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OK, there has been a BIG debate since the 19th century about the Rapture. Since the 19th century, Christians have been taught that soon Jesus will come and take all His believers away and the rest will be "LEFT BEHIND" for the tribulation.
Jews get a "kick" out of this teaching because of it's irony. To the Jewish mindset - those that are "TAKEN" will be the ones guilty of LAWLESSNESS/TORAHLESSNESS (this word is ANOMOS in the Greek). Those that are taken will be burned.
The Christians base the "RAPTURE" largely on the following verse from Paul:
1 thess 4: 17Then 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.
Then Jesus says:
Mt. 24:31And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet , and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Ok, so from these two verses - looks like there is indeed a rapture, right??
First, we need to understand that both Jesus and Paul were advanced level Torah observant Jews. They both had educations in the highest levels of the scriptures. To understand their teachings, we need to get rid of our "western mindset" and put on our "Advanced Educated Jewish Culture Torah Observant" mindset.
We need to study what they studied. Where did Paul get his information?? Was Paul indeed teaching a rapture?? Or is this something that the Church made up??
Many want to believe everything that the church has taught; however, keep in mind that we are warned to not be deceived. Even the very elect, if possible, will be deceived in the end days.
Realize the term "RAPTURE" and these teachings did not even come up until the 19th century. The word "Rapture" comes from the Latin word "Rapare" which means to take away or to snatch out.
The Rapture as it is understood today, describes people floating through the air to meet the Lord in the clouds. Families will be sitting at the dinner table and those that are saved, their bodies will float through the roof. Christians driving during the rapture, will suddenly float through the metal and float up to the Lord leaving the car running behind. Imagine the christian pilots floating through the metal of the planes and leaving the plane unmanned. Movies depict the event with mass car wrecks and major disasters everywhere as suddenly all the Christians began to float up towards the sky.
In Ecclesiastes, we learn that there is NOTHING NEW and that history repeats itself. Has there EVER been a time in biblical history where ALL the saints were taken away???
In the Exodus - ALL the wicked Egyptians were destroyed (i.e. TAKEN FROM THE EARTH) drowning in the sea. Only the remaining "elect" survived - and REMAINED.
During the Flood of Noah - again, ALL the WICKED were DESTROYED (taken from the earth) and drowned.. Only the "REMNANT" REMAINED.
Sure, we have some examples of "translation" i.e. - Enoch, Elijah - both were translated. However, we also go back to Ecclesiastes and see that "it is appointed unto EVERY man to die". In Revelation, we see TWO come as witnesses and are killed. Many believe these two witnesses will be Enoch and Elijah since they have yet to receive their deaths.
In biblical history - we have no precedence of ALL the saints being "translated" into heaven.
Did Jesus teach a rapture? Daniel? Isaiah?? Jeremiah?? Ezekiel?
"Let every word be established by the mouth of 2-3 witnesses." God tells us He does nothing with out first telling His prophets. Surely a rapture, would have been foretold by more than one person.
If the rapture theory IS incorrect, then WHAT was Paul talking about??? What else could it mean???
Look at what Jesus says:
Those that are TAKEN FIRST are BURNED
The parable of the wheat and the tares:
Matthew 13:24 The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.....
So here, Jesus is saying FIRST the reapers will come and gather the tares and BURN them.
The "WHEAT" will be gathered in the barn.
So key point here: FIRST what happens???
The tares are gathered and BURNED.Then He goes on to clarify - to make sure the disciples understand:
Mt 13:36...and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. 37He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;38The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 39The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity (ANOMOS=lawlessness=torahlessness); 42And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
So here Jesus explains... the angels will come and FIRST gather those that do iniquity (ANOMOS=lawlessness/torahlessness). They will be cast into the furnace.
The tares are the lawless ones. The wheat are the children of the Kingdom. Jesus says that they shall grow up together and at the harvest, the TARES will be pulled and burned.
The wheat will be gathered in the barn.
