Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Rapture in The Old Testament

Is a somewhat controversial topic.  Because it's largely a Church specific event, and because of things Paul said in Galatians it's popularly assumed the doctrine of The Church can't be founding The Old Testament. So it is often considered pointless to look for it there.

However I feel there are sufficient hints of The Church in the Old Testament.  And The Rapture is also linked to The Resurrection.

Isaiah 26:19-21 is the most popular place to see an illusion to The Rapture.
Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.  Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.  For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.
I have already mentioned Joel Chapter 2 in my past studies, explaining why I feel that ties into the Seventh Trumpet/Mid-SeventiethWeek view.  But I didn't outright cite the entire passage, because it was supplemental to other points, and I do not consider my view dependent upon it.  So I've decided to cite it here.

Joel 2:10-16 I view are correlating to the 7th Trumpet (with the effects of some earlier Trumpets still lingering).  Matthew 24, and Paul's references to the "Last Trump" in his Rapture passages in Corinthians and Thessalonians.
The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?
Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:  And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.  Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?
 Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.
We have the people being Gathered, and we have the Bridegroom and The Bride.  And of course a Trumpet being sounded.

Ephraem the Syrian

I decided I should address the matter of Ephraem the Syrian.  A work attributed to the 4th Century Ephraem the Syrian is popularly cited by Pre-Tirbbers in response to the accusation from Post-Tribbers (and non Futurists) that the idea of The Rapture as a separate event from the Second Coming of Revelation 19 is purely the invention of John Nelson Darby in the 19th Century.

To me it is ultimately absolutely irrelevant how much Extra-Biblical support a position has.  I believe new insights into Scripture can happen.  It wasn't clearl to The Jews (and still isn't) that The Messiah has two Advents.

The cited Ephraem text is controversial.  There is more then one Translation based on different manuscripts and they don't agree with other.  And it was probably not actually written by Ephraem but is rather a Seventh Century work attributed to him.

The texts commonly cited in Rapture disputes is the Rhoades translation of a Latin manuscript.

