THE RAPTURE SERIES 7: THE COMFORT OF THE RAPTURE

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The Bible clearly describes the event of the Rapture in 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18. The apostle Paul emphasizes that the message is “… by the word of the Lord.” He concludes with an admonition that we “comfort one another” with these words.

It is very easy to imagine just how necessary and comforting it was for believers, being severely persecuted to hear that the Lord could come at any moment. They needed that type of reassurance because they knew that the result was their being in the presence of the Lord forever!

The Disciples’ Belief About The Return Of Jesus Christ

The apostles thought that Christ’s return was imminent. Webster defines the word “imminent” as ready to occur at any moment. The apostles fully expected Jesus to return in their lifetimes. These quotes from the New Testament show this very clearly.

Peter: “… The end of all things is at hand…” (1st Peter 4:7)

John: “.. .Little children, it is the last time…” (1st John 2:18)

James: “…the coming of the Lord draweth nigh…” (James 5:8)

James: “… behold the judge standeth before the door…” (James 5:9)

Paul: “..Maranatha (come Lord Jesus)…” (1st Corinthians 16:22)

The apostles repeatedly used the word “we” when they wrote about the Rapture. Their use of the word “we” indicates that they fully expected to be a part of the body of Christ that would be alive at the Rapture.

“… now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.” -1st John 2:28 “… we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” -1st John 3:2

In his second letter to the church at Thessalonica, the apostle Paul stated that Christians both alive and dead would be “raptured” or “caught up in the clouds” at Christ’s return. He called these two groups, “we which are alive” and “them which are asleep.” Paul always included himself in the group which would be alive. This again indicates that he expected to be alive at the Rapture. “… which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (precede) them which are asleep (the dead in Christ)” (1st Thessalonians 4:15).

“Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them (the dead in Christ) in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” ( 1st Thessalonians 14:17).

“… We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. 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.” (1st Corinthians 15:51-52).

From these verses, I think it is correct to say that the apostle Paul believed in the Pre-tribulation Rapture of the Church. The apostles suffered much persecution and most of them were killed, but they also knew that the Great Tribulation spoken of by Jesus in Matthew 24 & 25 had not occurred.

Old Testament Prophecies About The Rapture

The Old Testament contains several prophecies concerning the Resurrection and the Rapture.

“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:25-26).

“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” (Isaiah 26:19).

Both of these Old Testament writers lived hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus. Unlike the apostles, they knew that the Rapture would not occur in their lifetimes.” (Taken from Timing of the Rapture by James E. Robinson, reader of Midnight Call magazine)

Our Comfort

Therefore, we must recognize what our comfort is and where we can find it. Paul is concerned that as believers, we should not be “ignorant brethren.” We are to know what happened to our loved ones who died believing in Jesus. While those who do not believe in Christ have absolutely no hope, we do have hope. As a result, we do not remain in sorrow and hopelessness, but we have comfort. Those who have gone before us in the Lord are now in His presence!

Paul testifies, “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better” (Philippians 1:23). Notice that he does not say “to depart and sleep in Christ” but rather, “…to depart and to be with Christ— ” Those who believe in “soul sleep” are probably very uncomfortable with this verse.

Lying Signs And Wonders

Reading the literature of Buddhists, Moslems, Hindus and others, we frequently find testimony of great miracles, supernatural signs, and healing of the body As a matter of fact, I believe that the very tools that Satan is using to deceive the world today are in the form of lying signs and wonders. In 2nd Thessalonians 2:9-10, we read this description of Antichrist, “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”

It is important that you understand that if someone performs a miracle, even done in the name of Jesus, he is not necessarily a Christian. Remember, Satan is transformed into an angel of light for the sole purpose of deceiving the multitudes in order to hide the true way to Christ.

A decisive quality in the life of a Christian is the fruit of the Spirit.

The Lord Jesus said, “… by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20).

False Christians

As a matter of fact, Jesus identifies a certain group of people who look like Christians, act like Christians, and talk like Christians, but are not Christians. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” (Matthew 7:21-22). Jesus is not referring to pagans who worship idols, or are involved in some strange religion. He is speaking of those who, in the name of the Lord, do mighty things such as prophesying, casting out devils, and “many wonderful works.” But Jesus refuses their testimony, “… then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:23).

These verses are extremely serious. We must take the time and exert the energy to investigate our own personal lives before the countenance of the Lord to see whether we stand in the truth or not.

He Must Know You

Consider the following. Some people have experienced amazing works, can testify of great miracles and eagerly work for the Lord whom they believe they serve in truth and sincerity. Yet, one day when they stand before Him, He will utter the words, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Can you afford to take that risk? Be absolutely sure that Jesus knows you!

Notice that this passage does not say “you never knew ME,” but, “I never knew YOU.”

Dr. John Ankerberg, a speaker at prophecy conferences, has illustrated this fact in a very impressive way which I will paraphrase: Many American citizens have had the opportunity to participate in an event in which a president was the guest of honor. It is customary that the President shakes hands with a great number of people, and each has a picture taken. Let’s say I shook the hand of the President. With a picture of that event in my hand, I can say, “I know him; I shook his hand; I saw him; I talked with him” which would be a truthful statement. However, if you were to ask the President if he knew John Ankerberg, he would say “I never heard of him, I never met the man.” There is a distinct difference between me knowing the President and the President knowing me!

Therefore, you must ask yourself an urgent question: How can you be sure that Jesus knows you? The answer is only found in His Word!

(MAIN SOURCE: The Great Mystery of the Rapture – Arno Froese – 1999)

 

TESTIMONY OF THE FATHER OF THE MICROCHIP (CARL SANDERS)

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HOW IT ALL STARTED

Dr Carl W. Sanders was an electronics engineer, inventor, author and consultant to various government organizations as well as IBM, General Electric, Honeywell and Teledyne. He was also a winner of the Presidents and Governors Award for Design Excellence.

According to him, he spent thirty-two years of his life in the design engineering and electronics of designing microchips in the Bio-Med field. In 1968 he became involved, almost by accident, in a research and development project regarding a spinal bypass for a young lady who had severed her spine. They were looking at possibly being able to connect motor nerves. It was a project they were all excited about. There were 100 people involved and he was senior engineer in charge of the project. This team was made up of people out of San Jose, people from Motorola, General Electric and Boston Medical Center. This project culminated in the microchip that he would later in his life believe was going to be the mark of the beast.

Working on the microchip, they had no idea about it ever being an identification chip. They looked at it as being a very humanitarian thing to do and they were doing high-level integration for the very first time.

His responsibility had to do with the design of the chip itself, not the medical side of it. As the chip came to evolve, there came a time in the project when they said that the financial return on bypassing severed spines is not a very lucrative thing for them to be into, so they needed to look at some other areas.

The project almost turned into electronic acupuncture because what they ended up with was embedding a microchip to put out a signal which affected certain areas. They noticed that the frequency of the chip had a great effect upon behavior and so they began to branch off and looked at the possibly of behavior modification.

One of the projects was called the Phoenix Project which had to do with Veitnam veterans. They had a chip that we called the Rambo chip. This chip would actually cause extra adrenaline flow.

I wonder how many of you know that if you can stop the output of the the pituitary gland (the signal from the pituitary gland that causes oestrogen flow), you can put a person into instant menopause and there is no conception. This was tested in India and other different parts of the world. So here you have got a birth control tool, based on a microchip.

Microchips can also be used for migraine headaches, sexual stimulant and sexual depressant. This is nothing more that electronic acupuncture

As the development moved along, he left the project and came back as a consultant several times. He was used in many meetings as an expert witness in regard to the uses of the microchip.

As a matter of fact, Carl Sanders sat in seventeen New World Order meetings with heads of state officials such as Henry Kissinger and Bob Gates of the C.I.A. to discuss their agenda on how to bring about this one-world system. The US government commissioned Carl Sanders to design a microchip for identifying and controlling the peoples of the world – a microchip that could be placed under the skin with a hypodermic needle(a quick, convenient process that would be slowly accepted by society).

