First off I want to talk about the Rapture views as there is a lot of “error and whoredoms” in it.
What research I have done on it suggests that all of this started as a bid by the 15th to 16th century by Pope Leo X to combat the damage done by the 95 Thesis of Martin Luther. One of three Jesuits commissioned to reinterpret key passages of scripture so as to detract from the inflammatory statements of Martin Luther was to rework the whole 70th week thought in Daniel. Once done the idea becomes accepted and acclaimed in the Catholic Church. Francisco Ribera was a Futurist and Dispensationalist. He wanted to make certain people understood that the Dark Ages were not the Revelation. Next we have Luis De Alcazar. He was Preterist in his views of Revelation. His interpretation methodology was picked up by Hugo Grotius in the 1700s. Hugo’s own theological leanings were towards Arminienism. But this methodology for interpreting Revelation became his favorite, ergo it would have been in his publications and teachings. Being as he was also a Dutch reformer a literalist in his thinking on the bible and a Jurist, one who studied and taught on jurisprudence or law, and might have been in a position to be a judge; and a major player in the shaping of international law, as a political philosopher and theologian his influence was considerable. Ergo his use of Jesuit doctrines spread worldwide. Hugo Grotius’ work as an Armenian in vigorous debate of Calvinism became the apparent seeds of Methodism and Pentecostalism. Finally we have Roberto Franscesco Romolo Bellarmino, a canonized Cardinal among the Jesuits, who shows no leanings on anything pertaining to this, but as Cardinal he had to approve the work, which he did.
Martin Luther in his bid to change the Catholic Church and to reform its doctrines and bring it back to the originating Scriptural concepts from whence it sprang; was vigorous in his zeal. Those who followed him began a persecution against the Catholics and it is still in force today. One concept that even the conspiracy theorists of a religious vein will spout is that the Catholic Church is the Beast system. It might well become the false prophet but given the standards to which the Protestant Churches have sunk to, they could just as well serve an AntiChrist as their Catholic counterparts. Moreover the Pope was seen as the Antichrist. To clarify a point here; a papal antichrist or Greek orthodox or protestant antichrist is not possible. The role of the religious aspect of humanity and in that then the Churches of various stripe and doctrine would never be the antichrist but rather the servant thereof. I know that I have just called the Pope the False Prophet, well it could be the Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox or one of our many prominent or less than prominent ministers among the Protestants. But it will be the servant of as the AntiChrist himself fills a political role. Now having said that lets look deeper at all this rapture theorem. From the role of Pope Leo X trying to throw off the Antichrist stench off of the Catholic Church in order to defend the faith from perceived threats ie Martin Luther’s attempt to reform it.
After whatever expectant result these works had in maintaining the place of the Catholic Church and vouchsafing it from harm, they were placed in the library. For around perhaps three hundred years or so there was not much said though certain prevailing thought had now taken hold since the Dark or Middle Ages, perhaps at least in Europe. Adding to this was the works of one Manuel Lacunza who was a teacher among the Jesuits as they were being phased out by papal bids to restore certain lands to certain countries. Lacunza was a futurist and a millennialist, whose works were doubtless influenced by the research and publications of the earlier Jesuits but were banned by inquisition but later published under a Jewish pseudonym and circulated widely in the Spanish world of that day. In the 1800s a new librarian, by the name of Samuel R Maitland, came in who found the Jesuit documents and thinking them to be of interest republished them. Being as he was the librarian to the Archbishop of Canterbury, his pamphlet held considerable weight in the public eye. By this time we add the writings of Manual Lacunza and a new set of doctrines were beginning to fall into place.
By this time the Protestant Reformation had grown and denominations had begun to form within it, moreover this was the late Victorian Era in Great Britain and with the discovery of the New World we were becoming industrious and inventive and the renaissance was over and done with and its effects on the philosophies and their schools of thought pervaded every stream of life; including the church. Maitland could not have picked a better time to republish the Jesuit’s work. It took hold and was validated in the works of Edward Irving a Scottish minister whose leaning were toward the supernatural and primitive Apostolic Prophetic Church of the first century. He worked in the Church of Scottland and was one of the founders of the Apostolic Catholic Church. He was greatly influenced by Manual Lacunza. His was the Millenialist view point but he was also a mystic. His works introduced Lacunza’s works to Nelson Darby. Darby was an Anglican and a lawyer and a dispensationalist. He was also a big box office draw in the Brethren Movement. “The Brethren movement began in 1708 in Wittgenstein, Germany, in the village of Schwarzenau. Eight men and women covenanted to follow their Lord in faithful obedience despite resistance from secular and religious authorities. The movement spread rapidly from Schwarzenau to other German areas, especially in the region around Büdingen, in the Palatinate, and in Krefeld. Religious pressure and economic necessity combined to make migration to
North America necessary. Two large groups left, in 1719 and in 1729, as well as several smaller parties. By 1750 the Brethren had been transplanted to America.” (http://www.brethren.org/bhla/documents/guide-to-brethren-in-europe.pdf) By this time it was as the Plymouth Brethren of which Darby was a part. Darby wrote and published his own translations of the Bible wherein his notes utilized Lacunza’s methodology for interpreting Revelation. Additionally this line of thought had filtered down through other channels into the works of Phillip Doddridge who was a preterist and wrote a commentary on the New Testament. John Gill whose commentary can be found in many New Testament commentary packs was similarly affected. He was a historic premillenialist who supported the dispensationalist theory.
