Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Serendipity? Coincidence Or God’s Handiwork?

by Joe Ortiz
     I love the word Serendipity! The word sounds happy, musical, joyful and colorful. When I first heard that word many, many years ago, I ran quickly to the dictionary to see what it meant:
     Fate, predetermination, predestination, decree, finality, conclusion, foreordination, decrees of fate, course of events, inevitability, doom, certainty, fatality, condition, divine decree, book of fate, future, the Fates, destined way, ordinance, kismet, fortune, luck, karma, inevitable necessity, God's will, providence, Fortune, serendipity, happenstance, wheel of fortune, the stars, Dame Fortune, will of heaven, Sisters Three, Weird Sisters, Ides of March, Hobson's choice, and the lap of the gods.
     Wow! So many applications.

     Most people apply that word to events and occasions they experience that truly amazes them for its irony, the far away unexpectedness and that “Wow” factor. This has happened to me on many, many occasions, especially since walking with God, experiences that confirm God’s reality so very deeply in my heart. Once was when a great and wise gentleman came into my life by the name of Dave MacPherson.
     Dave is the author of several books that refute the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, such as The Rapture Plot, The Incredible Cover Up, The Great Rapture Hoax, Unbelievable Pre-Trib Origin, and Late Great Pre-Trib Rapture, in addition to hundreds of articles that can be found throughout the Internet whenever or wherever Bible prophecy is discussed. Since my books are about the same subject matter, it was only natural for us to meet one day.
     That happened in 2002 when I wrote Mr. MacPherson to ask if he would read my two books and give me his assessment. He was living in Monticello, Utah at the time. He wrote back and told me to send them to him. You can imagine how surprised and thrilled I was to receive his rave reviews before we met in person. Here is just a small portion of that review:
     When one goes through Ortiz' scholarly masterpiece, he marvels at his tenacious task of taking original Greek NT words and translating them into English. If the reader wants light on the various "rapture" and millennial views, heaven, hell, Middle East, Israel, church, and almost every other topic bearing on the author's focus, "The End Times Passover" is the one book no one can afford to pass over! (Dave MacPherson, 2002)
     One day, about a year later when I was surfing the Internet to get as many of the articles as I could that were written by Dave MacPherson, I ran into a little item concerning a guy named Dave MacPherson, who had the distinction of being the first guest at Disneyland, and - guess what? - It's the same guy!
     By clicking the link below, you will see the story about a fact I never knew about Dave MacPherson, the first person to ever visit Disneyland, which happened in 1955.
     Ironically (Serendipitously?), I was also there that same day, but did not meet Dave, then. That happened later on in life, in 2002. First Person To Ever Visit Disnelyland
     Dave and his wife Wanda and I have become close friends since we met and we are in contact almost daily through phone, regular mail and the Internet. Being the first person to visit Disneyland, Dave now receives a free VIP Pass from Disneyland where he and three other people can get into any Disneyland sites in the world for free, any day of the year

     Now, I’m not that big into Disneyland, although it could very well be considered my daughter Christen’s second home, she visits there so often. She just loves the place! But, last Spring, the MacPhersons planned a trip to Southern California and invited my wife Martha and I to be their guests. After not visiting Disneyland in over 25 years, we went to the so-called Magical Kingdom with Wanda and Dave and had a blast. Now I know why my daughter enjoys herself so much, and in such a clean and wholesome environment. As a matter of fact, we’re hoping to go with them again this year.

     When I look back at this scenario, being in the same location with a person over fifty years ago, and then later connecting to work together in the same mission field, that thought can be rather mesmerizing. The chance of that happening is mind-bogging but, then again, nothing is impossible with God, and he often times paints these little occurrences in the canvas of our hearts to remind us that He is God and He is in charge and He knows what He is doing.

     Speaking out and against the prevailing Pre-Tribulation Rapture theory can be a very daunting experience. The theory (where adherents believe that Jesus Christ is going to secretly come down from Heaven and snatch up only Born Again Christians back up to Heaven to prevent them from experiencing any great tribulation) is not biblical, yet thousands upon thousands of Christians believe in that myth. I personally have been attacked on numerous occasions by fellow Christians for speaking against the Pre-Treibulation Rapture, and expect this to continue more so in the future. But, as God did when He sent Dave MacPherson my way to reassure me that what I have written in my two books is accurate, He is doing it with so many other new authors and preacher who are boldly challenging the erroneous Pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine.