He said, “I was in one meeting where it was discussed, ‘How can you control a people if you cannot identify them?’” All of a sudden, the idea came: “Let’s make them aware of lost children, etc.” This was discussed in meetings almost like people were cattle. The CIA came up with an idea of putting pictures of lost children on milk cartons. Since the chip is now accepted, you don’t see the pictures anymore, do you? It’s served its purpose. He also attended meetings in Brussels, Luxembourg, with the focus of tying together the finances of the world.

“As we developed this microchip, as the identification chip became the focal point, there were several things that were wanted. They wanted a name and an image (picture of your face), Social Security number with the international digits on it, fingerprint identification, physical description, family history, address, occupation, income tax information and criminal record.” The RFID chip is about seven millimeters in length, .75 millimeters in diameter, about the size of a grain of rice. It is capable of holding pages upon pages of information about you. All your general history, work history, crime record, health history, and financial data can be stored on this microchip.

The President of the United States of America, under the ‘Emigration Control Act of 1986’, Section 100, has the authority to deem whatever type of identification is necessary whether it be an invisible tattoo or electronic media under the skin.

There were 250,000 components in the microchip, including a tiny lithium battery. He fought them over using lithium as a battery source but NASA was doing a lot with lithium at that time and it was the going thing. Sanders, with a team of engineers behind him, and with US grant monies supplied by US tax dollars, took on this project and designed a microchip that is powered by a lithium battery, rechargeable by the temperature changes in our skin. Without the knowledge of the Bible, as he was not a believer at the time, these engineers spent one-and-a-half-million dollars doing research on the best and most convenient place to have the microchip placed under the skin.

These researchers discovered that the forehead and the back of the hand (the two spots Revelation says the mark will go) are not only the most convenient places, but are also the only viable places for rapid, consistent temperature changes in the skin to recharge the lithium battery.

Carl Sanders reached out to a doctor asking what would occur if the lithium contained within the RFID chip leaked into the body. The doctor answered by saying a terrible boil or grievous sore would appear in that location. This is what the book of Revelation has to say: “And the first(Angel) went, and poured out his vial on the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore on the men which had the mark of the beast, and on them which worshipped his image” (Revelation 16:2).

Since his salvation, Sanders believed that this chip, which he regretfully helped design, is the “mark” spoken about in Revelation 13:16-18. The original Greek word for “mark” is “charagma,” which means a “scratch or etching.” It is also interesting to note that the number 666 is a word in the original Greek language. The word is “chi xi stigma,” with the last part, “stigma,” also meaning “to stick or prick.”

THE TESTIMONY OF CARL SANDERS

(Excerpts from “The Microchip” by Carl Sanders)

“The message that we share; we’re trumpet ministries; my name is Carl Sanders. My wife, Ruby, is there in the back. We travel across the country sharing a message of the last days.”

“Folks, we’re very close to that being implemented. It’s already been put in a large group of babies…. It’s already…in the Royal family (right in the paper, has been microchiped). Special Forces people have been microchiped. There are Pentagon officials that have been microchiped. There are people who want a better passport, you’ll see it up on the screen, ‘A better Passport – the human hand’. And you have an option on Immigration Naturalization Form I833 to have the microchip put in the hand.”

“What does the Bible say? ‘he causeth all, both great and small, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their forehead’. Some bibles, if you have one of those, will say ‘on’ the right hand or ‘on’ the forehead. So, Bibles are being altered and changed, and things are being left out and moved out and changed, …”

“Like I say, I wasn’t a Christian…. After the engineering was done I laid out the…equations as big as the back of that tent, laying out the design of this microchip. You see, how do you know that you were saved? you were there, praise God. How do you know you got married? you were there. How do I know this thing is real? I was there. I was a part of it. I was there. I can tell you right now that I know that my God has forgiven me. I know that the people I come before forgive me. And finally, in Redhook, New York a few months back, I finally forgave myself and I could sleep at night instead of waking up screaming in the middle of the night saying ‘Why me?’ ‘Why did I have to do it?’ ”

“I wasn’t a Christian. And like I said before, most Christians look like they’ve been baptized in pickle juice, and I didn’t want any part of it…. And my daughter came to me and she said, ‘Dad, can I be baptized?’ And I said, ‘sure, you can be, go ahead. I think you’re gonna get wet; where a coat; I don’t know what they’re gonna do’…. My daughter came back to me and she said, ‘Dad,’ she said, ‘Would you come to the baptism?’…. ‘Man, I don’t want to miss the kick-off to the San Diego game’; by the way I’ve given up those childish things: I haven’t seen a football game in years, brother, I don’t want to see one. All I want to do is serve Him, praise God…. But I went with her, and I watched those people coming up out of the water. I had a towel I put down on the seat of the Lincoln, and my daughter came out, she was grinning from ear to ear. I didn’t have what those people had. I put her back in the car and I didn’t speak to her all the way home. I went home, and I went into my library, and I got down on my knees at the edge of my desk, And then I said, ‘God, why am I here? I don’t even know how to pray to you. I don’t know nothing about you’.”

” I started to ball and squall, and the snot was running — there is no dignity in coming to Christ. And if you come to Christ without balling and squalling you’ve got a problem, because your sin is as black as coal. Praise God! Your sin is as black as coal. And I saw it that way…. I tell you, when I got up from there I had to go tell somebody.”

“Folks, there came a time when I started looking at the Bible. They told me to stay out of the book of Revelation. And one day I found Revelation thirteen, and I found verse sixteen. And in verse sixteen, ‘He causeth all both great and small, rich and poor, free and bond to receive a mark in their right hand or in their forehead’. I saw that. And I saw, ‘That no man might buy or sell save he that had the mark’. And I looked up the word ‘mark’… the word ‘mark’ – ‘charagma’ ‘charakter’ and ‘charax’ – three words. And the word ‘charagma’: describes cut into; ‘charax’: a trench, a circumvention; ‘charakter’, the word that we get the word character from — all of this lined up one-hundred percent with the microchip.”

“But I still wouldn’t believe it… that’s on the surface, that’s not real. And all of a sudden HE said ‘Go to the word for six six six’. I went to the word: the word for six six six is ‘chi xi stigma’, 5516 in the Strong’s concordance…. And it talks about six hundred threescore and six, six six six is a number. Right in the middle is a little set of parenthesis that says 4742 as a cross. I went to 4742, it was the word ‘stigma’, the last part of the word ‘chi xi stigma’. Listen to what I’m going to tell you here because, Jesus Christ wrote the book of Revelation, John held the pen, and Christ wanted you to know something. And what He wanted you to know is, the word ‘stigma’ is ‘stizo’, i.e. to ‘stick’, to ‘prick’, ‘a mark incised or punched into for recognition of ownership’. I want to tell you, that little injection tool, the tip of it is called an inciser. It’s right on the engineering drawings. And I began to weep; and I said, ‘My God, My God, what have we done? What have we done? What have we as a group of men been involved in?’ ”

“What I want you to see here in this is how easily you have been conditioned to receive things in the television, in the media. If it comes over any of the media, you know that it’s a lie. It’s like when Clinton opens his mouth you know he’s lying, OK. When the antichrist opens his mouth you know he’s lying. And so what you read in the papers, what conditions you. If the church needed anything today it’s discernment.”

“Bio-chip technology, folks, it’s all around us…. They’re using it in cattle, cats and dogs, emus. You can’t own an emu and insure it if you don’t have a microchip in it. See, this is what I want to point out, folks. You’re being conditioned. It’ll be convenient.”

“People ask me if ‘6-6-6’ is in the microchip. As God is my witness, intentionally we did not put this in there. The computer that I was working on prior to designing this was called a Data-Net 30. It had an 18 bit word, three 6 bit characters. When I began to design the logic for this thing I went ahead and designed it as an 18 bit word. I wasn’t worried about parity and the other things on there. I just said, Well, I’m gonna use an 18 bit word. Little did I know, I did not know anything about what was in the Bible. I swear to God I did not know anything. All I wanted to do was get this thing done. And so I used an 18 bit word: three 6 bit characters — 6-6-6 — it’s all through the 250,000 components of this little microchip.”

“All of a sudden, folks, we’re moving to a cashless society…. These are just a few things that I wanted to share with you…. But I want you to know you are being conditioned. Who’s doing the counting? The ‘New World Order’ wants their hand in your pocket. They want you.”

