Events are continuing to take shape. The revived Roman Empire is well under way in Europe. Even the United States seems to be drawn into this new world development by broadcasting the British House of Commons on a regular basis on C-Span. The German government has moved back to Berlin and Europe's single currency is set now in operation.
The Mid East problems are still unresolved. Iraq's leadership plays cat and mouse with the United Nations and the United States and Arafat is planning for Palestine to become an independent state in May of this year, 1999.
A new World Leadership has formed which is called G 7 composed of the world's largest countries including Britain, the United States and Germany. The latest development is Russia shaking hands and signing treaties with China. Italy has just endorsed a former Communist as President of Italy who has been accepted by Pope John Paul II. Forty to fifty million people are expected to come to Italy in the during the year 2000 celebrations
The Pope's influence is felt all over the world and especially in the US. The religious right movement has made staggering inroads into the White House. The movement has strong ties to the Pope through Christian leaders who have identified with him when the Pope John Paul II visited the US a few years back. He is expected to come again in February.
The Pope's agenda is world wide ecumenism which is not scriptural because it includes all religions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Moslims, Mormonism, Lutheran Evangelicals, Methodists, Presbyterianism, Catholicism, ect. The word "catholic" is described in Webster's Dictionary as: 1. universal, all-inclusive; of general interest or value; hence, 2. having broad sympathies or understanding; liberal. 3. of the universal "Christian" church as a whole..
In general public opinion is that the Catholic Church is the universal Christian Body of Christ. On closer scrutiny that opinion is in error since Pope John Paul II has made public that he supports the theory of evolution which is founded on atheism. It is not surprising that he has succeeded in gathering all world religions under himself as their advocate.
The Bible describes this final church as an indication that spiritual darkness is upon us and the seven year tribulation is around the corner. Newly published Bibles are changed in some cases beyond recognition, in example a mother and father god?. Major religious leaders endorse these Bibles which hold the key to success, health and wealth.
.The `Mark' is also closer. The secular news recently reported that fingerprints optically obtained are going to go on memory and can be used on internet as a signature. Smart Cards with a chip including all information about individuals are in the wings and there is a desire to implant chips in humans so they can be tracked. A good example are children. It is being done to animals in Europe.
The United Nations is a forerunner of world government. They are progressing in setting up another level of taxation, worldwide, probably not much per person, but mandatory. People can even be tried now in a world court procedure which supercedes individual governments. Our military personnel are now serving under the U.N. Their uniforms have undergone major changes.
The Bible states that there are only two gods: one is God and the other is MONEY. Today we have "nonprofit" church organizations pride themselves in being multi billionaires. World politics is about the world wide Stockmarket.
Fundamental Christianity in the meantime is frowned upon as extremism. There is little interest in biblical teachings. Churchleaders are scrambling for new entertaining programming, to keep the flock coming and more and more worldly agenda has permeated churches diluting the message.
The world is just about ripe for Antichrist to make his appearance. But before that day arrives, Christians can expect a surprise according to the Word of God. A very exciting event happens for people who believe that Jesus is God's Son who bodily resurrected and is preparing a place for us. The Rapture is all but forgotten and is being mocked as a fallacy. Little to nothing is coming from pulpits about the Book of Revelation, so critical to Christian believers. The excuse is that it is not their expertise or not part of the tradition of the church.
One of the most profound problems to Christians is most likely the confusion that is spreading like wild fire in the emerging corporate body of interdenominational faiths which is even crossing into our government. A major change is taking place there. It is coming together with the interfaith movement and wishes to consolidate with it. The social engineers wish to use the resources (people) of the church to volunteer for social services to bring down the cost of services the government customarily provides and to bring people together in harmony.
These efforts are all to accommodate their plans for revival, restoration, reconstruction, taking dominion, peace through unity and so on. Although these developments are not what Jesus and His Apostles are teaching, definitely confirm that the Bible is indeed true and we can rely on the rest of the prophecy. We should be getting excited about the Rapture.
The prophet Ezekiel, also a priest, clearly wrote in Ezekiel 37, that Israelis will return to Israel in unbelief and in stages to their `future' promised land and beginning with 1948, millions have done that. Many more thousands are coming home in spite of the tension and killings caused by the peace process.
