Wednesday, July 21, 2010

*BEST OF DTB #11* The harlot and the rapture (revised 7/21/10)

One of the most frequently used tactics of rabid anti-catholics is to try and identify the Catholic Church with the Whore of Babylon found in the 17th and 18th chapters of John’s Revelation.
From Chapter 17:
1 And there came one of the seven angels, who had the seven vials, and spoke with me, saying: Come, I will shew thee the condemnation of the great harlot, who sitteth upon many waters, 2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication; and they who inhabit the earth, have been made drunk with the wine of her whoredom. 3 And he took me away in spirit into the desert. And I saw a woman sitting upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 And the woman was clothed round about with purple and scarlet, and gilt with gold, and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand, full of the abomination and filthiness of her fornication. 5 And on her forehead a name was written: A mystery; Babylon the great, the mother of the fornications, and the abominations of the earth.

6 And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And I wondered, when I had seen her, with great admiration. 7 And the angel said to me: Why dost thou wonder? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast which carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. 8 The beast, which thou sawest, was, and is not, and shall come up out of the bottomless pit, and go into destruction: and the inhabitants on the earth (whose names are not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world) shall wonder, seeing the beast that was, and is not. 9 And here is the understanding that hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, upon which the woman sitteth, and they are seven kings: 10 Five are fallen, one is, and the other is not yet come: and when he is come, he must remain a short time.
11 And the beast which was, and is not: the same also is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into destruction. 12 And the ten horns which thou sawest, are ten kings, who have not yet received a kingdom, but shall receive power as kings one hour after the beast. 13 These have one design: and their strength and power they shall deliver to the beast. 14 These shall fight with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them, because he is Lord of lords, and King of kings, and they that are with him are called, and elect, and faithful. 15 And he said to me: The waters which thou sawest, where the harlot sitteth, are peoples, and nations, and tongues.

Dave Hunt and other such fanatics point to certain clues they say identify the woman. In verse 4, the colors Purple and Scarlet as well as the golden cup could be taken as alluding to the Priestly vestments and the communion chalice of the Catholic Church but the precious stones and pearls are most decidedly out of place.
The verse taken in whole simply does not fit the Roman Catholic Church.
It does, however, fit another entity: The Temple in Jerusalem.
In the book of Exodus we see the vestments and adornments for the Jewish Temple.
From Chapter 28:
28:4 These are the vestments they shall make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a brocaded tunic, a miter and a sash. In making these sacred vestments which your brother Aaron and his sons are to wear in serving as my priests,
28:5 they shall use gold, violet, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen.

28:6 * "The ephod they shall make of gold thread and of violet, purple and scarlet yarn, embroidered on cloth of fine linen twined.
28:7 It shall have a pair of shoulder straps joined to its two upper ends.
28:8 The embroidered belt of the ephod shall extend out from it and, like it, be made of gold thread, of violet, purple and scarlet yarn, and of fine linen twined.
28:9 "Get two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel:
28:10 six of their names on one stone, and the other six on the other stone, in the order of their birth.
28:11 As a gem-cutter engraves a seal, so shall you have the two stones engraved with the names of the sons of Israel and then mounted in gold filigree work.
28:12 Set these two stones on the shoulder straps of the ephod as memorial stones of the sons of Israel. Thus Aaron shall bear their names on his shoulders as a reminder before the LORD.
28:13 Make filigree rosettes of gold,
28:14 as well as two chains of pure gold, twisted like cords, and fasten the cordlike chains to the filigree rosettes.
28:15 * "The breastpiece of decision you shall also have made, embroidered like the ephod with gold thread and violet, purple and scarlet yarn on cloth of fine linen twined.
28:16 It is to be square when folded double, a span high and a span wide.
28:17 * On it you shall mount four rows of precious stones: in the first row, a carnelian, a topaz and an emerald;

What about the Golden cup? Surely that must be the Catholics, right?

Wrong again.

Exodus 25:29 Of pure gold you shall make its plates and cups, as well as its pitchers and bowls for pouring libations.

From his work Antiquities, the Jewish prophet Josephus writes about the Temple in Jerusalem;

The holiest part of the Temple:
"Its front was covered with gold all over... But that gate which was at this end of the first part of the house was, as we have already observed, all over covered with gold, as was its whole wall about it; it had also golden vines above it, from which clusters of grapes hung as tall as a man's height. But then this house... had golden doors of fifty-five cubits altitude, and sixteen in breadth; but before these doors there was a veil of equal largeness with the doors. It was a Babylonian curtain, embroidered with blue, and fine linen, and scarlet, and purple, and of a contexture that was truly wonderful."