     Up until recently (four to five years ago) there were hardly any authors or preachers out there who had boldly challenged the Pre-Tribulation Rapture besides Dave MacPherson. Now, there are about a dozen or so who have written similar works (based on sound scriptural hermenuetics) including Ted Noel, Stephen Sizer, Steve Wohlberg, Barbara Rossing, Arnie Suntag and a few more emerging authors.

     During my lonely days, from the early 1980’s, when I began my research on the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, I felt I may have been discovering Bible data that wasn’t factual or true to substantiate my initial inclinations that the Pre-Tribulation Rapture theory was sheer mythology. God recognized my concerns and sent me Dave MacPherson early on in 1977, when I first read some of his material. His information assured me I was headed in the right direction during my early research and writings about this subject matter. Whereas Dave's approach was to provide data that the Pre-Tribulation Rapture was a recent phenomenon (1830), my approach used the academic sciences of Etymology and Figues of Speech to discern deeper and more profound meaning to key words in the Bible. My findings out right refute the Left Behind and Pre-Tribulation Rapture notions. Yet, Dave's research confirmed my research and his critique of my books provided me with great comfort (from God) that what I wrote was not mere conjecture nor theorizing, but strong academic and biblical evidence.
      Little did I know then that our paths had crossed 20 years earlier in, above all places, a smaller magical kingdom called Disneyland. This bit of serendipitous lore has served as deep confirmation from God that I have been following the path He set out before me.

     That fact is rather reassuring and adds to the many instances I see in this journey called life, that there can be no other walk that can compare with the ever convincing knowledge that Immanuel is here, God is with us, in the person of Jesus Christ. He is with us during those great moments of doubt, when we feel all alone, as He assures us that we are walking in the path He created for us.

     For those of you who worry too much about today and the future, whether God has you where He wants, whether you are serving Him as you should be; hang in there, have faith because everything turns out all right in the end!
     It is then that we will see the true magical Kingdom of God in all its glory, where the happiest place in the world will not be in Anaheim and Orlando (where much fun can be had), but inside New Jerusalem, the soon-to-descend City of God, where we will serve as co-administrators inside the headquarters for the Kingdom of God, a kingdom which will make that magical one called Disneyland, appear to many folks, kind of, like …………. well, a little Mickey Mouse!

In His Peace!
Joe Ortiz

For more information about this blog and other web sites managed by Joe Ortiz, click The End Times Passover


Anonymous said...

Disneyland is a great place to visit, and I have visited it a number of times. But what isn't so great is the fact that far too many preachers and teachers still promote Disneyland (or Mickey Mouse) theology. I have in mind the latter-day "Fantasyland" known as the any-moment pre-tribulation rapture. Don't look now - but one of these days the same Never-Never Land will become Reality Land - and having your excellent prophecy books is a first step in being well prepared for what lies ahead! Lord bless you for your love for others. Gladys

David H Mercier said...

1st Thess. 4:17 is clearly speaking of the harpazo of the church and there is nothing secret about that event.

I go into detail and provide some links to help.

The End Times Passover said...

Thanks for your comments David. You may want to check out a recent post on this blog entitled "Prophecy:Human Predictions or God's Proclamation." You should find it interesting. Click the link below to go directly to that post, or go to the archives and look for the title.

Anonymous said...

What a sparkling, refreshing, exceptional blog that you have! I am sure that the Lord is pleased with your efforts and that many are being blessed. Keep up the great work.

Anonymous said...

I think the reason that so few preachers and teachers have taken on the pre-trib rapture is because most Christians think it is a piece of a larger scheme of bogus eschatology invented by John Nelson Darby and his descendants. Of course, the existence of any kind of "rapture" in the dispensationalist sense is foolish, but that is a different matter all together.

Also, I'm not sure we should think of scripture as "evidence" that leads to one conclusion or another, as if the key to Scriptural interpretation is amassing evidence like in a criminal case. Appealing to Scripture as "evidence" for or against is an endless cycle, because even the devil can quote scripture to his benefit. There is no reliable and Godly interpretation of Scripture without the aid of the Holy Spirit and the guidance of the community of believers, particularly in and through the witness of the church fathers.

At the end of the day, though, I think the 'end times' gets far too much attention among American Protestants. If we were as concerned about helping the poor and the needy as we were about figuring out an irrefutable end-times scheme, there might not be any poor or needy!