Does Jesus Beat His Wife? - Jack Kinsella - www.omegaletter.com
Throughout the New Testament, the word translated as 'mystery' comes from the Greek 'musterion' which literally means 'secret' or 'hidden thing'.
"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." (1st Corinthians 15:53)
In our modern English, however, 'mystery' is understood in the Agatha Christie or Sherlock Holmesian sense of the word.
The Apostle Paul cannot therefore be referring to the Second Coming of Christ in this passage. The truth of the Second Coming was revealed by Christ previously and therefore does not qualify.
The Second Coming was prophesied even before His first advent. Daniel 12:1-3; Zechariah 12:10; 14:4 all mention the 2nd Coming, and Jude quotes Enoch, the "seventh from Adam" who "prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints." (Jude 1:14)
The Rapture, therefore, is the previously unrevealed secret, a 'hidden thing' of God previously unknown to men and not His triumphant return at the end of the Tribulation Period.
As the end of this present Age approaches, there are many Christians who are beginning to wonder if we might already be in the Tribulation now.
We aren't. Here is how you can be sure. You are reading this page instead of partying at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
There are lots and lots of folks who think I am way out there for adhering to a pre-Tribulationist doctrine. (I know this to be true, also, because I get emails from them every time I comment on the Rapture, saying, "Kinsella, you're way out there!")
They'll go on smugly (and endlessly), playing word games like 'the word 'Rapture' isn't even in the Bible' as if that meant something.
(Try and find the word 'Bible' in the Bible. Does its absence mean there's no Bible?)
Or babble mindlessly about Margarent MacDonald and C.I. Schofield, before pronouncing Dispensationalism and a pre-Trib Rapture a modern-day 'invented' doctrine.
I say 'mindlessly' because they don't know what they are talking about -- they are just quoting somebody else's research as if it were the Gospel itself.
Instead of building the argument based on what the Bible doesn't say about the Rapture, it is helpful to take a good close look at what it DOES tell us about the Rapture.
First, notice that the Rapture involves the movement of believers from the earth to Heaven:
"For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then 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." (1 Thessalonians 4:17)
The 'dead in Christ' rise first, those believers who are 'alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds. The operative word here is 'rise'.
At the Second Coming, the Lord returns WITH His saints. That's what Jude said. That's what Paul said.
"To the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints." (1st Thessalonians 3:13)
At the Rapture, the Lord comes for His saints. So the Rapture is not the same event as the Second Coming. In one instance, believers rise and in the other, they descend.
Things that are different are NOT the same, and the Rapture and the Second Coming are clearly different.
What would be the point of Rapturing the Church after the Tribulation, anyway? The Lord returns to establish His kingdom on earth, so why pull out all the Christians before He can do so? If they are all changed at the end of the Tribulation, then who, exactly, is left for Him to rule over?
"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." (Matthew 25:32-33)
If all the believers are raptured at the Second Coming, that would also include the Tribulation saints. Where would the believers in mortal bodies come from if they are raptured at the Second Coming?
Who would be able to enter into Christ's Kingdom?
Then there is Daniel's 70 weeks. The Church was absent for the first sixty-nine weeks -- the countdown was suspended at the Cross so the Church could be born. Daniel makes it clear that all 70 weeks are determined 'upon Israel'.
Revelation 19:7-8 says,
"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. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints."
If the Bride is made ready to accompany Christ to the earth at the Second Coming, (while part of the bride is still on earth during the Tribulation) then how does the Bride (the church) also come with Christ at His Return?
When we were at the pre-Trib conference in Dallas, one of our OL members, Barb Hvasta, said something that I had never considered. One can spend so much time out in the weeds on this subject that the screamingly obvious can slip right by, unnoticed.
Of all the arguments offered at the conference for how we can know that the Lord comes back for His Bride before the first seal judgment (the revelation of the antichrist), Barb nailed it the best -- and in a single sentence!
"Arguing that the Lord would put the Bride of Christ through the Tribulation is like getting engaged and then beating your bride senseless in order to prepare her for the wedding."
Indeed! What kind of loving Bridegroom would subject His Bride to the worst beating imaginable (as Jesus Himself described it).
The Rapture is actually among the oldest doctrines in the Bible, along with the fall of mankind and the promise of a Savior.
"And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." (Genesis 5:24)
Not only does Enoch prefigure the Rapture, note that Enoch's Rapture was pre-Flood, not mid-Flood, or post-Flood.
The Scriptures are plain, clear and concise on the topic of a pre-Tribulation Rapture -- provided one interprets the Bible literally, instead of figuratively or symbolically.
While no man knows the day or the hour of the Rapture, the Second Coming can be accurately predicted, since Daniel tells us He returns exactly 1,290 days after the antichrist sits in the Mercy Seat in the Temple and announces that He is God;
"opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God." (2nd Thessalonians 2:4)
"And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days." (Daniel 12:11)
The pre-Tribulation Rapture is often called the "Blessed Hope" by those who look for His return before the Tribulation begins. Those who believe the Church will go through the Tribulation sneeringly call it the 'Great Escape'.
Don't let anybody steal away your Blessed Hope:
"For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." (1st Corinthians 15:16-19)
The Rapture happens before the Tribulation, which means that He is coming for us soon! It isn't a Great Escape -- it is instead the original hope and change.
The pre-Trib reading offers us hope that the Lord will change us and so shall we ever be with the Lord, which is why Paul closed with 1 Thessalonians 4:18:
"Wherfore comfort one another with these words."
Any other reading makes the Lord out to be a wife-beater and our hope is then that He will change after the Tribulation is over. I find precious little comfort in that scenario.
Even if I do deserve the beating.