The exterior of the Temple:
"...the outward face of the temple in its front wanted nothing that was likely to surprise either men's minds or their eyes; for it was covered all over with plates of gold of great weight, and, at the first rising of the sun, reflected back a very fiery splendor, and made those who forced themselves to look upon it to turn their eyes away, just as they would have done at the sun's own rays."

The priests' vestments:
"But that girdle that tied the garment to the breast was embroidered with five rows of various colors, of gold, and purple, and scarlet, as also of fine linen and blue, with which colors we told you before the veils of the temple were embroidered also. The like embroidery was upon the ephod; but the quantity of gold therein was greater. Its figure was that of a stomacher for the breast. There were upon it two golden buttons like small shields, which buttoned the ephod to the garment; in these buttons were enclosed two very large and very excellent sardonyxes, having the names of the tribes of that nation engraved upon them: on the other part there hung twelve stones, three in a row one way, and four in the other; a sardius, a topaz, and an emerald; a carbuncle, a jasper, and a sapphire; an agate, an amethyst, and a ligure; an onyx, a beryl, and a chrysolite; upon every one of which was again engraved one of the forementioned names of the tribes."

As you can see, Josephus describes the Jewish Temple with almost exactly the same words as John describes the Harlot. The likeness is inescapable.

In verses 8 and 9, we gain critical clues as to the identity of both the beast and the woman. We see that the seven heads of the beast have a dual interpretation of being both 7 mountains upon which the woman sits and 7 kings.
First, let’s tackle the clue of the mountains.
Mountains, not hills. From the Greek word Horos / Oros. This is a very important distinction.
For if John is talking about hills (The greek word Bounos), Rome would be a candidate, as would Edinburgh, Constantinople, Cincinatti and San Fransisco.
However, since the word Horos- mountain- is used, there is only one candidate- Jerusalem. That’s right, Jerusalem is the city that was known in antiquity as the city on Seven mountains because it is the only city in the world built on seven mountains. In fact, Jerusalem was actually called "The city on seven mountains" in John's time and his contemporaries would have certainly understood the allusion. For the record, they are: Mt. Goath, Mt. Gareb, Mt. Acra, Mt. Bezetha, Mt. Zion, Mt. Ophel, and Mt. Moriah.
Rome, on the other hand is built on seven hills; Palatine, Aventine, Capitoline, Quarinal, Viminal, Esquiline and Caelian. Identifying these seven hills with the Catholic Church is even more problematic for Anti-Catholics. For Vatican City sits on the opposite side of the Tiber river on it’s own hill; Vatican Hill.
Indeed, we believe Revelation does talk prophetically of this city.
Chapter 20:
2 And I John saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice from the throne, saying: Behold the tabernacle of God with men, and he will dwell with them. And they shall be his people; and God himself with them shall be their God.
The contrast is clear. The OLD Jerusalem lost her birthright by playing the harlot. In fact, Jerusalem is condemned in such terms countless times in scripture. I will list several further into this article.
Now, moving on to the seven kings.
John tells us that 5 of the kings have fallen. That is, as of the writing of Revelation, 5 of the kings had died prior to his writing of this sacred letter. If the Kings are Roman Emperors- and I believe they were- John would be writing this during the reign of the Emperor Galba, the sixth.
The five fallen would then be Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Cladius and Nero.
The 7th King would be Othos and, exactly as Revelation prescribes, he reigned only a very short time- 3 months- before taking his own life. John then alludes that an eighth king would arise that would be a figurative reincarnation of one of the first seven, which John’s Revelation describes as the beast.
It is pretty difficult not to assign the label to Nero who, in addition to murdering his parents and brother, burned Christians to provide light for his outdoor parties. Nero also fits because he murdered Paul and Peter and, some writings say, eventually John.
Finally, Nero’s name in Greek has the required numerical value of 666.
The puzzle fits together almost perfectly. Almost.
If you follow John’s chronology, It is hard to doubt Nero as the beast and Galba as the 6th and Othos as the 7th kings. The problem comes in identifying Vittelius as the 8th. Like Othos before him- and Galba before him- Vittelius lasted only a few months. This led the way for Vespasian to become the 4th emperor in the year 69 AD. It is Vespasian who is the symbolically reincarnated beast. We can only interpret John as describing the beast as an eighth king in this list and not necessarily the eighth king in succession. Vespassian certainly fulfills the prophecy in verses 16-18
16 And the ten horns which thou sawest in the beast: these shall hate the harlot, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and shall burn her with fire. 17 For God hath given into their hearts to do that which pleaseth him: that they give their kingdom to the beast, till the words of God be fulfilled. 18 And the woman which thou sawest, is the great city, which hath kingdom over the kings of the earth. 

