Time for a station break…

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The last few posts have been focused on timing of the rapture, which I feel, plays an important part in end time prophecy. However, as with all prophetic text and study, this really should have no bearing on your personal salvation or spiritual growth.  To that end, I’ve gotten a bit of criticism for being too doom and gloom and “not telling the good news”.  To that I say, just wait.  You haven’t seen anything yet!  That being said, it hit me, late one night as I had finished some of my bible studies.  Of all the major biblical points why I feel the pre-tribulation rapture concept is a false doctrine, the biggest is based on precedence.  I received revelation that the biggest problem with pre-tribulation and many other false gospels coming from the mega church machine.  The problem is it doesn’t come from clear defined gospel or scripture.  It is taken piece meal here, there, and everywhere, and forms an intricate hidden puzzle that finally reveals this false doctrine.  I realized, our God does not work in secret or mysteries or mystical codes.  Our God is a God of certainty and clarity, not a God of confusion and deceit.  The enemy works in that matter, not our heavenly father.  As a matter of fact, there is only one biblical mystery that God spells out in spiritual terms.  And I feel this subject takes precedence and is worthy of spending some time away from the main subject of late.

The apostle Paul mentions this mystery some twenty one times in his epistles.  What is this mystery and why was it exclusive to Paul?  In Romans 16:25 Paul states “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began”.  Paul specifies this is a message given exclusively to him.  What was this mystery and why was it given to him?  To understand this mystery fully, you have to go back to God’s promise to Israel.  God gave a covenant to Israel, a promise which still stands, however that covenant was based on Old Testament Jewish law and could not be applied to all believers.  The mystery which was kept from the world since before its inception, was the arrival of Jesus Christ the Messiah, the word manifest in flesh, the son of God here on earth, who would die for all mankind.  The last sacrifice of the lamb, died on calvary for the sins of all mankind, Jewish and Gentile, alike. The great mystery given unto Paul, was that great, tremendous, and powerful resurrection after his bodily death on Calvary.  More so, it now meant all believers, regardless of affiliation would fall under a new covenant to all mankind of salvation through grace, the ultimate gift from our Lord Jesus Christ.  In Gal 2:20, Paul explains, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”  The great mystery was now, Jesus had not only resurrected bodily, but upon accepting Jesus into your heart, the believer now took on a new body, a new creation.  The old has been passed away, and a new creation was in its place.  No longer could you be separated from the glory of God.  This was a completely new covenant and concept to the believer and one that was hidden since the creation of Earth.

Why was Paul chosen to be the steward of such an important and far-reaching concept and promise from God?   Paul went through a radical transformation himself.  As Saul of Tarsus, he was one of the most feared and hated men of early Christians.  He literally hunted down and murdered the earliest of believers in Christ Jesus.  Upon his conversion on the road to Damascus, he experienced a complete 180 degrees of transformation.  Even followers of Jesus were skeptical of this change for a time.   That being said, he was probably the best candidate of his generation to show the amazing power of the gospel of Grace on a singular human being.  Someone like this man could be turned, changed, and reborn in an instant, for the glory of God.  The second reason was Paul was arguably the most unique apostle of Jesus.  The other apostles of Christ Jesus knew Jesus in the flesh.  They broke bread with him, walked and talked with him in bodily form.  Paul, however, did not.  His encounters were after resurrection.  I believe this made him much more open to this new spiritual reality he had placed in the believer.  This is one of the main reasons why Peter and Paul disagreed on this important concept.

