8″ But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.” (1st Corinthians 5:8-10)
9 “For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” (1st Thessalonians 1:9-10)
The above passages has been used many, many times to support the doctrine of a HARPAZO, or the redemption of the Church when Jesus comes for His own before the Tribulation starts. It is popularly called the RAPTURE. This doctrine has been in existence since the 1st century, but was forgotten because of the rising of a Gnostic church in the Middle Ages, that hid those facts from the people, due to its lust for power on earth. It was not again revealed and re-discovered until the 18th century, and was designed by God for the End of Age, the age we live in right now.
SOME MOCK THAT THE RAPTURE IS AN ESCAPE HATCH
Some take issue with that concept, saying “are we any better than the apostles, or the untold amount of men down through the ages that suffered persecution?” They are referring to the coming Tribulation and why are we exempt from this time? Their mocking of the rapture as being an escape hatch from persecution, but fail to understand that the removal of the church is not an escape but a fulfillment of the promises of God and we have VICTORY IN JESUS over this sinful world.
The answer to that question they propose of course is no, we are not better than than those who have suffered persecution from mortal men, but in these last days of the government of men over their own affairs, God has promised us something they did not have. We are separated from the coming wrath of God by time and space. That is the difference between them and us. Down through the ages, there have always been men who would bring harm and even death to other men over religious beliefs. Men have always persecuted other men, and that doesn’t mean we won’t see some form of persecution before Jesus comes, but we keep our faith that Jesus will protect His own, based on the clear meanings of Psalms 91, which I proclaim to all who are His own.
TIME WHEN MEN PERSECUTED THOSE WHO WOULD NOT BOW
I am reminded of the Dark Ages, when a ruling theocracy slaughtered untold amount of people for the quest and lust for power over other men, and destroyed all who would not bend the knee to its rule. But down through the ages, you cannot find, or point to in the Bible an instance where those who follow after our God, our Lord and Savior, have experienced the wrath of the Almighty falling on their heads. Many Biblical stories chronicle how God has a Divine habit of removing His chosen people out of the way, when His wrath against rebellious mankind falls on them.
Speaking of the Dark Ages, this same church came up with a blasphemous doctrine that all who die must pass through a “temporary” state of punishment in fire to rid them of un-forgiven sins. They called it venial sins. If Jesus did not die for the whole earth, and those who believe in Him are not cleansed TOTALLY from past, present and future sins, then to pass through the wrath of God during the Tribulation is akin to this hideous doctrine of purgatory, that the blood of Jesus just wasn’t quite able to save a man totally from His sins. Which any truly washed in the blood of Calvary Christian knows is not true. But let’s return to the stories of the Bible that speaks of this removal from God’s wrath.
SHORT EXAMPLES OF REMOVAL FROM GOD’S WRATH
Some of the more obvious aspects of that fact are the children of Israel during the Egyptian enslavement and the plague after plague brought about to the rebellious Pharoah who defied God and His commands and wouldn’t let God’s people go. These plagues were isolated to Egypt and never came close to the land of Goshen, where the Hebrew slaves were living.
Then there is Noah and Lot, who both were removed from the wrath of God, one by an ark, the other fleeing to the mountains before the angels of God were sent to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Springing off these well know Biblical stories, I find no account where God has subjected His people to His own righteous wrath. Can you? Some will say that they went through, not out of the wrath of God, but are they missing something? I think they are.
But let us explore briefly what the Bible says we can expect as this Age of Grace draws to a close. There are many verses scattered about that supports that when God’s wrath falls upon this planet, the Church of the Living God will not be present.
EXPLAINING THE CONCEPT TO A FRIEND
I was having a conversation with an online friend, who was an admitted post-tribulation believer, and as we conversed back and forth, I brought up a well know verse found in your Bible:
10 “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” (Revelation 3:10-11)
Here our Risen Lord speaks to the apostle John and tells him, that because those who have kept His Word and followed His commands, our Lord promises us that we will be kept from this hour of temptation. Our God and Savior gave us commands to follow, and a way back to God our Father and He is the only Way.
“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man cometh to the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
In speaking with my online friend, who is a student of the Hebrew and Greek translations concerning Bible text, I pointed out to him that the original Greek shows that this passage speaks of the Church being taken out of, not through the tribulation.
