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Revisiting the Rapture — Is It Imminent?

This topic is like a minefield with many hazardous conclusions drawn from texts taken without context. This article offers a broader spectrum of ideas and contexts than most Christians have considered.

If you Google “Rapture September,” more than a million results suggest this is on people’s minds. Some are even having dreams about it. Others ask, Does not knowing the day or hour apply to the 2nd coming or to the rapture?

The idea that Christ would suddenly take Christians to heaven before the end-time period of tribulation was unknown before John Darby promoted it in the 1830’s. William Miller began preaching then and the “Great Disappointment” in 1844 was a result, but this does not mean the idea is un-Biblical.

The book of Revelation shows the last of seven churches in a deplorable state: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”

If we can believe the “true witness,” this diagnosis suggests we are not ready for a rapture which its  supporters say occurs in verse 1 of the next chapter when John is told ““Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” Rev 4:1.

But if we are honest, we must admit that it’s a jump to conclude that means a rapture of the wretched group that we saw a few verses earlier. It’s true that the word “church” is not found later in Revelation, but the “watershed” event that initiates end-times that separates the past, present and future may mean that the church era is over and we move, either to becoming the Bride of Christ, or if unfaithful, to being part of the harlot who rides the beast of New World Order, Rev 17:1-3.

As this nation moves loses freedoms in a move toward global government, “one taken and another left” may mean taken to a FEMA camp because when the disciples asked “Where,” Christ said, Where the body is, there will the eagles be gathered,” Luke 17:36,37. The dinner of the birds in Revelation 19:17,18 is not about a rapture—we don’t want to be “taken,” contrary to a popular fictional series of books and movies.

The oft-quoted text that Christ will keep us from the hour of temptation that shall try the world does not necessarily mean a rapture to avoid the tribulation. The hour of temptation might mean the short period of time that Satan impersonates Jesus, working miracles to deceive the whole world because they “received not the love of the truth.”, 2 Thessalonians 2:9,10.

We might be poor Bible students to conclude that being kept from the hour of temptation means we get a waiver for the tribulation when the Bible says, “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22. This is said different ways in different passages, but it’s about our character development.

After diagnosing our “pitiful” condition, Christ says to buy of Him “gold refined in the fire.” Rev 3:17,18. It’s been said that most of Revelation is a synthesis of previous Bible passages that meet and end in the Revelation. Our familiarity with the whole Bible tests our ability to interpret Revelation without jumping to conclusions.

The gold tried in the fire comes from Malachi 3, the last book in the Old Testament where we see God’s intent to purify or refine us as gold, a passage sung in Handel’s Messiah at Christmas. The information comes from the “messenger of the covenant whom [we] desire,” Mal 3:1-3.

What does that mean? We’ve been dancing around the topic, but rapture or no-rapture depends on our understanding of the wedding parables. We can become the Bride of Christ by making a covenant, but how?

Christ’s parable of the 10 virgins who are asleep with their lights out suggests that we don’t understand this topic. Their being out of oil for their lamps means they can’t see how to get to the wedding. Maybe that’s us.

Oil comes from the two olive trees representing the Old and New Testaments in Zechariah 4. Christians who are short on oil may be lacking an understanding of the Old Testament.

God afflicted Egypt for their many gods, their oppression of God’s people, and for their murder of infants. America has many parallels to Egypt as the greatest nation, a bread-basket for the world in time of famine, but its murder of the unborn and the oppression of Christians may be just beginning.

God attacked the gods of Egypt like the Nile—their economy depended on it like we depends on the dollar. We are about to see God’s judgments on America, in a re-run of Exodus 5-12. Then God took Israel to a covenant and later said, “I am married unto you,” Jeremiah 3:14, KJV. That’s how we marry Christ!

God regarded the covenant relationship as a marriage and Paul includes the Exodus in “all those things happened to them for examples…ends of the world.” 1Cor 10:1,11.

God got an ignorant bride at Sinai—they worshiped a golden calf 40 days later, but their trials in the wilderness proved what was in their hearts. “The heart is deceitful” Jer 17:9. To believe we are ready for heaven may be wishful thinking. It’s been said that a couple is never really married until they have their first serious disagreement and survive it.

When Christ discussed end-times, He said to understand the book of Daniel which has potential life or death situations in chapters 1-6. Daniel 1 is about the king’s healthcare that Daniel wisely declined. Dr. Ben Carson said Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery. If we study Daniel, we are able to see other parallels to what’s coming.

It does look like the image in Daniel 2 (representing the kingdoms of this world), is getting ready to fall financially and “in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom…” Dan 2:44.

How will He do it? “God declares the end from the beginning,” (Isa 46:10) and in the beginning when God took Israel to a covenant, He said, “If you will keep My covenant, you will be to me a kingdom,” Exod 19:5,6.

Now we can understand the disciples’ question, Will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? and Christ’s  reply, “It is not for you to know the times and seasons,” They were looking for an external kingdom and He linked it to times and seasons, a phrase used only once more in the New Testament King James. It’s when the 2nd coming is imminent.

Paul says we which are alive will be caught up when Christ comes with the “trump of God.” 1Thess 4:16,17. He further shows this “at the last trump” in 1 Cor 15:52, We are about ready to start the 1st of seven trumpets in Revelation 8. We expect economic collapse because the grass decodes to riches, comparing Rev 8:7 with James 1:9-11 in the King James. This means we are “caught up” at the 2nd coming “at the last (7th) trumpet.”

Paul continues…“But of the times and seasons,…the day of the Lord [the end-time apocalyptic period as seen in Joel 2:10,11] comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman.” 1Thess 5:1-4. Most people would agree that the US-Iran nuclear deal is ‘Peace and safety’ talk.

We could expect economic collapse and martial law to put us into bondage like Egypt from which God will deliver us with labor pains as He did with Israel, His “firstborn.” Exod 4;22. He took Israel from sudden, destruction to a covenant and Paul included that history of the Exodus for us in 1 Cor 10:1,11.

That’s it!  That’s how we become His kingdom. “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom” and by making a covenant signaled by calamity that causes a midnight cry, (Matt 25:6; Exod 12:29,30), we also become His Bride.

But the covenant is not some new deal. It’s the same law, but God promises to give us a new heart so we will want to do what it says. Ezek 36:25-27.

Christ said, “Till heaven and earth pass, not one jot or tittle shall pass from the law till all be fulfilled.” We are thankful that He fulfilled the animal sacrifices of the law. We don’t have to kill animals. But He also magnified the law to say if we are angry with our brother, we may be guilty, or if we lust after a woman, it’s like committing adultery in our heart.

Maybe we can see now that the church isn’t ready for rapture until we have had the New Covenant Promise fulfilled to us. Until then, we can all say with Paul, “the good that I would, I do not…” Romans 7.

What’s coming will drive us deeper into the things of God or, if bent on our own way, they will harden us as Pharaoh. The Good News is that God has a plan and we can be included if we are seeking to understand His ways and conform to His will as we claim His promises.  HalleluIA.

EDITORS NOTE: Dr. Richard Ruhling is author of The Alpha & Omega Bible Code, an ebook that’s had mostly five-star reviews on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B010CFNMCU, but readers can get a pdf with a bonus for visiting his website at http://TheBridegroomComes.com

The Doomsayers Are Right — But so are the Optimists by ISAAC M. MOREHOUSE

It is 1900. Two visitors from the year 2015 arrive at your doorstep. They are here to tell you about the future.

One hundred years of horror

The first visitor looks grim. He tells you that “the war to end all wars” will soon begin. It will encompass the globe and destroy millions of lives. Cities will be decimated. The Great War will have a scope and level of brutality never before imagined in human history. It will be followed by economic collapse, political upheaval, and tremendous human suffering.

A decade later, the largest economies in the world will teeter, then collapse. Hyperinflation, panic, stock market crashes, breadlines, and financial ruin will be the norm. Hunger, poverty, and desperation like no modern society has ever experienced will span a decade. Before recovery, war will break out again — this one even more catastrophic than the last. Tens of millions will die.

A new form of evil will show its head. Totalitarian regimes aided by advanced weaponry and propaganda machines will lead the mass execution of millions. Weapons of mass destruction will be created, and two will be deployed, leveling cities in minutes with effects lasting years. Governments the world over will grow in power and brutality. Control over all facets of personal and economic life will expand.

The second great war will end and economic growth will resume, but not without constant smaller wars across the globe. Government will balloon out of all proportion. Surveillance will become ever present, even in the freest states. Acts of terrorism will be all over the news. Inflation, regulation, and taxation will increase once again to levels rivaling those that led to the great economic collapse. Countries will go bankrupt, drowning in debt. Police will turn on citizens regularly. Finally, the first traveler concludes, all signs in 2015 point to another painful reckoning.

But the other traveler seems unfazed by his companion’s tale. “Do you have anything to add?” you ask hesitantly.

One hundred years of human achievement

He smiles and begins to recount the next century with excitement. Automobiles are mass produced. Soon, they are everywhere. Temperature-controlled vehicles, homes, and workplaces pop up and spread. New forms of communication that instantly connect people across countries and then the world proliferate at incredible speed. People get healthier and wealthier the world over.

Air travel takes over where automobiles leave off. Humans safely traverse the world many thousands of feet in the air. Appliances do all the most tedious, painful, and time-consuming tasks — and not just in wealthy homes.

Hunger is no longer a problem in developed countries, and it is increasingly rare throughout the world. Common diseases like polio and malaria are all but eradicated with medical and pharmaceutical developments. Average lifespan dramatically increases; infant mortality plummets.

Information is freed in ways never before imaginable. Every book ever written can be transmitted anywhere in the world through crisscrossing networks of data transmission. Humans enter outer space. Satellites beam information, video, and voices back and forth around the globe. Rich and poor alike hold in their hands devices more powerful than anything kings or tycoons of ages past could have hoped for.

