Rapture & The 144,000
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Dear Sir, or Servant,
I've been an independent researcher for a good many years, and I have learned some interesting facts concerning the subject of the rapture, which I've not heard discussed virtually anywhere. And I've not heard a better explanation on it. I have read your articles on the rapture, and I do understand precisely the points that you are making on this subject. If I could prove to you that virtually all Christian denominations for centuries have unwittingly misinterpreted the rapture prophecy, would you be interested in hearing it? Well, here it is, 4 points to prove my position from my research. Feel free to comment. Brad
1) You are correct in the fact that the word "rapture" was never used in the Bible. But the words "gathering up" is a term that is used to describe this prophecy.
Servant’s Response: Here is a little more info for you, Brad -- perhaps you already know: the term "rape" comes from the term "rapture" and means to be taken, or forcibly taken against one's will. And how does this word “rapture” relate to “gathering up” again? This word rapture originates from to be taken against one’s will actually fits the description of what is to happen when the "weeds" (tares) are separated from the "wheat" – Mat 13:30 -- against their will, the weeds are taken first! This actually seems an appropriate use of a word concerning the "rapture" of the wicked to be thrown into the burn pile, certainly that would be against their will. Just so you don't think I am making this up here is a little research for you --
Wikipedia: Entomology -- "Rapture" is derived from Middle French rapture, via the Medieval Latin raptura ("seizure, rape, kidnapping"), which derives from the Latin raptus ("a carrying off") (see footnote 14).
[footnote:  c.1600, "act of carrying off," from M.Fr. rapture, from M.L. raptura "seizure, rape, kidnapping," from L. raptus "a carrying off" (see rapt). Originally of women and cognate with rape.]
Entomology Dictionary: Word Origin & History
rapture: 1600, "act of carrying off," from M.Fr. rapture, from M.L. raptura "seizure, rape, kidnapping," from L. raptus "a carrying off" (see rapt). Originally of women and cognate with rape (v.). Sense of "spiritual ecstasy" first recorded 1629.
2) The definition of the term "Imminent return" is not "at any moment," but more accurately "soon to occur." All references to this prophecy that Jesus <YaHshua>made to his disciples on his second coming (rapture) (resurrection) were "soon to occur" in that generation of the first century. It was never intended for the people of our day, nineteen centuries later, that are still waiting for that "at any moment" to happen. Massive confusion regarding the rapture (resurrection) is a result of this misunderstanding. [servant’s note: I have made minor corrections to some word usages and names used by Brad – one day we will all be on the same page].
Servant’s Response: I hear what you are saying but of all of the dictionaries and sources I have consulted on this definition, this term, “imminent”, especially used among the Evangelical teachers, is meant to be of a more immediate nature, something that could happen right now, at any moment. I think we could argue forever about “any moment” or “soon to occur”. What I find most interesting is, like the word association found between 'rapture' and 'rape', and this coupled with the use of the term, "imminent" which is then defined by many sources as a threat and not as something that is joyous. I have a quote from one source that seems to echo the definitions of this term from other more elaborate sources –
Merriam Webster: Imminent -- Latin imminent-imminens, present participle, of imminere to project, threaten ... : ready to take place; especially : hanging threateningly over one's head ..
As we have read earlier the word rapture is a derivative from the term “rape” or to be raped, a threat to be taken by force, so too is “imminent return”, both are threats hanging over one’s head – neither of these terms are found in your Bible but have been married together by the proponents and teachers of the false Rapture Doctrine. Ask yourself, who is so crafty to style such a doctrine, when in fact it is not necessary – unless you are trying to fool someone, or misdirect. This threat is aimed at professing believers – like a gun to their heads, promising something they cannot deliver. In many ways these teachers desire this escape and want others to desire this escape to Heaven, a message many want to hear – 2 Tim 4:3-4. The innocent, trusting in their leaders name and reputation go along and are in fear being threated into goodness or at least to act like – better be good, better not pout because He can come for you at any moment, right this minute. Tim LaHaye, of the Left Behind book fame, in defense of the Rapture threat, says it had made better Christians than any other doctrine, ever. I have documented Tim LaHaye’s position on this in an article I wrote some years ago at -- http://www.yahshuaservant.com/Rapture_and_False_Doctrine1.htm or go to Rapture a False Doctrine
Brad’s question/remark continues:
3) In Matthew chapter 24 Jesus YaHshua is describing two different prophecies to his disciples. One prophecy was the destruction of the temple and his second coming (rapture). The second prophecy was the "End Times" which was to occur many years later in our day. These two prophecies are separated by almost two thousand years. Today's church doctrines have unwittingly combined both prophecies into one single event. Which is why they cannot make any sense out of it. It has produced more confusion than you can shake a stick at.