On the Last Times, the Anti-Christ, and the End of the World A Sermon by Pseudo-Ephraem and Isidor of Sevilla (Caspari's title of the sermon is: Eine Ephraem Syrus und Isidor von Sevilla beigelegte Predigt über die letzten Zeiten, den Antichrist und das Ende der welt.)
The English translation of the Latin text in C.P. Caspari's Briefe, Abhandlungen und Predigten aus den zwei letzten Jahrhunderten des kirchlichen Altertums und dem Anfang des Mittelater (Christiania, 1890, pp. 208-20) was provided by Cameron Rhoades, instructor of Latin at Tyndale Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, TX.
Section I Dearly beloved brothers, believe the Holy Spirit who speaks in us. We have already told you that the end of the world is near, the consummation remains. Has not faith withered away among mankind? How many foolish things are seen among youths, how many crimes among prelates, how many lies among priests, how many perjuries among deacons! There are evil deeds among the ministers, adulteries in the aged, wantonness in the youths—in mature women false faces, in virgins dangerous traces! In the midst of all this there are the wars with the Persians, and we see struggles with diverse nations threatening and "kingdom rising against kingdom." When the Roman empire begins to be consumed by the sword, the coming of the Evil One is at hand. It is necessary that the world come to an end at the completion of the Roman empire. In those days two brothers will come to the Roman empire who will rule with one mind; but because one will surpass the other, there will be a schism between them. And so the Adversary will be loosed and will stir up hatred between the Persian and Roman empires. In those days many will rise up against Rome; the Jewish people will be her adversaries. There will be stirrings of nations and evil reports, pestilences, famines, and earth quakes in various places. All nations will receive captives; there will be wars and rumors of wars. From the rising to the setting of the sun the sword will devour much. The times will be so dangerous that in fear and trembling they will not permit thought of better things, because many will be the oppressions and desolations of regions that are to come.
Section II We ought to understand thoroughly therefore, my brothers, what is imminent or overhanging. Already there have been hunger and plagues, violent movements of nations and signs, which have been predicted by the Lord, they have already been fulfilled (consummated), and there is not other which remains, except the advent of the wicked one in the completion of the Roman kingdom. Why therefore are we occupied with worldly business, and why is our mind held fixed on the lusts of the world or on the anxieties of the ages? Why therefore do we not reject every care of worldly business, and why is our mind held fixed on the lusts of the world or on the anxieties of the ages? Why therefore do we not reject every care of earthly actions and prepare ourselves for the meeting of the Lord Christ, so that he may draw us from the confusion, which overwhelms all the world? Believe you me, dearest brother, because the coming (advent) of the Lord is nigh, believe you me, because the end of the world is at hand, believe me, because it is the very last time. Or do you not believe unless you see with your eyes? See to it that this sentence be not fulfilled among you of the prophet who declares: "Woe to those who desire to see the day of the Lord!" For all the saints and elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins. And so, brothers most dear to me, it is the eleventh hour, and the end of the world comes to the harvest, and angels, armed and prepared, hold sickles in their hands, awaiting the empire of the Lord. And we think that the earth exists with blind infidelity, arriving at its downfall early. Commotions are brought forth, wars of diverse peoples and battles and incursions of the barbarians threaten, and our regions shall be desolated, and we neither become very much afraid of the report nor of the appearance, in order that we may at least do penance; because they hurl fear at us, and we do not wish to be changed, although we at least stand in need of penance for our actions!
Section III When therefore the end of the world comes, there arise diverse wars, commotions on all sides, horrible earthquakes, perturbations of nations, tempests throughout the lands, plagues, famine, drought throughout the thoroughfares, great danger throughout the sea and dry land, constant persecutions, slaughters and massacres everywhere, fear in the homes, panic in the cities, quaking in the thoroughfares, suspicions in the male, anxiety in the streets. In the desert people become senseless, spirits melt in the cities. A friend will not be grieved over a friend, neither a brother for a brother, nor parents for their children, nor a faithful servant for his master, but one inevitability shall overwhelm them all; neither is anyone able to be recovered in that time, who has not been made completely aware of the coming danger, but all people, who have been constricted by fear, are consumed because of the overhanging evils.
Section IV Whenever therefore the earth is agitated by the nations, people will hide themselves from the wars in the mountains and rocks, by caves and caverns of the earth, by graves and memorials of the dead, and there, as they waste away gradually by fear, they draw breath, because there is not any place at all to flee, but there will be concession and intolerable pressure. And those who are in the east will flee to the west, and moreover, those who are in the west shall flee to the east, and there is not a safer place anywhere, because the world shall be overwhelmed by worthless nations, whose aspect appears to be of wild animals more than that of men. Because those very much horrible nations, most profane and most defiled, who do not spare lives, and shall destroy the living from the dead, shall consume the dead, they eat dead flesh, they drink the blood of beasts, they pollute the world, contaminate all things, and the one who is able to resist them is not there. In those days people shall not be buried, neither Christian, nor heretic, neither Jew, nor pagan, because of fear and dread there is not one who buries them; because all people, while they are fleeing, ignore them.
