Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Church Meets The Lord In The Air, And Then Escorts Him Back To Earth. THERE IS NO RAPTURE TRIP TO HEAVEN!!

As we have said throughout our book (The End Times Passover) our approach to Bible studies and all issues concerning theological matters has always been to secure the deepest reading of Bible words to get the most accurate meaning. We have done this by translating the words in each verse in question rather than interpreting them. We believe that God did not make any mistakes in the exact verbiage He used to inspire the writers to record His message to us; however, throughout history, many of those words were altered to a certain degree by the translator’s perception of what that specific word means rather than by the exactitude required to define the truest meaning God intended for each word He spoke to the writer.

I’m certain we could spend days debating this subject matter because opinions galore are proffered by many, especially when they insist the exegesis they apply is more accurate. Then, there are also those who argue that the word of God should be read and studied in a literal manner, rather than realizing there are many other applications that should be taken under consideration including symbolism, metaphor and figures of speech. Scholars of days gone by have attempted to understand the word of God through various sciences and applications and have still been at a loss to nail down the true and extant word of God. After reading over a thousand books and commentaries, as well as having handy both Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries, lexicons and concordances, our approach has been to define the words in question not by other people’s opinions, but by the deepest meaning of each word, and how that same (Greek or Hebrew) word was used in other sentences. For example, such English words as ‘forgive, forgiven allow, leave, suffer and left’ conjure up certain meanings when we read them, yet each one of these words in the original manuscript uses the Greek word "aphieimi" to define it.  

Therefore (for example) when we read say Luke 17:34-37, where the word “left” is used twice, most theorists claim  that the word “left” is describing those sinners “left” behind during the so-called “Rapture to Heaven” polemic that has been used for the last 50 years or so by Premillennial Dispensationlists. If we are to trust the exact meaning of how a word was translated rather than how the word was interpreted by theorists we are more inclined to accept their theory that it is sinners who are left behind. However, if we trust how the word was in fact translated, there can be no doubt whatsoever that the word “left” in this specific word is describing a group of people who are to be “forgiven,” who need to be “left” alone, who are “allowed” to be free, “permit, release, paid for, accord, etc.

We want to provide the reader a bold example of the process we used to best define a particular word in a specific verse in order to extract the most definitive meaning. If you will quickly turn to your Bible to Luke 17:34-37, in this group of scripture you will find the word “left” used three different times. Many authors and Bible teachers/evangelists/pastors use this group of scripture to confirm various theories, the most popular one is that which is promoted by most premillennialists who claim it is describing a picture of Christians being “taken” to Heaven at the Rapture and that those who “left” behind will suffer God’s wrath. The irony of these theories is that the word “left” is defined in the Greek by the word “aphiemi” which means “forgive.” A passage of scripture that confirms this meaning is found in Matthew 6:12 where we see the Greek word “aphiemi” is used to define the word “forgive” as it is used twice in the Lord’s Prayer. Why the original translators chose not to use the word “forgive” to define the word “left” in Luke 17:34-37 is interesting, especially when the intent of what God is saying is confirmed by three of the sentences in this particular group of scripture.
LUKE 17:34

First of all, the reader needs to examine the original manuscript (see above or at least query a concordance to see what word is used in verses 34, 35 and 36) by a variety of authors. Tim LaHaye being the most well known chose to use the word “left” to describe the people who will not be caught up to Heaven in order to confirm they will be left behind to suffer God’s wrath. Instead of digging deeper into the word “left” to see that it more accurately describes the word to “forgive,” he and other theorists use these three verses (34, 35 and 36) to convey their claims that Christians will be taken to Heaven while unbelievers will be left behind. Another interesting aspect of the three usages of the word “left” in this group of scripture is that the word “behind” (after the word “left”, as LaHaye uses in his Left Behind books) cannot be found in the original manuscript. More convincingly is the fact that by virtue of what we read for an answer as to where these entities will be taken is obvious by what we read in verse 37: 

37 And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, ‘Where so ever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.’ ” Verse 37 most certainly does not sound like any location the Christian would like be taken to.


