting back to the rapture, it is written; And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. (said Jesus) They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. [took them away] Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. [took them away] Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed (the bad to be taken away). In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one “shall be taken”, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one “shall be taken”, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one “shall be taken”, and the other left. And they (the disciples) answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? (where are they to be taken?) And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body (carcase) is, thither will the eagles (vultures) be gathered together. Jesus is describing the “taking away” of the bad (the goats, the tares, the bad fish and the unrepentant Jew) in judgment and at the destruction of Jerusalem, whose temple was to be left not one stone upon another. (Luke 17:26-37)
The disciples asked Jesus for a sign of his coming in judgment and the end of their world (age), and he gave them one, one which enabled them to physically escape the destruction and to be “saved”. The sign, being that which “standeth in the Holy Place” as spoken of by the prophet Daniel. Jesus reveals that upon seeing the sign, judgment will fall so swiftly, that nothing else should matter but getting out of Dodge with their lives. Believe me, when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem, the Jewish world (age) ended, and when the tares were burned in the fire, and the bad fish was cast away (euthanized), and the goats were captured for milk and slaughtered for food and the people carried off captives, there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The Rapture theory depicts the taking away of the good, while the ungodly and the evildoers are left behind, and remain to inherit a scorched earth, ready to be destroyed. This teaching flips the design and pattern of God’s judgment program upon it’s head. And it violates the great promise made by God unto Noah. The promise that he has given us the token of the rainbow as a sign that he will never again completely destroy the earth. The commission to prophesy was given unto The Apostle John by the mighty angel with the “rainbow his about head”. Revealing that the forthcoming word of the prophecy for our times has this promise in mind. The teachings on the resurrection depicts a reawakening world, with the evildoer and the ungodly being removed and the meek and humble remaining to inherit a cleansed earth and the eternal kingdom of God.
Short of making a very important point, I’m not going to build an argument here in favor of the resurrection teaching. I’ll just list the scriptures weighing in on the subject and let you decide for yourselves, from your own research, as to what lies ahead up the road for us. The point I’d like to make before leaving this discussion, is that there was a fundamental change of mission that occurred following the meeting of the apostles with the risen Christ.. In the book of Acts, Jesus made numerous appearances after his resurrection, speaking and teaching upon the things relating to the Kingdom of God. “To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:” (Act 1:3) So the disciple would naturally ask him, that now, at this time, upon his rising from the dead, would he restore the kingdom to Israel? Prior to the death and resurrection of Jesus, the commanded mission of the disciples was to make an appeal towards national repentance and preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God. To bring the glad tidings of God’s current desire to “bring them out” as a nation and “bring them into”, as a nation. In Acts 1:7-8 the risen Lord gives a new command and mission statement unto the disciple, starting by informing them that the things of the kingdom are no longer to be a concern for them, those matters being left solely in the hand of God. But that they, in a little while, would receive the Holy Ghost and power from heaven, after which they shall bear witness unto him unto the uttermost part of the earth. Their mission was no longer to announce the King and the Kingdom but to “bear witness” unto the things of Christ.
They were no longer to concern themselves with bringing the good news of the “gospel of the kingdom” to those hell bent on rejecting it. From henceforth they were to “occupy until he comes” and “bear witness of him to the world”. And how did they do this and what did they bear witness of and why would the risen Christ want them to do this? This was done so that by abiding in Christ, they would become living witnesses and testimonies to the reawakening, elevating and life transforming power of Christ. Being examples of the power of Christ to change men’s lives. From spiritual death to abundant life. The poor and the oppressed would see the light of this transformation and become attracted to it. And the powers that desired to keep men poor and oppressed and on the job hated the light and was greatly threatened by it, since their slaves and workers were departing to partake of the good thing. This is how they bore witness, this is why they bore witness and this witness is based upon knowing Christ and the power of his resurrection. For in Acts 1:22 The eleven remaining disciples, after discussing the need to replace Judas and restore the number of disciples to 12, and upon acknowledging the importance of the decision and deferring to letting God make the choice, we read: Wherefore of these men which have accompanied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. (Act 1:21-22) The one chosen must have the full picture of the testimony of Christ, from the beginning to the end of his ministry in order to be ordained with the disciples to become a witness of his resurrection. Oops there it is. The disciples and the newly chosen disciple were ordained by God to be a witness of his “resurrection”. To be witnesses of the life changing and world changing power of the resurrection, or the reawakening and transformation of men.
So here’s the list of scriptures that weigh in on the subject. You read, you decide.
Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. (24) Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. (25) Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: (26) And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this
Act_1:22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a “witness with us of his resurrection”.
Act 2:30-32 Therefore being a prophet, (David) and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; (31) He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. (32) This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof “we all are witnesses”.
Act_4:2 Being grieved that they taught the people, and “preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead”.
Act_4:33 And with great power gave the apostles “witness of the resurrection” of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
Act_17:18 Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: “because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection”.
Act_17:32 And when “they heard of the resurrection of the dead”, (the teaching) some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter
Act_23:6 But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: “of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question”.
Rom_1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, “by the resurrection from the dead”:
Rom_6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, “we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection”:
1Co_15:12 Now if “Christ be preached that he rose from the dead”, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
1Co_15:21 For since by man came death, “by man came also the resurrection of the dead”.
Php_3:10 That I may know him, “and the power of his resurrection”, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
Php_3:11 If by any means I might “attain unto the resurrection of the dead”.
Heb_11:35 Women “received their dead raised to life again”: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; “that they might obtain a better resurrection”:
1Pe_1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath “begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”,
Due to space limitations I couldn’t list all the scripture I wanted to, maybe next time.