|"The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed." Revelation 8:8|
by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
Are we at the end yet? According to the volume of email proclaiming God's Wrath being vigorously poured out upon the earth, one would certainly think so. Admittedly - it certainly looks ominous. If nothing else, it causes one to reflect on just how quickly things can turn - almost "in the blink of an eye." Unfortunately, we have been taught for too long by replacement theologians to measure prophecy against world events instead of how those prophecies originate over, are directed toward and will affect Israel.
There are many today who are scanning the heavenlies for what they believe will be the soon unveiling of Yeshua to whisk them away from the tribulation to come. However, in order for one to believe in "raptureology", a blind eye must be turned to what the rest of scripture declares which is that Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel, will return to restore the Father's covenant made in the beginning with His People of the Land - not to extricate an elite from off of the planet. What will bring finality to His Covenant Promise will be when all the nations of the world are aligned against Jerusalem, causing Him to arise to her defense - not as an excuse to "spank" everyone but the elite for not getting their nomenclature correct. Folks, there will be no "rapture" - at least, not in the way and manner in which it has been presented from a traditional viewpoint. He is coming to restore - not to replace (Zechariah 14:1-3, see One Covenant, Part 1, and All Nations click on highlighted words to view content),
As these verses recorded as coming from the lips of Yeshua Himself will attest, raptureology is just not scriptural:
"I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one." John 17:15.
"And you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." Mark 13:13.
What is absolutely amazing is that millions of people who call themselves disciples of "the Living Word" would discount what the words written on the pages of the Book stated by the One who IS the Word actually say in order to embrace precepts handed down by men whose stated objective is to sell something (mostly their book to perpetuate this myth) - but, they do. They do so because they have not taken a long look at the words in the Book for themselves. Words mean things, and what is plainly written in the Book should be a validation of what we believe above and beyond some theory - and that is all raptureology is, a theory.
When I first met YahHoVeH on a dirt road in northern California without any kind of prior religious training, research or experience in my background, He began to teach me about Himself. After about six months of this, someone put a bible into my hands and told me that everything I needed to know about God could be found in the Book - so I began to devour it. You know what I found? The things He had been teaching me by His Spirit were there in the Book - word for Word. And I found those words to be coming from the lips of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah). He showed me that I could trust His Voice and that Voice can be verified and validated by the scriptures - not the other way around. Not sacrificing one for the other, but as a manner of approach (John 4:24, see The Power of God for the full accounting).
THE ORIGIN - In early 1830, Margaret McDonald, a 15 year old Scottish Girl had visions that included a Secret Rapture of believers before the appearance of the Antichrist. Edward Irving (1792-1834) was her Scottish Presbyterian pastor and forerunner of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements who attended prophecy conferences that began in Dublin Ireland in that same year at Powerscourt Castle. There he promoted the doctrine of the Secret Rapture.
John Nelson Darby (1800-1882), a minister of the Church of Ireland, later became a member of the Plymouth Brethren and also promoted a Secret Rapture after attending the same Powerscourt Bible Prophecy meeting in 1830 where he learned of Margaret McDonald's vision. He visited Margaret McDonald at her home in Port Glasgow, Scotland then later visited America several times where his Secret Rapture theology was quite well accepted.
The writings of John Darby greatly influenced Cyrus Scofield (1843-1921) who incorporated this doctrine in the notes of his Scofield Reference Bible, first published by Oxford University Press in 1909. One million copies were printed by 1930, firmly establishing this Futurist interpretation in the Bible schools and denominations of the United States in the 20th Century. This theory was then exported back to the rest of the world via the evangelical crusaders taught in those institutions.
In my digging, I also discovered that the word "rapture" did not appear anywhere in the Book. In fact, I found that it did not even appear in any LANGUAGE until around the mid 1800's (see inset). I found that to be curious because it says in the Book that He has given us everything, if there was more He would have told us - and to not do so would make Him a respecter of persons, preferring men of one era above another. He is not going to give something to us that He didn't give to those early believers. What I DID find as a consistent theme from one side of the book to the other is "he that overcomes TO THE END, to him will He grant the Crown of Life". I also saw where His next appearing is not the "end of the world" - but the revealing of Yeshua as Israel's Messiah to His People (Acts 10:34, Genesis 2:9, Matthew 10:22, Revelation 2:10, Revelation 12:11).
Previously, in One Covenant, Part 3, we have seen where heaven is not a "place" but a state of being. Carrying that thought forward and knowing that words mean things, if we simply look at the original language of the words written on the page, 1Thessalonians 4:16-17 (the source of this "theory") becomes very revealing.
"For the Lord Himself will come from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord." 1Thessalonians 4:16-17
The phrase "caught up"comes from the single Greek word harpazo and means to seize, carry off by force (take note - there is no direction associated with this definition, leaving the impression of being snatched into another dimension). It is the same word translated as "caught away" to describe Philip's removal from the eunuch in Acts 8:39 and for Sha'ul's experience with the "third heaven" in 2Corinthians 12:2. In both situations, the disciples remained firmly planted on earth.