“We’ve got people sitting back thinking they’re gonna be there in a golden hammock sipping pink lemonade through a straw until the rapture comes. A lot of them are gonna end up… spued out of HIS mouth and thinking that’s the rapture. And they’re gonna be laying there in a bunch of vegetables and garbage, and saying, ‘I thought the rapture was farther than this’. HE said, ‘I would that you would be hot or cold, for if you’re lukewarm I’ll spue you out of my mouth’. You need a personal relationship with Jesus Christ right now to get by in this world. People say, ‘Do I need the Holy Ghost to get to heaven?’ You need the Holy Ghost to get by down here, praise God! You need the Holy Ghost here! ”

“The microchip is real. Please don’t take it. Say, ‘No, give two to the guy down the street’, but don’t take it. Folks, you’re gonna get that opportunity. The Bible is very clear, and it tells us exactly what’s going to happen. So, please, you’re going to get that opportunity; they’re gonna come to you with it. The little booths are going to be set up at the post office. You’re gonna go in, they’re gonna take a digitized picture of your face, just like they do for the drivers license. And a little injection tool lifts up the skin, and an air driver pops it under the skin; and you’re gonna walk out of there and you will have no credit cards anymore; you will have no worry about cash; you’ll have nothing. And the Bible says that if you don’t take that thing you’re gonna end up with some real problems: it says, ‘Who are these around the throne?’ it says, ‘These are those who did not take the mark… and lost their heads’. Revelation fourteen talks about your smoke ascendeth up for ever and ever if you take this thing. It’s very clear, folks.”

“I fought against the use of lithium. And I wondered why at the time was I fighting against it when I didn’t have any basis for it. I want you to go with me to Revelation… sixteen two, ‘And the first went’… now by the way I called a doctor at the Boston Medical Center and I said, ‘What would happen if the little chip gets crushed?’… and he said, ‘Well, you would get a sore’. I said, ‘What kind of sore?’ He said, ‘A sore like a boil… a grievous sore’. And I didn’t think too much about it at the time. Later on I was reading Revelation sixteen verse two, ‘And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshiped his image’. That sore there is singular not plural. That sore there is not the sores that Job had on his body. This is a single sore that comes upon those who have received the implant. And so, folks, I just want to tell you there’s too much that adds up with Scripture. If you look at the word charakter, if you look at all of those things: there’s too much.”

DOCUMENTS VALIDATE CARL SANDERS’ LIFE AND TESTIMONY

CLICK HERE

Isn’t odd to see how some people, like John Torell and others, are so quick to point out the “fraudulent” claims of Carl Sanders regarding his involvement with the microchip implant, while giving relatively little, if any, attention to the implant itself? The focus to draw attention away from the seriousness of the microchip implant (probably the very mark of the beast), and to focus the reader’s attention on Carl the “bad Christian”, should make any true Spirit led Christian take note and question the veracity of any such contradictory remarks (rumors, articles, statements, etc.).

The story is not about Carl Sanders: the story is about the microchip implant – the mark of the beast – and “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev. 14:9-12)

THE RAPTURE SERIES 6: THE CHURCH’S ROLE

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Pentecost

In order to fully understand the position of the Church, we begin with the birth of the Church. Acts 2 records that approximately 120 devout Jews “… were all with one accord in one place” {Acts 2:1). There is no question that there was perfect unity among this group. As we read on, we see that “…suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them” (verses 2-3). This documents the birth of the Church of Jesus Christ, in a one-time event.

The Abiding Spirit

The disciples were already believers at that time, however, they were not born again of the Spirit of God. Jesus said to His disciples, “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knowth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:17). Notice that Jesus says, “For he (the Spirit) dwelleth with you.” Before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon a person to fulfill a certain task. Thus, the Holy Spirit was with the disciples but not “in” them.

Verse 17 reveals that He “shall be in you.” This prophetic word from the Lord Jesus to His disciples was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost!

What Greater Works?

When we understand the significance of the rebirth, the statement that Jesus made in John 14:12 begins to make sense. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” How is it possible for us to do “greater works” than the Lord did? What are these works that are supposed to be so great? They obviously must surpass opening the eyes of the blind, the ears of the deaf, causing the lame to walk, and raising the dead to life.

The answer is relatively easy when we understand that these people who were healed by the Lord, or raised from the dead, did not continue to live forever. They are no longer among us, just as the Bible declares, “It is appointed unto man once to die.”

When the Lord said we will be doing “greater works,” He was speaking of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit leading to the new birth resulting in the reborn person becoming an eternal person! By our preaching the Gospel, people will be born again. That is indeed greater works! This is our God-given responsibility. Whether by praying, by going to the mission field, or by giving, we are preaching the liberating Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to the outermost parts of the earth so that many more will be born again and added to the kingdom of God.

The First Church

The first Church was so rare and so segregated that there was no question regarding her identification. Its uniqueness was based on perfect unity. After reading the first few chapters of the book of Acts, we can almost with certainty conclude that the early Church believed in the establishment of the visible kingdom of God on earth in Israel at that time. Acts 4:34 seems to support this: “Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were posssessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold.” Of course, sharing of possessions didn’t last, as we will see later.

Is The Church God’s Kingdom On Earth?

How would you like to join a church today that expects you to sell everything you have, regardless of how much, and donate it all to the church? Few of us would be willing to do so. God almost certainly intended to establish the kingdom of God on earth through the Church in Jerusalem at that time. It would seem natural for the early Church to strive towards the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth because they were all Jews residing in the land of Israel and were indeed waiting for the imminent return of Jesus.

We all know that this did not happen. As a matter of fact, it was against God’s will. By establishing this new communal system for the Church, they neglected to obey the commandment of the Lord to go out from Jerusalem into Samaria and to the outermost parts of the world. Thus, persecution was the tool that God used to get the first Church to obey His instruction. This is evident from Acts 8:1, “…at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad….”

For this reason, we warn about the various religious groups which require their members to surrender all of their worldly possessions to their leaders or the organization. This is completely contrary to God’s intention for the individual. The Church is not composed of the kingdom of God on earth; it does not have a physical, geographical or political promise to do so.

Segregation And Infiltration

There is a distinct difference between Israel and the Church: Israel was to be united as a special, peculiar people segregated from the rest of the world. On the other hand, the Church was to infiltrate the entire world, preaching loudly and clearly that Jesus saves and that He is coming again!

In the beginning, the Church continued to grow. Acts 6:7 says, “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multipled in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” Jerusalem was the holy city for the Church, yet the rest of the world remained in darkness.

We know from the report given in the Acts of the Apostles that great persecution happened next. From that point on, the early Christians were chased by their enemies to every corner of the earth and they preached the Gospel wherever they went. God fulfilled His intentions through the enemies of the Church!

Having finally reached Rome, the apostle Paul reported, “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world” (Romans 1:7-8). The persecution of the Church flamed the fire of the Gospel so it encompassed the world!

A Holy Nation

For almost 2,000 years, the Word of God has been proclaimed and millions have been added to the Church worldwide. Israel is the visible manifestation of God’s selection on earth. However, the Church is in the world but not of the world; it is not an organization but a living organism. In biblical terms, it is the body of Christ.

The Church is not a visible entity, yet it is everywhere. First Peter 2:9 states, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” The Church cannot be identified despite the fact that she is a “holy nation;” on the other hand, Israel can be identified.

Universities, colleges, and seminaries are filled with books about the history of the Church; however, no one can scientifically explain the Church of Jesus Christ. No geographical, political or cultural boundaries identify the extent of the Church.

The Church In Danger Of Annihilation

Because the Church has no earthly parameters, and consists of individual members who walk among people of all races and nationalities, the Church is in danger too, just as Israel is in uniting with the world.

It is no wonder that the Church is continuously admonished not to be part of this world. Romans 12:2 warns, “… be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

James also supports this statement when he says, “. ..know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). John compassionately cautions us, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him, For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1st John 2:15-16). Clearly, we are in the world but not of the world. We walk among the people of this world with no physical or visual distinction between us. We are citizens from every country on the face of the earth; nevertheless, we are different! As Christians, we have no promise of an abiding place on this earth because we are destined for Heaven.

The danger in which the Church finds herself lies in the possibility of being integrated into the world which is contrary to the instructions given in the verses we just read.