This is an unmistakable allusion to the sacking of Jerusalem ordered by Vespasian and carried out by his son Titus. The verses even tell us that this is the ‘’great city’’.
All you have to do is read Revelation 11:8;
8 And their bodies shall lie in the streets of the great city, which is called spiritually, Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord also was crucified.
Christ was crucified in Rome? In Vatican city? No... He was crucified in Jerusalem.
Sodom and Egypt were both judged and received plagues of God’s wrath. John is assuring us that Jerusalem awaits the same fate. Revelation tells us that the whore has been judged guilty of the blood of both the prophets and martyrs (11:18, 16:6, 18:20 and 18:24)
Once again, there is only one city that qualifies;
LK 13:33 Yet I must continue on my way today, tomorrow, and the following day, for it is impossible that a prophet should die outside of Jerusalem.'
Here, the Savior, HIMSELF is telling you that the one and only candidate for the harlot is Jerusalem. Would you dare to dispute Him on this?
The following verses from Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekial all point to the identity of Jerusalem as the harlot.
How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers."

"For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot."

"They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD. Lift up thine eyes unto the high places, and see where thou hast not been lien with. In the ways hast thou sat for them, as the Arabian in the wilderness; and thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness. Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore's forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed."

"But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy fornications on every one that passed by; his it was. And of thy garments thou didst take, and deckedst thy high places with divers colours, and playedst the harlot thereupon: the like things shall not come, neither shall it be so. Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them, And tookest thy broidered garments, and coveredst them: and thou hast set mine oil and mine incense before them."

Jesus judgment on Jerusalem is as clear as crystal
In the Olivet discourse in Matthew 24, Jesus ends the discussion with a discussion of His second coming and end times events but He clearly begins it with a discussion of the wrath about to befall Jerusalem;
1 And Jesus being come out of the temple, went away. And his disciples came to shew him the buildings of the temple. 2 And he answering, said to them: Do you see all these things? Amen I say to you there shall not be left here a stone upon a stone that shall not be destroyed. 3 And when he was sitting on mount Olivet, the disciples came to him privately, saying: Tell us when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the consummation of the world? 4 And Jesus answering, said to them: Take heed that no man seduce you: 5 For many will come in my name saying, I am Christ: and they will seduce many.
6 And you shall hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that ye be not troubled. For these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be pestilences, and famines, and earthquakes in places: 8 Now all these are the beginnings of sorrows. 9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall put you to death: and you shall be hated by all nations for my name's sake. 10 And then shall many be scandalized: and shall betray one another: and shall hate one another.
11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall seduce many. 12 And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold. 13 But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom, shall be preached in the whole world, for a testimony to all nations, and then shall the consummation come. 15 When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place: he that readeth let him understand.
16 Then they that are in Judea, let them flee to the mountains: 17 And he that is on the housetop, let him not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18 And he that is in the field, let him not go back to take his coat. 19 And woe to them that are with child, and that give suck in those days. 20 But pray that your flight be not in the winter, or on the sabbath.
21 For there shall be then great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be. 22 And unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be saved: but for the sake of the elect those days shall be shortened. 

In many other places in the Gospels, the Judgement on Jerusalem is made manifestly clear;

23:33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how can you flee from the judgment of Gehenna?
23:34 * Therefore, behold, I send to you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and pursue from town to town,
23:35 so that there may come upon you all the righteous blood shed upon earth, from the righteous blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar.
23:36 Amen, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
23:37 * "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her young under her wings, but you were unwilling!
23:38 Behold, your house will be abandoned, desolate.

