Posted in elijah, enoch, paul, prophecy, rapture, two witnesses

All the raptures in the bible

I was listening to Tommy Ice on pre-Tribulation rapture on a youtube video last week. It was a long video, over an hour, and I only had time to listen to about ten minutes. I figured I’d get back to it.

But I lost it in the flow of the dozens of music videos I subsequently watched while on vacation. Viva vacation.

All this to say I’m sorry I can’t post a link to the video, but here is the part that interested me.

We Christians know about the rapture. We understand that at the moment the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (the full number, Romans 11:25), the rapture will occur and Jesus will descend from heaven. We will vanish from the earth in a moment, a twinkling of an eye. The dead will be no means be left behind, they will also be raised and we’ll all meet in the air. Jesus will lead us to heaven. Then, the final 7 years remaining to complete the Old Testament decree regarding the Jews will resume on earth. It will be a time of Godly wrath, unleashed full force.

It’s fascinating to think about going on our daily business, driving, washing, feeding the dog, and suddenly we will hear the trumpet of God, and the next moment we’ll be airborne! The next moment we’ll be in heaven, where no eye has seen nor any ear has heard the things prepared for us!! It is a singular, unique, momentous event!

However as I listened Dr Ice put something together in my mind. There have been several raptures already.

Enoch.

James Tissot, ~1900

Father of the longest lived man on earth, Methuselah. Enoch was the 7th from Adam. He was a prophet. (Jude 1:14). He lived 365 years, then God took him home. He was the only one in a long line of the genealogical record to not have died. “And then he died…And then he died…And then he was not, for God took him.” Raptured.

Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. (Genesis 5:24)

By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. (Hebrews 11:5)

Elijah.

Prophet, servant of God. Slew all the false prophets of Baal by the sword. (1 Kings 18). Mentored Elisha. Raptured.

And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. (2 Kings 2:11)

Jesus.

And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11). Raptured.

Paul, Isaiah.

Paul wrote about “a man” who was caught up to the third heaven. Most scholarly consensus is that Paul is speaking of himself. Note that Paul says “caught up” in some translations it’s “snatched up”. In the Greek it’s the word harpazo. This means snatched up. It is the same word that describes the bride’s snatching up, or of being caught up.

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. (2 Corinthians 12:2)

Isaiah- This one is more speculative, but in Isaiah 6:1 Isaiah wrote that he saw the throne room. Whether in the body or not…we can’t be sure. He described the altar, the train of the Lord, the pillars,the seraphim crying HOLY HOLY HOLY. However after Isaiah exclaimed he was undone, he was a man of unclean lips living among a people of unclean lips, the seraphim took a coal from the altar and touched Isaiah’s lips. If Isaiah was not in the body then this is metaphorical, however the word for mouth in Hebrew is mouth, the word used here. My personal opinion is that Isaiah was bodily caught up to heaven as Paul was.

Two Witnesses.

In Revelation 11 we are told that there will be Two Witnesses sent by God to preach to the entire world. This will be during the Tribulation

But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. 12Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them. (Revelation 11:11-12).

Many people think, and I include myself, that the Two Witnesses are Enoch and Elijah. Since it is appointed for man to die once then the judgment, and they never did, that this means the Two Witnesses are those two men and their death will occur during the Tribulation. Anyway, The Two Witnesses will be raptured.

Philip.

I wrote about his remarkable instant journey from point A to point B in Gaza: here. I have always been fascinated by the practical moments. After Philip was finished baptizing the Ethiopian Eunuch, he was snatched up and set down 20miles away. He wasn’t raptured to heaven but to two places on earth, but still, the notion of being bodily taken up by the scruff of the neck like a kitten and plunked down some there else with no warning is amazing. In the sense of a harpazo, a catching away, Philip’s experience fills the bill. His snatching up is the same word used on the Bride’s rapture: harpazo.

And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea. (Acts 8:39-40).

We’ve talked about various raptures in the past. They’ve all been one man or at most two. The most startling and eagerly anticipated event of all is no doubt

THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH

This will occur at an unknown time in the future, and it will happen to a large number of dead and alive believers.

in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.(1 Corinthians 15:52-53).

For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,d that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will descend 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. 17Then 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. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18)

While being raptured is not a usual nor a frequent event, neither is it made-up as some like to claim. As we can see in the bible, it has happened before and will happen again. It isn’t far-fetched and it isn’t an “escape.” A catching up or a snatching away of persons or groups of people is an event that God uses in His plan to accomplish the things He wants to accomplish. Simple as that.

