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Chapter Fourteen: Rapturing of the Church

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1 Chapter Fourteen: Rapturing of the Church on Thu Jan 10, 2013 6:49 pm


Chapter Fourteen


Being raised in a conventional evangelical church with Pentecostal emphasis, I have believed all my life that there would be a day when there’d be a glorious shout and in an instant, the dead in Christ would rise up and then we who were still living would meet them in the air and we’d all be heaven bound. In the twinkling of an eye even. That’s the literal interpretation of what scripture apparently claims.

I don’t even know where to begin. I guess for starters, if it was all going to happen in a millisecond of time, what does it matter what the order is? Think about it, according to the literal interpretation of the church, the dead in Christ are to resurrect from the dead, in their physical bodies, because their spirits are already in heaven. So when you die, your spirit goes to heaven until it’s time for Jesus to come back to the earth again, at which time, you come back with him in spirit, hook up with your mortal body of flesh, at which point, your grave opens up as your body rises out of its coffin.

Let’s just take that piece of it first. If this were to happen in a millisecond, then essentially, there will be explosions in the graveyards due to the speed of the event. Okay, dirt explosions everywhere. Then in that same millisecond of time, but just a fraction of a millisecond after the dead rise, because they go first . . .you know, I’ve never heard anyone take the time to explain “why” the dead go before the living. When you’re a literalist, you don’t need to explain all of it, just the parts that fit your doctrine. The rest, you just shrug your shoulders and point to the scriptures and basically pass the answer back to the one doing the asking and tell them “that’s just what it says.”

As a Christian, we wag our fingers at the atheists who choose to believe in the evolution theory and point out the fact that they really don’t have any solid proof. All they have are bits and pieces of facts that they themselves, have made many assumptions to get to their conclusions. All the while, the Christians do the very same thing about their own theories and doctrines. So why do the dead in Christ resurrect first?

And again, if all of this is going to happen in a twinkling of an eye, what will it matter? It’s supposedly going to happen so fast that no one will see it anyway. Okay, so, the ground explodes and all the church-going people disappear as they rise up to meet with the resurrected dead, and from there we all go to heaven with Jesus. Oh, I almost forgot, that when this happens, the entire world is to be covered up by clouds, because it’s through the clouds that Jesus is supposed to come to get us. Which means he’s not coming on a sunny day?

I know I’m being a little cynical about this, but at the same time, I’m not that far off the mark. Remember I was raised in a church all my life and I also embraced whatever they preached on these matters. Even in the early years of my own ministry, I ended up teaching this stuff. Not because it was a part of my identity and it flowed out of my spirit, but because that’s what I was taught to teach. I went on the quarterlies and books of others who took the time to write down what it was I was to believe.

I heard a preacher giving a message along these same lines. He didn’t agree with the rapture theory anymore either. And one question he posed to the congregation was, if everyone around the world was to go up all at the same time, which way was up? Because if the people in China were to rise up, that’s down for us. Is up supposed to be north of the earth? The point being made in all of this is, you can’t take this literal and be consistent in that literal interpretation.

You have to bend rules just a bit so it fits with the scenery in your own back yard and tell the ones with the inquiries that we’ll just have to wait and see how all our back yards will eventually fit together. The problem with our mainline churches thinking on this is, they’ve adopted someone’s private interpretation of something that was not meant to be privately interpreted.

2 Peter 1
19We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Verse nineteen is a very telling verse. Because there’s another passage in scripture that states the day will come when the gift of tongues will cease, which is also connected to the gift of prophesying. It also says knowledge will cease, the spiritual ministry gifts will cease. The message it was emphasizing is the power of love.

Doctrines will fall by the wayside to make way for what’s “really” important, and that is manifesting love. Peter picks up where that line of thought leaves off in 1 Corinthians 13, and here in what Peter writes, he expands as to the “when” the emphasis and identity with the ministry gifts will cease. It’s when the day dawns “in” us. When the daystar “arises” in our hearts. It’s when we personally experience a spiritual resurrection of our own.