While Nelson Darby is declared to be the father of dispensationalism, Scofield’s study bible spread the word worldwide. Cyrus I Scofield was an American bible student who took a King James bible and annotated it and published it. In his Reference Bible in dealing with Eschatology and the books that deal with the book of Revelation he espoused dispensationalism and premillenialism. His teachings have influenced many generations of evangelicals who now feel that there will be a time when all the Elect are taken out of the world and this ushers in the time of the End, or the Great Tribulation.
Into the mix at about the time that Scofield was putting his Reference Bible together there appeared to be a outpouring of the Holy Spirit within the movement of churches founded by Edward Irving and there in the ranks of it all was one Margaret McDonald. The McDonalds, according to Wikipedia all spoke in tongues, which in our day makes the Charismatics. It has been said that Nelson Darby and C. I. Scofield were influenced by a series of prophesies that Ms McDonald gave. It has been said that her take in her vision of the rapture was premillenial and pretribulational. However in her prophesy she speaks of the endurance of the Church through a time of purification brought on by her persecution by the AntiChrist. This makes her postribulational.
But she holds to this catching away in the air to be with Christ and her visions are said to support the rapture or secret rapture theory.
From Darby’s time forward mainstream evangelical and charismatic faiths basically hold to a dispensationalist premillenial rapture viewpoint.
That there is a catching up to meet in the air with the Lord come from scripture but the word used is Harpazo. It is not necessarily a secret rapture. In fact both in Revelation and in Thessalonians and else where the Scriptures indicate a very visible and public spectacle. In fact Jesus Himself alludes to harpazo and in His statement about two grinding and one taken or two in the bed or two in the field and one taken; are VERY public and HIGHLY VISIBLE.
So what is Harpazo? Let’s look at it and where in Scripture it is used.
Strongs Greek #726
harpazō From a derivative of (G138 aihreomai Probably akin to( G142 airō A primary verb; to lift; by implication to take up or away; figuratively to raise (the voice), keep in suspense (the mind); specifically to sail away (that is, weigh anchor); by Hebraism (compare [H5375 nâśâ’ nâsâh A primitive root; to lift, in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively, absolutely and relatively: – accept, advance, arise, (able to, [armour], suffer to) bear (-er, up), bring (forth), burn, carry (away), cast, contain, desire, ease, exact, exalt (self), extol, fetch, forgive, furnish, further, give, go on, help, high, hold up, honourable (+ man), lade, lay, lift (self) up, lofty, marry, magnify, X needs, obtain, pardon, raise (up), receive, regard, respect, set (up), spare, stir up, + swear, take (away, up), X utterly, wear, yield.]) to expiate sin: – away with, bear (up), carry, lift up, loose, make to doubt, put away, remove, take (away, up).); to take for oneself, that is, to prefer. Some of the forms are borrowed from a cognate (ἕλλομαι hellomai), which is otherwise obsolete: – choose. Some of the forms are borrowed from a cognate hellomai, hel-lom-ahee; which is otherwise obsolete.); to seize (in various applications): – catch (away, up), pluck, pull, take (by force).
Now this is the touchstone of Rapture theory. 1Th 4:16-18
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first;
17 then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Well, ok let’s, for arguments sake look at that set of verses because there is a clue here. Notice this: … the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God…
Now where do we see both of these things occurring in Revelation?
Looking at Revelation 12 and the SON BORN
We find the word Harpazo used in this verse: Rev 12:5 And she was delivered of a son, a man child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and unto his throne.
Now can this be seen as Historistic and Preteristic? Yes. It’s argued that the Woman in Israel and the Son is Jesus. He who comes again to rule the nations with a rod of iron? Certainly fits here. But can it also be seen as Futuristic and Idealist or Symbolic? Maybe. The word used for the woman in Gyne or Gune Strongs Greek 1135 gunē Probably from the base of (Strongs Greek #1096 ginomai A prolonged and middle form of a primary verb; to cause to be (“gen” -erate), that is, (reflexively) to become (come into being), used with great latitude (literally, figuratively, intensively, etc.): – arise be assembled, be (come, -fall, -have self), be brought (to pass), (be) come (to pass), continue, be divided, be done, draw, be ended, fall, be finished, follow, be found, be fulfilled, + God forbid, grow, happen, have, be kept, be made, be married, be ordained to be, partake, pass, be performed, be published, require, seem, be showed, X soon as it was, sound, be taken, be turned, use, wax, will, would, be wrought.); a woman; specifically a wife: – wife, woman.