To begin writing about our subject "the Rapture", we want to get into some preliminaries to help those who are not familiar with the Scriptures to understand what we are talking about, and take a close look at what the word `resurrection' really means, is a good place to start. Webster's Dictionary describes the word to mean: "1. a rising from the dead, or coming to life. 2. a coming back into notice, practice, use, etc.; restoration or revival, as of old customs. 3. the state of having risen from the dead. The Resurrection, in Christian theology, 1. the rising of Jesus from the dead after his death and burial. 2. the rising of all the dead at the Last Judgment.
The Bible states are a number of Resurrections. Martha referred to the world's description telling Jesus about her dead brother: ".. I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day," referring to judgment day. "Jesus said unto her, `I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?' She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world." (John 11:24- 27) Notice she used future tense even though Jesus was standing right beside her.
James, the brother of Jesus, describes Jesus as: ".. the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. (James 3:17) "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." (Revelation 3:11)
In the next few verses Jesus describes the final event that Webster's Dictionary talked about, which is the `second' and final Resurrection. The time is the end of the thousand year Millennium coming up. People who die before this event who are
not believers will be resurrected on the last day that this world exists as we know it. They will be judged for their deeds good or bad and rejected by God because they did not accept His Son as their Savior, who died for the whole world.
Jesus is planning to set up His Kingdom on earth in the beginning of this thousand year Millennium and Satan and his demons will be bound during that thousand years. Those who lived and died during this thousand year period will be sorted at the end, believers and unbelievers, and saved or condemned, respectively. The Apostle John said about the final judgment: "And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." (John 5:29)
Following is the Scripture to prove it: "So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 13:49-50) "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
"And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth [his] sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: (Matthew 25:31-34)
What the Dictionary does not discuss is the first Resurrection of which Jesus Christ is the first fruits resurrection includes more than just Jesus Himself in 33 A.D. in Israel. It includes all His followers who abide in Him, designated His body, will rise either through the first resurrection of the dead or the Rapture, long before the end, halleluia. This body of believers is elected to be the Bride of Christ who virtually becomes one with the Bridegroom, the Son of God. What is so wonderful is that the Bride is not appointed to participate in the coming seven year Tribulation.
The tribulation is God's wrath pored out on people who rejected His Son. If there are five billion people alive at the beginning of the Tribulation, then two and a half billion people will be killed or half of the whole population world wide. There was a time when God had designated the Jews only for this promise which is plain in in the Old Testament. Because of their rebellion God turned his back on them. Jesus plans to remarry Israel after the time allotted to the Gentiles to accept His call, is completed.
Jesus's call is to become His bride and participate in His inheritance given to Him by God. Not only that, people who heed the call from the Savior will also be sheltered from the wrath which is to take place during the seven year tribulation.
The following Scripture demonstrates the end of the First Resurrection, which is also a judgment for Christians only, when rewards are distributed for jobs well done. God is going to ask us, what we did with our time. There is no other judgment because all their sins have been forgiven. Jesus has purchased us, as we are. His gold He used to purchase us is pure. It can't be contaminated. Our gold is fools gold, worthless, it can't purchase a free lunch. Again who can refuse such an offer.
Another very important point regarding these verses is the fact that Christians who are raptured before the Tribulation will not ever have to die. The Holy Spirit wants to enter into our hearts and make the Bride ready for the wedding, male and female.
This is also the last call for the Jews to repent before the Tribulation begins. They who pierced Him, were the Jews. Just before Armageddon Jesus himself will appear to Jews who did not accept Him before the Tribulation. Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they [also] which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. (Revelation 1:7)
"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and [I saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
"But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This [is] the first resurrection. Blessed and holy [is] he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." (Revelation 20:4-6, see also Rev. 7:9-14)
To prove that the believing Gentiles are included in this promise He gave us this: "That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:" (Ephesians 3:6) To affirm again that death is a thing of the past for Christians at the Rapture read: "Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection." (Luke 20:36)
At the end of the thousand year reign of Christ Jesus and His saints, an end will be made of death and evil. The world will be destroyed. A new heaven and earth will be created for those who are with Jesus Christ. God showed this vision to John: "And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God." (Revelation 21:9,10)
The bride being all believers, Jews and Gentiles, male and female. "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready." (Revelation 19:7)