Note 2 things. First Jesus says that all these things will be borne by the current Generation.That means Daniel’s 70th week and the fall of Babylon.
Second, Jesus says right here, about Jerusalem, that her house will be left abandoned and desolate.
Compare to Chapter 18:
16 And saying: Alas! alas! that great city, which was clothed with fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and was gilt with gold, and precious stones, and pearls. 17 For in one hour are so great riches come to nought; and every shipmaster, and all that sail into the lake, and mariners, and as many as work in the sea, stood afar off. 18 And cried, seeing the place of her burning, saying: What city is like to this great city? 19 And they cast dust upon their heads, and cried, weeping and mourning, saying: Alas! alas! that great city, wherein all were made rich, that had ships at sea, by reason of her prices: for in one hour she is made desolate.
Still more words from Jesus concerning the fate of Jerusalem;

Luke 21:20 * "When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, know that its desolation is at hand.
21:21 Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. Let those within the city escape from it, and let those in the countryside not enter the city,
21:22 for these days are the time of punishment when all the scriptures are fulfilled.
21:23 Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days, for a terrible calamity will come upon the earth and a wrathful judgment upon this people.
21:24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be taken as captives to all the Gentiles; and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles * are fulfilled.
And more;

Luke 23:26 * As they led him away they took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country; and after laying the cross on him, they made him carry it behind Jesus.
23:27 A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him.
23:28 Jesus turned to them and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children,
23:29 for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, 'Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.'
23:30 At that time people will say to the mountains, 'Fall upon us!' and to the hills, 'Cover us!'

How could there even be further doubt? The fall of Babylon refers to the fall of Jerusalem.

The Jewish Prophet Josephus described the utter destruction;

"Now the number of those that were carried captive during this whole war was collected to be ninety-seven thousand; as was the number of those that perished during the whole siege eleven hundred thousand, the greater part of whom were indeed of the same nation [with the citizens of Jerusalem], but not belonging to the city itself; for they were come up from all the country to the feast of unleavened bread, and were on a sudden shut up by an army, which, at the very first, occasioned so great a straitness among them, that there came a pestilential destruction upon them, and soon afterward such a famine, as destroyed them more suddenly. And that this city could contain so many people in it, is manifest by that number of them which was taken under Cestius, who being desirous of informing Nero of the power of the city, who otherwise was disposed to contemn that nation, entreated the high priests, if the thing were possible, to take the number of their whole multitude....
The four horsemen of the Apocalypse are known as Famine, Pestilence, War and Death. All 4 are SPECIFICALLY mentioned in Josephus recounting of Jerusalem's fall! Continuing.....
...Now this vast multitude is indeed collected out of remote places, but the entire nation was now shut up by fate as in prison, and the Roman army encompassed the city when it was crowded with inhabitants. Accordingly, the multitude of those that therein perished exceeded all the destructions that either men or God ever brought upon the world (Matthew 24:21); for, to speak only of what was publicly known, the Romans slew some of them, some they carried captives, and others they made a search for under ground, and when they found where they were, they broke up the ground and slew all they met with. There were also found slain there above two thousand persons, partly by their own hands, and partly by one another, but chiefly destroyed by the famine; but then the ill savor of the dead bodies was most offensive to those that lighted upon them, insomuch that some were obliged to get away immediately, while others were so greedy of gain, that they would go in among the dead bodies that lay on heaps, and tread upon them; for a great deal of treasure was found in these caverns, and the hope of gain made every way of getting it to be esteemed lawful...And now the Romans set fire to the extreme parts of the city, and burnt them down, and entirely demolished its walls (Revelation 18:16)
The countryside like the City was a pitiful sight; for where once there had been a lovely vista of woods and parks there was nothing but desert and stumps of trees. No one - not even a foreigner - who had seen the Old Judea and the glorious suburbs of the City, and now set eyes on her present desolation, could have helped sighing and groaning at so terrible a change; for every trace of beauty had been blotted out by war, and nobody who had known it in the past and came upon it suddenly would have recognized the place: when he was already there he would still have been looking for the City.
People who are looking for an end-time fulfillment of these chapters are simply wasting their time. In creating fantastic and fanciful interpretations about bar codes and one world orders, they have missed the whole point of this holy book.
The Millennium reign is not to be taken literally as an exact, literal thousand years. It represents a long period of time. Nor is the Millennium reign a future event. At least, not in our future. It refers to the reign of the Priestly Church on earth. Revelation 5:10 : And hast made us to our God a kingdom and priests, and we shall reign on the earth.

This is why the Millenium (Chapter 19) coincides with the New Jerusalem. This is also why the Dispensationalist or Pre-millenialist view simply does not work. Jesus has no intention of raising and recreating the Old Jerusalem. The old Jerusalem is gone from God’s favor. It has been replaced by a New Jerusalem which is the Church.
Chapters 17-21 of the Book of Revelation speak of the Judgment on, and Destruction of, the city of Jerusalem and the creation of the Christian Church.
It has all been fulfilled.