These days the spirit of integration is so strong that it will become virtually impossible to keep our identity as Christians. Therefore, it becomes important to realize that God must interfere supernaturally by taking the entire Church out of this world. It will happen in the twinkling of an eye. We will be heading toward the clouds of Heaven to meet the Lord in the air which is another reason for the Rapture.

Persecution Or Integration?

The greatest threat to the Church of Jesus Christ will not be persecution as many think, but rather it will be a friendly, tender, and peaceful invitation to be part of the great global church which will encompass all the religions of the world.

Let us learn from Israel, which, as we have discussed, is to be separate, holy, and not part of this world. Likewise, we, the Church of Jesus Christ, must not be integrated into this world. The entire world, as far as economy, finance, politics, and religion are concerned, is undeniably becoming one. There is absolutely no escape for the Church except by the shout of the archangel and the trump of God which will call us to our heavenly home!

The false peace and prosperity in modern history, paves the way for the rise and rulership of the Antichrist. Today we are seeing many businesses merging with other businesses. This process is advantageous for all of us but it will lead to a united global world which ultimately will be controlled by one man, the beast called Antichrist.

Self-Declared God

We know from Scripture that the Antichrist will declare himself to be God, sitting in the temple of God commanding worship.

This is not at all unusual. The popular message being proclaimed by todays “teachers” is that man is able to become some type of god. Not only do we hear this from other religions, but it is coming out of the mouths of the “professing” Church of Jesus Christ as well! It may be hard to believe, but many preachers are proclaiming such heresy.

The answer for the Church is the Lord Jesus Christ whose sudden appearance in the clouds of Heaven will prevent total integration of the Church into the world.

To summarize, Israel and the Church are two distinct entities; Israel has an earthly calling and the Church has a heavenly calling. Israel has an unmistakable geographical promise which they will have to claim possession of in due time. On the other hand, the Church has been given no such promise. The Church is a “chosen nation” with no political identity whose task is to be a light to the world and to proclaim that Jesus alone saves and that He is coming again!

(MAIN SOURCE: The Great Mystery of the Rapture – Arno Froese – 1999)

ISAIAH – AN ANCIENT PROPHET WITH A MODERN MESSAGE

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Who today does not yearn for relief from the problems that face mankind? Yet, how often our longings go unfulfilled! We dream of peace, but we are plagued by war. We cherish law and order, but we cannot stem the rising tide of robbery, rape, and murder. We want to trust our neighbor, but we have to lock our doors for protection. We love our children and try to instill wholesome values in them, but all too often we watch helplessly as they succumb to the unwholesome influence of their peers.

We might well agree with Job, who stated that man’s short life is “glutted with agitation.” (Job 14:1) This seems especially so today, for society is deteriorating on a scale never seen before. We have watered down our moral standards to the point where many of our youth are confused, discouraged and in deep trouble. We are reaping the harvest of parental neglect, divorce, child abuse, teen pregnancy, school dropouts, illegal drugs, and streets full of violence.

However, we are not left without hope. Some 2,700 years ago, God inspired a man of the Middle East to utter a series of prophecies that have special meaning for our day. These messages were recorded in the BIble book bearing that prophet’s name- Isaiah. Who was Isaiah, and why can we say that his prophecy, recorded almost three millenniums ago, provIdes light for all mankind today?

A RIGHTEOUS MAN IN TURBULENT TIMES

In the first verse of his book, Isiah introduces himself as the son of Amoz” and he tells us that he served as God’s prophet in the days of Uzzah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, king of Judah.” (Isaiah 1::1) ‘Thiss would mean that Isaiah continued as God’s prophet to the nation of Judah

for no less than 46 years, likely beginning at the end of Uzziah’s reign – about the year 778 B.C.

Isaiah and his family lived during a turbulent period in Judah’s history. Political unrest was common, bribery tainted the courts, and hypocrisy tore the religious fabric of Society. The hilltops were covered with altars to false gods. Even some of the kings promoted pagan worship. Ahaz, for instance, not only tolerated idolatry among his subjects but personally engaged in it, making his own offspring “pass through the fire” in a ritual sacrifice to the Canaanite god Molech.” (2 KIngs 16:3, 4; 2 Chronicles 28:3, 4) And all of this took place among a people who were in a covenant relationship with Jehovah! – Exodus 19:5·8.

A MESSAGE OF SALVATION

Isaiah’s name means “Salvation of Jehovah,” and this could well be called the theme of his message. True, some of Isaiah ‘s prophecies are of judgment. Still, the theme of salvation comes through loud and clear. Repeatedly, Isaiah related how in due time Jehovah would release the Israelites from captivity in Babylon, allowing a remnant to return to Zion and bring the land back to its former splendour. No doubt the privilege of speaking and writing prophecies concerning the restoration of his beloved Jerusalem gave Isaiah the greatest joy!

But what do these messages of judgment and salvation have to do with us? Happily, Isaiah does not prophecy simply for the benefit of the two- tribe kingdom of Judah. On the contrary, his messages have special significance for our day. Isaiah paints a glorious picture of how God’s Kingdom will soon bring grand blessings to our earth. In this regard, a large portion of Isaiah’s writings focuses all the foretold Messiah, who would rule as King of God’s Kingdom. (Daniel 9:25; John 12:41) Surely It Is no coincidence that the names Jesus and Isaiah express virtually the same thought, the name Jesus meaning “Jehovah Is Salvation.”

Of course, Jesus was not born until some seven centuries after Isaiah’s day. Yet, the Messianic prophecies contained in the book of Isaiah are so detailed and so accurate that they read like an eyewitness account of Jesus’ life on earth. One source noted that in view of this, the book of Isaiah is sometimes called the “Fifth Gospel” Hence, it is hardly surprising that Isaiah was the Bible book most frequently quoted by Jesus and his apostles in order to make a clear identification of the Messiah.

Isaiah paints a glorious word picture of “new heavens and a new earth” wherein “a king will reign for righteousness Itself” and princes will rule for justice. (Isaiah 32:1,2; 65:17, 18; 2 Peter 3: 13) Thus the book of Isaiah points us to the heart-warming hope of God’s Kingdom, under the Messiah Jesus Christ as enthroned King. What an encouragement for us to Jive each day in joyful expectation of “salvation by Jehovah”! (Isaiah 25:9; 40 :28-3 1) When you study the precious message in the book of Isaiah, your confidence in God’s promises will be greatly strengthened.

Do not allow any Amillennialist, Preterist or anyone else steal your joy!

A DISPENSATIONAL VIEW OF THE GOSPELS IN SMALL CHUNKS (15)

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CHAPTER V (CONTINUE)

The Middle Galilean Period (Continue)

In this part, we are looking at the second and third of the ten divisions of the Sermon on the Mount.

B. Moral Standards: Matt. 5:17-48; Lk. 6:27-36. The scribes and Pharisees were very meticulous in observing the Law of Moses outwardly. Paul had been a Pharisee and he could say that he was blameless in its observance (Phil. 3:4-6), but this observance produced only self-righteousness. To enter the Kingdom one must have a better righteousness than that. It must be an inward righteousness.

As long as a man did not actually commit adultery, the Mosaic Law on sex could not touch him, even though he may have lived daily with a burning desire for another man’s wife. But according to the higher law which Christ enunciated, such a man was an adulterer before God. In vs. 28, “whosoever looketh on a woman,” looketh is in the present tense and therefore has the idea of continuous action, “keeps on looking and lusting after her.” When Jesus spoke these words the people of Israel were still under the dispensation of Law, as borne out by the fact that Jesus spoke of bringing their gifts to the altar (vs. 23-26).

Jesus quoted from two of the Ten Commandments which deal with the foundations of society: “Thou shalt not kill,” and “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” and explained how the fulfillment depended upon the inner condition of purity of the heart.

He next quoted two laws which have a very wide application in the inner-relationships of men. One deals with truth and the other with justice. Lev. 19:12 is first quoted: “Thou shalt not forswear thyself,” that is “Thou shalt not swear falsely, but perform unto the Lord thine oaths.” But Jesus says, “Swear not at all . . . let what you say be a plain yes or no. Anything more than this has a taint of evil.” If a man has to swear an oath to prove he is telling the truth, it may well be doubted that he is trustworthy.