Servant’s Comment: This is called, “picking and choosing”. You are not correct in your assumption the Christian prophecy teachers of today “do” see it the way you do, that this prophecy runs first around the Temple and second is about His coming. He is not here now, of course, and the Temple was destroyed 68-70AD, over 1943 years later and He has not returned yet. They actually have a name for this, the "Gap Theory", as some do teach Matthew 24 is a continuous occurrence and others that it has all already happened. But, of course that cannot be true because we have not witnessed the heavenly signs yet described by our Savior in Mat 24. As witnesses we are to watch, and each generation of believers witnesses the truth of the word as they see it unfold, as will the witnesses in the End days – they, those believers, along with the final Two Witnesses of Revelation 11, will be able to confirm His word is true, and he does not delay as some count delay – 2 Pet 3:8-9 - Mat 24:36 Heavenly time is not the same time on Earth. When we understand this principle our perspective should change as to what is fast and slow -- by Heavenly time we are only in the 5-6th day of the week. Let's take a look at a small but powerful verse quoting what out Messiah and Savior, YaHshua said –
YaHshua says: (Mat 24:29-31) Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
His words, not mine, not yours but His. Does this sound like a secret coming? No. When are the Elect gathered? After the Tribulation! Where is our Savior when He is seen? Coming in the clouds of heaven, right? If this means “clouds” around the Heavenly thrown how is every eye to see this, we cannot see the Heavenly Throne even with the Hubble telescope. There are three heavens, the atmosphere of the earth, and the heavens of the stars and the Heaven where the Throne is, and where our Savior now resides.
4) If Christians are to believe that they are part of the "Body of Christ," then how can we explain the myriad of creeds and doctrines that separate us a thousand different ways? Technically speaking, the true body of Christ does not exist on this earth as of today. The reason; the true body of Christ (his church of 144,000) were already raptured in the first century. Which is the reason why every single prediction on the rapture since the beginning of the second century on down to this day (May 21st 2011), have failed.
Servant’s Comment: Concerning the 144,000, you are the first I have ever heard suggest they were "raptured" (resurrected?) in the first century and are now in Heaven – didn’t YaHshua say that only that which is from Heaven can go there – John 3:13? I would really like to see the proof, or the reasoning for this. I am a firm believer the Book of revelation was not and is not sequential in totality, as is presented by some, but contains filler information and by carefully reading you can detect these separations from things that have already happened or were happening in John’s time of writing. Revelation 12 is a good example of this as this chapter fills in details from the time or our Savior going to Heaven and Satan's fall and failure to regain a place in the Heaven of Heavens, going to war and losing, being cast to Earth and thus in a fit of anger seeking to destroy the people of God, the Children of the woman (Israel) and the followers of YaHshua -- this chapter falls in the middle of the book of Revelation. I fail to see what you, Brad, are suggesting concerning the 144,000 (mentioned in two different places Rev 7:4; 14:1) and in reading the verses concerning this number I find nothing that says, or even suggests what you are saying (guesswork?). If you have something to support your view I would really like to see it, but it looks like you are pulling thing out of thin air.
If any of these highlights interest you, then please do by all means let me know, and I will share the details with you.
Servant's last reply: Please do. I think by my comments you can determine which of the points you presented would interest me the most and the least. Send me whatever you have to support your #4 point. Peace, Dan
11/02/20113 - No reply has been received from Brad. I do hope this has been of benefit to anyone reading this email, thanks for taking the time to read. If you have anything to add or a comment, or even where you think a correction is needed, please use the following email to respond.
Email Questions to: dan@servantsof yahshua.com