Oftentimes, as Christians, we struggle with situations and circumstances, trials and tribulations.  We question our faith, maybe even question or possibly doubt God.  Some people seem to believe there is very black and white relationship between blessings from God and curses from the almighty based on works, and works alone.  They believer, “do things the “right” way and God will bless you.  If things are going wrong, you must be “cursed”.  Many struggle because they do not understand this concept and cannot come to the fullness of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, our Lord and savior.  But the reality is, we are no longer bound to law and works.  We are free from the bondage of old through the gospel of grace.  As Christians, we should not seek to wonder “What would Jesus Do” and live accordingly because Jesus of Nazareth was a perfect being, and doing so is only setting yourself up for failure.  Instead we should recognize that Jesus lives in us, and only through him can we continue to make spiritual growth and understand the fullness of our Lord and savior.  As scripture says, “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”  That great mystery, kept since the beginning of time, is the hope of glory, Jesus Christ, that lives manifested in you, the believer.  This is the good news.

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Time for a station break…

The Rapture and the Modern Church – Part 2

In my last article, we explored the modern-day concept of the Rapture and detailed why a pre-tribulation rapture has little support in scripture.  While this concept and its timing only grows by leaps and bounds as it continues to be a springboard for popular entertainment, today I’d like to detail how this concept became so prevalent in the modern Mainstream church, and more importantly why such an erroneous message is being taught and spread worldwide today.

Most modern-day Christians would be surprised to learn the concept of a pre-tribulation rapture did not come from scripture but primarily from the teachings of one man.  That man was John Nelson Darby. Darby was a preacher that lived in England during the 1800’s and was instrumental in such important concepts such as dispensationalism among others.  Darby’s concept took Paul’s passage in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 regarding Jesus’ return for his church and placed it erroneously in the very front and center before tribulation.  Although the Apostle Paul very clearly states in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 this “rapture” event happens clearly after the rise on an AntiChrist who rules Earth over his rebuilt temple and AFTER the believers of Christ Jesus have risen against him.  This is not a condemnation of a man who has influenced a great deal of the modern Protestant church, however, the truth is the truth and scripture should not be changed in order to support any opinion or vision, especially when it is not supported and reproved by scripture.

Many modern historians believe John Nelson Darby did not simply invent this theory but was inspired by another of his contemporaries, Margaret MacDonald, a Scottish native who claimed to have psychic abilities and visions from “God”, aside from numerous occult associations and connections.  Margaret is often credited to have received the vision of a pre-tribulation rapture and conveyed this vision to Darby.  Darby then took hold of this concept and expanded it fit into his dispensationalist worldview.  Mr. Darby began traveling between Britain and the United states and, in turn, began to preach the concept which would be used by early Protestant and Pentecostal leaders as a new fiery version of the old “fire and brimstone” teachings which were popularized in the early 1900’s.  On one such visit to the United States, Darby met Dr. James H. Brooks, a Presbyterian preacher who would become a mentor to Cyrus I. Scofield, the originator of Scofield Reference Bible, which would become the primary educational tool for pastors in the modern Protestant churches.  As such, the concept was now permanently ingrained in the minds of the vast majority of preachers and their flock for generations to come.

For better or for worse, an entire concept with very questionable beginnings had now become a tenant of the modern-day fundamentalist church.  Why would such a seemingly small concept have such a major impact on the biblical prophecy?  The reason is simple – the enemy wants a weak and easily controlled opposition.  Satan himself knows scripture and biblical prophecy better than the most seasoned teacher or prophet.  The best tool he has at his disposal is deceit and carefully crafted lies strung up to appear as truth.  The word of God’s position is clear on the role of the Christian prior to and during the end times.  We are to be strong and bold and call out evil and fight openly against it.  Based on the widely accepted theory of a pre-tribulation rapture among other false teachings, we now have a divided weak body of believers that falsely believe Jesus Christ is going to rescue them from persecution when things begin to unravel.  Based on this false timeline, most modern-day Christians believe they will be caught up in the air far before the arrival of an AntiChrist figure takes his position of authority, whereas scripture tells us the exact opposite.  As such, even the very elect will be deceived and many will worship the false “god” (or gods) and may even think him to be Christ Jesus himself, in the flesh.  In my next article, we will explore how this false message took place and why it matters now, more than it ever has in our history on this planet.