Then Jesus goes on to explain that those that ENDURE unto THE END - they shall be the ones that are saved:
Matthew 2413But he that shall ENDURE unto THE END, the same shall be saved.14And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and THEN shall THE END come.
So first the tares are taken (anomos/lawless people) by the angels:
"Gather ye together first the tares"
Those that ENDURE to the END... will be saved.
"he that shall ENDURE unto THE END, the same shall be saved"
The ones that are saved are the children of the Kingdom, the WHEAT that is gathered in the barn.
Jesus goes on to explain this to make sure they understand:
Mt 13: .49So shall it be at THE END of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, 50And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
Then Jesus goes on to liken THE END to the days of Noah. During the Flood - all the wicked were destroyed and taken from the earth. The just remained:
Mt. 2437But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.38For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,39And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away..."
So here we see it was those that KNEW NOT that were all taken away. Jesus goes on to clarify:
Mt. 24:39"...so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.40Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be TAKEN, and the other LEFT.41Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be TAKEN, and the other LEFT."
So Jesus is telling us, this will be JUST LIKE IN THE DAYS OF NOAH. The wicked will be TAKEN. The righteous will be LEFT.
(the tares will be taken and burned, the wheat will be gathered in the barn)
Just like in the days of Noah - Noah and his family were LEFT. The wicked were TAKEN and destroyed in the flood.
So all the wicked will be taken - just as in the days of Noah.
Jesus tells us an angel will come and gather all the tares.
Has this ever happened biblically?
Consider the time of the Exodus. The angel came through Egypt and "TOOK" all the first born males belonging to Egypt. The first born males of the Israelites were "LEFT" that had been marked with the blood of the lamb.
Jesus goes on to explain, when he comes , suffering will be involved:
Mt. 24: 42Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.43But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
The GOOD MAN.... had he KNOWN - would NOT have suffered.
Mt 24:50The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,51And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Jesus teaches also in Luke about those that consider themselves " Good Men" that will be weeping and gnashing their teeth. They are the those that practice ANOMOS:
luke 13:25 -
13:25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:
13:26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. 13:27 But he shall say, I tell you,***** I know you not whence ye are*******; depart from me, all [ye] workers of ANOMOS (WITHOUT LAW, TORAHLESS) 13:28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you [yourselves] thrust out.
The "Good Man" that practices ANOMOS is appointed the portion of the hypocrits. Jesus said to them, "I KNOW YOU NOT".
In Matthew, these "GOOD MEN" are the ones that cast out devils in the name of Jesus, performed wonderful works in the name of Jesus, prophesied in the name of Jesus:
7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work ANOMOS. (lawlessness, torahlessness)
Many believe the Rapture will occur before the Tribulation. However, here, Jesus explains to His disciples, that His followers will be there DURING the Tribulation:
Matthew 2420But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.22And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
So Jesus tells them to PRAY that THEIR flight won't be in the winter or on a Sabbath. He further explains, that for the sake of the ELECT - these days shall be shortened.
He then goes on to explain that His coming wont be until AFTER the Tribulation:
Matthew 2429Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:30And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
So AFTER the Tribulation, is when Jesus comes.
Daniel also testifies to this. The saints go to war and THEN the Ancient of days comes:
"21I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; 22Until the Ancient of days came"
So the Lord returns AFTER the tribulation, then Jesus goes on to explain:
Mt 24:31And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet......."
At the trumpet, He sends His angels... and what do they do FIRST???
Matthew 13 in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together FIRST the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them"
So FIRST - the tares are gathered and burned.
41The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity (ANOMOS=lawlessness=torahlessness); 42And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
And they will gather the "WHEAT" - the children of the Kingdom into the "barn":
Mt. 24:31" and they shall gather together his ELECT from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
The book of Revelation shows who the "ELECT" , or the "REMNANT" are:
Rev. 12 17And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the REMNANT of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 14:12 - Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Yeshua.
Revelation 22:14 - Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.