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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

In the Air ( the rapture of the saints )

Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more;
 and he went on his way rejoicing.
Acts 8:39

I Thessalonians 4:17 is the clearest, yet foggiest proof-text used to witness 'the ( future ) Rapture of the saints of God'. There are even those who interpret this passage in a modern American way to explain the silent witness of the church in the latter part of the first century. Many of these also claim to believe in the spirituality versus physicality of the Kingdom of God, as fulfilled in Jesus the Christ, and perpetuated by His Body, the Church!

The same Greek word, 'harpazō', that Paul used to comfort the Thessalonians in his letter was used by Luke to describe Philip's 'journey' from the desert in between Jerusalem and Gaza to Caesarea. As you can see by searching the word @ 'The Blue-Letter Bible', 'harpazō' is used everywhere, from metaphorical to actually ( literally ), in Matthew 11:12, where Jesus talked about 'The Storming of Heaven' to Jude ( 23 ) where he talked about saving ( others ) from the coming destruction!


As many have broached this subject before, and even since I myself have written on it, one might wonder, 'why bring it up again?' Good question; 'why?!'


Well, the main reason for resurrecting this topic is that it is very important, if only for the reason that there are still those out there, even within the Fulfilled camp, that subscribe to this hogwash!


Though there are many passages in which the word 'harpazō' is used that seem to indicate fairly clearly that the subject was carried ( for a time ) into the Presence of God, there are as many that merely indicate the removal ( often by force ) of the subject ( or object ) to another place, as we see in Philip's case. 


Even in today's vernacular, we sloppily and carelessly use the term as 'he got caught up in the heat of the moment', or. 'she caught a cold'. ( if we were Greek, I'd imagine we'd use 'harpazō' in both cases )


Undoubtedly, when the apostle Paul recounts the journey of 'a man in Christ', in his second letter to the Church at Corinth ( 12 ), this man, 'whether in the body' or 'out of the body( he could not tell ) was ushered into the very Presence of God, into Heaven Itself!


In the passage in question, I Thessalonians 4:17, it is true that the saints were to be ushered into the Presence of our Lord; the 'end' of this verse 'brings home' to rest the comfort that Paul intended through his writing; 'And thus we shall always be with the Lord'!


As we live in the Fulfilled Truth of His Word, may we always be enraptured by His Presence, and may we share that joy with all those with who we come in contact; let us joy in the fact that we have been seized by His Spirit, and now enjoy Him forever!


Amen & Amen!


Charles Haddon Shank

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