So far, the church hasn’t given any indication it’s going to be laying down its identity with the ministry giftings anytime soon. And as long as it continues to embrace the things that are of yesterday, the inaccuracy of the rapture theories and doctrines will remain. The rapture theory, and yes, that’s just what it is, it’s a theory that the church has adopted as a doctrine, but all it really is, is a private interpretation gone public. So many people have accepted it to be fact that they now rely on the numbers alone to try to persuade the few who dare to question its legitimacy.

But spiritual truth does not come by the will of man. In other words, revelation doesn’t come by flesh and blood, it doesn’t come through human reasoning. It is spiritual life that has spiritual depth to those who are truly spiritually minded. It is spoken through Holy Spirit inspired individuals who are moved by the force of light within them, driving away the darkness of religion and confusion around them.

In coming into the kingdom, when my own doctrine of the rapture was first starting to crack a bit, I wasn’t reserved at all at the idea of being wrong about believing in the rapture. What I was really interested in was, if it’s not like I was taught, then how else can it be explained? Because as near as I could tell, scripture made it pretty clear that it’s going to happen just the way the televangelists preach it.

I was eager to see where it all would go. In fact, the individual who was helping me with my vision a bit, purposefully would not tell me straight out the things I’m writing out here in this book. His concern, I believe, was that it would be too much, too soon and I would balk at the drastic changes being suggested in what scripture could really be saying. My friend was pretty deliberate in how much of a dosage he’d give me. All it did was tick me off. I wanted so badly to see the truth in scriptures like those few men, I’d heard messages from, were able to do.

Here’s the thing about all of this, it’s not in how much information you gather on the subject, it’s what perspective you choose to be in when reading it in scripture. So let’s get started with this thing on the rapture of the church. Why “am” I bluntly stating the opposite of what every church embraces? There is an extremely popular passage of scripture churches quote almost as a battle cry. It’s Hebrews 13:8. You’ll know it when I quote it.

It says “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever. Let me forewarn you now, there will be a chapter aimed at tearing down the idol of revelation as well. And this verse is a key that helps unlock what that book is really all about. But for now, this verse is used to solidify that God does not change. I looked up the word “same” that is used in that verse. Strangely enough, you’d think the definition would be something like “unchanging”, or “constant”, or perhaps even “sustaining.” But it’s none of those. The predominant meaning of the word change means “himself.”

Jesus Christ, Himself yesterday, today, and forever. I’m sorry? What does that mean? For one, the context with which it was written was in the same breath as instructing the Hebrews not to be carried about with strange doctrines. So logically, one would conclude that Jesus is the same, so our doctrines should also be the same. Which sounds great, except for the fact that just seven chapters earlier we were told to let go of the elementary teachings of Christ. And what’s this have to do with the rapture?

It has to do with where your perspective is when you read scripture. Are you reading it to hold a hard line on keeping your belief system intact? Or are you reading it with preconceived notions from sermons past? It’s really hard to try to read something for the first time, when you’ve heard countless sermons embedding doctrines of others interpretations on something.

Truth be told, this is a threshold verse. It’s a doorway into the kingdom realm. It’s dimensional. Jesus is yesterday, Jesus is today, Jesus is forever. Jesus has come. Jesus “is” come. Jesus will continue to come forever. It’s as God told Moses when Moses asked who shall he say sent him. And God responded by saying “tell them ‘I AM’ sent you.” Hebrews 13:8 is the New Testament version of saying that Jesus is “I AM”.

You think Pharaoh was sitting there on his perch in his castle as Moses approached with the crazy idea of taking all of his free labor away from him, and Pharaoh poses the question “by who’s authority do you come here with this craziness?” and Moses get’s out his little slip of parchment that he wrote his notes on of what God wanted him to say, and he reads “I’m supposed to tell you that “I AM” sent me.”

And Pharaoh then jumps to attention in his kingly throne and his eyes bug out, mouth drops open and the guards next to him snap at attention and point their spears at Moses for no apparent reason, and he says back to Moses “Oh, I totally understand who that is, by all means, take your people and go.” Do you ever ask yourself “why” God orchestrates things as He does? What point was He trying to make with all of that? The reality is, Pharaoh wouldn’t understand that in a million years.