Many people debate this verse and make assumptions that like Lot and Noah, or even the Hebrew slaves in Egypt, that they were brought through the wrath of God. But even my friend didn’t realize that there is one word in the Greek that is in this passage and changes the whole meaning of the passage, and he had read it many times, and passed right over it. The passage that tells us “I also will keep thee from the hour of Temptation”, that the words “I will keep thee” in the original Greek centers on the Greek word (εκ [ek] ) that here denotes out of not through the wrath of God. My friend was flabberghasted, that the original Greek spoke that the Church is taken “out of” the coming wrath of God that falls on the whole world. I believe I changed his mind, as he confessed it as so.
We continued our discussion as I told him that even in the Old Testament that there is proof of the Church being removed from this earth and put into “our chambers” Needless to say, as we talked, the friend got real quiet.
19 “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.
20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.
21 For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” (Isaiah 26:19-21)
Notice that it speaks of the dead rising and being taken to chambers that they are to shut the doors behind them, because the wrath of God, or indignation is going to punish the inhabitants of the earth. It speaks of what I believe was revealed to the Apostle Paul, when being taught by revelation by our Lord Jesus while living in the Arabian desert for three years, before he even came to the disciple of Jesus in Jerusalem. Paul prophecies it even further than Isaiah in his prophecy.
51 “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 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.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1st Corinthians 15:51-55)
Paul reaffirms this prophecy when speaking to the Thessalonians and adds more visual information about our change that we will experience:
13 “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 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:
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.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1st Thessalonians 4:14-18)
In your mind, if you visualize what Isaiah wrote and what Paul repeated twice in his epistles, you can see that those who are in the dust of the earth, asleep in their graves (that being their mortal bodies, as the spirit is not there), they are suddenly changed, reunited with their physical bodies and changed into immortal Spirits into what Jesus is right now, a Glorified Man of flesh and bones. This is the same type of body that Jesus revealed to His apostles in their closed room and sat and ate fish and honeycomb in their presence to prove to them He was not a ghost or phantom. Jesus was an entirely flesh and bone being, that they could handle and feel, and ate before them, BUT could vanish from their site, and walk through walls. These immortal Spirits that we will be are commanded to enter their chambers and shut the doors behind them, till God’s wrath is spent and the blood will be disclosed on the earth and will not be hidden.
But what bodies are we talking about here when we speak of being changed in the twinkling of an eye?
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” (1st John 3:1-3)
Till that day overtakes us and we are transported so much like the Star Trek episodes used to do, and many who read this can identify with a very objective visual about “beam me up, Scotty” and being transported from one place to another, we look for our Blessed Hope.
11 “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works”. (Titus 2:11-14)
Ok. My friend asked, so where are these chambers that this passage speaks of? Isaiah has a sister verse, I believe, that adjoins what even Paul wrote and it was spoke of by our Lord Jesus when comforting His disciples.
1, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 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.
3 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.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” (John 14:1-4)
This Jesus spoke to draw off their minds from an earthly kingdom to an heavenly one; to point out the place to them whither he was going, and to support them with the views and hopes of glory under all their troubles. By his “Father’s house” is meant heaven;
10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:1)
We are taken to His Father’s house and receive rewards based on our service for God. This is His Father’s building, where he has, and will have all his family. Note that Jesus is coming to bring us to Himself, and to “receive you unto myself, that where I AM, there you may be also”. Jesus is in heaven’s realm at the right hand of the Father on His Throne. Jesus will bring us to His Father’s house, not come to us, but we come to Him. Another clue to the HARPAZO.
The visualization of these verses brings home to those who look for our Blessed Hope, that there is a glorious future where we will be Kings and Priest to our God and we shall reign upon the earth. John sees a symbolic representation of this truth that the Church is in God’s presence, that John sees in a vision of the future.
4 “And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.”(Revelation 4:4)
Note that the description of these elders? Many have tried to hypothesize who they are. Some say angels, some say they are not human, and others have no idea, so they just pass over without discernment. Angels have never been given crowns, and these saints are entirely human. They are seated, so their work is over and they are at rest. They are on thrones, so they are rulers along with God. They are clothed with white raiment, which is a symbol and sign of the saints of God. They are crowned with gold crowns, so they have been exalted to a high position in the government of God.
This vision shows John that the Church here is symbolized by 24 elders, which is a multiplication of the number 12, which in the Bible, is a sign of government. Half from the Old Testament saints, and half from the New Testament Saints, is my belief…all comprising the Church, each look either forward or back at the sacrifice that Jesus made on the Roman cross of His crucifixion for the sins of the world by faith of both groups. The first group of saints were taken to someplace in the heavens, as Jesus emptied Paradise of Old Testament saints when He was resurrected.