The word translated in English as "cloud" is the Greek word nephele which means used of the cloud which led the Israelites in the wilderness. It comes from the Greek root nephos meaning of a cloud, a large dense multitude, a throng. This is the same root word the apostle Sha'ul (Paul) used in Hebrews 12:1 to describe a cloud of witnesses and is used in Acts 1:9 to reference the way Yeshua was received into the Present Presence whose abode now resided in the hearts of those who witnessed His stepping into this other dimension. It is also used in 2Peter 2:17 to refer to men.
The phrase "in the air" comes from the Greek word aer and means particularly the lower and denser air as distinguished from the higher and rarer air. It is formed from the Greek root word aemi, meaning to breathe unconsciously, i.e. respire; by analogy, to blow. It is the same word used in Acts 22:23 of those so enraged with Stephen's discourse, they "threw dust into the air". What happens when you throw dust into the air? The wind disperses it. Acts 1:9-11 tells us He will return in the same manner as He left. Is that not exactly what is happening with His Body of believers today - being scattered, dispersed across the face of the globe by the wind of ruach hakodesh (Hebrew - the spirit of holiness)?
After awhile what becomes apparent is that, in the end, it does not really make any difference what anybody believes about when or the manner in which He arrives - just that He's coming. If I get up every day and conform my life to His Way TODAY, then, whenever He comes - I'll be there. Yeshua said when you see the leaves begin to turn on the tree; you know the season is near. Which means He wants us to be aware of the times in which we live, and I am, but all the stuff that is going to happen is going to happen because He said it would, not because I develop a doctrine about it or write a book about it. What good does it do to expend time and energy insisting people carry a flotation device in the desert expecting a flood in the future when they are perishing from a lack of water - the knowledge of how to overcome the elements in the present? (Matthew 24:32-33, Hosea 4:6).
So, not knowing any better, in my naivete I just went to the Father and said, "what about all this?" He said, "haRold, here is what I want YOU to do. I want you to prepare your heart to go all the way through to the end. That way, if I come before it all happens, you can rejoice. If I tarry and come in the middle, you can still praise Me. But, if I don't come until the very bitter end - you won't be disappointed." I have found those words to still be living in me after 40 years.
Things that pertain to the rapture or the millennial reign do not concern me as much as they do others because, frankly, nobody REALLY knows how it is all going to come about - Yeshua Himself said the same. Consequently, all that can be advanced on these issues is pure speculation and is done so usually in order to sell someone's book. Everything pertaining to the end time and beyond has been left a mystery purposefully because we have enough to do at hand right here, right now. We have enough work to do right now in helping the Body of haMashiach just love one another as they are today than to try and complicate the task by bringing more topics for division and distraction into the mix that may or may not happen. My biggest contention with Rapture Theology (as with a lot of other doctrinal issues) regardless of where you fall on the timeline, is that it takes our eyes off of what we should be focusing on - our unity in Him that He has already placed among us. We are so divided our divisions have divisions (Acts 1:7, Ephesians 4:1-3).
I am continually amazed at the arrogance of mankind to want to dictate to YHVH how His plan is going to be realized when, at best, any of us, at any given time only see through a glass darkly. We continue to pick and choose among scripture believing with a finite mind what we think we comprehend about an infinite Spirit and then castigate those who don't participate in the particular doctrine we cobble together. In so doing, we divide and separate ourselves from our brother thinking it to be righteous, thinking we know Him by Whom we are called when, in fact, our very behavior declares who our actual father is, and thus, precludes our participation in the Body of haMaschiach (the Messiah). If we believe a lie, our father then becomes the father of lies. Who we serve by our behavior is who we worship. (John 8:44-47, see Who's Your Daddy?).
What is apparent with most of those who invest themselves in a theory do so because they have not had a personal encounter with this Person of Life - for once one has, they are changed forever. It is a life-altering experience that permeates to the core of an individual, defying intellect and leaving that person not willing to settle for anything less than the Truth of Who He Is. People who invest themselves in theory are primarily trying to suck Life out of words on a page rather than having Life imparted to them through a continuing relationship with the Source of Life (Mark 7:13, John 5:39).
Everything written in scripture will come to pass exactly as it is written. But guess what, when He came the first time He fulfilled everything exactly that was written about Him - but, no one recognized it until AFTER the fact because they had already made up their minds as to HOW He was going to bring all that about. Because they were looking for an EVENT, they missed the PERSON. In that regard, I believe His Second Coming will be much the same - if we are looking for an event, we will miss the Person who lives within us and among us today. There is more to this Spirit walk than we know and understand. This is what makes Him God. (John 20:8-9)
We are not going anywhere. We are called to be as Yeshua and to manifest His Name right here on terra firma among those we find ourselves among - today. (1John 4:17, see what it means To Be Made Manifest).
We have stepped over the threshold into an epochal era in which we are witnessing the fulfillment of all scripture. How we behave with our lives in this era will determine our station for all eternity. If we are to be prepared for what is before us, we must have settled in our heart where our treasure lies. I leave you with this article written over thirty years ago by a dear, departed saint who was acquainted with death and hardship more than a few times in her life - Corrie ten Boom. The article is "Prepared for Tribulation" and to read it will place a unique perspective on your life for the days to come. Click Here to Read the Article.
"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known." 1Corinthians 13:12
Please feel free to email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to share with you what the Spirit is uncovering.