Alright now this is an image that makes sense. A woman or wife by means of, become,, or been brought to pass grown, made, married, ordained to be, to partake…. All these words describe one incredible individual and it is NOT Israel. It is the Bride or the Church. Or is it? When Jesus is talking to the people in the Gospels He is talking to HIS OWN COUNTRYMEN. Salvation comes from the Jews and to the Jew first and then the Gentile… He talks about the Kingdom and likens it to what?
Mat 25:1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
Mat 25:2 And five of them were foolish, and five were wise.
Mat 25:3 For the foolish, when they took their lamps, took no oil with them:
Mat 25:4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
Mat 25:5 Now while the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
Mat 25:6 But at midnight there is a cry, Behold, the bridegroom! Come ye forth to meet him.
Mat 25:7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
Mat 25:8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are going out.
Mat 25:9 But the wise answered, saying, Peradventure there will not be enough for us and you: go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
Mat 25:10 And while they went away to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage feast: and the door was shut.
Mat 25:11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
Mat 25:12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
Mat 25:13 Watch therefore, for ye know not the day nor the hour.
Wait… those are virgins. Where is the … Bride? Good question but the better one is why does He liken the Kingdom of heaven which he preaches is “At Hand” as in that He is the one bringing the Kingdom to Earth in Salvation to Jew and Gentile to “progenitate” a NEW PEOPLE. A Holy Nation and Royal Priesthood? Now here is the peculiarity. Anyone versed in Torah or Haftorah will instantly get the reference. Psalms 45. Specifically: Psa 45:9-15
9 Kings’ daughters are among thy honorable women: At thy right hand doth stand the queen in gold of Ophir.
10 Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; Forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house:
11 So will the king desire thy beauty; For he is thy lord; and reverence thou him.
12 And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; The rich among the people shall entreat thy favor.
13 The king’s daughter within the palace is all glorious: Her clothing is inwrought with gold.
14 She shall be led unto the king in broidered work: The virgins her companions that follow her Shall be brought unto thee.
15 With gladness and rejoicing shall they be led: They shall enter into the king’s palace.
Now the teaching on the Virgins Parable is to keep the oil in the lamp always full so as to be ready when the BrideGroom comes.
Now lets look at our MANCHILD. Now there is out there the apostolic manchild company or the prophetic manchild company and I do agree on the plurality of this manchild, just as I agree on the plurality of the title Elohim for God. The key is here… Rev 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit these things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. Please notice that this is not concerning the overcoming rewards of the letters in chapters 1-3 but rather at the culmination of the whole book.
But then again the whole Israel thing or Miss Mary the mother of Jesus…. (oh that might be to0 farfetched.) Really?
What about this:
Rom 15:8 For I say that Christ hath been made a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, that he might confirm the promises given unto the fathers,
Rom 15:9 and that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, Therefore will I give praise unto thee among the Gentiles, And sing unto thy name.
Rom 15:10 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.
Rom 15:11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; And let all the peoples praise him.
Rom 15:12 And again, Isaiah saith, There shall be the root of Jesse, And he that ariseth to rule over the Gentiles; On him shall the Gentiles hope.
Rom 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Or this: Isa 11:1 And there shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots shall bear fruit.
Isa 11:2 And the Spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah.
Isa 11:3 And his delight shall be in the fear of Jehovah; and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither decide after the hearing of his ears;
Isa 11:4 but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth; and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
Isa 11:5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his waist, and faithfulness the girdle of his loins.
Isa 11:6 And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
Isa 11:7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
Isa 11:8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
Isa 11:9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea.
Isa 11:10 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the root of Jesse, that standeth for an ensign of the peoples, unto him shall the nations seek; and his resting-place shall be glorious.
Isa 11:11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord will set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, that shall remain, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
Isa 11:12 And he will set up an ensign for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
Oh…. But the Son of Man wasn’t caught up at birth… so then… who is this?
Eph 2:4 but God, being rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Eph 2:5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace have ye been saved),
Eph 2:6 and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus:
Ok here the Christian is seated…. Oh wait IN CHRIST JESUS…
Col_3:3 For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Eph 4:13 until we all may come to the unity of the faith and of the full knowledge of the Son of God, to a full-grown man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
Eph 4:14 so that we may no longer be infants, being blown and carried about by every wind of doctrine, in the sleight of men, in craftiness to the deceit of error,
Eph 4:15 but speaking the truth in love, we may grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, the Christ,
After all we are ever referred to as “His body”.
Could this be the invisible church being pulled out of the visible church? Look at that 12 chapter again because the woman escapes to a wilderness and there in a place prepared…. She is nourished for a set amount of time. In other words she isn’t in the mess to follow either.
In all fairness the concept of Rapture can come from the concept of Harpazo as they basically mean the same type of action.
At this point this passage could apply to Israel, some random woman, the visible Church or one of more than one hapazos of the Elect. This is an Idealistic or Allegorical type of passage.