My point in all of this cartoonish discussion is, it’s as scripture states, the spiritual wisdom given to a receptive man will be seen as foolishness to a religious man. The choice is ours as to which man we want to be. It is in that foolishness that there is a power that can not be overcome by any natural reasoning or carnal logic. It is in that place from which truth brings revelation to those willing to receive the things they don’t understand. It’s also in that place where ridicule and the gnashing of teeth from others will manifest as well.

And this passage in Hebrews is the gateway leading into the truth that Jesus is the same I AM in Hebrews 13 that appeared to Moses, and led them out of their captivity. He is the same I AM that is now appearing to us to lead us out of our own captivity. Not one of the Egyptians, in the literal sense, but one of the man within. The doctrine of the rapture theory needs to be released from our mind so that we can once again put on the mind of Christ as was originally intended.

It’s all dimensional. Yesterday = first dimension, today = second dimension, and forever = third dimension. Jesus is all in all. He brings His redemption to us on every level in every way. And so is the passage that the churches have interpreted to be literal. The church is not literally being taken up and vaporizing into thin air. I’m not ready to let go of Hebrews 13:8 just yet because it does have relevance to where I’m going with all of this.

As I stated, the church uses this passage to enforce its doctrine that God doesn’t change. Even though, we see on several occasions that Moses was able to talk God into or out of his original decisions concerning Israel. There are things in God that do remain, it’s the patterns that remain the same. It’s the principles. It’s the original plan of God that hasn’t changed. I do believe all of that, but as I’ve shared, I just don’t think Hebrews 13:8 is about that and that only.

So, if it’s the patterns of God that don’t change, in fact, I’ll even give you the benefit of the doubt on this. Say I’m wrong and that verse “is” about an unchanging God, then how can you explain the principle of the rapture? Because nowhere in the history of Israel or the church has God ever removed his people from the circumstance, send his wrath on the evil doers, then replace his people back in the arena with the enemies demolished.

The rapture theory just doesn’t fit the patterns God originally established. Noah never left the earth when God dealt with the evil on the earth. He first had Noah build an ark in which Noah entered and God closed the door. It was the ark that was exposed to the wrath of God on the earth, not Noah. The ark, being a picture of Christ, is our place of safety because we are hidden in Him and He has taken the curse on our behalf. It’s all about rest. Even the word “Noah” means rest.

The definition for where the ark came to rest, Mt. Ararat, literally means “the curse is reversed.” The entire experience with Noah was God establishing a pattern of redemption and protection as the destruction comes, we’re not removed from the process, we’re simply protected “through” it.

It’s the same pattern for Israel when they were in Goshen, even in bondage. As the plagues came, they didn’t affect the children of Israel, they only affected those that had them in bondage. Israel was miraculously protected “through” the entire ordeal. And being that this book is on that very concept of the church being freed from their bondages of idolatry in the house, let me also add that there is no judgment coming against the men who make up the church, the judgment is being poured out on the “man” controlling the men. The carnal man in us is what’s getting destroyed through the plagues.

God has let the idolatry come to the frenzied state it has in order to break the people in the church free “from” the church. God’s pattern is to fight fire with fire, and the fire of men can’t hold a candle to the fire of God. Which is something we haven’t fully gotten into yet. Understanding the purpose of the fire of God. It’s not to destroy men. I’m sorry, but God is not going to destroy mankind on this earth to the point where only a remnant is left which he can then call his church. God’s fire does not destroy men, it purifies men by destroying man in men. That’s what this whole hell thing is all about.

But I’ve held off on that part of it until we go into the understanding of what the book of Revelation is all about. So for now, we’re needing to see why this rapture thing doesn’t fit into God’s original plan. Not only is there never an example in scripture where God removes His chosen people so He can deal with the bad people, but Jesus even prayed against this very thing as well. Did you know that? Jesus prayed “against” the principles the rapture theory is derived from.

