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The Persecuted Church


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The Shout and the Trumpet 

Finally, that GREAT day happened, the sound of the trump went out over all the earth. The earth trembled for a moment as the ground everywhere were disturbed, people that were buried there were now gone and those who were alive vanished and the world did not understand what just took place. Many did not notice.
It was written “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep” (1 Thess. 4:13) this shout will wake up the dead.

1Thess. 4:13-18: “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

The English word rapture does not appear in the Bible but it is a term that is often used to identify the Coming of Jesus for His church. The Greek word is harpazo - it means a taking away by force. The Latin verb which was used to translate the Greek verb harpaz ("caught up") found in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. This Greek verb means to be snatched away, taken away suddenly, quickly removed by force from one place to another, as when the Lord Jesus was suddenly taken up to heaven at the time of the ascension (Rev. 12:5). When Christ returns for His Church, (not to earth to set up his kingdom) believers will be "caught up," and taken from earth to heaven (he promised this in John 14:3).

Latin equivalent of harpazo is the verb rapio, "to take away by force." In the Latin Vulgate, one of the oldest Bibles, the appropriate tense of rapio appears in verse 17. Raptus is the past participle of rapio, and our English words "rapt" and "rapture" stem from this past participle. Even though the word "rapture" is not in the King James Bible, the basic word does appear in the Latin Vulgate.

We who are alive and remain is mentioned twice in this narrative, v.15 and 17. What does it mean to remain, it means to be faithful. While the rest of the church goes on to apostasy you will be steadfast in the faith. This is why when the church is taken it will not probably not be noticed, because the majority of the church went into apostasy and will still be here after this event defending themselves as the church.

v.15 then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.” The resurrection of the dead saints is followed by the translation of the living saints. At this time, every believer will be removed from the earth and will be united with the Lord Jesus Christ in the immediate heaven (probably our atmosphere). The living believers will be caught up (raptured) with the ones who died and rested in Christ to meet the Lord Jesus Christ in the air.

2 Thessalonians 2:1: Paul mentions the coming of our Lord Jesus “And our gathering together to Him.” The Greek word for ‘gathering together’ is epi sunagogues. Epi means “upon,”(above) and sunagoges means: “to gather or collect together” (Matthew 23:37).

This is not teaching about our being gathered to Jesus after He descends to earth to set up His kingdom, but to our being gathered up to Him. We are called FROM ABOVE by the Lord to meet Him and be united together as an assembly in the air and brought to the place He has already prepared (John 14:2) for us. Our gathering together to Him is more accurately translated “our being gathered up to Him’” (as is described in 1 Thessalonians 4:17). He is the object we go to; He does not come down to meet us on the earth, we go up to Him (John 14) “that where I am you may be also.” This can only make sense if one understands the sequence of events.

The biblical description of the rapture involves both the resurrection of deceased believers and the translation of living believers upward to meet the Lord who comes near but does not set foot on the earth (1 Thess. 4:16-17; 1 Cor. 15:51 52). Just as the Lord was taken to the Father, in similar fashion we will be taken to the Son.

The rapture of the church is often likened to the "raptures" of Enoch (Genesis 5:24) and Elijah (2 Kings 2: 12). In each event the individual disappeared from the earth, caught up into heaven. At His ascension, the Lord was "taken up" into heaven (Acts 1:9) by the Father.

To be raptured, taken up is a very special thing for the living. Enoch was Methusaleh’s father, who became the oldest man who ever lived after his father Enoch became the first man to be taken. He was alone walking with God at the time. Gen. 5:21-24 “Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah. After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.”

We find in the New Testament revelation what this “God took him” means. “By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, "and was not found, because God had taken him"; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God” (Heb. 11:5).

It was Enoch who was first privileged to be raptured and he is mentioned by Jude as the one known to have prophesied of the end when the Lord returns “Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints” (Jude 1:14).

This shout (1 Thess. 4:16), the trumpet will bring the dead to life is a unique one time event. This shout will signal that the resurrection is happening and what is left to come is “Day Of The Lord”, judgment. The earth will shake for every “Saint” that rises out of the earth alive in glorified bodies. Isaiah described it in unmistakable terms. The earth in its cursed state will cough them up, for they will receive immortal, sinless bodies. “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).
“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:” (I Thess. 4:16) Notice how Apostle Paul emphasizes, “The Lord Himself”. The Son of God comes from heaven, a trumpet blast precedes the shout. This trumpet is the right Horn of a Ram and represents the 100th blow of the trumpet on the Feast of Trumpets. It’s a special sound that awakes the Saints from sleep. There will be a great archangel who will accompany Him from the Father’s house in Heaven. Each is a procedural step in announcing what is to take place.