The evidence of this in scripture is overwhelming.
The word Church appears more than 110 times in the New Testament. It is described as Christ’s bride and the city on the hill. The Bible tells us that Jesus will reign on earth for a thousand years. The thousand years is figurative for a long period of time.
That reign on earth is occurring right now. Near it’s end a great chastisement or tribulation will be faced by the Church. I believe that Chastisement has begun. At it’s end, Christ will return, the dead shall rise and the saints will be caught up to the Lord. The sinners will be judged and sent away to eternal punishment.
There will be no restoration of the earthly city of Jerusalem, no rebuilding of the Temple and, most assuredly, no pre-tribulation Rapture.
The Old Covenant is gone. The Old Covenant was but a shadow anyway. The Christian Church is the new Israel and the Vatican is the New Jerusalem. People who are waiting for a Rapture are wasting their time. There is nothing in Scripture that indicates 3 comings of Christ.

Let’s look at some of the verses used to support the Rapture doctrine;

Matthew 24
36 But of that day and hour no one knoweth, not the angels of heaven, but the Father alone. 37 And as in the days of Noe, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, even till that day in which Noe entered into the ark, 39 And they knew not till the flood came, and took them all away; so also shall the coming of the Son of man be. 40 Then two shall be in the field: one shall be taken, and one shall be left.
41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill: one shall be taken, and one shall be left. 42 Watch ye therefore, because ye know not what hour your Lord will come.
Sure! You read these 7 verses and you could easily conclude “SEE! One is taken, one is left behind!”
Well…. Let’s apply some context, shall we?
38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, even till that day in which Noe entered into the ark, 39 And they knew not till the flood came, and took them all away; so also shall the coming of the Son of man be. 40 Then two shall be in the field: one shall be taken, and one shall be left.
41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill: one shall be taken, and one shall be left.
Listen to what it says here folks! It will be as it was in the days of Noah when v39 says, the flood came and took them away. The FLOOD took them. Jesus says it will be, at His coming, the same way. Some will be TAKEN. Taken? Taken where?
Folks, these people are going to be taken to HELL! There is nothing that suggests second chances. The verses suggest that time is up! 48 But if that evil servant shall say in his heart: My lord is long a coming: 49 And shall begin to strike his fellow servants, and shall eat and drink with drunkards: 50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day that he hopeth not, and at an hour that he knoweth not:
51 And shall separate him, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Secondly, Rapture supporters, who point to these verses to support an invisible, secret rapture, need back up to these verses;
29 And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be moved: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all tribes of the earth mourn: and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with much power and majesty.
31 And he shall send his angels with a trumpet, and a great voice: and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the farthest parts of the heavens to the utmost bounds of them.
An Eclipse, a meteor shower, A sign of the cross in the Sky, A trumpet blast and Jesus appearing in a way such that every eye will see Him. Folks, this is going to be the worst kept secret in human history!
If these were the only objections to the pre-trib rapture, they would be more than sufficient for me. However, the case is so much more than solid against this doctrine.
Mark 13: 24-27 magnifies the words of Matthew that everyone will see Jesus when He comes again. There simply is no provision for an invisible return.
13:24 "But in those days after that tribulation
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
13:25 and the stars will be falling from the sky,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
13:26 * And then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in the clouds' with great power and glory,
13:27 and then he will send out the angels and gather (his) elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.
II Thessalonians 2:1-17 that Jesus will certainly not return before the great apostasy and the rise of Anti-Christ. It also tells us how we are to be acting.
2:1 * We ask you, brothers, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling with him,
2:2 not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly, or to be alarmed either by a "spirit," * or by an oral statement, or by a letter allegedly from us to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand.
2:3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For unless the apostasy comes first and the lawless one is revealed, * the one doomed to perdition,
2:4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god and object of worship, so as to seat himself in the temple of God, * claiming that he is a god--
2:5 do you not recall that while I was still with you I told you these things?
2:6 And now you know what is restraining, * that he may be revealed in his time.
2:7 * For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. But the one who restrains is to do so only for the present, until he is removed from the scene.
2:8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord (Jesus) will kill with the breath of his mouth and render powerless by the manifestation of his coming,
2:9 the one whose coming springs from the power of Satan in every mighty deed and in signs and wonders that lie,
2:10 and in every wicked deceit for those who are perishing because they have not accepted the love of truth so that they may be saved.