The Rapture and the Modern Church – Part 2

Welcome / Bienvenidos

IMG_20141018_172728Greetings and blessings and welcome to my new blog.  I’ve long felt driven to write publically about very personal matters of spirituality and the relation is has to the current times we are living through.  I’ve felt compelled to do this for some time and am finally glad to be expressing these ideas in a public forum.  I will be covering a variety of topics relating to spirituality and prophecy, specifically, coming from a modern-day Christian perspective.  Although  my hope and sincere prayer is to share my perspectives and ideas, I welcome other’s perspectives and thoughts, as well.  In fellowship of thoughts and study of scripture, I hope we may all come to a greater understanding of the fullness of the gift of grace given by our heavenly father through his son, Jesus Christ.  I hope to shine light on issues and discuss phenomenon that is often overlooked or even marginalized by the modern Fundamentalist church.    My first topic, I believe is a very important issue and will serve as a springboard to many other issues discussed here in the future.  Its popularity in modern culture, even secular media and entertainment, cannot be underestimated.

Welcome / Bienvenidos

The Rapture and the Modern Church

Hanging piñatas.  Houston East End 2014 mat mokarzel
Hanging piñatas. Houston East End 2014 JMM

No singular Christian issue today has arguably been transplanted into mainstream secular culture as the modern church’s view on Tribulation and the event coined as “the rapture”.  Although the term does not appear in scripture, the term rapture comes from the Latin verb,’ Rapere’, which means, “to be caught up”.   Scripture tells us of a very real and apparent supernatural event during the final days in which true believers in Christ are literally “caught up” in the air to reclaim their position with Jesus in heaven.  The concept of the rapture has been the converted into countless books in the Christian world, such as the popular Left Behind series or The Harbinger, to dozens of movies in both Christian and secular forms from The Remaining to This is The End, and the Omega Code.  This concept of a pre-tribulation rapture is a great springboard for fiction across numerous mediums.

All followers of Christ Jesus are bound by the belief in a supernatural resurrection after his death on Calvary for our sins.  Secondarily, we are told that Jesus will ultimately return, in flesh, once again to save his remaining followers during the end times on this earth.  The prevailing view of the modern fundamentalist church concerning biblical prophecy as it pertains to the final days and the Great Tribulation calls for a singular unified concept of when this mysterious and very dramatic, overt, and supernatural miracle takes place.  While the vast majority of Christians believe in a pre-tribulation rapture and maintain scriptural backing of their ideas, what would be the ramifications if they were wrong?  What if there were political or even sinister motivations for promulgating a false narrative behind this huge piece of biblical prophetic events?

After careful study of scripture and review of the giant media and mega-church machine pushing the concept of a pre-tribulation rapture, I firmly believe this concept is erroneous and at its core, intentionally meant to mislead good-meaning and even educated Christians away from the truth.  Although some might argue the timing of this rapture event, has no bearing on our salvation or our relationship with our heavenly father, I do believe we, as Christians, have the moral and spiritual obligation to reprove, rebuke, and exhort all things, particularly when they pertain to issues of the holy word of God.   Additionally, the Great Tribulation period is a literal and supernatural and spiritual fulfillment of all the dispensations in scripture and thus pertains to all of humanity.  While I cannot say for fact or certain we are living in end times or in those times preceding (surely every generation since the time of Christ has believed he or she lived in end times), we should always remain vigilant, as scripture tells us, no man knows the time or the hour in which these events shall come to pass.    There are four main points that lead us away from this concept of the Pre-tribulation rapture and towards a post-tribulation rapture:

1) Jesus’ Own Words:  The Book of Revelations is noted more than any other chapter in the bible when it comes to biblical prophecy.  However, there are prophetic texts relating to the end times, all throughout the bible.   The most widely circulated “proof” of a rapture even comes from Matthew 24.  In the chapter Jesus of Nazareth is asked by his disciples what are the signs that will proceed the end of the world and his ultimate return.  In doing so, Jesus explains a moment in which two shall be in a field, one would be taken while the other remains.  Two women will be grinding at a mill, one taken, while the other remains (Matthew 24:40).  Many in the modern church cite this as scriptural proof of the rapture event.  If this is true,  they isolate this text and neglect to mention the very important first portion which begins at the beginning of the chapter.  Jesus clearly states many MAJOR events precede this event including the rise of false prophets, major world wars, earthquakes and earth changes, persecution of the church, Satanic signs and wonders, the darkening of the sun, among many others BEFORE the final event, which is the taking away of one, while leaving the other.  If this is scriptural proof of this supernatural event known as the rapture, Jesus very clearly spells it out in very specific chronological order.

2) Biblical Precedent:   In the current atmosphere prevalent in the modern church where a false prosperity message outweighs and outsell sound biblical principles, there is little discussion of the reality of the extreme level of long-suffering and sacrifice that true believers of Christ endured.    This of course even pails to the suffering and tremendous the ultimate sacrifice that God gave in the form of his son Jesus of Nazareth.  Some churches even choose to look over this most basic and undoubtedly the most important tenant of our faith, in lieu of personal antidotes that are pleasing to the ear but belong on the motivational speaker circuit and not on the pulpit.   The modern church’s view of a pre-tribulation rapture fits a convenient package for those believers that find no value in suffering or being tested for their very faith in Jesus Christ where in scripture the Bible tells us countless accounts of the exact opposite!   Throughout the bible, many believers lost their earthly lives for their proclamation of our heavenly father.  James  – Executed by sword, Saint Peter – crucified at Rome upside down, Jude – executed by axe in Beirut,  Paul – beheaded in Rome.    This is not to mention the countless figures throughout history, even the thousands that face persecution, torture, or even murder today.  This is in stark contrast to those so-called church leaders living in mansions and flying private jets worldwide to preach a convenient message of Jesus coming to rescue an undeserving church from the period of tribulation.

3) Paul’s Words:  Paul’s epistles are often overlooked when it comes to the End Times, however he is uniquely suited in ways I hope to detail in the near future.  These same reasons cause him to be overlooked and overshadowed by other writers in the bible, at least in respect to the modern fundamentalist church.  One of Paul’s verses, often cited as support of the Rapture, is 1 Corinthians 15:52.  Paul states, that, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”  Once again, a most important an obvious detail emerges but is so-often overlooked.  Paul states this event happens at the final trumpet, (The other trumpets referencing  all the other major events that proceed this supernatural event).  Once again, this event is chronologically placed at the end.

4) Jesus’ Return for His Bride, The Church:  The definition of the church has been widely misconstrued as the building of brick and mortar where believers or parishioners gather.  The true biblical definition of the church is the collective body of Christ.  In Ephesians 5:27, Paul refers to Jesus returning for his church, which is his believers.  He compares us to a perfect bride, having no spot or blemishes.  He is to return to a perfect church without a single spot or blemish!  Can you imagine Jesus returning to the church today?  Is this body of Christ the most spotless or blemish-free church in history?  Surely not.  We probably fit Paul’s definition of the majority of the people found in the end times as he describes in 2nd Timothy, than we do by his definition in Ephesians.  However, I’d imagine, a church persecuted, praising Jesus throughout the worse afflictions mankind has ever endured on earth during a coming tribulation period, might be better situated as a bride of Christ than our flock in its current state.

In summation, I believe the concept of a pre-tribulation rapture is not only an erroneous message given to and even espoused by well-meaning Christians, it is potentially a false gospel  with far reaching effects meant to mislead the body of Christ during these most important times.   If this is truly an erroneous message, how did it come to be such a prevalent force in modern Christianity and who stands to gain by spreading this message?   We will explore this topic next time.

The Rapture and the Modern Church