October 22, 2017

Three Questions About a “Secret” Rapture

Pocket Guide To The Apocalypse: The Official Field Manual For The End Of The WorldUPDATE: Jason Boyett’s “Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse” is a great book for anyone interested in the basics of evangelical apocalyptic eschatology.

Advocates of the rapture make much of the texts in Luke and Matthew that speak of “one taken, one left.”

Luke 17:34-35 34 I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. 35 There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.”

When discussing texts that supposedly teach the secret rapture, it is important to have the advocate of this belief answer several questions.

1. What exactly do you mean by the rapture?

If the advocate means that when Christ returns, those who are alive will meet him in the air, that is not, in and of itself, the problematic doctrine. Scripture clearly says this.

The full dispensational teaching, however, is this:

Christ will return twice. Once secretly, with the saints, in the air to retrieve the church (both living and bodies in the grave;) and again, publicly, to judge the earth following a seven-year tribulation period.

If the advocate simply means that Christ will return once, and separate the church and the world at his appearing, and then proceed to judge and establish his kingdom, then even those of us who may have issues with the specifics of that eschatology would probably have little interest in debating the Biblical merits of the rapture.

The text above says that when Christ returns, there will be a separation. Nothing in the text implies the tribulation or a later, second, return of Christ. It is describing a single event, and is completely compatible with the idea of one return of Jesus.

But if the advocate is indicating that we must believe in two, separate comings of Jesus, with different characteristics, and a seven-year tribulation, then there will be many reasons to say this is not taught in the text in Luke or anywhere else in scripture.

The passages cited above could be applied to either interpretation, so the advocate should be clear what he/she means.

These passage do NOT prove two returns of Christ; one private, one public, separated by seven years.

(In fact, N.T. Wright has convinced me they do not refer to the traditional “Second Coming” at all, but that is another post.)

2. Where does the Bible clearly and plainly teach that Christ will return twice?

This is a key question that rapture advocates need to consider carefully. Note Paul’s words in II Thessalonians 1, regarding the very public return of Christ:

2 Thessalonians 1:9-10 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.

The text is clearly telling the Thessalonians what will happen at the return of Christ. Paul is NOT talking about a secret rapture/tribulation, but a public return/judgement/reward. On “one day” there will be punishment and reward.

Even passages that are repeatedly cited as being about the two-stage rapture are not describing a “secret” event.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

How can this passage be describing a secret event? The kinds of gymnastics that must be applied to say the “cry,” “shout,” and “sound of the trumpet” are part of a secret event are simply not welcome in good interpretation. Holding on to such an interpretation instead of the plain meaning of the text proves that a presupposition is being protected from the text itself.

Nowhere does Paul tell the churches under his charge that Christ will return twice in the dispensational, two returns scenario. He teaches that Christ will return once, publicly, for judgement and reward. Advocates of the two returns scenario must construct Biblical evidence, because there is no single verse that says Christ returns twice.

Further, the idea that God would give a seven year “warning bell” to those who do not believe is an alien and bizarre notion. Consider the implications if this is indeed the case, and every preacher must say that all unbelievers have seven years of warning before the “real” day of judgement arrives.

Advocates of the rapture should admit that not a single text clearly teaches the novel idea of two returns separated by seven years. It is simply not there.

This is important in the third question:

3. Why is the two-stage rapture theory not taught by any major Bible teachers in the broad history of Christianity?

The two-stage + tribulation rapture theory is not mentioned by Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Edwards or Spurgeon. It is not taught by the Puritans or the Catholic Church. It is not part of any classic Christian confession. All believed in one return of Christ.

Why is this? The advocates of the two-stage rapture need to admit that if the great teachers of the church have not found this doctrine, it is a recent innovation.