2:11 Therefore, God is sending them a deceiving power so that they may believe the lie,
2:12 that all who have not believed the truth but have approved wrongdoing may be condemned.
2:13 But we ought to give thanks to God for you always, brothers loved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits * for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in truth.
2:14 To this end he has (also) called you through our gospel to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2:15 Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours.*
2:16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace,
2:17 encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word.
Hold fast to the traditions you were taught either by oral statement or by letter! Paul is upholding Catholic Sacred tradition here!
1 Thessalonians 4:15-16 tells us that the living in Christ certainly will not be taken before those who are asleep are drawn up.
4:15 Indeed, we tell you this, on the word of the Lord, that we who arealive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, * will surely not precede those who have fallen asleep.
4:16 For the Lord himself, with a word of command, with the voice of anarchangel and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven,and the dead in Christ will rise first
Of course we know that that happens at the Judgment.
RV 20:12 I saw the dead, the great and the lowly, standing before the throne, and scrolls were opened. Then another scroll was opened, the book of life. The dead were judged according to their deeds, by what was written in the scrolls.
Advocates of the pre-trib rapture doctrine raise so many doctrinal dilemmas that they are difficult to count.
First, I have many good friends who are not doubt good Christians and heaven bound in my estimation, who believe in this doctrine. Even some in my church hold to it.
Yet, it has been my experience that many who hold to the view of this doctrine most passionately are fervent, rabid anti-catholics. This creates two distinct ironies.
1) To arrive at the word “Rapture”, meaning caught up, one must glean it from the mother of all Catholic Bibles- the latin Vulgate and the word Rapiemur.
2) To arrive at the doctrine of the “Rapture”, one must concede that those left behind can be saved through tribulation, thus allowing for cooperative grace and refuting the doctrine of salvation by faith alone.
Yet, we all know that the doctrine of the Rapture is hardly 200 years old and traces back to Darby and Scoffield. Further, widespread acceptance of the doctrine is a scant thirty years old and relies heavily on discredited pseudo-prophets like Hal Lindsay.
There are entire websites dedicated to this doctrine and all things futuristic and sensational.
In doing so, they can’t see the forest for the trees. Compelling arguments against this doctrine can be gleaned right from the Scriptures.
MT 5:10 Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
MT 5:12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
JN 15:20 Remember the word I spoke to you, 'No slave is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
Nowhere in Scripture does the Savior promise the Church a great escape in a pre-tribulation Rapture. Not only were Stephen and Paul and Peter martyred for the faith, but were Christians in century after century up until this day. The 20th century was the bloodiest century in human history and the 21st is not off to a great start. Right now- TODAY- Christians are tortured, imprisoned and killed for their faith in Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Iran, China and dozens of other places.
The single most compelling argument that can be made against a pre-tribulation Rapture is that the pre-tribulation part is over. Around the world, MILLIONS of Christians are suffering, right now, in unimaginable ways for the faith. They are suffering at the hands of Islamic extremism, Atheistic Communism, Buddism, Pantheism and Secular Humanism. Even in America, religious freedom for Christians is evaporating before our eyes as the blood of the innocent unborn is poured out upon the altar of sin and immorality.
In my view, sitting around waiting for the rapture is un-Christian in the extreme.
There is a Rapture related website that some friends of mine frequent that is full of feel easy religion and futuristic fantasy and sensationalism. It’s all well and good if you are into that kind of thing.
Where are the articles about loving thy neighbor and being a voice for the persecuted? The only concern the creators of this site seem to have is with preserving their prophetic timeline.
The problem with that is that while you are living out your space aged fantasy, real Christians are dying for want of real food and water, as the suffer real pain, lanquishing in real prisons and torture chambers.
My view is that some people need to spend a lot more time in the Gospels. The more you read the Scriptures intently, studying them with reliable resources and helps, the more you will find them confirming the Catholic position that I am my brother’s keeper and that we will be judged by our actions, not by our prophetic ability
7:22 Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?'
7:23 Then I will declare to them solemnly, 'I never knew you. * Depart from me, you evildoers.'
7:24 * "Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
7:25 The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.
7:26 And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand.
7:27 The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined."
These words may be hard to hear for some and I certainly mean no disrespect. My friends who are involved with this site are very good people. The founders of the site may be as well.
I just feel that the aim of the site misses the mark of what Christianity is really about.
This has been Deeper Truth. Thank you very much.

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