John 17
15I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
16They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
17Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
18As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
19And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
20Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

Why would a church embrace a concept of escape, when Jesus himself prayed the very opposite? Why would such a theory become so deeply embedded in the church’s doctrine when it’s totally against every pattern, principle and prayer in scripture? The church has quite a bent perception of what it believes the love of God to be.

First, as we spoke of with the subject of hell, the church’s concept of unconditional love is, God’s love is so great that he sent his son to die and pay the price on our behalf. But should we reject that unconditional love, we’re doomed to hell for eternity. In other words, you get to experience God’s unconditional love, under the condition that you consciously and openly accept that unconditional love.

Then in the same breath, we preach we should love our neighbor as ourselves, but all the while, our head is turned and our attention is longing for the day when we can just disappear from here and have a big party while the bad people here get what they have coming to them. And we call ourselves Christ like?

Another aspect that few in the church seem to be aware of and that is how long the rapture theory has been around. People just assume it’s been around since the first century church because it’s obviously in the Bible. But this is not true. The truth is, the rapture theory began in the mid-1800’s. It’s only a few hundred years old, even though the Bible has been around for much longer. Ironically, it was also in the 1800’s that Mormonism originated, and Jehovah’s Witness as well. Not to mention several other spin-offs from Christianity.

Jesus never mentioned anything about an escape in any of His messages. In a related point, if you read what exactly Jesus did come for, none of the main doctrines are even on His list. He didn’t come to establish tithing, trinity, missions, eternal torment, annihilation, baptisms or any other of the foundational things the church identifies itself with. So if the rapture theory was not originally taught in scripture, how is it so predominantly taught to be not just theory, but fact today?

Isaiah 61
1-7 The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me. He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners. God sent me to announce the year of his grace—a celebration of God's destruction of our enemies (Not destroying men, they are the neighbors we’re to be loving, they’re not our enemies. It’s “man” in men who is our enemy)— and to comfort all who mourn, to care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion, give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,

Messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit. Rename them "Oaks of Righteousness" planted by God to display his glory. They'll rebuild the old ruins, raise a new city out of the wreckage. They'll start over on the ruined cities, take the rubble left behind and make it new. You'll hire outsiders to herd your flocks and foreigners to work your fields, But you'll have the title "Priests of God," honored as ministers of our God. You'll feast on the bounty of nations, you'll bask in their glory. Because you got a double dose of trouble and more than your share of contempt, your inheritance in the land will be doubled and your joy go on forever. 8-9"Because I, God, love fair dealing and hate thievery and crime, I'll pay your wages on time and in full, and establish my eternal covenant with you. Your descendants will become well-known all over. Your children in foreign countries Will be recognized at once as the people I have blessed." 10-11I will sing for joy in God, explode in praise from deep in my soul! He dressed me up in a suit of salvation, he outfitted me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom who puts on a tuxedo and a bride a jeweled tiara. For as the earth bursts with spring wildflowers, and as a garden cascades with blossoms, So the Master, God, brings righteousness into full bloom and puts praise on display before the nations.

This is the passage that Jesus quoted in the temple and told them that it’s been fulfilled that day within their very hearing. Where is the implications of hell, destruction or rapture? This isn’t just any passage. This is THE place Jesus purposely turned to. It was with precision and clarity that He was announcing His purpose. And it wasn’t so a church could come up with a set of rules and guidelines with a completely different emphasis. If anyone should be repenting, it’s those of us who have represented the church all this time. My identity is not pastor of a church. My identity is a follower of Christ, who is a husband and father, and also happens to pastor a church.

All of those things I underlined in that passage of Isaiah are things that Jesus came not only to do, but did. He stated that these things have been fulfilled. And the things I put in bold are things that are done for us. They are not things we do ourselves. Nor are they things we earn, or only have given to us if we should choose to accept Christ as Lord. They’ve been done regardless of what our limited minds choose to accept or reject.

The difference however, is the evidence of those things manifesting through us in this realm. That’s where the necessity for acceptance comes in. To manifest Christ’s nature into other people’s lives, we first must have His life manifesting in us. It doesn’t come by conscious acceptance until there is first a spiritual submission within. My spirit is to take captive the carnality in my mind. My mind is to submit its reasoning to the authority of the spirit in me. “When” there’s been an inward transformation, there will be an outward confession, not the other way around.

So “if” there really is no rapture as the church has taught so adamantly, then how do you explain the foundational passage in Thessalonians 2? I explain it dimensionally, not literally. What I’m going to do is I’m going to break it down from a spiritual perspective. But remember, you really need to lay down your own preconceived ideas of what the church has embedded in your understanding as to what it means. Don’t read this with your mind, listen to the awakening within your spirit.

When we perceive things with our natural minds, our first instinct is to interpret something from a fallen nature which will only focus on death and destruction. I believe that could also be what’s happening even here. We see these events as the end of the world being destroyed by God. I believe that’s also why Paul chose to address it. Even back in that day, people were stirring up a lot of commotion and creating fear and confusion. They were still seeing things from their natural logic and reasoning, just as the interpreters of our day have done with the entire end-times subject.

In this passage in 2 Thessalonians 2, it mentions a falling away. We’ve been taught this is saying that there’s going to be a great detachment from God. That the majority of the world is going to denounce Christianity. What if this falling away isn’t about believers falling away from the truth, what if it’s the reverse? What if this falling away is not men falling away from God, but it’s man (carnality) falling away from men?

The whole emphasis when walking in the kingdom is not about men falling from God, but it’s about men being transformed “by” God. Why would this then be any different? When Jesus died on the cross, there was a falling away of sin’s power over us. But Paul speaks to us about a veil that is over the hearts of men that’s causing them to be blind to the truth of the kingdom. And only when they turn to Christ will that veil be taken away. Well, what if this falling away is not men falling away from God, but what if this falling away, is the veil falling away from the minds of men? When reading it with that perspective, it puts the entire passage in a whole new light.

2 Thessalonians 2
1Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

It’s going to be a struggle for us to keep this as a spiritual admonishment, and not a literal event. The reason being is due to two things, our mind automatically defaults to seeing things interpreted to this natural realm. Remember, our mind can not understand the kingdom of heaven, it just doesn’t have the capacity to birth truth without truth being planted into it first. Everything else is speculation and hearsay.

So, because our minds are still very much tied to the flesh, to the natural realm, we are speculating from a fallen state. And as such, our conclusions are off the mark. The second reason is because others have established doctrines in the same manner, they have come to their own conclusions through natural reasoning.

Because our minds have this inner magnetic pull to the natural realm, and the mainline teaching is based on that same natural process, when we hear their renderings, we immediately connect with them and they become embedded in us. It’s for that reason Hebrews 12 speaks about one final shaking in us to remove all of the religious garbage we’ve accumulated in our lives, so that in the end, the only thing left is pure, unadulterated, truth.

Hebrew 12 (Message Translation)
25-27So don't turn a deaf ear to these gracious words. If those who ignored earthly warnings didn't get away with it, what will happen to us if we turn our backs on heavenly warnings? His voice that time shook the earth to its foundations; this time—He's told us this quite plainly—He'll also rock the heavens: "One last shaking, from top to bottom, stem to stern." The phrase "one last shaking" means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered.
28-29Do you see what we've got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He's actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and He won't quit until it's all cleansed. God himself is Fire!

These things the church has alarmed the world of destruction are not at all what they’re trying to claim they are. It’s not a fearful thing, it’s a celebrative one. Why? Because God is removing the carnality in us once and for all. That should be something to shout about, not rebuke and reject. Notice also that last line. God Himself is a fire. Other translations read that as “consuming” fire. This is the affirmation to me that hell is not a place of eternal damnation anymore than the lake of fire is. Both are God doing his work of grace in the lives of men.

The fire and judgment is not damnation or destruction, it’s purification. I am being purified by the consuming fire of God to my carnal nature. Not always pleasant, but it certainly isn’t destructive either. If anything, the fire of God in my life is bringing about an end to my carnality and destroying my nature in this realm. Let’s get back to 2 Thessalonians 2 now…

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