Jesus said "My sheep hear My voice” (John 10:27). John 5:25-26 "Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. "For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself.”

Let's first begin by looking at some Bible texts; promises Jesus gave to those who believe:
John 14:1-3 Jesus promised He would return to receive unto himself. This is different than coming to earth and setting up his kingdom rule. He is taking believers to where he is. “Let not your heart be troubled: believe in God. believe also In me. In my Father's house are many mansions; If It were not so, 1 would have told you; for 1 go to prepare a place for YOU. And If I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself, that where 1 am, there ye may be also. This passage does not describe the Rapture event; only that Jesus is coming for the saints and that he will take us to where he resides. Where is Jesus been preparing this place? Heaven.

I Thessalonians 4:16-17 The resurrection and transformation of those living will be an event unlike any other. It is the ONLY place in the Bible where a group, not an individual is "caught up." The righteous dead will be resurrected and along with the righteous living caught up to Jesus made like him. The real church will be removed in less than a blink of an eye, but there will still be a church left, but it will be an organizational church, not the true spiritual church that waited patiently for the Lord to return.

I Corinthians 15:51-54 it is from this event God will clothe His people with immortality.
1 Cor 15:52: “Behold, I show you a mystery; 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.”
Here Paul is emphasizing the fact that there would be an entire generation of Christians who would never experience physical death and the reason they won’t is because the Lord was going to come and remove them from the earth while they’re still alive before they could experience physical death.

Paul is saying not every Christian will die, but every believer will be changed, whether they are dead or alive. And he emphasizes that the change will involve their body. They now have a mortal body, which is subject to disease, deformity and death; but when this change takes place, they will receive an immortal body, which will never die, which will never be subject to disease and deformity.

Paul also emphasizes the immediate change for everyone in all time in the body of believers when this event takes place. The change in that body will take place faster than the twinkling of an eye. So the rapidity of the change in their bodies that will happen at the Rapture of the Church.

In Rom. 8:18-23 Paul explains our future glorification “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.”

That is what the rapture/ resurrection event is about, our bodily change. The Bible is clear, Christians are to be taken away from earth, “to meet the Lord in the air” (I Thessalonians 4:17), dead Christians will rise from the ground and the bodies of the living will be changed, transformed to immortal bodies.

In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul says for the Christian "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord." So when believers die, their soul leaves their body, and comes into the presence of the Lord in Heaven, and that’s where they stay, in Heaven, until Christ comes to Rapture and resurrect the Church. He will bring their souls with Him out of Heaven down toward the earth to be united with a transformed immortal body and the believers that have not seen death that will also be changed to immortality.

The rapture removes all believers at the same time from the earth. Temporarily there will be no believers on earth until the Lord begins his salvation work again. This time he concentrates on reconciling the Jews as he promised.

Of course the people removed will not get any attention because the church is in apostasy. They will believe and say we are the church - and we are still here, so this event (whatever it is explained as) could not be the rapture. In fact they may even argue there is no such thing, since this is already their position today.

It says that “his eyes behold, his eyelids test the sons of men.” (Ps. 11:4)

Exodus 32:1: “Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, "Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him."

2 Peter 3:2-4 “that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation."

What do both of these have in common, the people turned to idolatry, unbelief because of the delay; in the same manner during the height of the apostasy the Lord will come.

Most don't believe in body's resurrection
SCRIPPS-HOWARD NEWS SERVICE - By THOMAS HARGROVE and GUIDO H. STEMPEL III - April 5, 2006 - Most Americans don't believe they will experience a resurrection of their bodies when they die, putting them at odds with a core teaching of Christianity.
The findings of a new Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll surprised and dismayed some of the nation's top theologians since it seems to put Americans in conflict with both the Nicene Creed and the Apostles' Creed, ancient statements of faith meant to unify Christian belief.
The Nicene Creed, adopted in 325 at the First Council of Nicea under Roman Emperor Constantine, concludes with the famous words: "We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen."
Similarly, the Apostles' Creed professes a belief in "the resurrection of the body."
Only 36 percent of the 1,007 adults interviewed a month ago by the Scripps Survey Research Center at Ohio University said "yes" to the question: "Do you believe that, after you die, your physical body will be resurrected someday?" Fifty-four percent said they do not believe and 10 percent were undecided.
"This reflects the very low state of doctrinal preaching in our churches," said Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and editor of the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology.

"I continually am confronted by Christians, even active members of major churches, who have never heard this taught in their local congregations," Mohler said. "We have a lowest-common-denominator Christianity being taught in so many denominations that has produced a people who simply do not know some of the most basic Christian truths."
….The poll found that half of all people who have attended church recently said they believe they will experience a physical resurrection someday, while only a quarter of those who have not publicly worshipped recently said the same.

Fifty-nine percent of people who profess a "born again" faith, one of the hallmarks of evangelical Protestantism, said they believe in personal resurrection, the highest level of belief among any group in the poll.
The survey was conducted by telephone from Feb. 19 to March 3 among 1,007 adult residents of the United States. The study was sponsored by a grant from the Scripps Howard Foundation.
The poll has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.
(Thomas Hargrove is a reporter for Scripps Howard News Service. Guido H. Stempel III is director of the Scripps Survey Research Center.)

The emerging church and others consider the Rapture doctrine to be dangerous because it interferes with their belief of "kingdom building". Some call it escapology theology, so if one wants to go through the tribulation to the end should we call this abuse theology? For it says in the Tribulation, especially the second half the false messiah overcomes the saints (Rev.13:7,10).

Those names that deny  a rapture are endless in the emergent church from McLaren, Pagitt etc:
Mark Driscoll’s book Vintage Jesus, he ridicules Christians who believe there will be an Armageddon and a rapture (pp. 44, 157). In Mark Driscoll’s book Vintage Jesus, he ridicules Christians who believe there will be an Armageddon and a rapture (pp. 44, 157). (source lighthousetrails.com)

McLaren says that he grew up with a dispensational view (the belief that Jesus Christ will return and establish his kingdom on earth) but has come to realize this view is “morally and ethically harmful.” He likens this belief system to racism in the 50s and 60s and says:
“These doctrinal formulations often use a bogus end-of-the-world scenario to create a kind of death-wish for World War III, which–unless it is confronted more robustly by the rest of us–could too easily create a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Popular speaker Tony Campolo says: "the 'Left Behind' books are false theology and unbiblical to the core. I mean all of this stuff comes out of not only fundamentalism. It comes out of dispensationalism, which is a weird little form of fundamentalism that started like a hundred fifty years ago." That whole sense of the rapture, which may occur at any moment, is used as a device to oppose engagement with the principalities, the powers, the political and economic structures of our age" ("Opposition to women preachers evidence of demonic influence," Baptist Press, June 27, 2003).

Actually it comes out of the Bible and should not prevent anyone from doing what is necessary for the Lord while on erath. While I agree with some points on the left behind series we do not throw out what is biblical. This is a false and weak argument that has the alternative of denying much of what Jesus said would take place in the last days.
Campolo explains his position “I want to emphasis that I do believe, and it's core to my faith, that Jesus Christ is coming again. That's crucial to what Christianity is about. I believe that Christ is at work in the world through Christians. Trying to change the world that is into the world that ought to be, into what the Bible calls the Kingdom of God--a society of transformed people in a transformed social system--that's the Kingdom. We should be trying to create that Kingdom here on earth.” (Interview: More from Tony Campolo: http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/2004/12/Interview-More-From-Tony-Campolo.aspx#ixzz1RfF5PHEp)

The early Christians interpreted prophecy literally and were looking for a literal millennial kingdom and a literal fulfillment of God's covenants with Israel (Acts 3:19-21; Romans 11:25-27), they were pre millennial. It was not until centuries later that new concepts like amillennialism and preterism surfaced which depends on allegorical interpretations became popular.

There are numerous books being produced to have people not believe in this Bible doctrine (notwithstanding the timing of it- pre, mid or post) they all want everyone to get on board with kingdomizing the world.

Is Jesus coming secretly or openly? The Bible teaches when Jesus comes back to (on) the earth - to establish his kingdom it is not a secret event (Revelation 1:7; Psalm 50:3; I Thessalonians 4:16-17; Matthew 24:27). When He comes it is called Armageddon, the nations declare war, where armies will be gathered to fight to stop him. His coming ends the tribulation period and transitions to the Millennium, His rule for 1,000 years from ZION.

Revelation 19:11-16 As King of Kings leading the armies of heaven, He returns as triumphant Lord.
Revelation 6:14-17 at the time of his return The unrighteous fear His coming and cry for the rocks to fall upon them.
Revelation 1:7 When Jesus returns every eye shall see Him. This is when he returns with all his saints and angels to set up his kingdom and the worlds armies are gathered together to stop him.
Matthew 24:27 His return shall be like lightning flashing across the sky. It will be unmistakable
Matthew 16:27 His return shall be a glorious event. He comes with His reward.
Titus 2:13 His coming is called the “Blessed Hope”.
Isaiah 25:9 The righteous are delighted to see Him come. They joyfully exclaim “Lo, this is our God…”
Matthew 13:37-43 The evil are purged out of His kingdom by fire and the righteous saved through all eternity.
two angels confirmed His promise to the apostles (Acts 1:9-11) and testified He would come back the same way He left.
Both Jude 14 and Zechariah 14-4-5 tell us that when Christ returns to earth and stands on the Mount of Olives He brings "all the saints" from heaven with Him. For this to be true He must have already taken the saints into heaven to return with them for the Second Coming

Zech. 14:1-5: “Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, and your spoil will be divided in your midst.
For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; the city shall be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south. Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, for the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the LORD my God will come, and all the saints with You.”

This is what Jude said as well; Jude 1:14-15 saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints "to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."

The differences are obvious. The rapture is characterized in the Bible as a "translation" into his kingdom (1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thess. 4:15-17) that is not on earth. Christ comes for His church and changes their body to be suitable for heaven. At the second advent, Christ returns with His saints who are glorified, descending from heaven to establish His earthly kingdom (Zech. 14:4-5; Mat. 24:27-31).

1Thess. 4:17: “And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” our uniting with Christ in the air guarantees we will permanently remain with Christ to return with Him into heaven. He will take us with him to where he has gone after His ascension.
The Bible teaches Jesus is coming as a thief (I Thessalonians 5:2). The Bibles references to Jesus coming as a thief is referring to the unexpected time of Jesus' coming, the manner of His coming, quickly, unexpectedly as a thief, not to the timing of the event. Where it says Come quickly in Revelation it means not that he comes immediately but that when it commences it will be quickly accomplished.

Paul speaks of the rapture as a "mystery" (1 Cor. 15:51-54), that it was not revealed until the apostles taught it (Col. 1:26). It is distinguished as a separate event from the second coming that was taught and predicted in the Old Testament (Dan. 12:1-3; Zech. 12:10; 14:4). In the Old Testament a resurrection was taught but in the New Testament they are made as the same event for believers.

The Second Coming, on the other hand, was predicted in the Old Testament (Dan 12:1-3; Zech 12:10; 14:4).  The oldest prophecy uttered by a prophet was given before the flood of Noah and was of the Second Coming! Given by Enoch, quoted in Jude 14-15.

Notice the different movement of the believer in these events. At the Rapture the movement is from earth to heaven; at the Second Coming it is from heaven to earth. At the Rapture, the Lord comes for His saints (1 Thess 4:16), while at the Second Coming the Lord comes back to earth with His saints (1 Thess, 3:13).
The Second Coming of Jesus is a climatic event that ends the age of man ruling man.
Now is the day of salvation (II Corinthians 6:2). In Matthew 13:30. Both wheat and tares (the righteous and wicked) grow together on earth until the harvest. The righteous are saved and the unrighteous lost. In the parable of the unfaithful servant, there is no second chance. The unfaithful are lost when the Lord of the house comes back unexpectedly (Matthew 24:44-51). In the parable of the sheep and goats, men and women are either saved or lost when Jesus comes (Matthew 25:31-46)

1 Thess. 5:4-9: “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” those who have the armor on will survive.

So where is this all headed? A COUNTERFEIT Revival under a counterfeit Christ that the other religions accept and the worldly church accepts because it does not believe the Bible that He gave us. So many are influenced by the popular views that are found in many new songs about conquering the land and taking dominion.

Because of the false teaching of church triumphalism many are being prepared to meet “Christ” on earth, to reign over the kingdom they are establishing in his name. The belief in the rapture/resurrection actually protects us from accepting the wrong Christ. If we are watching for the Christ who transforms our mortal bodies and takes us to heaven (1 Corinthians 15:51-52), we cannot be deceived by a counterfeit that will rule on earth no matter what kind of power he exhibits. We are to be looking for the Christ who comes back the same way He left, from heaven (Acts 1:11).

After hearing so many times about Jesus’ coming through false prophecies many in the church have rapture fatigue, we are in a time where we no longer take it seriously. A reminder from 2 Peter 3:2-4, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation." Our Lord said, “Therefore be ye ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:44 KJV). This is why kingdom dominion teaching is so dangerous. With watchfulness, preparation, we need to be ready. Will the Day of Christ (the rapture) happen simultaneously with the day of the Lord (the tribulation)?

There is no explicit indication of the TIMING (Day or hour) of the Rapture in Scripture. This is why so many people arrive at different conclusions; we must weigh out the weak and strong points of each view. However, we cannot eliminate any scripture that would change the identifying of the season. Since the apostasy comes first, before the tribulation and it has already begun and the rapture is accompanied within the time frame of the apostasy, we should understand the times we live in. We do not know how long we will be here during the current apostasy before the rapture or the tribulation begins. The rapture removes the true church (universal believers), and leaves a visible church on the earth, composed of unbelievers. It is a church that departs from the faith that exists throughout the Great Tribulation period united with other religions. The real bride of Christ will be enjoying heaven while they unite with other religions on earth.


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