Jesus next quoted Ex. 21:24, “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” This is strict justice, but Jesus tempers justice with mercy. He tells His disciples to give to others more than they deserve. Instead of love your neighbor and hate your enemy, Jesus says, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you.”

We believe Jesus was speaking metaphorically when He spoke of cutting off one’s hand or foot or other bodily member. God forbad actual mutilation of the human body, and besides such mutilation would be equivalent to suicide, for one would probably bleed to death. There are those who believe that Jesus intended this instruction to be carried out literally, but if so, we have no record of anyone obeying the command. Nor do we believe Jesus intended that His disciples give away all they possessed to anybody for any reason. Even Jesus under certain circumstances did not turn the other cheek (cf. John 18:23). We are sure Jesus did not mean that if a robber entered the house of a disciple he should gladly give him all of his worldly possessions and permit his loved ones to be sexually abused and then give him a kiss of brotherly love and send him on his way rejoicing.
When Jesus spoke of a person having a beam or a big log in his eye, we understand He was using hyperbole, for how could one get the whole trunk of a tree in his eye? Paul likewise tells us to “mortify, that is, put to death our bodily members which are upon the earth” (Col. 3:5). Do we take this literally, or do we understand it to mean that since we were crucified and put to death together with Christ, we are therefore to reckon ourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God?

One needs only to read Rom. 12:17-13:10 to see that Paul gives almost identical instructions to members of the Body of Christ as Jesus gave to His Kingdom disciples. Listen to just a few of his Words: “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head… Love worketh no ill to his neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

Notice how Luke renders Matt. 5:45-48 in Lk. 6:32-36. Luke says, “If ye love them that love you, or do good to them that do good to you, or lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye?” The Greek reads: “What grace is there in that?” We have previously pointed out the seeming influence of Paul upon Luke’s writing, and here we see it again.
C. Righteous Acts: Matt. 6:1-18. The word translated “alms” in vs. 1 should read “righteous acts.” Alms, Prayer and Fasting are here included as righteous acts.

Alms: Alms is a word which comes from the Anglo-Saxon, a word having the same meaning as eleemosynary, which is a transliteration of the Greek word used in our text. It is derived from the word mercy and means showing mercy or compassionateness. God can reward only that which is done from the heart and for His glory. A man might give all of his money to feed the poor, and if he did it to promote his own prestige, Jesus says whatever prestige he received would be his full reward. This same principle holds for any kind of so-called humanitarian or religious good works (cf. 1 Cor. 13:1-3).

Prayer: The Lord’s Prayer, which might better be called the Disciple’s Prayer, is related also in Luke 11:1-4, but on an entirely different occasion. The prayer was doubtless intended to be a sample or model for prayer: not a prayer to be memorized and repeated word for word, over and over again. Jesus warned against using vain repetitions in prayer. When God has answered our requests we do not continue to ask for that thing. If He has supplied not only our bread for today but for a week or month in advance, we should thank Him for the supply; not continue to petition Him. There is progressive revelation concerning prayer which must also be considered. It should be noted that the “Our Father” prayer makes no mention of the name of Jesus. Toward the end of Jesus’ ministry He gave further instructions for prayer. He said, “Hitherto (that is, up to the present time) have ye asked nothing in my name.” Now, He says: “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you,” (John 16:23,24). Asking in His name means to ask in His behalf, or for His sake. It is easy to end a prayer with the words, “in Jesus’ Name” without having analyzed whether the petition is really for the glory of Christ. With these introductory thoughts in mind, let us look at each element of the prayer.

“Our Father, which art in heaven.” Many Jews could not have ‘prayed this prayer, for Jesus said, “Ye are of your father the Devil,” (Jn. 8:44). It is most important to recognize the fact that the disciples were children of God, both as far as the prayer is concerned and as far as the following context is concerned. Otherwise we may become confused on the matter of the security of the believer. All prayer should begin with praise and worship of God.

“Hallowed be thy name.” The word “hallow” means to be holy, to sanctify, to make a person or thing the opposite of common. God’s name stands for God Himself. That is why God commanded that we should not take His name in vain, or lower His name to the base and commonplace things of this world. This is a petition, which means that the one praying is asking for God’s name to be hallowed in his own personal life.

“Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” These two requests are very closely tied together, for when the Kingdom comes God’s will shall be done in earth as it is done in heaven. This request is another evidence that the Kingdom in the Gospel accounts is the yet future Messianic Kingdom which shall be established here upon the earth. As we have seen, the Kingdom was near at hand but it had not yet come. It is a strange anomaly that many Christians who do not believe that Jesus will ever come back to establish a Kingdom on earth, often pray this prayer for the coming of the Kingdom, even in public service or at their churches. Even though Israel rejected Him and had Him crucified, He prayed for their forgiveness and a new opportunity was given them in the early chapters of Acts to repent, but they again rejected Him and the Kingdom establishment was postponed until God’s hitherto secret purpose concerning the Church is fulfilled.

“Give us this day our daily bread.” There has been much controversy over the exact meaning of the word translated “daily.” We have already commented on the inconsistency of praying for that which we already have. However, there are millions of hungry people in the world who could consistently pray such a prayer. But to place the prayer in its proper context of the coming Millennial Kingdom which will be preceded by the Great Tribulation, this request takes on added meaning. We know that when the Beast comes to power in that day no man will be permitted to buy or sell unless he has submitted to the Beast and received his mark in his right hand or upon his forehead, (Rev. 13:17). We can well imagine the awful plight of the godly Jewish remnant in that day, and how they will have to pray in earnest this prayer for daily bread. While we believe the prayer will have special significance for Israel in the time of Jacob’s trouble, it is surely a legitimate prayer for God’s people at any time in a state of emergency. Some understand the word “bread” to refer to spiritual, rather than physical sustenance. Christ is the Bread that came down from heaven (Jn. 6:33). “Bread” also relate to basic needs as it is wrong to pray for luxurious things we do not actually need.

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Often this verse is placed in contrast to Eph. 4:32, where we are told to forgive one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven us. It is said that in the Kingdom order one had to forgive others in order to be forgiven by God; whereas today we are to forgive others because we have been forgiven. We do not think this distinction is justifiable. In the prayer as recorded by Luke this request reads: “And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive everyone that is indebted to us.” Besides this, the tense of the verb “forgive” in Matthew should be rendered as a perfect, and practically all of the other English versions render the Matthew passage: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” The forgiveness in this passage is the Father’s forgiveness of His child, and not the once for all judicial forgiveness which one receives when he becomes a child of God. We will have more to say on this point when commenting on the verses which follow the prayer.

“And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” Here we must stop and ask whether God ever leads any one into temptation? Does not James state: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man,” (Jas. 1:13). The solution to the problem lies in the proper understanding of the word translated “temptation.” This word does not necessarily mean a solicitation to sin. The word means a trial or test of any kind. Notice how the word is used in the following passages. When Jesus asked Philip, “Whence shall we buy bread, that these (5,000) may eat?” we read that Jesus said this “to prove him.” Here Jesus was testing Philip’s faith; not tempting him to sin (John 6:5,6). When the Jewish leaders tried to trap Jesus with the question of whether it was lawful to give tribute to Caesar or not, Jesus answered: “Why tempt ye me?” (Lk. 20:23). Jesus surely did not mean that these Jews were tempting Him to commit sin. They were putting Him on trial. When Peter at the council in Jerusalem asked: “Why tempt ye God, to put a yoke on the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” (Acts 15:10), it is evident that he did not mean that they were tempting God to sin. When we read, “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac,” (Heb. 11:17), we understand that the word in this context means that God was testing or trying Abraham’s faith: not that He was tempting him to sin.

Also the word “lead” us not into temptation has in it the connotation of seducing or enticing to sin. The Greek word means “to bring into.” The American Standard version translates it: “And bring us not into temptation.” Today’s English version has it, “Do not bring us to hard testing.” The New English Bible reads, “And do not bring us to the test.”
While it is true that God never tempts any one to sin, He does sometimes bring us into situations where our faith is sorely tested, and in such situations there is the possibility of yielding to temptation to choose our own way and thus transgress God’s way. But James is quick to point out that “every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed,” (Jas. 1:14). It is not God who entices us to evil, but our own sinful lusts. Thus, this petition is to keep us out of situations in which it would be beyond our strength to keep from sinning. We cannot live in such a world as ours without confronting tests and temptations to evil daily, but we have the promise that “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it,” (1 Cor. 10:13).

The negative part of the petition is, “Don’t bring us into severe tests.” The positive part is, “But deliver us from evil,” or as many translate, “Deliver us from the evil one.” Satan is ever on the job of enticing people to sin, but in the coming Tribulation period when he is cast out of heaven into the earth, we read, “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time,” (Rev. 12:9-12). Since the primary interpretation of this prayer belongs to the Kingdom disciples who are destined to go through the Tribulation, we can see the special significance of praying to be delivered from the evil one.

“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” This final statement is omitted from the prayer as given in Lk. 11, and it is also omitted from certain of the Greek manuscripts of the prayer in Matthew. Most modern English versions also omit it. Whether these words were spoken by Jesus or added later by a scribe to complete the prayer we may not be sure, but the ascription of power and glory to the Father is true.

After giving the prayer to the disciples, Jesus continues to speak of forgiveness. He says: “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Does this mean that one who does not forgive his fellow man will lose his salvation? or that one who does forgive, as in the previous verse, will gain salvation by forgiving? It is a serious mistake to equate forgiveness with salvation, since forgiveness is only one of the many facets of salvation. It is also a mistake to equate the Father’s forgiveness of His child with the judicial forgiveness of the sinner at the moment of salvation. When one is saved the judicial penalty is forgiven once for all. After one becomes a child of God he still has the possibility of sinning, and such sin has to be dealt with, either by the child of God or by the Father. If the child confesses it to the Father, it is forgiven, (1 John 1:9). If the child does not confess it, then the Father must settle the matter, and He does this through judging the sin Himself and this results in chastening of some kind. Paul says, “If we would judge ourselves (confess our sins), we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world” (1 Cor. 11:31,32). Always remember, that a child of God will not lose his salvation but sin and bad works may impact his rewards.

An analogy might help at this point. A man may break into a store and steal merchandise. He is arrested and brought before the judge. He receives a penalty of punishment for a certain period of time in jail. On the other hand, a child may steal some money from his father’s purse. What does the father do? Take the child to court and have him sent to jail? Of course not. The father knows what his son has done and he waits to see if he will recognize that he has done wrong and will come and own up to what he has done. Until the son confesses his wrong there is a strained relation on the part of the son to the father. But if the son does not come voluntarily to set matters right, then the father must take the matter in hand and administer some kind of chastisement. The sin of a Christian is just as sinful, if not more so, than that of the unsaved person, but God deals differently with the sin of the unsaved and that of those who are His beloved children.
Fasting: Fasting has never been commanded by God, but when it is done the same rule applies as in the case of almsgiving and prayer. It should be done in secret before God and not before man. It is perhaps one of the most difficult things a minister of the Word has to contend with, when he receives the praise of his fellow-Christians, to give all of the glory to God and not to feel a little pride in what he has done.

(Main Source: Understanding The Gospels – A Different Approach – Charles F. Baker)

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THE RAPTURE SERIES 5: ISRAEL’S ROLE

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THE RAPTURE SERIES 5: ISRAEL’S ROLE

Israel is God’s chosen nation but will not be raptured.

Our Blessed Hope

The Rapture is an orthodox doctrine which cannot be denied. The purpose of this part of our series is to encourage the Church to believe in the words of Jesus, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 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 unto myself that where I am, there ye may be also ” (John 14:1-3) Therefore, we joyfully await the Lord! The apostle Paul warns believers to be “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). Therefore, based on the Scripture, we believe in the immanency of the Rapture!

The Necessity Of Faith

Some claim that since you cannot humanly explain something, it does not exist. Such conclusions are faulty because the Bible says, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2nd Corinthians 4:18).

The Bible is a book of faith, and only to the extent that we are willing to subject our intellect to the authority of the Holy Scriptures are we able to understand its message. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” This verse speaks in scientific and legal terms: Faith is “substance” and “evidence.”

For this very reason, it is futile to argue the doctrine of the Rapture with those who deny the absolute authority of the Holy Scriptures. The apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians in the simplest of terms and listed only one condition when he described the coming Rapture, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again…” (1st Thessalonians 4:14). Therefore, if we do not believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus, we cannot be born again. As a result, we will not be raptured.

Israel: The End time Sign

When we talk about the Rapture, we must realize that this is not an isolated event concerning only the Church of Jesus Christ, nor is it a doctrine established only in the New Testament. That is far from the truth. We notice from many passages, Romans 11 in particular, that the Church of Jesus Christ mainly consists of Gentiles and is actually part of Israel; we are organically one. The Bible clearly supports the position of the Gentiles with the following words, “… wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?” (verse 24). Verse 17 gives further clarification, “…thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them par-takest of the root and fatness of the olive tree.”

Since the olive tree represents Israel, the Gentiles who believe in Jesus have been joined with Israel, making us one. When the Rapture takes place, it will undoubtedly affect Israel, as we will see later on.

This organic unity is also emphasized in Ephesians 2:12, “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” And of course, we must not forget to mention Ephesians 3:6, “That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.” Therefore, if part of the promise was addressed to the Church from among the Gentiles, we can conclude that Israel must be the greatest end-time sign for the Church and that the Rapture is close at hand. With that in mind, let us take a closer look at Israel.

Israel To Be Separate

Very few seem to realize that the union of the Jews and Gentiles clearly violates God’s order. According to Deuteronomy 14:2, Israel cannot be integrated into the nations of the world, “For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.” God set the Jews apart, “above all other nations.” They are chosen for God’s purpose. If Satan, the prince of this world, who is also called the god of this world, is successful in mixing the Jews with the Gentiles, then he can eradicate the Jews, dissolving them in the ocean of Gentiles, ruining God’s promises. We know from the Bible that in the end, Satan will not succeed. The Lord will see to it that Israel will be saved out of this terrible coming day, the Great Tribulation.

Israel Failed To Separate

From reading the Old Testament, we know that Israel failed to completely fulfill this commandment of God. For as long as Joshua lived, the people followed the Lord’s instruction to destroy their enemies. However, after Joshua died, we read over and over in the book of Judges that the tribes of Israel did not completely drive out the enemies from within their allotted territory. We arrive at this conclusion based on the following examples:

• Judah and Simeon “… could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley…” (Judges 1:19).
• “And the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem…” Judges 1:21)
• “Neither did Manasseh drive out the inhabitants of Bethshean…” (Judges 1:27).
• “… when Israel was strong… they put the Canaanites to tribute, and did not utterly drive them out” (Judges 1:28).

Israel failed to execute God’s commandment. This has carried over to the present problem in the Middle East and is nothing other than the result of Israel’s disobedience, even thousands of years ago! Israel deliberately refused to separate herself from the nations and has continuously allowed some degree of integration.

Israel Failed To Receive The Kingdom Of God

In the fullness of time, Jesus, Son of God and Messiah came and proclaimed that the kingdom of God was at hand. Finally, Israel had the opportunity to be a unique nation above all others as a visible testimony to the heathen.

John the Baptist, the herald of the coming Messiah, proclaimed,
“…Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). John did not come out with this statement of his own initiative, but quoted the prophetic Scripture, “For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” (Matthew 3:3). When Jesus was baptized by John, we hear the heavenly Father’s confirmation, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).

Fulfilled Prophecy

It is fascinating to notice that all of these events took place in accordance with the prophetic Word, “… that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet…” (Matthew 1:22). Even the religious people who in reality did not wait for the coming of the Messiah had to confess, “…for thus it is written by the prophet” (Matthew 2:5). In verse 15 we read, “… that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet….” And in verse 17, “Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet…”When His parents had settled in Nazareth, we read, “… that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene” (Verse 23). Jesus came to fulfill the perfect will of God the Father. The New Testament repeatedly testifies of His works as being the fulfillment of prophecy.

The scribes, the Pharisees, and the other religious authorities should have recognized that Jesus was the Messiah, but they did not. Why not? Because prophecy had to be fulfilled. Matthew 13:14-15 bears witness that, “…in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” The Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ, was in their midst! However, Israel stumbled, and the Jews fell deeply into unbelief because they had wanted the kingdom and the king on their own terms!

Israel Isolated Through Judgment

After the children of Israel refused to obey God and keep His commandments, which would have separated them from the heathen nations around them, God used the nations as a tool of judgment to separate the Jews from their land and scatter them across the entire world!

Since the destruction of the Temple by the Roman forces in A.D. 70, the Jews have been severely persecuted throughout the world.

Volumes have been written about the horrible suffering of the Jewish people during the course of the last 2,000 years.

God ordained them to be distinctly identified, isolated, and separated: not for the purpose of uniqueness in a positive sense, but often for discrimination, oppression and even death.

Israel’s Miraculous Birth

Through Hitler’s Nazi killing machine, more than six million Jews perished, not because of any crime or wrongdoing on their part, but simply because they were Jews. They were different!

It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to understand why God permitted such horrifying judgment upon His chosen people. Many have asked the question without receiving a definite answer. All we know is that Israel arose immediately after the Holocaust and became a nation. The horrible injustices suffered by the Jewish people contributed to the United Nations’ decision to grant them the right to establish a homeland in the territory named by the British-Palestine.

At the beginning the Jews and Arabs lived together in relative harmony in the Holy Land. However, with the founding of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948, and the wars that followed as a result, Israel became divided from her Arab neighbors. The division of these two groups caused the world to pressure Israel into compromise regarding the coexistence between them and the Arab-Palestinians.

Even today, Israel still desires peaceful coexistence with all the Arabs, and undoubtedly, this division will be dealt with in a democratic fashion so that one day Israel will live in peace with all of her Arab neighbors. It must be stressed, however, that this peace will only be temporary because it is a false peace.

Israel’s Uniqueness

We deliberately emphasize Israel’s position in relation to the Church and the Gentile nations so that we may understand why it is necessary in these end times to expect a supernatural intervention. God must fulfill His Word; “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth” (Deuteronomy 14:2). How can God make Israel a special, chosen people above all the nations of the world if they are expected to become one with the world?

Now that we are witnessing the integration of the Jews with the nations of the world, we are forced to ask, “How much longer will it be until God must supernaturally interfere in order to maintain the national identity of His chosen people?”

Israel: The Origin Of The Church

Many readers might be asking, “Does Israel have a direct relationship with the Church and the Rapture?” The answer is “yes” because Israel has been given to us as an example. Therefore, we must also analyze the Church in regard to her chosen position as a separate identity, using Israel as our pattern! This will be done in part 6 of our series.

(MAIN SOURCE: The Great Mystery of the Rapture – Arno Froese – 1999)

 

THE RAPTURE SERIES 4: THEN WE WHICH ARE ALIVE

0 RAPTURE

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1st Thessalonians 4:16-17).
What a tremendous encouragement! We will meet the Lord and then be with Him forever. This is a fundamental teaching in the Holy Scriptures. This should remind us of the Lord’s invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest ” (Matthew 11:28). The next to the last verse in our Bible reads, “… Surely I come quickly, Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20). Those who have accepted His invitation now desire His coming, which is expressed throughout the entire Bible.

For almost 2,000 years, believers in Christ have yearned for the experience described in the above verses. This unique, one-time event in the Church of Jesus Christ has not yet happened. Before and during this event, which will take place suddenly, and without announcement, the news media will be silent. However, they will quickly try to conjure up an explanation for this occurrence soon after. Judging by the media and entertainment industry today, we can well imagine that they will concoct some explanation.

When the Rapture does take place, the removal of millions of “fanatic, fundamental Bible-believing Christians” will be easily accepted by most of those who have been left behind. Based on the succession of events in the book of Revelation, recognition of the truth and subsequent repentance will virtually be non-existent.

The following verses indicate that those left behind will remain unrepentant. “And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts” (Revelation 9:20-21); and Revelation 16:11, “And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.”

The Two-Phase Coming

2nd Thessalonians 2:1, begins with the statement, “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him.” This verse depicts two events: the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering unto Him.
The coming of Jesus Christ is clearly identified as “the day of Christ.” This is not speaking of the Rapture, but of the literal return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth. Quite apparently the believers during Paul’s time were confused by some false teachers who were proclaiming that “the day of Christ is at hand.” Paul corrects them and writes, “…for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed…” (verse 3). Paul is referring to the revelation of the Antichrist, which must take place before the day of Christ, not before the Rapture.

Surprisingly, he asks, “Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?” (verse 5). Notice that Paul reverses the direction of events, then reveals the answer in verses 6-7, “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. As a result, the revelation of the Antichrist cannot take place while the Church remains on earth. The Holy Spirit, who dwells in the Church and within each believer for eternity, must “be taken out of the way.” Only “… then shall that Wicked be revealed….”

His Coming At His Appointed Time

The saved will be gathered to the Lord and the lost will be left behind, ready to be fully deceived by the powers of darkness.
The coming of the Lord for His saints is based upon His appointment alone and will be based solely on His own eternal resolution.
Israel will be just as surprised as the rest of the world. This element of surprise makes the Rapture so exciting. We know with absolute certainty that it will take place; we just don’t know when.

A Summary
Before we go any further in our study, it is vital to highlight some key points from the first three parts of our series.
• “The Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven” is a unique, onetime event. He will come to receive the Bride whom He purchased with His own blood. There is no doubt that instead of confusing the languages as He did during the building of the Tower of Babel, He will unite us, so that we will understand each other perfectly as we communicate in a heavenly language.
• The “Voice of the Archangel” is also unprecedented. No where else in Scripture do we read about the Lord Himself coming from Heaven with the “voice of the archangel.” We’ve determined that the archangel would be Michael, who will defend the children of Israel. The moment the Rapture takes place, Israel will lose her spiritual protection, and she will be exposed to the enemy. Therefore, Michael will have to intervene on her behalf: “…at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people…” (Daniel 12:1).
• “The trump of God'” is another absolutely unique occurrence. The “trump of God” must not be confused with any of the other trumpets mentioned in the Bible. Because it is the “last trump of God,” we asked about the first trump of God. We found the answer in Exodus 19:16-19, which revealed that the trump is identical to the voice of God, which was so loud that the people in the camp could not bear the sound. This obviously illustrates that in their sinful state, they were not able to face the Living God as He spoke directly to them.
• “The dead in Christ shall rise first” brought us to the conclusion that this is only natural because “the dead in Christ” will have waited longer for the coming of the Lord.
It is important to understand that the statement, “The dead in Christ shall rise first,” is not addressed to all people who have died; only those who have died “in Christ” will rise first.

Two Types Of Dead

1) Those who die without faith

More than 700 years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah spoke of those who died without faith in the substitutionary sacrifice that was to be accomplished in the fullness of time through Jesus, the Son of God (Isaiah 26). Those who rejected faith in God’s prophesied salvation were considered this way, “They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish” (Isaiah 26:14). Clearly there is no hope for those who refuse to accept God’s provided atonement; they are lost for all eternity. The Bible does not make any provisions regarding a second chance in such cases.

The Roman Catholic Church teaches the existence of purgatory, which is supposed to purify sinners and make them ready to enter Heaven. On the contrary, the Word of God makes no such promise.

2) Those who live by faith

The second type of “dead” are those who lived by faith. Verse 19 reads, “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.” Here we see a very clear contrast between “They are dead, they shall not live” and “Thy dead men shall live.” Prophetically speaking, this might just as well be a picture of the Rapture, during which the dead in Christ will rise first.

First Thessalonians 4:18 clearly shows that the Rapture has been the hope of the Church from the very beginning: “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” Throughout the millennia, believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have been comforted by knowing that Christ could come at any moment. Think of those who have suffered so terribly during times of persecution, particularly under the Roman government and later under the Roman church. Those believers who were condemned to death and prepared to die drew strength from knowing that Jesus could come at any moment, and indeed, they were greatly comforted.

The First Living Rapture

In the listing of biblical genealogy, beginning with Adam, we read in Genesis 5:22-24, “And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” What a testimony! Twice we read that “Enoch walked with God.” We will discuss Enoch later in this part of the series.

We Are Already Dead

We must never underestimate the fundamental fact taught in Scripture that the Spirit of God dwells in us: “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Romans 8:11). This pertains to the living believers. For all practical purposes, we are dead in sins and trespasses. But in Christ we have died with Him, as proclaimed in Romans 6:6, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” Our body is only the vehicle in which the newly-born Spirit dwells.

It should be pointed out that our flesh and blood, in which the Holy Spirit dwells during the very short span of our lifetime, is not what counts. Our bodies (outward man) will perish; they must be done away with. However, our inner man, created through the new birth, is what is important.

This helps us understand the apostle Paul’s admonition in Romans 8:13, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”

This may be a very difficult fact to accept, but for all practical purposes, our body is dead. The devil, who is the father of lies, has reversed this simple, biblical doctrine in the opposite direction. Satan says, “You must recognize your self-worth, build your self-esteem and consider yourself extremely important. When someone insults you, be sure to defend yourself to the utmost to preserve your ‘good name.’

Anti-Christianity

This is typical of the spirit of the Antichrist, “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God”‘(2nd Thessalonians 2:4).

Daniel describes the Antichrist in chapter 11:36 with the following words, “And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods….” Only when we are spiritually alert can we clearly recognize the ways of the spirit of Antichrist within the Church today.

The gospel of the Antichrist is being preached with great success around the world. A perfect description of end-time Christianity is given to us in 2nd Timothy 3:1-4, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despis-ers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” From pulpits all over the world, we are being taught to love ourselves, yet the Bible clearly identifies those who are “lovers of their own selves” as anti-Christians. In writing to his spiritual son Timothy, the apostle Paul concludes his description of anti-Christians with these words, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2nd Timothy 3:5).

Fellowship Of Suffering

What is this power that they are denying? It is none other than the power which enables us to live a holy life in the presence of God. The power of the precious blood of Jesus that cleanses the sins of the worst sinner and presents that person spotless before the throne of the Father. It is the same power which made the apostle Paul pray this prayer, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (Philippians 3:10).

This prayer request diametrically opposes the tendencies of our day. Paul is actually praying to be integrated into “the fellowship of his suffering.” Who wants to suffer? Surely, no one does. It is contrary to our nature, for we want to pamper the flesh and serve our egos.

Paul sought the Lord in prayer three times for an unspecified physical ailment. That was and is quite normal; however, the answer to his prayer was contrary to his request. Yet he accepted it, “My grace is sufficient.”

When Paul prayed about being integrated into the fellowship of his suffering, he was speaking on a much higher level. He no longer cared about his physical body; he wanted to be closer to his Lord.

In today’s world, the greatest battles are not being fought against politicians, or against the abominable practices of sodomy, abortion, or crime. The greatest battle is described in Galatians 5:17, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Who is winning the battle in your life?

If we could fully understand that the Bible teaches that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, we would better understand Paul’s prayer. Our bodies, in the flesh, are never sanctified and will always remain under the curse of sin. Therefore, our task is to subject our physical bodies—with all of their desires, habits and passions—to the guidance of the Spirit. The Bible says, “… Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).

Fellowship With Death

The apostle Paul goes one step further in his prayer, “… being made conformable unto his death” (Philippians 3:10). This fact testifies that he had, in practical terms, accepted the death of Christ for himself. He was finished with his life on earth; he knew that there was no future for him in his mortal body.

We live in our bodies on this earth temporarily, yet within these perishable tabernacles dwells that which is born again of the Spirit of God, and is eternal. Thus, we understand the contradictory relationship between flesh and blood and the Spirit. Paul testified, “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you” (Philippians 1:23-24).

Enoch Walked With God

We have discussed what it means to walk with God, and as mentioned earlier, we know from the Bible that Enoch did just that. As a result, “he was not, for God took him.”
Not only did Enoch “walk with God,” but he believed God to the extent that God was pleased, “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God” (Hebrews 11:5). Enoch did not die; the Bible testifies that he did “not see death.” Instead, we read three times that he was “translated.” This is precisely what we are waiting for! The coming of our Lord for us will result in our translation.

What will happen at the moment of our translation? We will no longer be burdened with the “old tabernacle,” our bodies, which are not subject to the Spirit. For that reason, Paul rejoices, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ”‘(Titus 2:13).

Rapture Of Enoch

Enoch demonstrated how we are to walk with God. His testimony was very clear: he believed God and as a result, the Lord had pleasure in him. Jude 14 confirms that Enoch prophesied about the coming of the Lord, “. ..Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints.”
Clearly, this is not a prophecy of the coming of the Lord in humility, born in a stable in Bethlehem. Rather He comes “with ten thousands of his saints.” Enoch, therefore, was a prophet for the end times. Before Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Israel, Enoch had already spoken of the return of the Lord. Undoubtedly, he meant the Rapture as well, because the Lord cannot come with the saints unless He first comes for His saints, that is, His Church. Enoch experienced the translation of his body into the glorious image of the Lord. Had he not, he would not have been with God.

When Enoch spoke of the coming of the Lord, as many prophets had throughout the Old Testament, he mentioned all three comings in one breath: His first coming in Bethlehem when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us; His Second Coming which will take place in the clouds of the air to call His blood-bought Church to Himself; and His third coming when His feet stand on the Mount of Olives.

At that time, He will implement salvation for Israel and pronounce judgment upon the world. Verse 15 of Jude reads, “To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” That verse refers to the final coming of the Lord for the purpose of judgment. The word “all” and “ungodly” are each mentioned four times in this verse. This will be the result of the Great Tribulation when the Lord Himself will descend upon the Mount of Olives and cause unprecedented change in Israel and world history.

When Enoch spoke about the end times, he included the coming of the Lord, the Rapture. We must not make the mistake of separating one event from the other. The coming of the Lord is one, yet it occurs in two stages.

The Rapture Of Elijah

The story of the Rapture unfolds when the Jordan River is divided: “…they two went over on dry ground” (2nd Kings 2: 8). Elijah and Elisha walked side-by-side to their destination. Then came the point of their parting, “And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so” (verses 9-10). Although this is not a direct prophecy, we can conclude that this is an indirect prophecy demonstrating the Church of Jesus Christ pictured by Elijah, and Israel pictured by Elisha. The Church will be taken out of the way, but Israel will be left behind.

The Church was founded when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the waiting disciples. From that day forward, the Spirit continues to flow into the empty vessels of repentant sinners and will continue to do so until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

Undoubtedly, Israel is yet to experience mighty things unprecedented in history. Through Israel, the Lord will fill the world with His precious Word.

Rapture By A Whirlwind

Finally we come to the Rapture of Elijah, “And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (2nd Kings 2:11).

As far as the Church and Israel are concerned, this will definitely happen. Although organically we belong together, we will be parted. Let’s take a closer look at the unity of Israel and the Church.

The Olive Tree

Israel, symbolized by the olive tree, never ceased to exist. Contrary to nature, the Gentiles were grafted in, as Romans 11:24 confirms,
“For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?” Israel will stand alone when the Church is raptured.

Church To Be Separated

Hear the words of the apostle Peter, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1st Peter 2:9). The distinct difference between Israel and the Church lies in the fact that Israel has a national calling, “above all the nations” and we have a spiritual calling as a “royal priesthood” to let His light shine in the darkness. The danger of mixing with the world is a strong warning to every child of God.

Sadly, it is becoming more and more difficult to distinguish Christians from non-Christians. Both speak the same language, use the name of Jesus, claim to believe the Bible, build churches, proclaim the message of God over the radio, publish literature, operate successful television ministries, and even send out missionaries. Both do everything that can possibly be done, yet one is real and the other counterfeit.

The False Gospel

The apostle Paul warns us emphatically of the false Jesus that is preached by another spirit, that constitutes another gospel, and that is promoted by false apostles and ministers of unrighteousness. He writes in 2nd Corinthians 11:2, “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” Then he explains, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles. ..For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (verses 3-5, 13-15).

Only those who are born again of His Spirit heed the clear call to separate from the things of the world. The true Church is in the world but not of the world and the true members hear the voice of the one true Shepherd. Those are mentioned in 1st Thessalonians 4:17, “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” May the Lord, by His grace, protect each one of us from the deceitfulness of the works of Satan. As our time on earth is rapidly coming to an end, “He who hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit saith unto the churches.”

(MAIN SOURCE: The Great Mystery of the Rapture – Arno Froese – 1999)