Section V Whenever the days of the times of those nations have been fulfilled, after they have destroyed the earth, it shall rest; and now the kingdom of the Romans is removed from everyday life, and the empire of the Christians is handed down by God and Peter; and then the consummation comes, when the kingdom of the Romans begins to be fulfilled, and all dominions and powers have been fulfilled. Then that worthless and abominable dragon shall appear, he, whom Moses named in Deuteronomy, saying:-Dan is a young lion, reclining and leaping from Basan. Because he reclines in order that he may seize and destroy and slay. Indeed (he is) a young whelp of a lion not as the lion of the tribe of Judah, but roaring because of his wrath, that he may devour. "And he leaps out from Basan." "Basan" certainly is interpreted "confusion." He shall rise up from the confusion of his iniquity. The one who gathers together to himself a partridge the children of confusion, also shall call them, whom he has not brought forth, just as Jeremiah the prophet says. Also in the last day they shall relinquish him just as confused.
Section VI When therefore the end of the world comes, that abominable, lying and murderous one is born from the tribe of Dan. He is conceived from the seed of a man and from an unclean or most vile virgin, mixed with an evil or worthless spirit. But that abominable corrupter, more of spirits than of bodies, while a youth, the crafty dragon appears under the appearance of righteousness, before he takes the kingdom. Because he will be craftily gentle to all people, not receiving gifts, not placed before another person, loving to all people, quiet to everyone, not desiring gifts, appearing friendly among close friends, so that men may bless him, saying;-he is a just man, not knowing that a wolf lies concealed under the appearance of a lamb, and that a greedy man is inside under the skin of a sheep.
Section VII But when the time of the abomination of his desolation begins to approach, having been made legal, he takes the empire, and, just as it is said in the Psalm:-They have been made for the undertaking for the sons of Loth, the Moabites and the Ammanites shall meet him first as their king. Therefore, when he receives the kingdom, he orders the temple of God to be rebuilt for himself, which is in Jerusalem; who, after coming into it, he shall sit as God and order that he be adored by all nations, since he is carnal and filthy and mixed with worthless spirit and flesh. Then that eloquence shall be fulfilled of Daniel the prophet:-And he shall not know the God of their fathers, and he shall not know the desires of women. Because the very wicked serpent shall direct every worship to himself. Because he shall put forth an edict so that people may be circumcised according to the rite of the old law. Then the Jews shall congratulate him, because he gave them again the practice of the first covenant; then all people from everywhere shall flock together to him at the city of Jerusalem, and the holy city shall be trampled on by the nations for forty-two months, just as the holy apostle says in the Apocalypse, which become three and a half years, 1,260 days.
Section VIII In these three years and a half the heaven shall suspend its dew; because there will be no rain upon the earth, and the clouds shall cease to pass through the air, and the stars shall be seen with difficulty in the sky because of the excessive dryness, which happens in the time of the very fierce dragon. Because all great rivers and very powerful fountains that overflow with themselves shall be dried up, torrents shall dry up their water-courses because of the intolerable age, and there will be a great tribulation, as there has not been, since people began to be upon the earth, and there will be famine and an insufferable thirst. And children shall waste away in the bosom of their mothers, and wives upon the knees of their husbands, by not having victuals to eat. Because there will be in those days lack of bread and water, and no one is able to sell or to buy of the grain of the fall harvest, unless he is one who has the serpentine sign on the forehead or on the hand. Then gold and silver and precious clothing or precious stones shall lie along the streets, and also even every type of pearls along the thoroughfares and streets of the cities, but there is not one who may extend the hand and take or desire them, but they consider all things as good as nothing because of the extreme lack and famine of bread, because the earth is not protected by the rains of heaven, and there will be neither dew nor moisture of the air upon the earth. But those who wander through the deserts, fleeing from the face of the serpent, bend their knees to God, just as lambs to the adders of their mothers, being sustained by the salvation of the Lord, and while wandering in states of desertion, they eat herbs.
Section IX Then, when this inevitability has overwhelmed all people, just and unjust, the just, so that they may be found good by their Lord; and indeed the unjust, so that they may be damned forever with their author the Devil, and, as God beholds the human race in danger and being tossed about by the breath of the horrible dragon, he sends to them consolatory proclamation by his attendants, the prophets Enoch and Elijah, who, while not yet tasting death, are the servants for the heralding of the second coming of Christ, and in order to accuse the enemy. And when those just ones have appeared, they confuse indeed the antagonistic serpent with his cleverness and they call back the faithful witnesses to God, in order to (free them) from his seduction ...
Section X And when the three and a half years have been completed, the time of the Antichrist, through which he will have seduced the world, after the resurrection of the two prophets, in the hour which the world does not know, and on the day which the enemy of son of perdition does not know, will come the sign of the Son of Man, and coming forward the Lord shall appear with great power and much majesty, with the sign of the wood of salvation going before him, and also even with all the powers of the heavens with the whole chorus of the saints, with those who bear the sign of the holy cross upon their shoulders, as the angelic trumpet precedes him, which shall sound and declare: Arise, O sleeping ones, arise, meet Christ, because his hour of judgment has come! Then Christ shall come and the enemy shall be thrown into confusion, and the Lord shall destroy him by the spirit of his mouth. And he shall be bound and shall be plunged into the abyss of everlasting fire alive with his father Satan; and all people, who do his wishes, shall perish with him forever; but the righteous ones shall inherit everlasting life with the Lord forever and ever.
It's a key part of Section II that is a Rapture Witness.  "For all the saints and elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins".  It's usually Pre-Tribber bringing this up.  So as a form of Mid-Tribber I feel the need to point out that they don't know if whoever wrote this is defining "the tribulation" as Pre-Tribbers do.