The actual history of the two-stage return of Christ teaching has been uncovered and published by David Macpherson. The origin of this teaching in a visionary experience by Margaret Macdonald, and its subsequent acceptance into American Evangelicalism by way of Darby and the Scofield study Bible, is an interesting and necessary account to learn. The two stage rapture is an innovation without Biblical support, with a pedigree that should absolutely shock many of those who promote the rapture most vigorously. It is highly ironic that an anti-Charismatic like John Macarthur advocates a doctrine that originated in “charismatic” visions by an end-times prophetess who would be a star of TBN today.

The propagation of this idea in books, music, sermons and novels may have caused most American evangelicals to assume that the Bible teaches the entire rapture-tribulation-return scenario, but the success of the doctrine does not make up for its absence in scripture or Christian history.

Advocates of the two-stage rapture ASSUME that it is the proper interpretation of the Luke texts and other texts. It is a PRESUPPOSITION, and not a conclusion based on what scripture teaches.

I do not believe the two-stage rapture theory is a serious error or a matter of separation, but I do believe its message has many insidious effects on western Christians. They mythology of the rapture is used to promote all kinds of false and manipulative teaching in the church. It is a creation of the enthusiasts, propagated by the evangelical fringe and marketed by the booksellers and publishers for the sake of the its “exciting” story line. I have seen much bad fruit come from it, and I have serious questions about its effects on our mindset about missions and reformation.

Careful students of scripture and those who respect the views of the teachers/confessions of the church that have come before us more than the visions of the “Scottish Lass” or the notes of the questionable C.I. Scofield will take an honest, second look at this doctrine, and let scripture, not American evangelical publishers, have the final word.

Comments

  1. Great to see an American challenging some of the nonsense commonly spouted over there. And yes, we do see it as an American doctrine – it’s believed over here mainly by those who look to Americans for their theology.

  2. I grew up in a Pentecostal denomination. I’ve heard the rapture mentioned many times, but I have never heard one teaching on it. I am not sure if there even is one, but I am open to any suggestions of where/what to study. In the meantime, I am just looking for His coming, however it happens.

  3. lee n. field says:

    What they will say is that publicly expressed doubts about dispensationalism is a sign of the end times apostacy (I’ve actually heard and read this). (What? R.C. Sproul is apostate? Give me a break.)

  4. Histrion (Jay H) says:

    Michael, you write:

    I do not believe the two-stage rapture theory is a serious error […]

    But you immediately follow up with:

    […] but I do believe its message has many insidious effects on western Christians. They [sic] mythology of the rapture is used to promote all kinds of false and manipulative teaching in the church. […] propagated by the evangelical fringe […] I have seen much bad fruit come from it, and I have serious questions about its effects on our mindset about missions and reformation.

    IMHO, any false doctrine with the effects you describe certainly qualifies as a serious error, but I have a regard for your opinions such that I’d like to hear why you disagree.

  5. I wouldn’t divide or reject a brother as a leader over it. It’s not that level of error.

  6. Thanks for the post Michael. I’m definitely linking to it at my blog.

    I grew up (SB) being taught about the rapture and singing “I’ll Fly Away.” I agree that it’s not worth splitting over, but it sure can cause you to squirm when you have to listen to a whole series on the End Times. When I brought up questions or disagreements, my former pastor would say, “Hey, if you want to go through the Tribulation, go ahead” like I had some sort of martyr complex or something. This was after a literal interpretation of Revelation where there were actual armies, etc.

    I think sometimes it’s difficult for the advocates of the rapture to admit just how many hoops you have to jump through to get the whole thing to work.

  7. fsuchris, I’ve had a similar experience, except that my church is too big for me to actually talk with my pastor. He has, however, said similar things from the pulpit, to the effect of “you can believe what you want, but, thank God, I’ll ‘fly away'” as if those who disagreed simply preferred to think they’d go through the Tribulation (so, what to do with someone like me who has come to doubt the whole mess of Dispensational theology and, therefore, doesn’t even accept a 7-year Tribulation?).

    In addition, when I was first questioning the pre-Trib rapture, I ended up in a “discussion” with some friends from my Sunday School class about it. Something I noticed rather quickly was that their arugment was built almost entirely on preconceptions I didn’t necessarily share and extra-Biblical authorities. Instead of pulling out a Bible and saying, “Passage X says this” and so on, they would say, “I was talking with such-and-such pastor at church the other day, and he said…” or “In his commentary, so-and-so says…”. This was rather notable to me, since, as any good SB church, our church strongly emphasised reading the Scriptures for yourself and testing all things and so forth. The Scripture that was used, by the way, was either neutral to the point of our discussion or, as I read it, supported my side.

    That was actually a big learning experience for me. I learned about how we bring our presuppositions into the Biblical text without realizing it, and how, no matter how much we claim to “just believe the Bible,” we all have teachers who we trust and whose teachings color our understanding of Scripture. While I certainly still have many delusions about Baptist doctrines and practices, those are two delusions that, once revealed as such, have only been made even more obvious by experience since.

  8. bookdragon says:

    That’s really interesting. I never knew the history of that particular idea.

    However, while I personally take a view of the second coming a bit closer to N.T. Wright’s, I’m not sure we should be quite so positive in asserting that we know what the various rapture/second coming passages mean. I don’t see two returns, but I understand (quite apart from any charismatic lady’s visions) how the idea could be constructed from scripture. And I’m hesitant to toss it out-of-hand. Afterall, there’s no real evidence in the OT for a Messiah who comes and then must come a second time either. That’s one of the primary objections that Jews raise to the idea of Jesus as Messiah.

  9. Brian Pendell says:

    Man, Tim Lahaye must hate you now. I recall how he tore into Hank Hanegraeff when he tried to write a novel that did NOT assume a two-stage rapture.

    I’m glad to hear you say that … because it’s what I’ve been saying in every church I’ve ever been in since I was 17. I took a lot of heat for it from folks in youth group who swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. Adults, thanks be to God, have been much less intolerant. But I’m glad that SOMEONE in the Baptist community recognizes this.

    BTW, what’s the point of tracing a teaching to a “source”? Seems like an ad hominem argument to me. If someone contradicts the Bible, it doesn’t matter whether they are Lewis, Piper, the Pope, or St. Augustine, they’re still wrong. By the same token, a person who “rightly divides the word of truth” is right regardless of who they are. So the whole business of a “source” seems irrelevant. Truth is truth whoever speaks it. Falsehood is falsehood. Why do we care who first came up with it? All we really need to know is that it is wrong.

    Or so I would think, anyway.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.

  10. Luke 17: 34-35 = Matt 24:40-41
    has been rated by the likes of Crossan et al as not being from the historical Jesus if that is of any interest. See http://www.faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan2.rtf and http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb091.html .

  11. I will soon be publishing an edition of Crossan that will tell the reader which of his words are authentic. I expect brisk sales.

  12. Histrion (Jay H) says:

    Brian: I don’t think Michael’s making an ad hominem argument, so much as he’s responding to one — namely, that the two-stagers (heh heh… sounds like NASA-speak. “Houston, this is Jesus, we are go for first-stage sep.”) are trying to bolster the credibility of their theology by claiming as a long-standing tradition something that’s actually fairly new. Michael’s simply pointing that out.

    As for Lahaye… well, admittedly, Hanegraaff often seems to be at the center of controversy. On the other hand, maybe Lahaye’s worried that if enough people point out that two-stage trib is not universally accepted Christian theology, his publishing mini-industry will be… wait for it… left behind.

    Right, I’ll get my coat.

  13. Brian Pendell says:

    And here I am without any rotten fruit to throw at Histrion for that last sentence :).

    I don’t think the publishing mini-industry would go away though. The reason being is that, IMO, American Christians WANT to believe it. It was popular teaching before Lahaye (anyone remember Hal Lindsey?) and it will doubtless be popular teaching afterwards.

    A lot of Christians, especially in my neck of the woods, feel kind of put upon, watching abortions happen and the gay pride parade rumbling down the street and Hollywood movies coming out at Christmas which are a deliberate affront to traditional values and all they stand for.

    It’s obvious why the idea of being taken up to Heaven and watch the bad guys get hammered from the cheap seats in the sky appeals to the flesh. Thing is … as Mike points out, I think it more likely that we will be here until Jesus returns again, once for all. That means it will be our job to reach out to those hurting people here on Earth, not simply vanish into Heaven and leave them to fend for themselves.

    In any case, it doesn’t seem a very Christlike attitude. Christ came to earth to suffer and die for his enemies. I suppose that should also be our goal — not to run away to happy-land, but to do the work we’re called to HERE, THEN go off to our reward.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.

  14. Yes…it is a very AMERICAN doctrine. A very American appeal to No serious discipleship needed. Run up the credit cards, buy the second house. The rapture is coming.

  15. I’m not much of a eschatologist (I prefer the scataogical), but as I remember reading “The Late Great Planet Earth” in my youth group in the late 70’s, Lindsey brought in all sorts of stuff from Daniel and Revelation to construct his timeline, in addition to the few gospel references. Those “advocates” who are really up on their theory would probably bring all that stuff in too.

  16. Another angle: There will be no second coming i.e. Heaven ( Purgatory and Hell) are spirit states and therefore no bodies glorified or horrified are possible. JPII already declared the spirit nature of Heaven (Purgatory and Hell) so it has been “orthodoxed”. Simply put, -we die, we are judged and off go our spirit states/souls to wherever our lives have led us.

  17. Brian Pendell says:

    Responding to realist — except that Paul made it abundantly clear that the body is resurrected in 1 Cor 15. He devoted an entire chapter to it and waxed quite sarcastic.

    I don’t think JPII meant to deny the resurrection of the dead when he declared the “spirit nature of Heaven”. The resurrection of the dead is a fundamental Christian doctrine, taught by the apostles and held to by both Catholics and Protestants for more than a thousand years. I’d like to see his comments on the matter. Teaching that the body dies but the spirit lives is one of the original heresies — gnosticism, I think?

    If the Pope had embraced gnosticism or related teaching I guarantee an earthquake in the Catholic church that would make the eruption of Vesuvius look like a firecracker. Given this did not happen, I suspect he didn’t mean what you thought he meant.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.

  18. Brian,

    A good friend and great Catholic teaches theology at a major Catholic university. The professor (PhD in Theology from another major Catholic university) notes: 1. “Yes, Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly — earth bound distractions.

    2. Yes, Christ ‘s and Mary’s bodies are not in Heaven (based on #1). For one thing, Paul in 1 Cor 15 speaks of the body of the dead as transformed into a “spiritual body.” No one knows exactly what he meant by this term.
    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.”

    I am still trying to absorb all of this since I like you was raised to believe in the second coming etc.

  19. bookdragon says:

    Realist,

    I’m pretty sure you are misunderstanding this.

    The Apostles’ and Nicene creeds both affirm a belief in ‘the resurrection of the body’. Those two pretty much define the essential components of orthodox Christian belief.

    If heaven/hell/purgatory are described spiritual states, that doesn’t contradict the resurrection of the body. It only emphasizes another very ancient Christian understanding: heaven is unity with God and hell is rejecting God. JPII’s statement was meant as a antidote to ideas of hell as a place of primarily physical torment. The torment of hell in reality a spiritual torment rooted in rejection of His love. (I can’t find the link right now, but there is an excellent explanation of this from an Eastern Orthodox theologian titled something like ‘The Lake of Fire’.)

  20. Bookdragon,

    The theology professor’s “take” is not based on JPII’s commentary but is what is being taught in Catholic theology classes at some universities. Apparently some parts of the NT have different interpretations.

  21. Brian Pendell says:

    Realist — I think we’ve taken this as far as the comments section of Imonk allows :). Can you mail
    me (at pendell@hotmail.com) or post here some links for further information?

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.

  22. I generally like your offerings, Michael, but I consider this topic about as important and as relevant as discussing “How many angels can sit on the head of a pin before they rapture the church out of the world?”

  23. I posted this because pro-rapture folks frequently make this a topic of discussion with out students, and I wanted my answer to be accessible.

    I find the entire subject tedious as well. Sorry to have bored you.

  24. Brian,

    From above:

    http://www.faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan2.rtf and http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb091.html .

    Many if not all the Resurrection accounts are historically questionable if you want to believe Crossan and the “Jesus Seminarians”. See the above references and add the appropriate NT Resurrection references to see what I mean i.e. these contemporary biblical historians agree with the theology professor’s take on no bodies in spirit Heaven.

  25. bookdragon says:

    Realist,

    Yes, most parts of the NT have many interpretations (that’s why we have thousands of different Christian denoms).

    However, I would be rather surprised at a Catholic university teaching a denial of the ressurection of the body. That our bodies may be different than they are now, sure. But not that they will be just spiritual – that smacks of Gnosticism.

  26. Bookdragon,

    http://www.equip.org/free/DG040-1.htm looks like a good review on Gnosticism to include the author’s “take” on the Resurrection.

    A small offering from it:

    “A resurrection is enthusiastically affirmed in the Treatise on the Resurrection: “Do not think the resurrection is an illusion. It is no illusion, but it is truth! Indeed, it is more fitting to say that the world is an illusion rather than the resurrection.”24 Yet, the nature of the post-resurrection appearances differs from the biblical accounts. Jesus is disclosed through spiritual visions rather than physical circumstances.”

  27. A few comments on the developing sub-thread:

    1. Brian is right: the Catholic Church, and the late pope, have never denied the physical reality of the Resurrection. Thanks, Brian.

    2. One lesson I’ve learned from 10 years on the internet is that cathspeak and protspeak can differ in important places. ‘Spiritual’ in cathspeak doesn’t generally mean ‘as opposed to physical’ but rather ‘transcending/transforming the physical (but incorporating it).’ This is the sense in which the Eucharist is sometimes said to be ‘spiritual’ as well: body and blood, but also soul and divinity; the Presence of the resurrected Christ.

    3. Thanks also to Bookdragon, but frankly I wouldn’t be surprised at anything that may be taught in a theology class at a Catholic university. On a related note, I apologize, deeply, to my Protestant brothers and sisters for the continued media existence of Crossan.

  28. Ahh, John Dominque Crossan, you either love him or you hate him but at least he did his homework for his attestation method of rating the various sayings and works of Jesus as noted in the NT.

    The NT references he uses in his books are compiled at http://www.faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan1.rtf. Note they are listed in chronological order and include where the references were written.

    The results of his attestation method are listed athttp://www.faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan2.rtf.
    If interested, most of his books can be purchased at http://www.amazon.com. You might want to read the reviews at Amazon before purchasing. Some of the pages to include the Table of Contests as with many books on Amazon can be read without purchase.

    Books on the historical Jesus by other authors are listed at http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html. The site also has a brief biography of each author.

  29. O that we all might be so blessed as to someday, like Fr. Crossan, be able to stand before the awful majesty of Christ on the dread day of judgment and say, “Lord, you either love me or you hate me, but at least I did my homework for my attestation method of rating the various sayings and works of You as noted in the NT.”

  30. Ex Umbris,

    Nice to see we are playing God today. Crossan et al made and are making the best judgements they can given the information they have. IMHO, God condemns no one for doing a good job or making a few legitimate mistakes.

  31. Not at all; rather, playing creature, and engaging in the Ignatian exercise of imagining myself “a great sinner, loaded with chains, going to appear before the supreme and eternal Judge” (s74). What shall I say? “Lord, I made the best judgment I could, given the information I had. I made a few legitimate mistakes.”