Most Christians believe the Bible teaches us in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 that Jesus will step out of His glorious abode in Heaven, and will secretly (unbeknown to anyone except Christians) and secretly scoop up all believers and take them to Heaven to avoid a seven-year period of great persecution by anti-Christian forces:

13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 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:
17 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.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words, (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

First of all let us dispel the notion of “secrecy” by virtue of what we read in verse 16 that the event will be preceded by the voice of the archangel and God’s trumpet. It’s obvious this event will be loud enough to wake the dead, those who shall first rise (resurrected). Those who are alive at that instant will 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. Notice careful that there is nothing in this group of scriptures that conveys or infers that those who are caught up in the air are taken to back to Heaven. Most people assume this because most preachers and teachers teach their respective flock that this is the case. The key word to understand what is truly being conveyed in this group of scripture is the word “meet” and what that entails.
We looked into one of several Greek Dictionaries we often use (Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words) and examined the word “meet” and discover it is used only four times in the entire Bible. It is found twice in Matthew 25 (verses 1 and 6) where we see the discussion about the ten virgins, of which five wise ones went forth to meet the bridegroom and escorted Him back into the wedding banquet. A myriad of theorists use these two verses to pad their claim it is speaking of the church being caught up to ‘meet’ the Lord in the air and then being taken to Heaven to avoid seven years of great tribulation. It boggles the mind how theorists attempt to use these groups of scripture to convey anyone is taken to heaven when the word of God accurately states the five virgins went out to meet the bridegroom and escorted Him back into the wedding banquet. It does not state the five virgins were caught up to meet Him in the air and were then whisked to Heaven. To best understand what truly happens here is to dig deeper into the actual meaning of the word “meet” which tells us what really happens.

The Greek word to define “meet” is the noun, apantesis: "a meeting" which occurs in Matt. 25:6; Acts 28:15; 1 Thess. 4:17. It is used in the papyri of a newly arriving magistrate. "It seems that the special idea of the word was the official welcome of a newly arrived dignitary, (Moulton, Greek Test. Gram. Vol. I, p. 14).”

What the word “meet” is telling us is that those who are caught up to meet the Lord in the air is really a picture of a group of people who are caught up in the air to attend a meeting and will actually welcome the Lord Jesus Christ, and escort Him home to earth where He will reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords for an eternity!

Review the four times the word “meet” is used in the Bible in the graph below:

The best example the author can use as to what the word apantesis truly conveys in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, and the other scripture just cited, is comparable to when a group of people gather together at an airport to greet a visiting dignitary. Whenever the President of the United States or the Queen of England visits each other’s country, you will always find a welcoming committee comprised of very special people. You might also find some people standing behind the fence trying to get a glimpse of the dignitaries, but only the “chosen ones” are allowed “to meet” with the VIPs, and thereby, share in the glory of the arriving royalty. Therein lays the reason why there cannot be a secret ‘snatching up’ of any believers solely to return to heaven, anywhere from three and a half to seven years. This is so because the returning Christ wants the whole world to see that those who believe in Him will be rewarded for their faith, patience and trust, and consequently will share in His Glory! 

A beautiful example of this truth is found in Colossians 3:4 which states, “When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” In Philippians 3:20, it explicitly tells us that although our citizenship is in heaven, the verse goes on to state that, we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body, (Philippians 3:20, 21, NIV).

Most Christians have been indoctrinated to believe that 1 Thessalonians 4:17 includes the church being caught up to have a meeting with the Lord and immediately Jesus turns around and heads back to Heaven. Most folks perceive the following verse (“And so we will be with the Lord forever);” is supposed to confirm their belief. However, that verse does not specify this is the case; but yet believers arrive at that conclusion based on the incessant pounding of such a theory by evangelists, preachers and scholars who have decided to fill in that blank assumption, an inference that is derived based on a verse that is silent as to what follows. Yes, it does say we will be with the Lord forever, but it does not state specifically where. 

Most dispensationalists believe that this particular verse is speaking solely about the (secret) Rapture and not the 2nd Advent of Christ, that they conjure up and insert in their imagination that 1 Thessalonians 4:17 speaks about a special Rapture to Heaven (and a subsequent return to earth 1000 years later), followed by Christ’s return with those that were supposedly raptured one thousand years earlier. But they don't provide scripture to back their contention.

This theory begs a more definitive explanation of what transpires during those 1000 years, and what role the church played during that long span of time that has no scripture verse to validate such a claim. Are the saints in Heaven for 1000 literal years, or do they shuttle back and forth to earth to help Christ administer His Millennial reign on earth. There is no scripture to support such folly, and no scripture that explains what is the purpose for a 1000 literal year period of time. In our book The End Times Passover, we provide explicit informations, facts and Bible details that explains this truth in great detail.

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