How wonderful He is so sovereign He is able to put us where He wants and to take us up when He wants. How majestic are His ways. What a blessed hope our rapture is.

Come soon Lord Jesus!

Posted in Obama, prophecy, technology. selfie, two witnesses

Cultural narcissism, Obama’s selfie, and prophecy

When Former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela died, Barack Obama attended the memorial service. There were many other Heads of State in attendance of course. Memorial services for Heads of State are usually somber, filled with gravitas, and dosed with a healthy portion of dignity.

Not so with Barack Obama. So childishly entranced by the pretty blond girl next to him (who is the Prime Minister of Denmark by the way), Obama put on a white man’s overbite cell phone picture with her and a giggling UK Prime Minister David Cameron, risking the ire of his wife (who is making the ‘I’ll get you later’ angry wife face next to him).

British Prime Minister David Cameron, Denmark’s Prime Minister
Helle Thorning Schmidt and President Barack Obama pose for a
“selfie” picture during the memorial service for Nelson Mandela.
ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images

The Oxford dictionary crowned selfie as word of the year and defined it as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”

The NY Post described selfie another way in their article “Obama’s ‘Selfie Presidency’ – It’s All About Me!“:
Selfie! It’s the concept of the year. Maybe — given its accompanying connotations of technology, media, instantaneous global transmission, carelessness, solipsism, frivolity, youth, inappropriateness and ironic juxtaposition — it’s the concept of our age.

And there we have it summed up our world culture today: a pandemic of narcissism, solipsism, lack of gravitas, and instantaneous global transmission. The bible sums it up this way:

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

Let’s look at the instantaneous global transmission first. Remember when the news of Osama bin Laden’s death came across the wires? ESPN reported:

The “U-S-A, U-S-A” chants began at Citizens Bank Park in the ninth inning Sunday night, as the New York Mets’ Daniel Murphy batted as a pinch-hitter against Philadelphia Phillies reliever Ryan Madson. And as the news filtered among the announced crowd of 45,713 — the 137th consecutive sellout in the stadium’s history — about U.S. special forces killing accused Sept. 11 mastermind Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, the chants grew louder and more widespread, and people could be spotted all over the ballpark checking their phones.

The moment that bin Laden’s death became public, thousands upon thousands of attendees at a baseball game knew it, and erupted in cheers. Those who were a few seconds behind the news, caught up almost instantaneously as they checked their phones for texts from friends or family, or internet news. The big news was the death, but the second most reported news was how fast the news got out.

The UK Daily Mail reported,


Ecstatic fans at the game in Philadelphia held up their mobile phones
showing the news that Bin Laden was dead as they received messages
from friends. source

Hold this thought. I’m going to come back to it.

As for instantaneous global transmission, I think of this heartbreaking series of tweets from a woman who is slowly discovering her husband had died in a car crash. We not only share news after it happens, we now share it while it happens. Toledo News Now has it:

I am 53 years old so that means I grew up with phones that hung on the wall and you could only walk as far as the cord would let you. There were no cell phones. If you were out and about you had to use a pay phone (if you had a dime) or ask to use a business phone. We got along perfectly fine.

I remember the first time I saw cell phone selfies. It was 2007. I was attending a religious revival, and there were some high school kids on the bleachers. They were almost in unison taking photos of themselves. It was unusual enough that I shot a photo of them taking a photo of themselves. (I was there to take pictures for the newspaper). I never used the photo but I kept it. This was before the word ‘selfie’ was coined but it was the time when all people under the age of 25 had a cell phone in their back pocket and instantaneous global communication was born.

Now in 2013 we have this from Breaking News,

@BreakingNews

On Youtube I watched a flash mob re-enact the scene just before Rembrandt captured it forever in his painting The Night Watch. The final scene of the flash mob was to station themselves as Rembrandt did in his famous painting. Prior to the final scene, men dressed in Dutch Renaissance clothing were running all around a mall trying to capture a robber. Men in armor tramped through, a chicken was released, ropes dropped from the ceiling and people clambered up and down. In the video I noticed this woman. Either she is so involved in her texting she is oblivious to the strange goings-on around her, or she is so aware of what’s happening, she’s texting someone as it is happening. Either way, the technology is globally instantaneous; and either way it’s tragic.

This is what satan has always been after. God gave us Himself so we would look at Him. Satan gave us enticements so we would look at ourselves.

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:6)

Immediately when satan enticed Eve, she turned her thoughts to herself, my food, my pleasure, my wisdom. And we have been off and running ever since. Because the curse always gets worse, we are coming to the moment when all of 2 Timothy 3:1-5 will be true for almost everyone on the planet. If a culture reflects itself in who we elect to lead us, then Obama certainly shows us that it’s all about MEEE!!! Satan’s work since the garden will be almost completed. Sin, which is narcissistic after all, will soon be making its final run.

