Good Intentions Of Theology
While leading Christian theologians with good intentions develops theological terms, some are misleading. Still the problem may be more a choice of words than anything else, but the terms used by God are more reliable and have more meaning. On the other hand theological terms have good intentions but favor some ideas that God has not committed himself to do.
For example, the term pre-tribulation rapture is not found in Godís word that was given to man. The theology of the pre-tribulation rapture incorporates the idea that Jesus Christ will come for his elect and gather them through what is known as the rapture and leave behind those who are not found in Christ. Then those left behind will have a second chance to be saved, but at the same time, they will face the beast and horrible end time that their beliefs say will follow. Unfortunately, the present theology doesnít really consider the whole counsel of Godís word. To the contrary God said,
The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time. Daniel 7:25
If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints. Revelation 13:10
God hasnít changed his plan nor is the sword of the spirit gotten so out-of-date that it can no longer be used in spiritual warfare. Revelation 20:4 reminds Christians that many saints were beheaded or slain by the sword due to their testimony of Jesus Christ. On some web sites we can find reports that over 5,000 men and women have been beheaded in the last five years. During the Iraqi war, Al qaeda and Taliban sects were known to have beheaded five Americans by Islam militants who through their religious beliefs want to rid their nation of foreign influence, especially those who have become Christians.
The idea of the Pre-tribulation rapture may not be a new but its validity is somewhat in doubt. Why would God take his saints out of this world when the scriptures plainly state that the saints (Christians) will be handed over to the beast of the end times? Is God the same today, yesterday and tomorrow or a God of confusion? The scriptures that describe the oppression of Satan during the end times may be considered too disgusting for Christians to think about. Is it possible for Christians to accept anything that makes them to believe that God will not allow them to go through that time all together?
The theology of men has gone to extremes to expound on Greek words for the sole purpose of getting the full depth and true meaning of the words used in the bible. While the true meaning may be interesting to some, how the word has been used is more important than all the research made to have the true meaning. According to theology rapture refers to being carried away in ecstasy. However the biblical use of the word speaks of delight but never in regards to the Second Coming.
The Greek word Harpazo expresses a violent use of force to seize, capture, snatch, steal or tear something away and in most translations of the bible the term caught up is used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Two other examples of the word harpazo is used in the New Testament are as follows.
No one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. John 10:29 (The Latin word used in the vulgate is rapere)
The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. Matthew 11:12 (The Latin word used in the vulgate is rapiunt)
Rapiemur is the Latin equivalent to the Greek word Harpazo and the base word Rapiemur is derived from was then translated into American English to become the word rapture. However the American language was developed over time in an unusual manner. The America nation has accepted immigrants from nearly every country of the world and with them came their culture, traditions and portions of their languages.
The American language derived words from other languages with other definitions for the same word. The American use of the word Rapture expresses delight where the Greek expresses the use of force to seize, capture, snatch, steal or tear something away, but not the thought of being carried away in a heighten state of excitement and joy. The point is that the American nuance for the word rapture is not up to par with the Greek word Harpazo or the Latin word Rapiemur.
An example of how the American language has changed the way rapture is used can be found in the Amplified, Darby and Weymouth versions of the bible.
He showed them His hands and His side. And when the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with joy (delight, exultation, ecstasy, rapture). John 20:20 AMP
As the apple-tree among the trees of the wood, So is my beloved among the sons: In his shadow have I rapture and sit down; And his fruit is sweet to my taste. Song of Solomon 2:3 Darby
And Zechariah his father was filled with the Holy Spirit, and spoke in a rapture of praise. Luke 1:67 Weymouth
Although the Greek word Harpazo or the Latin word Rapiemur are compatible it is not in agreement with the way rapture is used in the American language. However, due to ignorance, Christians have accepted the nuance of heighten ecstasy from their spiritual leaders. The Greek word Harpazo is used 18 times in the next 14 verses, but in each of the following verses the nuance of delight and ecstasy is missing.
From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. Matthew 11:12
"Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house. Matthew 12:29
When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. Matthew 13:19
Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. John 6:15
The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. John 10:12
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. John 10:28
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. John 10:29
When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. Acts 8:39.
The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks. Acts 23:10
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know-- God knows. 2 Corinthians 12:2
was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell. 2 Corinthians 12:4
After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 1Thessalonians 4:17
snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear-- hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. Jude 1:23
She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. Revelation 12:5
Lets face the music to realize the experts can not agree regardless of their field of expertise. False doctrines and teachings linger in the church because Christians do not,
demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5
Christians take it for granted that those with a list of degrees as long as your arm and experts in spiritual matters are correct. Christians prefer to hear to the experts of the church rather than study his word to listen to what God has to say on the same subject. Lets also remember that the human nature doesn't want to hear things that make them feel uncomfortable, instead they want to know that they won't suffer by knowing the truth.
Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets. Amos 3:7
There are several doctrines that convey ideas and principles expressed in ways contrary to Godís word. Do you as a Christian test what you are being taught against the word of God?
For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect-- if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. "So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. Matthew 24:24-26
Everyone on the face of the earth is subject to being deceived on important issues, even when they do the math. However, we allow the things of the earth to rob our time to study Godís word when doing our homework demands our time. When you think about it the reason that you canít find time to seek God should reveal the priority you have for God. Let's remember that the lack of knowledge leaves the Christians helpless. God said,
my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. "Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children. Hosea 4:6
Can we quote the promises God has made and know where they can be found? Many Christians can quote the scriptures, but not exactly as God promised. Remember if you can refuse to honor any promise you did not make, by the same token can you expect God to honor promises he did not make? Are you disappointed when your friends say I didnít promise that and are you aware that faith can be quenched when God does not meet the expectations you and other Christians have? In the spiritual war, who benefits the most from the lies that delude the body of Christ?
Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Deuteronomy 8:3
Men and women who live by the words God left unspoken have delusions? Unfortunately, we find out that we have been deceived after the fact and when you can do nothing to correct your situation. God is not the author of confusion and if anything, God wants you to understand him and personally and be certain of what he has expressed so you may live up to his expectations. We must make time to listen to our father for he has the wisdom we need.
Listen, my sons, to a father's instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching. Proverbs 4:1-2
As Christians we must consider that Satan has been around much longer than we have. He is an expert liar and very capable of deceiving the elect. With Jesus Christís help we have every reason of overcoming the world, but we can not overcome the world without knowing the truth. The truth sets us free and it is our responsibility to know the truth word of truth and as we grow in Christ, we must learn how to handle the truth like a sword.
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