It's clear that I have eschatological differences with this Author regardless of if they have a basically similar Rapture view to myself.  He agrees with me on The Witnesses being Enoch and Elijah, but probably not on the timing of their ministry it seems.

A problem for Pre-Tribbers thinking this agrees with them is the last section.  Clearly Ephraem views the return of Christ described in 1 Thessalonians 4 as being after The Resurrection of The Witnesses and the Abomination of Desolation.  He also ignore the Millennium strangely.

The accusation exists that the one line that helps Pre-Trib and Dispensaitonalism was in fact deliberately added or mistranslated by the translator.

The other Translation is not usually cited in The Rapture debate.  Is clearly influenced by the Seventh Pseudo-Methodius apocalypse.  And Pretends to foretell the rise of Islam.

SERMON OF PSEUDO-EPHREM ON THE END OF THE WORLD
Translated from the text in Edmund Beck, ed., Des heiligen Ephraem des Syrers Sermones III (CSCO 320; Louvain: Secrétariat du Corpus SCO, 1972), 60-71; see also 79-94 for Beck’s translation. The text is based on two manuscripts: (1) Codex Vaticanus Sir. 566, and (2) Codex Dublinensis (Trinity College) B 5.19. Editio princeps: Thomas Josephus Lamy, ed., Sancti Ephraem Syri Hymni et Sermones (4 vols.; Mechliniae: H. Dessain, 1882-1902), 3:187-212.

