The Bride, The Bridegroom, and The Rapture

So when I write a new post, I typically post it on Facebook for my friends to read.  This week I got the first great response from the mother of a friend in Australia saying that she wasn’t to sure about the Rapture and I can understand that.  So I thought that I’d write an extra post this week to discuss this.

For many years, I thought the concept was somewhat crazy until I began to look deeper into the meaning of the Rapture.  God again came to me one evening on my way home from work.  At 5 PM on Freedom FM is a Pastor who I greatly enjoy listening to because he’s so personable and relates to his audience.

After coming to Christ, I got in my car one evening and he had started a series that went on for a few weeks about Revelation.  The first three days were about the Rapture.  Boy was  I confused!  I couldn’t understand this whole, Bride and Bridegroom thing.  The Church is the Bride and Jesus is the Bridegroom.  Okay, but I didn’t want to take this at face value.  With a little help from friend Google, I found the following passage that really sets the stage for how the Church and Jesus’ relationship is handled:

Ephesians 5:25-27

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

So in my opinion this is saying that the Husband (Bridegroom) and Wife (Bride) are representative of the Jesus and the Church.  Okay, okay, now I get it!  This relationship will continue throughout the New Testament as my readings progressed.

Again it was another day as I left the parking lot at 5 and there was the Pastor on his second day about the Rapture but he was discussing a parable from Matthew 25.  At this point I realized that there was so much foreshadowing in the Bible it was almost impossible to comprehend.  My head ached as I tried to wrap my brain around these concepts.  Fortunately traffic was backed up so I was able to listen to the whole sermon as my head throbbed.

Matthew 25:1-13

1“Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, 4but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. 5When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

6“At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’

7“All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. 8Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’

9“But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’

10“But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. 11Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’

12“But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’

13“So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.

Ten brides and one bridegroom.  Five brides were prepared with extra oil and five were not.  This represents the faithful being taken in the Rapture and those left behind. For me this was one of the most powerful teachings I’d ever heard.  It said to my heart that ‘be prepared because you never know when the Bridegroom will come’.  Basically be one with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit at all times.

But I still wasn’t at a point where I bought into the Rapture.  Again I turned to my friend Google and found more information.  Boom!  Sledgehammer to the brain time again.  Hint: Buy stock in Advil.

Luke 12:35-40

35“Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning, 36as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. 37The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat! 38He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn. But whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are ready.

39“Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would not permit his house to be broken into. 40You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.”

This relates to an old Jewish custom, where the Bridegroom would enter a marriage contract which would include a dowry.  Between ourselves and Jesus, the contract is our unending Faith in the King of Kings.  The dowry would be His death on the cross which paid for all our sins that have happened and will happen.  According to the custom the Bridegroom comes unannounced to gather his bride and then go to his father’s house where there is a feast and then the wedding itself.

This all lends itself to a Pre-Tribulation Rapture where Jesus (the Bridegroom) will arrive unannounced, coming down from Heaven and calling up the Church (the Bride) to be with him.

Again we see two separate teachings tied together.  The parable of the 10 Brides and this passage from Luke.  Each are saying be prepared because the Bridegroom could appear at any time.

Interestingly enough, there is no mention of WHEN the Rapture will occur.  There are no signs.  Simply there will be a command to ‘Come, Hither!’ and the dead and living Believers will ascend to Heaven.  After the ‘Marriage’ it can be inferred that the Saints or Bride will ride with Jesus to Megiddo for the battle of Armageddon.

I believe now.  I never used to. Seriously.  I just thought it was something made up to make people feel better but now I know better.  In my heart of hearts, I know where this is heading.  The only question I have is, will I be worthy enough?

These are simply a few passages that stuck out to me.  There are other Bible verses that support the concept of the Rapture but I wanted to highlight some that really stuck out to me and hopefully will impact you also!

Thanks for reading and may you have a Blessed Day!

Please feel free to reach out through email or follow the blog,

A Dad

I love the Apocalypse

DANIEL 9:27 NKJV
“Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.”

 

Ever since I was a young boy and watched the ‘Omega Man’ with Charlton Heston, I was hooked.  If the weather was nice we were outside working, if not we watched Superhost on WUAB out of Cleveland (I grew up in Pittsburgh).  Many of you probably know the Will Smith version of this movie, ‘I Am Legend’.  What many people don’t know is there was a movie prior to ‘Omega Man’ with Vincent Price, ‘The Last Man On Earth’.  This one is my all time favorite as I think it’s closest to the novel ‘I Am Legend’ by Richard Matheson.

What does this have to do with anything?  From that moment forward it was, ‘Mad Max’, ‘The Road Warrior’, ‘Night of the Living Dead’, ‘Dawn of the Dead’, and so the list goes on.  It didn’t matter how the world ended, just that it did.  How did the people survive afterwards?  How did society function?

I’ve written about it and studied the different scenarios until recently when I came upon the true Apocalypse.  The one that will really happen.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ

This is the last book in the Bible and chronicles John’s visit to Heaven with Jesus.  At the time John was imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos in the Mediterranean Sea.  Jesus comes to him and asks that John write a letter to each of the seven Churches (located in modern day Syria).  Once completed John is transported to Heaven where he is shown how the Earth shall end.

Do you know why the book is called Revelation?  The first translation of the Bible was into Greek.  The Greek word for Revelation is Apokalupsis.  That word should look pretty familiar.

The first time I ever read Revelation, I was floored.  For me it was much easier to understand than many of the other books in the Bible as it was very straight forward.  Let me outline some key highlights in the timeline of the Revelation (THESE ARE MY OWN INTERPRETATIONS AND THEORIES I AGREE WITH):

  1. The Apostasy occurs – This begins the end times. Man’s actions get worse as the Great Restrainer (the Holy Spirit) removes it’s blanket of protection from the Earth
  2. The Rapture occurs – The Bridegroom (Jesus) returns for his Bride (the Church).  Please do not think that the Bridegroom will touch the Earth.  As God promised, Jesus will only set foot on the Earth one more time and that is at the Battle of Armageddon.  All true Christians and children below the age of accountability (think of this as the age where that child can comprehend what is happening) will vanish from the Earth in an instant.  Literally, POOF!
  3. The Treaty will occur – The treaty will be between Israel and basically the rest of the surviving world.  It will last for seven years and it indicates two things shown below:
    1. This is the beginning of the seven year period known as the Tribulation
    2. The person that achieves this accomplishment will be the Anti-Christ.
  4. The first three and a half years – During this period there will be two prophets that will stand at the Wailing Wall preaching to the masses.  They will have the powers of God and will not be able to be harmed.  After the three and a half years [time (1 yr), times (2 yr), and half a time (6 months) is referenced as this period], the two prophets will be killed by the Anti-Christ or his men.  A three and half day party will ensue and at this point the two prophets will be reborn and ascend to Heaven.
  5. The Last Second before the Middle – The Anti-Christ will be killed!! Yeah!! Down with Evil!!  Not quite.  Satan has conspired with the Anti-Christ to bring the human back to life allowing Satan to indwell his body.  This will be VERY BAD.
  6. The Middle – Things get hectic at this point.  In the first three and half years the Anti-Christ was assisting the Israelites in rebuilding the Temple.  This would be the third temple.  At the 3.5 year mark, the Anti-Christ will stop all sacrifices at the Temple and then profane it by taking the throne and pronouncing himself God.
  7. THE MARK OF THE BEAST – Thanks to films like ‘The Omen’ everyone knows that the number of the Anti-Christ/Satan is 666.  I’m not sure where this number comes from but I’ve read an account that there are 666 names for God and he/they choose one.  Everyone will be forced to except the Mark on their forehead or right hand/wrist if they want to do any form of business.  Many modern theories believe this will be a chip and that this is where modern society is heading anyways.  Anyone have a chip on their bank card?
  8. The Christians – Anyone not accepting the Mark will be beheaded.  These will be predominantly new found Christians (since the Rapture) or repentant Christians who have found their relationship with the King of Kings.  Look at this point for the influence of a Global Church.  These Christians will refuse to denounce their Faith and will be put to death.
  9. Armageddon – The final show down.  The end.  Jesus and his army of Saints arrive to defend the last of God’s Children (Jews) from a 200 million man army been on destruction.  This number is roughly 2/3 the population of the United States.  In comparison, in 2011 there were only a half million in the US Army.  The battle will take place at Megiddo (where the word Armegeddon comes from) and obviously Jesus and his Saints will prevail.  Satan will be ripped from the body of the Anti-Christ, bound in chains and thrown into the Great Abyss for one thousand years.  The False Prophet and the Anti-Christ will then be cast into the Lake of Fire (Hell) to spend eternity suffering the same evils that they did to others.

So there is a brief overview.  In coming weeks we’ll discuss the ‘Global Church’, the United Nations, and the significance of the number 7.

The best Apocalyptic story ever!

Talk to you soon and as always feel free to reach out, even if you just need some encouragement!

Thanks for reading,

A Dad

Struggles of Faith

Roughly a year and a half ago, I had a major nervous breakdown.  It took six months for me to recover enough for me to actually be able to return to work.  The whole experience was full of mistakes in Healthcare, inability on my part to distinguish what was real, and a severe lack of Faith.

Why did this happen to me?  I can remember screaming this on the back porch where I live, curled in the fetal position. I cursed God for everything that had happened.  All the triggers that brought this on.

For example:

  • Lost my father to cancer
  • Lost my mom
  • Lost my marriage
  • Lost my job
  • Lost my house
  • Lost my dogs
  • Lost fifty percent of the time with my daughter
  • Had a novel fail

There’s more but that’s enough to get the gist of where I was mentally.

BUT I MADE ONE MAJOR MISTAKE

I blamed God for things the things that happened.  Everything that I listed above was man made.  Even the illnesses I was diagnosed with and the medications I have to take now, I believe, are a result of man made circumstances.  If you are in your 40’s think about all the chemicals and stuff that we’ve been exposed too during our life time, whether it be from food or cleaning supplied or weed killers.  The list goes on and on.

This isn’t God’s fault.  It’s man.  We did this to ourselves, so why should I blame God or even expect him to intervene in that situation?

If anything it’s a blessing because I’ve finally started looking at myself as a Christian.  I read about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  I’m trying to find a church to fit my needs.  I read clean fiction (typically Christian based).  I listen to and support RadioU (our local Christian contemporary radio station).

But yet I still struggle.  Forty-three years of sin is a lot to turn around.  Slowly but surely it’s happening but things pop up.  December 28th was the seven year anniversary of my Father’s death and I went on a rager.  I wanted nothing to do with God because I felt abandoned.  This thinking led to other thoughts of Why and How Could He Do This.

Wrong thinking.  Man did this to ourselves, not God.  He is there for us during our weakest to make His love the strongest:

2 Corinthians 12:9

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

These were Jesus’ words in response to a prayer by Paul.  It’s not the most popular line because it doesn’t show strength, the opposite of weakness but is saying that at our weakest moments His love for us is the strongest.

Understand that weakness isn’t just about being weak though.  As many phrases/words in the Bible are metaphors, so is weakness.  It can mean that people are mocking your faith making you look/feel weak.  It can also mean hard times in general.  It’s about when we feel at our weakest because of something that is happening to us.

Think about it, when tough times hit so do darker thoughts.  Those are the times where we need to turn to Jesus’ embrace to feel his everlasting Love.  We should always walk as Christians and always pray to Him, but it’s those dark times where his power can work through us the most.

Have a Great New Years weekend and please be safe,

A Dad

 

Salvation

So it’s Friday and I’m a day late, so I’ll apologize for this now at the beginning to get it out of the way.  I’m working on a side project and lost track of time.

What is Salvation? Well the base definition is this:

salvation – preservation or deliverance from harm, ruin, or loss

But how does that apply to us as Christians or potential Christians?

Well, Jesus saved us.  It’s as simple as that in statement but it goes so much deeper.

In Genesis we learn of the curse of Adam & Eve as they are kicked out of the Garden of Eden.  The curse causes all of man to be born of Sin.  We are sinners from birth to death.  You can not get around it.  It’s a fact about who we are as humans.

In the Old Testament, God provides Moses with the Ten Commandants along with other teachings to help them with living a Holy Life.  They were to make sacrifices to the Lord God to atone for sins.  It was a very specific act to help cover sinning.

Sacrifice plays a large role in the Old Testament.  God had to kill animals to provide clothing after Adam & Eve sinned and Noah sacrificed after the flood waters receded.

The key thing to know is that we no longer offer sacrifices. Why is that?

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. 

Let me make this PERFECTLY CLEAR, Jesus’ death on the cross was to provide us salvation. Jesus died for ALL of the sins that have ever been committed or will be committed.

The King of Kings took the proverbial bullet for every single person on the face of this planet.

Now the question you may be asking at this point is WHY?

The answer is so simple that we overlook it EVERY day.  How can we miss it with the glorious nature of this world and life in general?  Look around you and ignore the worldly trappings we deal with in our day to day lives.

The amazing things that we get to see and do in this world are because GOD LOVES US.

It’s that simple.  No more, no less.  What do we have to do in return?  Live the life that he put in the Bible.  Live a Holy life through the guidance of God.  It’s awesome!!  Not complex, so simple to accept, and so simple to change our sinful lives.

On this Christmas Eve Ever, I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas!

May God Bless You All!!

A Dad

PS – Don’t forget to reach out if you need to!  I’m here for you.

 

Questions & Introduction

I was born a sinner and will die my human death as a sinner.  There is nothing that I can do to change this.  It is the curse of Adam carried down through generations to me.

In the name of self importance and selfishness, I’ve done horrible things in my life.  Things that I am so ashamed of that I can’t even speak with my wife about them due to my sheer embarrassment.

So what are the base questions?  What, why, where, who, and how.

What – Salvation.  It’s the only way to get out alive with Eternal Life

Why – This is an odd question.  There is no really great answer to this.  It’s so vague it can’t be answered when asked by itself.

Where – Heaven, Earth, and Hell

Who – God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit, Satan, and us

How – Through The Word!

It’s these things that I plan on discussing through my blog here.  I’ve been trying to plan this out for awhile now and the I AM finally had to give me a strong nudge today to get writing.

This will be a weekly blog where I’ll discuss everything from Sunday School to The Book of Revelation.  I will be as open and honest as I can possibly be with you about my feelings, where I get information or how you can find more info.

Next week we’ll begin with our first topic which will be ‘Salvation’

Thanks and we’ll chat next week!!