7″ “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.” (Ephesians 4:7-10)
Here is a vision of the combining of the two sets of saints..the Old and the New Testament .The Church will be rule with Christ for a thousand years as the Bible attest to.
8 “And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. (this would be tribulations saints, my emphasis)
9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:8-10)
Our destiny is to be Kings and rule with our Lord Jesus on earth and to point those who are born during that Millennial Reign of Christ, to the sacrifice that Jesus paid on the cross over 2000 years ago, as priest to the Living God who is ruling from Jerusalem. Note that you will not find the word “Church” mentioned again through the whole of Revelation past chapter 3 of this book. We are not mentioned again until we are spoken of in chapter 19 of this apocalyptic book of the start of the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ. It is another clue that the Church is not on earth for the whole of the 7 years of the reign of the Anti-Christ.
6 “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” (Revelation 19:77-9)
Notice that the bride is clothed with fine line, clean and white, for fine linen is a symbol for the righteousness of the saints, which is the Bride of Christ…Immediately, John gives the vision of Jesus returning with His armies from heaven.
11 “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.” (Revelation 19:11-16)
Of these two passages found in Revelation chp. 19, I want you to focus on one thing. I know who both are, but I want you to see it…note what the Bride is clothed with? She is clothed with linen, white and clean. Then in the next passage quoted we see the armies of heaven coming to witness the final defeat of all rebellion on earth by our Great God and King, Jesus the Christ. Note what those who come with Jesus are wearing? Exactly, they are wearing linen, white and clean, which in both instances are a sign of the saints. The Church has been taken to the marriage supper of the Lamb as written in previous verses, where we receive rewards for service and are joined to our Lord Jesus, and become part of the Family of God our Father, by the marriage covenant and we come back with Him, riding on white horse dressed in the same apparel.
16 “‘The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” (Romans 8:16-19)
From the Old Testament into the New Testament, God has revealed that “we are not appointed to wrath” from God, “but to receive salvation”…being saved out of the coming Tribulation that refines Israel as silver is refined in the furnace, and to extinguish all rebellion and lawlessness on this earth where if the time were not shortened, “no flesh would be saved, but for the elect, those times will be shortened”...That is how near total this earth is purged of all sin and only those who have survived the near complete destruction of planet earth, and have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior of their souls, will enter into the Millennium as mortals.
THE INTERNET IS ABUZZ WITH PROPHECY
Many people all over the internet are sensing that the time of the return of Jesus Christ is close at hand. Some take liberty and make predictions of what date that glorious event will be, but we cannot know, BUT, we know the season, and from the words of the Bible, we are bumping right up to the time of the return of our Lord Jesus..why? Because Jesus told us in no uncertain terms that when Israel is made a nation again, then that generation will not pass till all thing be fulfilled..and the amazing part, the generation of those who saw Israel born again in her own land, is 70 years old this next year in May of 1948-2018. That my friend, is the number of a generation, and as Psalms 90 tells us:
” The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” (Psalms 90:10)
Yes, my friend, the time of our departure grows close at hand. I have complete trust in the Words of my Omnipotent God, who knows the end from the beginning..the Alpha and the Omega, Jesus Christ. Question? Will you be among those who witness His glorious return for His Bride, at the removal of God’s Church someday soon…maybe sooner than anyone thinks? Or will you be in total astonishment, or sincere remorse that you missed this greatest event that ever transpired on humanity, second only to the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead? Don’t let this time get away from you.
“We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain”.
2 For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2nd Corinthians 6:1-2)
Today, if you hear God’s voice through His Holy Spirit, do not harden your heart, as God is calling a re1mnant that will believe in their heart and mind, that Jesus is who He said He was, and did what He did so long ago…
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)
If you believe those words that I have just quoted, in your heart and your mind…then ask Jesus to come into your heart and life right now..Repent of your sins, and make that commitment to walk with Jesus, to read His instruction manual for the rest of your lives, your Bible, and to confess the Lord to others the hope of your salvation.
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:8-10)
Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Believe by faith that Jesus loves you, and died for you and the sins of the whole world. Don’t be subject to the coming wrath of God, as it will be the most horrific time in all of mankind’s history. Make that decision for Christ, today.
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying for your salvation. If you need prayer, counseling, or just a friendly ear, email me at [email protected] , or visit me online at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com , God bless you all
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET.