OF THE CHURCH
TRADITION AND THE RAPTURE
"..you make void the Word
of God by your traditions.."(Mat.15:6)
Jesus spoke directly and clearly to the Pharisees
about Tradition and what it causes. He reminded them that even though their
intentions seemed honorable to them, good intentions pave the road to Hell.
Paraphrasing Mat.23:27, ...you're
as the graves on the hill, painted white on the outside, but full of dead
men's bones on the inside....
The subject is the Rapture of the Church, but the Traditions concerning,
and surrounding this event have resulted in confusion.
Confusion is a tool the enemy uses to keep you from any truthful understandings
or realizations. God reminds us that He is not the author of confusion
So why is there so much confusion about The Rapture, as an event, as to
its timing, as to its scriptural reference and as to its significance to
Tradition is the answer.
Because people have come, over the years, to place such value on tradition,
the revealed has become veiled and the true meaning of God's Word is now
clouded, and interpreted as meaning many different things to as many different
people. However, God's Word was never
meant to be unclear.
Traditionally so and Scripturally so are not necessarily,
nor usually synonymous.
Understanding God's word stripped of
tradition is what's required to meet the challenge of demystifying
or un-confusing the soon coming event known as the Rapture of the Church.
TIMING AND THE RAPTURE
"...But of that day and that hour knoweth no
man..." (Mark 13:32
& Mat 24:36)
This scripture is most TRADITIONALLY
quoted in confirming that we can't know the timing of the Rapture of the
Mark 13:32/Mat 24:36, has nothing to
do with the Rapture of the Church! At the time, Jesus was explaining to
his disciples [Jews] about the passing away of Heaven and Earth in relation
to the longevity of His Word. Heaven and Earth do not pass away at the
Rapture of the Church. That is what only the Father knows, when Heaven
and Earth will pass away, when He makes all things new again. The Rapture
of the Church is the event when the Body of Christ, both living & resurrected
are called to Heaven, by the head of that body, our Lord, Jesus, the Christ.
In fact, all of the scripture quoted to tell us that we can't know
the time of the Rapture, is really directed towards the second coming of
Jesus, when He returns with the raptured saints to do battle with his enemies.
The second coming and the Rapture are two separate events.
Jesus warned us that TRADITIONS make
void the word of God.
SUBSTANCE AND SHADOW
"Which are shadows of things to come..."(Col.
God spoke to us through prophecy, which is His
Word. His word became the substance that casts a shadow of things yet to
come in the future. When that word comes to pass, that shadow becomes fulfilled,
and at the same time becomes a substance, casting its own shadow into the
future. In this way, God demonstrates His way, of gaining entrance into
OUR future, to be used for His purpose, in His time. That's why Paul, when
speaking about the Feasts, which means, set times, tells us that they
are shadows of things to come, but the substance is Christ.
God is able to use the time that He sets, over and over again, throughout
time, to accomplish the purpose for which He originally set that time.
And, Christ is the substance of the shadow each time. God demonstrates
that He is definitely a time setter.
As an example, in the Old Testament, God established the Feast ['set
time'] of Pentecost, and the shadow is cast. The shadow of the Feast of
Pentecost is the establishment of a 'set time', fifty days after Firstfruits
for a new offering to be made.
In the New Testament (Acts 2) God uses
that time, the Feast of Pentecost, to fulfill His set time again, but this
time, the fulfillment takes the form of 'sealing' the Apostles fifty days
after Firstfruits, and they went forth with the new offering, Christ (the
substance). The new shadow cast into the future, from that fulfillment
of Pentecost, is still a new offering, with Christ, still as it's substance.
When God has a need to 'seal' a group of people again in the future
for like purpose, to make a new offering, with Christ as it's substance,
the feast of Pentecost will once again be the Feast, 'set time', He will
use. In Revelation 7:3-8, 12,000 from each
of the tribes of the children of Israel, 144,000 in all will be 'sealed',
for the purpose of becoming servants of God. Their mission, will be to
bring a new offering, to the children of Israel, and the multitude left
on earth, concerning the Gospel of the Kingdom, and again the substance
will be Christ! God will remain true to His time setting, because the plan
was laid down before the creation of the world, Pentecost will be the day
of that 'sealing'.
In reviewing the other Feasts ('set times'), we find the following:
The Sabbath: Shadow cast - Rest. Christ
fulfills the Sabbath, and now keeping holy the Sabbath, for the Church,
is resting in the work of Christ.
The Passover: Shadow cast - Faith - Death -
Salvation. Christ fulfills the Passover, as Faith (action based
on belief, supported by confidence) provides salvation through His death.
Unleavened Bread: Shadow cast - overcoming corruption
and evil. Christ fulfills the Feast of Unleavened Bread. He overcame
corruption and evil. Then the bread is hidden for three days, and reappears
on Firstfruits. Christ was hidden for three days and reappeared on Firstfruits.
Firstfruits: Shadow cast: Pledge of a full
harvest yet to be gathered. Christ fulfills Firstfruits, rising
on Firstfruits, the pledge of the full harvest yet to come - the resurrection
and Rapture of the Church.
Pentecost: Shadow cast - New Offering made
fifty days after Firstfruits. Christ fulfilled, He was the new offering.
All of the above Feasts, or 'set times', have been fulfilled by Christ
and are also all shadows of the Church, also fulfilled by Christ. The Jews
didn't accept Christ nor the church He started.
The remaining Feasts, Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles, not yet
fulfilled by Christ, because they have nothing to do with the church. They
are for the Jews, as Pentecost will be again, when the Church is gone.
Then God returns His attention to the Jews, and on that day [Pentecost]
returns the Feasts to them, in order that His promises to them might be
fulfilled, and they will be, by Christ, after the Rapture. Pentecost is
the day God used to give the fulfilled feasts to the Church, and He will
now use it to give the unfulfilled feasts back to the Jews, in order that
they may be fulfilled, for them, by Christ.
Using this same insight in relation to the Rapture of the Church
The Church, the ecclesia or out called ones (out called from the
Wrath of God - pre-trib rapture), is the body of Christ, and at the time
of the Rapture, that body of Christ will be called up by none other than
Jesus, The Christ, the head of that body.
Has the Body of Christ ever been called up before? Yes, at the set
time of The Ascension of Jesus, The Christ. The head of that body that
is yet to be called up. Jesus' ascension cast the shadow into the future
to foretell of the catching away of the Church. Therefore, The Rapture
occurs in fulfillment of the shadow cast by Jesus Himself at His ascension
--- His body called up in each instance. Again, the substance is Christ!
At this point the question becomes when did Jesus ascend? He died
on Passover, was raised three days later on Firstfruits, and ascended forty
days after that.
Therefore, God's timer for catching away
The Church is set to go off forty days after Firstfruits, in a year when
all the other elements pertaining to that time are aligned.
God never meant that the timing of the Rapture should be kept a secret,
only that it be discovered and revealed in its time, as foretold to Daniel.
He is a God whose 'modus operendi' is to use sets times, and cast
shadows, to identify things yet to come. His challenge to us is to seek
and find, because all is revealed in His Word.
Just as the Church was withheld from the Old Testament people, and
revealed to Paul at it's proper time, so it is with the Rapture. Had the
Jews of the Old Testament accepted Jesus as the messiah, there would have
been no need for the Church or the Rapture, so it's revelation was unnecessary
until it's time. The Raptures timing has always been there. To say that
it hasn't is to say that God's 'fail safe' plan, the Church, wasn't in
place, but it was, just waiting to be revealed in it's time, if necessary.
The plan was laid down, with all contingencies allowed for, before the
foundation of the world, and once put into motion, it travels along it's
own journey until completion. Now that we are so close, we have reached
the time for it to be revealed to the world! Which leads us to believe
that we are extremely close.
WAKE UP! Your redemption is even at the door.
The challenge then becomes ...which Firstfruits?
To find that out, just watch the signs of the times! As Jesus pointed
out, you can tell by the signs when it's going to rain. All of the precursors
to the "END TIMES" are clearly outlined in scripture. The prophecies
are numerous, and have been addressed earlier in this study.
And, here is something else straight out of God's word, thus truth
you can't deny.
WARNING! - WARNING!
GOD ALWAYS WARNS HIS PEOPLE!
Throughout Gods word are the warnings of future events. He never
fails to Warn the people about what's coming. And as always, the events
occur, and those who heeded the warning were saved in one way or another.
The events are always right on time and accurate in every detail.
That's because they were all planned before the foundation of the
world, and executed the day He put His plan into motion. One has nothing
else BUT to expect that what He said would happen, will happen!
And when it comes to End Times, as we have seen thus far, He is very
clear, and as we will see ahead, very accurate in every detail.
But the subject here is the Rapture of the Church - an event in God's
plan occurring at the end times. It occurs in end times because that's
the time in the plan He concludes His covenant with the old testament people,
the Jews, and the "lost" tribes of Israel. This is the ‘heptag', the 7
years in the plan that He reserved for Himself, to come and conclude the
episode he began when He called upon Abraham to begin his long days journey
into the future.
And the end that He has scheduled for those who led His chosen astray,
and for those whose intention it is to rid the face of the earth of God
and His chosen people, is called the wrath of God in scripture. The description
in Revelations of what takes place keeps me in awe that I will not be subject
to it, because of my Faith in the work of Jesus, the Messiah. Because God
closes his covenant with the grafted on branch of the tree of the root
of Abraham before He returns to complete the covenant made with the rest
of the tree.
And the event scheduled which completes our redemption, the covenant
made with the "body" of the Messiah, the redeemed, is the catching away.
And as we have seen, God has that scheduled to fulfill the shadow cast
at the first Ascension of the body of Jesus, the Christ, the final event
in the completion of His act of redemption.
And you can bet your everlasting life, that as with all the significant
events in God's plan, He left us a Warning sign for the Rapture of the
The substance and shadow of the resurrection on Firstfruits reveals
that to be so. Lets examine the truths that Scripture reveals concerning
the warning sign of the Rapture - truth you won't be able to deny - because
it's straight out of the word of God!
Firstfruits, the promise of the full harvest yet to come, is the
day Christ rose. Casting a shadow of a set time for resurrections into
the future, setting the stage for the return of Jesus, the Christ in the
future. But, Matthew, in his gospel wrote, at chapter 27, verses 52 and
53, that on that day of resurrection, after Jesus rose, the graves were
opened and, my bible says, "and many bodies of saints that slept arose,
and, came out of the graves after the resurrection, and went into the holy
city, and appeared unto many".
Do you remember a while ago when I told you that, I asked you if
you believed that. Well, now it's time to answer that question, because
what this is saying, is that these risen saints are the shadow cast of
the promise of the full harvest of the saints yet to come.
And, on that day appointed for the Ascension, Ephesians, chapter
4, at verse 8, that's scripture by the way, tells us that when He ascended
on high, He led captivity captive, fulfilling that earlier prophecy made
in Psalm 68 at verse 18!
That means that when Jesus ascended, 40 days after He rose, he took
with him those saints who rose with him 40 days earlier, those that were
seen by many in the holy city. They were the token, of the full harvest
yet to come, just as the omer of barley (the flour) , made from the sheaf's of barley picked on Firstfruits, and waved before the Lord, was the token
of a full harvest yet to come.
That's what Paul means when he tells the Thessalonians, in chapter
4 at verse 16 & 17, that the dead in Christ rise first, then we which
are alive and remain are caught up together with them in the twinkling
of an eye, to be with the Lord forever.
And in fulfillment of the shadow cast by that event on resurrection
day, many of the newly resurrected dead in Christ, will be seen by many,
just as they once were seen in the holy city
That is the warning sign God gave us to know that our redemption
is only 40 days away! With Daniel's on the scene, there is much new knowledge,
and the new knowledge of the meaning of the end time for the Church makes
it abundantly clear, and makes one wonder how it remained hidden from us,
while still in full view. Those verses of scripture have always been there
- why do they have this meaning to us now?
Because Now is the set time in God's plan for the Church to be alerted
to watch, because their redemption draweth nigh! He is making His final
call - just as He told the Laodiceans that He's coming a knocking on the
door for the last time, and alas, only 50% answer the door.
Knock, Knock, Knock, Hello, are you there?
"...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..." (1Thes.4:16,17)
Paul, in his first letter to the Thessalonians
in response to their questions is telling them that he would not have them
ignorant concerning those who have already passed away. He tells them that
the dead in Christ will rise first, and then those that are alive and remain
will be 'caught up' together to meet the Lord in the Air. This is the Rapture
of the Church both the living and the dead.
"...every man in his own order: Christ the
firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming"...
Here, Paul is explaining three things: That Christ is the firstfruits
of resurrection; That the they that are Christ's, are the dead in
Christ of I Thessalonians 4:16, who, at the
Rapture will rise first. And finally, the at His coming is in reference
to Christ's coming at the Rapture of the Church, not His coming at the
"...Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall
not all sleep, but we shall all be changed -- in a moment, in the twinkling
of an eye..." (ICor.15:51,52)
Here Paul addresses the 'living' of IThes.4:17
at the time of the Rapture, and tells us of a mystery of the dead and living
being changed when we meet Jesus in the air.
Directing attention to the reason for Paul's 2nd letter to the Thessalonians,
you find that it was to refocus them on the teaching that they (the Church)
were the restraining force keeping back both the man of sin as well as
the return of our Lord, at His second coming. When you examine the content
of the first eight verses of the 2nd Chapter you understand that Paul is
addressing three separate issues; The second coming of Christ (v.1),
The Rapture of the Church (v1), and the revealing
of that man of sin (the son of perdition) (v.8).
He's reminding them that their concerns about being in the Great Tribulation
are premature (v.5), because they are forgetting
his teaching on the Rapture. As long as they remained they would be the
restraining force and would remain so until they be taken out of the way
In Revelation 3:8&10 God clearly
identifies the body that will be Raptured. Speaking to the Church of Philadelphia
"...I know thy works: behold, I have set
before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little
strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name."
And verse 10 continues:
"Because you have kept my command to persevere,
I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole
world, to test those who dwell on the earth..." (Rev.3:10)
This is the promise to the true believers, represented as the Church
of Philadelphia, that they will not go through the Great Tribulation, but
will be Raptured.
"...because God hath not appointed us to
wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ".(IThes.5:9)
It is only the Raptured that are not appointed to wrath, confirming
Then Revelation Chapter 4 opens with
"...After these things, I looked, and behold,
a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like
a trumpet speaking with me, saying, "Come Up Here", and I will show you
things which must take place after this".
John now is shown the same open door of Rev.3:8
and when he hears the call to "Come Up Here"
he experiences God's promise of Rev.3:10 to
Rapture true believers.
These are some of the scriptural references that clearly demonstrate
the Rapture of the Church as an 'Event'. We have addressed the Timing of
the Rapture (40 days after Firstfruits), and next we will consider the
significance of the Rapture to "End Times".
SIGNIFICANCE TO "END TIMES"
By definition, "End Times"
is specifically referring to the seven year period of Daniel
9:27 known as the 70th week of Daniel.
Daniel's prophecies were expressly directed at the Jews as a Nation,
and Jerusalem as their Holy City. In the 27th verse
he presents an overview of the beginning, middle and end of the final week,
or last seven years that precedes The Second Coming of Christ.
By Definition The Rapture is the 'catching away' of the true believer
in Jesus, as described in IThes.4:16,17, thereby
fulfilling His promise that the Church was not appointed to wrath (IThes5:9),
and completing the age of the Church.
The Rapture is significant to "End Times"
because, the Rapture must occur before the identity of the individual,
who confirms the pact, leading to peace for the Jewish Nation, can be revealed.
This action (the confirming) also initiates a seven year long series
events that ends with the Second Coming of Christ.
Matthew, Chapter 24, has Jesus foretelling
of the signs that would precede His second coming [not the rapture], and
issues a warning concerning those future events. He instructs us to know
that the end of Daniel's 70th week is "even at the
door" when we see these signs happening. However, before it can
end, at the second coming of Christ, it must begin.
Daniel clarifies the beginning of the seven year period when he says:
(speaking of a future ruler from v.26). "...then
he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week..." (9:27).
Here Daniel is referring to a 'pact' that a particular individual will
make with the Jews and their adversaries, that bring them peace. It is
the confirmation of this 'pact' that begins the seven year period, not
To grasp the significance of that event, we turn our attention to
Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians to realize that the Rapture of
the Church must precede the confirmation of the pact and the identification
of the individual responsible for it.
"...And now you know what with-holdeth that
he might be revealed in his time . For the mystery of lawlessness is already
at work, only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of
the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will
consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy him with the brightness
of His coming...".(IIThes.2:6,7,8)
Paul is referring to the particular individual who is responsible
for establishing the pact, that brings the Jews peace, as the lawless one,
son of Perdition, Man of Sin. He is reminding the Church at Thessalonica
that there is a 'Restraining Force' withholding the identity of this singular
'...only he who now restrains will do so
until he is taken out of the way...'. (v.7)
They (the Church) are the 'HE' that is the restraining force and
until they are Raptured this individual cannot be revealed.
By linking Daniel's and Paul's prophecies together we can understand
that the significance of the Rapture to end time is the fact that the Rapture
is the first event that must happen before the pact and the individual
behind it can be revealed beginning Daniel's 70th week.
The fact is, the true believers will not see peace come to the Jews.
They will only see the events leading to an eventual peace, but peace can't
come until after the Rapture happens. And then, with the agreement on peace,
the seven year clock begins to tick.
It is important to note that even though Paul is describing him as a man of sin' and 'son of Perdition', initially this individual comes onto
the scene with an offer instrumental in making peace for the Jews. John
describes him in Revelation, Chapter 6, as
riding in on a white horse, carrying an unloaded bow, and wearing a crown
of authority given to him in honor. It isn't until he breaks his covenant
and turns on the Jews three and a half years later that he shows his true
nature as the of son of Perdition (The Antichrist -- meaning Substitute,
or false deliverer). That's when the Jews find out that they've been deceived,
and why Jesus issues such a strong warning in Matt.24:8-51
concerning what this substitute deliverer has in store for them between
the time he shows himself to be false, and the end, when Jesus returns
in Revelation 19.
Also the Rapture has significance to these times because of the state
into which the world has 'evolved'.
It is time that this generation becomes aware of the significance
that scripture has placed on the Rapture.
We addressed what tradition has done to veil a clear and direct message,
from several sources, that the Rapture is a coming event with a set time
for its' occurrence. Then, we cited the pertinent scriptures, and placed
them in the order that demonstrates: who will be raptured; in what order;
how it will happen and why it will occur.
The Rapture is so clearly identified by God, that it becomes obvious
that the confusion surrounding it is a deliberate attempt to hide it from
those for whom it is intended. That's the result of tradition!
God made it clear and easy to understand, confirming that He's not the
author of confusion.
"...you make void the Word of God by your
You owe it to yourself, believer and nonbeliever alike, to be skeptical,
and go find out for yourself. This is too important to overlook! The only
way you can ever have Pistis (faith, the kind that God meant) is to take
up His challenge yourself, and draw your own conclusions.
Two thousand years of accumulated Tradition
has so confused the truth concerning Jesus Christ, that the knowledge and
understanding of his promise of resurrection or rapture from ITh.4:16,17,
has been hidden away. Is that the adversary at work or what!
Seek And Find
"And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye
shall search for me with all your heart". (Jer.29:13)
In this most important scripture, God challenges
us to seek Him out, and assures us of the outcome if we do. Acceptance
leads to finding He who lives in the fulfillment of His word as being His
bond. Find Him keeping His word, and you've found someone you can trust
...someone to believe in ...someone in whom to have FAITH.
"For by grace, are ye saved through FAITH;
and that not of yourselves: It is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any
man should boast". (Eph.2:8,9)
Salvation is dependent upon Faith and the channel
to FAITH is by hearing the word of God.
"Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by
the word of God". (Rom.10:17)
The word FAITH in English, by definition means belief. The Greek
word is PISTIS. This word, chosen by God, has a more in depth meaning.
PISTIS (Faith) is defined as an ACTION, based on a belief, supported by
The meaning of having FAITH is the action you take, based on your
belief, supported by the confidence you get when you accept the challenge,
and do the seeking for yourself. The action becomes the confident acceptance
of the unmerited gift of salvation, based on the beliefs acquired during
the search conducted.
In this way one can truly live faith, because you have independently
explored the subject to a level of understanding that permits your actions
to be based on your findings.
The search begins where the word is left. In Scripture.
Jesus is Lord
"God is not a man that He
should lie, neither the son of man that He should repent, hath He said,
and shall He not do ? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?"(Num.23:19)