Though there are advantages to instant global communication which are selfless and culturally elevating, technology soon turns to a vast wasteland. That is what satan does, he takes everything that is at hand and turns it to waste. (John 10:10). And it will be the same with technology. In the end technology will be used to instantaneously celebrate the deaths of the Two Witnesses that God sent for their edification and salvation but instead will be used to endlessly repeat the news loop of their putrefying bodies in the street of Jerusalem.

And when the Two Witnesses die, can’t you see the same thing but even even more instantaneous than bin Laden’s death? If people discovered the hated man’s death when it occurred, how much more will the virulently hated Two Witnesses’ deaths be celebrated? After all, the prophecy says ‘every tribe, people, language, and nation’.

And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth.” (Revelation 11:7-10)

The global instant communication is here, ready for the prophecy to be fulfilled. The mental and emotional state of pandemic narcissism Paul warns Timothy of is here also. The combination is one that will see the Two Witnesses deaths instantly known and instantly celebrated.

Christians will be gone well before that. We will be raptured prior to the Tribulation AKA Time of Jacob’s trouble. It will happen in the blink of an eye, so that no one will be able to capture our disappearance on cell phone or other instant media. The aftermath, yes. But our disappearance, no.

Come soon Lord Jesus.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Further reading

GLAAD: The Vicious Tolerance Police

Infamous Selfies

Posted in elijah, enoch, prophecy, two witnesses

"Where is Elijah’s body?"

Elisha Succeeds Elijah

An icon of Elijah
from Saint Catherine’s Monastery,
Mount Sinai

Now when the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho saw him opposite them, they said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” And they came to meet him and bowed to the ground before him. And they said to him, “Behold now, there are with your servants fifty strong men. Please let them go and seek your master. It may be that the Spirit of the Lord has caught him up and cast him upon some mountain or into some valley.” And he said, “You shall not send.” But when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, “Send.” They sent therefore fifty men. And for three days they sought him but did not find him. And they came back to him while he was staying at Jericho, and he said to them, “Did I not say to you, ‘Do not go’?” (2 Kings 2:15-18)

Elijah had been taken up to heaven bodily in a chariot of fire, while his successor, Elisha, looked on. Elisha then took Elijah’s left-behind mantle and doffed it. When the other prophets saw Elisha return wearing it, they knew what had happened, and you see in the verse, they bowed in respect to the new premier Prophet of Israel.

They were also concerned about proper burial of Elijah’s body. They kept asking and asking and asking until they were ashamed to ask any more. Elisha kept saying No, and No, and No, until he was ashamed to say no anymore. He relented and said, Go. He knew they would not find Elijah. Elisha had seen Elijah be taken to heaven alive.

When the prophets returned unsuccessful, Elisha said, ‘Well? Didn’t I tell you not to go?’

Though Elijah’s body was not found in the deserts of Israel long ago, some time in the future, will it be seen by not just the concerned prophets, but all the world?

There will be Two Witnesses in the Tribulation who will come to tell the world of God’s truth. They will prophesy for 1,260 days.

The two witnesses, as depicted
in the Bamberg Apocalypse, an 11th-century
illuminated manuscript.

Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city—which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where also their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth.

“But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.” (Revelation 11:7-11)

The Two Witnesses are not named. I believe they will be Enoch and Elijah, because these are the only two men in the world who have not died. (Genesis 5:23). Hebrews 9:27 says it is appointed for man to die once, and then the judgment. Only Enoch and Elijah have been taken to heaven alive, and never died once.

By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.” (Hebrews 11:5)

“It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (Jude 1:14-15)

Elijah and Enoch – seventeenth-century icon,
Historic Museum in Sanok, Poland

IF the witness who lays in the streets of metaphorical Sodom is Elijah, and I have no certain information that it is, then the little detail in 2 Kings 2 about where Elijah’s body is becomes even more poignant. The prophets were searching and searching for a body that will not be found … until the far future, in the streets of a city that had become so unholy it is called Sodom, and to be seen by millions upon millions, not just fifty men.

The prophets wanted to honor his body, but instead, it will be desecrated and lay unburied, spit upon, and mocked by all the world.

However, the witnesses’ bodies will become the vehicle whereupon God will show His power. He will call them up to heaven, and their bodies will reconstitute before all the eyes of the world, and be translated to heaven for their eternal rest.

Praise our Holy LORD for His plan, His mind, His perfection. The bible is fascinating.