Friday, March 02, 2007

A Trip down Prophecy Lane

I do not fully understand each and every prophetic nuance by any stretch and don't claim to. Personally, whatever is not clear from merely reading the text of scripture (especially in Revelation) I simply try to put two and two together: the pieces of the Word vis à vis what I see happenin' myself, coupled with logical deduction and come to a tentative conclusion.

This post is really a lengthy response to another poster’s comments (quoted below) from another blog. I’m going to use this venue (my blog), if you will, to illustrate what I mentioned above rather than the original blog’s comment thread. It was off topic there anyway.


…I thoroughly reject any notion of a two phase Second Coming initiated by a partial, secret return of Christ followed seven years later by His complete return i.e., the pretrib rapture.)
I'm a pre-tribulationist myself and it's a given and unavoidable that there's going to be varying views on the rapture and the Tribulation period, being that these are yet future events, but thankfully completely groking these sections of scripture are not requirements of salvation itself and/or to understanding the primary gospel message.

That said, I believe there's going to be a "rapture" or catching up of the saints because, as I alluded to above, looking at what scripture reveals coupled with logical deduction, that tentative conclusion makes perfect sense. For example, even though the word "rapture" itself isn't in the English translations of the Bible, we can examine I Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 5:1-11 and deduce how “rapture” makes sense logically and that it would most likely occur before the Tribulation period (or the time of Wrath):

I Thessalonians 4:13-18 (NIV): 13Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18Therefore encourage each other with these words.

Emphasis is mine. I think this caught up together with them in the clouds is the “rapture” of the saints, living and dead, up into Heaven to be with the Lord. The spirit and soul of the saints who have passed on before us will be with the Lord already (verse 14 above) when he “raptures” the dead (bodies) in Christ to be transformed into immortality, glorified, and reunited with their spirits. Then we, who are alive and are still in our current body will be transformed into glorified and immortal bodies as well. All this, of course, occurs “in the twinking of an eye” (I Corinthians 15:52).

I Thessalonians 5:1-11 (NIV): 1Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

4But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. 7For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Again, the emphasized sections are what I’m going to expound upon. If the Lord comes as a thief in the night, which implies stealth, a time when folk are not expecting it, how could this be the Second Coming, when the entire world will know it and every knee shall bow and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father? And during the Tribulation when the “bowl and trumpet judgements” are being delivered, turmoil abounds, and the wicked try to hide under rocks in a vain attempt to avoid the wrath of the Lamb: “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Revelation 6:16-17) In other words, the people on the Earth during the Tribulation era are experiencing the "bowl and trumpet" judgements and obviously know it's the wrath of Jesus (the Lamb), yet they still reject Him.

None of that jives in my mind with coming “as a thief in the night” as in stealth to retrieve the saints. And why did I say this “rapture” must occur before the Tribulation? Because, as 1 Thessalonians 5:9 above makes clear, For God did not appoint the saints to suffer wrath, but to receive salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. If He did not appoint the saints to suffer wrath, he must take them out of the picture before His wrath is poured out upon the Earth, ergo the “rapture” having to occur before the Tribulation or days of the Lamb’s wrath.


Are these the prophesied 'Ten Horns'?:
1) European Union -1993
2) African Union -2002
3) Russian Union/Federation
4) North American Union
5) South American Union
(Fox News 12-10-06)
6) South Asian Union
(India Daily 2-12-05)
7) East Asian Union
(Asia Times 4-7-05)
8) Central Asian Union
(Kazinform News 9-20-06)
9) Asian Pacific
(APEC to form APU?)
10) Middle East Union
(Free Trade Area of the Middle
East/FTAME to form MEU?)
That’s certainly a sensible logical deduction for the “ten horns” that I could tentatively* agree with. There’s been conjecture over the years that the ten horns were individual nations, but the European Union already has 25 nations so the “ten horns” representing nations is unlikely.

There are, of course, other varying interpretations as well. Some Christians believe that the AntiChrist, the man of Perdition or sin, and the False Prophet will arise out of the Middle East from the Mesopotamia region (present-day Iraq and the location of ancient Babylon), especially since Revelation 17:5 indicates a harlot with “MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” on her forehead. However, again using logical deduction, I can’t see how this represents the area of Mesopotamia where the real Babylon once stood because John sees upon the harlot’s forehead “MYSTERY BABYLON.” I think instead that the harlot represents the apostate church seated in Rome that will be flourishing during the early part of the Tribulation with the False Prophet as it’s titular head. And he will assist the AntiChrist.

But again, I don’t claim to be an eschatological expert, only how I see it vis à vis the way the Bible describes it. Nevertheless, on the “ten horns” concept, this is a conclusion that happens to coincide with one I would likely draw as any other.

* I say tentatively because all of this just described is, in fact, still conjecture on our part since, as stated earlier, it all pertains to future events.