    Of course, the whole point of the Exercises is that the Day of Judgment is now. Behold, now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation. The hour of our creation, of our redemption, of our death, united in the eternal Now; the same hour in which you and I and Fr. Crossan made our confirmation promises, sealed by the Holy Spirit, to believe what the Holy Church teaches.

    Since you brought it up, what legitimate mistakes did you have in mind, in particular?

  32. Crossan’s legitimate mistakes, IMHO, were 1) writing The Birth of Christianity – the book is too long and not well written and 2) giving the +/- ratings for some of Jesus’s sayings and works in an attempt to appease conservative readers. From http://www.faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan2.rtf- “I use the sign ±. It means that the action or happening did not occur as an event at one moment in time or place (hence -) but that it represents a dramatic historicization of something which took place over a much longer period (hence +).” (IMO, dramatic historicization= additions/embellishments to raise Jesus’s activities to those of the deities of the Ceasars and the gods of the Greeks)

    And “What the Church teaches”- i.e. what the elite, elderly, white males have been dictating as truth for the last 2,000 years in order to keep us “pew peasants” from knowing all the facts and to keep popes, bishops, kings, queens and dictators in power.

  33. Realist,

    Putting aside the issues of ad hominem argumentation, historical accuracy, and contempt for the elderly and for males, a question: When you promised faithfulness to the teaching of the Church, were you unaware that many of the apostles, saints, and doctors of the Church were Europeans, male, or old?

  34. As per Somerville, http://www.theosophical.org/theosophy/questmagazine/mayjune2000/exclusivism/, “John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when.”

    I am slowly recovering from my accidental birth into a religion domineered too long by the elitist, white male AARPies.

    See James Somerville’s, retired Philosophy Professor, Xavier University, other commentary at the above reference and at http://www.theosophical.org/theosophy/questmagazine/julyaugust2000/somerville/

    Putting Abraham on the myth pile would go along way in converging religions.

  35. get on topic or go elsewhere
    ms

  36. My apologies, Michael.

  37. Putting Abraham on the myth pile is somewhat on topic since it would put a lot of other “conjecturing” like “rapturing” also on the myth pile but I see your point. Later !!

  38. Imonk: Thank you so very much for the insightful discussion on the “secret” rapture and the Tim Lahaye series of fiction books. People are so lacking in Biblical knowledge that they don’t realize the Left Behind series is not Biblically based. Even though the series is indeed fiction, the books are placed with bibles and books of inspiration in our book stores. I grew up in a Missionary Baptist Church in Alabama and was 12 years old before the rapture doctrine arrived on the scene in our Sunday school lessons. The major and minor prophets, as well as the books of Matthew and Revelations, are clear about end-time events. For five years, I taught prophecy in a United Methodist church ….starting at age 25. God gives spiritual discernment to those who ask. Because of knowing end-time events, I am even stronger in the Lord. There is no fear. I count it all joy, daily, as I encounter and win personal Armageddons. The war is already won! Armageddon will be the reaping of satan and his followers. Rapture believers confuse the “binding of satan for the thousand years” and the “loosing of him for a little season”. They see him come out of that cage like a rabbid animal with only one thing in mind….to continue his furious hatred against the people of God because that is his nature..to kill, steal, and destroy. But….nothing happens….EXCEPT…God destroys him with fire…immediately. We keep living our choices in the here and now…as well as the consequences of those choices…and when He makes His universal visible appearance in the clouds…it is all over. There will be no opportunity for salvation afterwards (as a tree falls..so shall it remain). The irony about the rapture doctrine is that SBC and many others believe only the Jews will experience the seven-year tribulation. Hey, where are those ten lost tribes? I believe the descendants are all around us….abundantly so in the United States. My ancestors are from Ireland, Scotland, and Europe. Hey….Hey…Hey…I am also of Cherokee Indian descent. Abraham’s descendants are scattered all over the globe. Even for the gentiles.. scripture says that if we are of the faith of Abraham…we are Abraham. Either way….we’ll be here for the fireworks. Three years ago God allowed me to hear the audible voice of Elias…while wide awake..in the middle of the day. He said, “Behold, the voice of one crying in the wilderness. Prepare ye the way of the Lord. Make His path straight.” I can share with you the words I heard. But I cannot fully share with you the unspeakable wonders that my heart heard. I heard Elias’s love for Jesus. I heard the joy in his voice concerning the victorious return of the Lamb. I knew he was telling me to gather those who love His appearing. I understood that Elias remains the forerunner. I knew Elias came in the person of John the Baptist at Jesus’s first coming. But I had forgotten that Elias would be the forerunner before the second coming. In the NT in one place Jesus said Elias has come. In another place He said Elias shall come. Jesus had Isaiah to tell Israel that they had been given eyes so they could not see and ears so they could not hear…..until this day. Elias is shown in scripture to be one of the two witnesses preaching the gospel of the kingdom to those blind/deafened of Israel. Matthew 24th chapter says, “The gospel of the kingdom shall be preached as a witness to all nations…and then the end will come.” The
    descendants of Abraham were used by God to fulfil His purposes. Just before Christ appears in the clouds… the blinded eyes will open, the deafened ears will hear and they will indeed experience Elias as the forerunner and will ultimately recognize the truth of the gospel of the kingdom, as preached by Messiah when He walked with us in flesh form. They will see the supernatural resurrection of the two witnesses and their ascension up into the clouds…just as their ancestors witnessed during the time of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. About two weeks after I experienced the voice of Elias, I was compelled by the Spirit to move apart for a fast. I had never fasted before. I closed myself in an upstairs bedroom, drank only water and never got hungary at all, and fellowshipped with Jesus for three days. I hadn’t set a time limit…that’s just how it turned out. My husband ran interference for me downstairs in the real “world.” On the last night of the fast, I asked Jesus to show me something that would blow my mind….something to unknown to me that I would know it could only be from Him. HE SHOWED ME 666. I’ve taken way too much time and space already. Time will not allow the awesome description of what He showed me. And I am even stronger for having seen the reason and reality of satan’s plans for the elect during the rule of the anti-christ. He knows his time is short. And he knows he will be destroyed. He can’t help himself. Satan is the opposite of Perfect Love. He is perfect hatred. He is perfect obsenity. He is the devourer. He and his two offsprings are the unholy trinity (666). The image of a man in the book of Daniel with the head gold, then the brass, then the silver, legs of iron, then the ten toes …..part iron and part miry clay…depicts the secular governments of the world..all the way to the Second Coming of Christ. WE ARE IN THE TEN-TOE POINT IN TIME. More crucial to know is that we are very near the “miry clay” portion of the ten toes. The miry clay represents the final “abomination that maketh desolate” or the rule of the anti-christ. Revelations says that God will put it in the hearts of the ten kings (ten toes) to give their authority to the anti-christ. It will happen!!! Are we ready???? We had better be!! Therein lies the importance of understanding the false doctrines related to the “secret” rapture. Rapture believers say “God wouldn’t put us through that. Israel will go through it because of disobedience.” Weeeelllll…I think actually what He said was something like this, “I removed the natural branches and grafted you in the vine in their place. Don’t be haughty..but fear. How much sooner would I yank you out and put them back in.” HMMM :blank stare:. I am so excited to know that there are so many other Christians who are recognizing and preparing for the Second Coming. In my area….we are a very small group. And we seem to already be in the time when “they won’t endure sound doctrine.” I retired from teaching after eighteen years because God pushed me to get to the “highways and hedges” and compel them…”and they will come.” Again, thank you so very, very, much for the discussion. God bless!