Money and memories alike can be sent anywhere, anytime, easily. Anyone can learn anything without access to prestigious centers of knowledge. Gatekeepers for information are no longer impediments to human cooperation and progress. Laboring in fields and factories is decreasingly necessary, as a host of new and intelligent machines take on these tasks.

Finally, the second traveler concludes, humans focus more than ever on creativity, freedom, and fulfillment.

Who’s correct?

Both travelers have described the same future for the same planet. Neither description is untrue, and both are important.

It’s easy to feel confused by conflicting theories about the future. If you have a firm grasp on economics and political philosophy and get stuck in the political news cycle, it’s depressing. You look at the state of our economy and government intervention and see nothing but storm clouds on the horizon. There’s no way the mountains of debt, the constant currency debasement, the damaging social programs and interventions, and the buildup of regulations and nanny-statism can result in anything but an ugly future.

But if you’re up on the start-up scene, you hear tech optimists describing a future of 3-D printing, cryptocurrency, robotics advancements, colonizing Mars, and mapping the human genome, and you can’t help but see the future burning bright.

Both groups are accurately describing the possible and probable future, and there are lessons to be drawn from each.

Will history repeat?

There are striking similarities between today’s developed democracies and ancient Rome. Bread and circuses and political decay may lead to a Roman-style collapse. Then again, we have something today that the citizens of the Roman-ruled world did not: digital technology.

We are able to coordinate and collaborate via dispersed networks in ways individuals in the past never could. The centrally planned state, with all its military and monetary might, is a lumbering beast compared to the nimble, adaptive entrepreneur and citizen today. Yes, the state may use technology to spy and oppress, but always through a top-down management structure. We are a headless conglomerate of individual nodes, networked across the globe, that cannot be destroyed.

Maybe the US dollar will, in fact, collapse. Maybe states will go bankrupt. Maybe government services will fall into disarray. And maybe in the middle of it all, individual humans and civil society won’t even notice.

Do you remember how the Cold War ended? Neither do I. It just kind of did. Do you remember the great collapse of government-monopolized phone lines? Neither do I. Cell phones just emerged and it stopped mattering. The post office is in perpetual deficit. So what? Email and FedEx and Amazon drones will continue to make it irrelevant.

You see, striking as the similarities to great collapses of the past may be, history is not an inevitable indicator of the future. Collapse of government systems in an increasingly complex, market-oriented world may not spell disaster for society at large. It may spell improvement.

Problems are real … real opportunities

Take your knowledge of unsustainable government and extrapolate it into the future. Yes, these bloated systems are unsustainable. Don’t turn a blind eye and pretend it doesn’t matter. Instead, let the insights of your inner doomsayer inform the actions of your inner optimist.

Every government problem is an entrepreneurial opportunity. Stifling licensing or work restrictions or immigration bans can be overcome with peer-to-peer technology, the sharing economy, virtual work software, and more. Bad monetary policy can be sidestepped with cryptocurrency. Defunct educational institutions bubbling over with debt and devalued credentials can be ignored while private alternatives emerge. Clumsy socialized medicine, transportation, and communication systems are all begging for innovation. Entire countries can be exited — physically or digitally.

The innovators must be realistic enough to see problems with the status quo and optimistic enough to innovate around them instead of merely shaking their fists.

Informed optimism as adventure

It’s good to wake up to the tragic missteps of government policy that surround us. But if lovers of liberty only ever point to the problems, predict trouble, and head for the hills, the future may indeed be lost. If, instead, we see those problems as opportunities and talk about the possibility in front of us, we stand a chance. Optimism is a powerfully attractive force that invites bright minds to join us. As F.A. Hayek once said,

We must make the building of a free society once more an intellectual adventure, a deed of courage.… Unless we can make the philosophic foundations of a free society once more a living intellectual issue, and its implementation a task which challenges the ingenuity and imagination of our liveliest minds, the prospects of freedom are indeed dark. But if we can regain that belief in the power of ideas which was the mark of liberalism at its best, the battle is not lost.

We must recapture the intellectual and practical adventure of not just demonstrating the failures of a planned society, but building the glories of a free one. Only then will the world look at us and say, “Why are you so optimistic? What do you know? How can I be a part of it?”

One hundred years from now

There are two stories we can see unfolding in our future. One of increasing political foolishness leading to dystopia. One of emerging technology and innovation leading to utopia. Neither is untrue. Both are instructive.

What would you expect to hear from a traveler from 2115? Which story brings out your best self and inspires you to live free and help others do the same?

We need doomsayers: they help discover and highlight the greatest areas of opportunity for optimists and entrepreneurs to seize on. Listen to them, then act to overcome or sidestep or make irrelevant the problems they predict.

20150430_IsaacMorehouseIsaac M. Morehouse

Isaac Morehouse is the founder and CEO of Praxis.