A discourse (memra) of the holy saint Ephrem, the Syrian teacher, concerning the end, (final) consummation, judgment, and punishment; on the people of Gog and Magog; and about the Antichrist. O Son who by His grace humbled Himself And who was pleased to make Himself a human being; Who willingly experienced death At the top of the wood(en cross) on Golgotha: Grant me, my Lord, (the ability) to speak about The struggles which will take place in the created order; For peoples will fall upon each other And nations will destroy one another, Evil will fortify itself on the earth And iniquity will increase throughout creation. Righteous rulers will perish And lawless ones will arise on the earth. Then a judgment will arise, And a weighing on the scale for those humans: The side (containing) the wicked will sink down; And that for the elect will rise up. Then spiritual entities will go forth And destroy the ends of the created order. It will happen, my brethren, just as it is written: A plague in a number of places, And a famine will occur in the created order; Terrible struggles and conflicts. Dust will be saturated with blood; The created order will be polluted from iniquity. Regions will be ravaged, And cities will be consumed by Sheol; Nation will rise up against nation And kingdom against kingdom. Lawlessness will be sovereign on earth And the defiled will pursue after the saints. People will openly apostatize And augment the left side; The righteous ones will suffer indignities From those who belong to the side of the sinners. It is due to this, my beloved ones That the final age has arrived. Lo, we have observed the signs, Just as Christ inscribed for us: Rulers will arise, one against another; There will be suffering on earth; Nations will contend with nations And armies will fall upon one another. When the Nile, the river of Egypt, Overflows (and) floods part of the land, Certain regions will prepare themselves Against the country of the Romans. Nations will contend with nations, And a kingdom with a kingdom. They will depart, moving from one land to another; Those Romans who are put to flight. And the Assyrians will gain authority Over the region of the Romans. The fruit of their loins they will subjugate And they will also ravish their women; They will be sowing and also reaping They will plant fruits in the ground; They will acquire vast riches And hoard treasures underground. But just as the Nile, the river of Egypt Recedes again from what it flooded; So too will Assyria recede Back to their own country. For the Romans once again will be found In their ancestral land (i.e., the Assyrians’). Then evil will increase on the earth And the land will be defiled with fornication. The cry of the persecuted and the wretched Will rise up to heaven. Then a judgment will arise To cast them out of the land. The holy covenant will complain; A cry will rise up to heaven. A people will emerge from the wilderness, The progeny of Hagar, the handmaid of Sarah; Who hold fast to the covenant with Abraham, The husband of Sarah and Hagar. Set in motion, he (Ishmael) comes in the name of the ram, The herald of the Son of Destruction. A sign will appear in the heavens, The one our Lord spoke of in His gospel: Luminaries will shine among the stars And the light of His face will gleam. Rulers will quake and tremble; The forces arrayed by them will fall. The peoples of the earth will be terrified When they behold the sign set in the heavens. They will prepare for battle and come together, All peoples and nationalities. They will wage war there And the ground will be drenched with blood. The nations will suffer defeat there, A marauding nation will prevail. The marauders will fly over the landscape, Across plains and over the peaks of mountains. They will take women and children as captives, Also men both elderly and young. The best of the males will be destroyed; The most desirable women will be removed. With strong spears and lances They will impale elderly men. They will separate a son from his father, A daughter from the side of her mother; They will separate a brother from his brethren, A sister from the side of her sisters. They will slay the bridegroom in his bedroom And expel the bride from her bridal chamber. They will take a wife away from her husband, And slaughter her as if she were a sheep; They will cast an infant away from its mother And drive the mother into captivity. The child will scream out on the ground: Its mother hears, but what can she do? For it will be trampled by the hooves Of horses, camels, and infantry! She (tries to) turn toward it, (but) they will not allow her; The child remains within the wild (?). They separate children from their mother As the soul (is separated) from the body. She watches while they divide them up, Her beloved ones (taken from) the embrace of her bosom; Two of her children to two (different) masters, Her own self to still another master; She has been allocated, and her children with her; For they are now slaves to robbers. Her children cry out with laments, Their eyes burning with tears; She turns toward her beloved ones, The milk flowing forth from her breast: ‘Farewell, my beloved ones! May God go with you! The one who accompanied Joseph In (his) servitude among foreigners: May He accompany you, my children Into the captivity where you are going!’ ‘Farewell, our mother! May God go with you! The one who accompanied Sarah Into the palace of Abimelech the Gadarite: May He accompany your own self Until the Day of Resurrection!’ The son will stand and watch while his father Is sold into slavery. The eyes of both of them will burn with tears While they groan, one in front of the other. A brother will watch while his brother Is killed and cast down on the ground, Whereas he they drive off into captivity In order to serve among foreigners as a slave. They even put to death mothers Who are holding their children to their breasts. Bitter is the sound of the infants Who are groaning to satisfy their desire (for milk). They will prepare roads in the mountains, Highways in the middle of the plains; They will maraud until the very ends of the created order. They will establish rule over the urban centers. The provinces will suffer destruction, And they will multiply corpses on the earth. All peoples will be brought low Before the marauder nation. And once the peoples have endured much on earth And hope that now peace has arrived, They (the Ishmaelites) start exacting tribute And everyone will be fearful of them. Lawlessness will intensify on the earth And even obscure the clouds; Wickedness will enclose the created order And waft up like smoke to the heavens. Then since wickedness will be rampant upon the earth, The Lord’s wrath will then stir up Kings and mighty armies. For when He seeks to expunge it from earth, He sends out humans against humans To annihilate one another. Truly at that time He will summon The kings and mighty armies Who are behind those gates Which Alexander fashioned. Many rulers and peoples Remain behind the gates. They look toward heaven And call on the name of God, That the Lord send His sign From within His heaven of glory And the Divine Voice Summon them who are by those gates; So that they suddenly break down and collapse At the command of the Divinity. Numerous armies issue forth, As many as the stars which cannot be counted. As multitudinous as the sand by the sea, And exceeding (the number of) the stars in the sky. A full span was consumed From the lower crossbar; And from the upper crossbar Another full span was consumed On account of the great quantity of their sharp spears With which they lacerated it. They issued forth, Moving, spilling forth from there; Kings and large armies And every people and language group Emerging from (behind) those gates. Gog and Magog and Nūl and Agag, Kings and mighty armies! Togarmah and Ashkenaz and Daypar, Pūìayē with Lūbayē. Amzartayē and Garmēdō‘, ¬alab with helmet-covered heads, Azmurtayē and Kūshayē, Hunayē and Parzayē, Diqlayē and Tūbalayē, Mūshkayē with Kūshayē. Allied to and coming with them Were both the Medes and the Persians, Armenians and Turks And NamrūÐayē and MūshÐayē; The descendants of Ke’wan and Serug; The progeny of Yaqìan and the MaÐūnayē; Numerous armies and nations Whose number cannot be calculated. They will burst forth and flood the earth, Shaking the walls of the created order. A dust cloud will rise up over the earth, Obscuring the sun above And covering creation With clouds and dark fogs, In accordance with what Ezekiel prophesied, The son of Buzi in his prophecy. For when the Huns come forth To wage war and to do battle, They will take hold of pregnant women And heap fire on top of them; They will come closer and mutter incantations over them, While roasting their children inside them! Splitting them open, they extract their fetuses When they are finished cooking inside of them. They draw near: then place them in basins, And pour water over them And dissolve their corpses there In those enchanted waters. They immediately take their swords And their bows with their spears And dip them in those waters For their arrows and their weapons. Every weapon to which are applied Those magical potions Appears as if there are hundreds, even thousands Of cavalrymen who wield them. Moreover those hundreds of horsemen Who set out (and) traverse the whole of the earth Appear as if they are accompanied By six thousand myriads. If one of them should fall off during battle While engaging in the fight, Wherever he extends his hand Suddenly a knife emerges! They eat the flesh of children And also drink the blood of women. Clothed in tanned skins, They mount the winds and tempests; And rapidly, in the blink of an eye, They lay waste to cities, Topple their walls to the ground, And destroy the strong citadels. Moving quickly, they bind the swift And slaughter the vigorous men. They are quicker in motion Than winds and tempests. Whenever news of them is heard on earth (to wit) ‘The Huns have set out (and) are coming!’ They blanket the whole of creation. Because they are sorcerers, They fly between heaven and earth. Their chariots are like the winds, And their swords and their lances Are like terrifying bolts of lightning. Holding straps in their hands And two or three horses, Each one of them leads with him Some fifty or sixty men, Traveling behind and in front of him Like winds and tempests. The sound of the battle-cry of just one of them Is like the roaring of lions. Indeed dread of the Huns Will overpower the entire earth; They will cover the whole earth Like the waters during the days of Noah, And they will overwhelm the edges of the created order: There is no one who can withstand them. These are the ‘numerous peoples’ About whom Ezekiel spoke Who will cover the whole earth As if they were clouds. ‘Fish will shudder before them, (As will) the birds of the sky And wild beasts and vermin of the earth And every species in creation; High mountains will be thrust down And fortified towers will collapse, Even the walls of the cities.’ On the earth will be a wasteland. For Ezekiel has prophesied That it will come to pass in the End of Days: They will burst out (and) come up from the land And cover the created order; Gog and Magog will prepare itself And arrive at the ‘hill country of Israel.’ Between the sea and Jerusalem He will place his encampment. Riders will fly off, descending Upon Egypt and opposite India; Leading away so many captives they cannot be numbered. People and riches, Cattle and property Which have now become his prey. Then Righteousness will summon Michael, the one who is leader of the host, To come down (and) destroy his encampment Just as (he destroyed) the encampment of Sennacherib. The angel, receiving the command, will draw The terrible and powerful sword, And departing, he will destroy his force In the twinkling of an eye! Righteousness will pick up and hurl Stones of fire upon the encampment. The slain on the ground will be as numerous As the (particles of) sand which cannot be counted; People and pack-animals will perish, The entire encampment will be consumed. The blaze will extend Unto the sea and to the islands. The bow will swerve from the hands Of Gog, the wicked ruler; Also his arrows (will drop) from his left hand: His entire encampment will be consumed. The inhabitants of Judaea will go out And loot his whole encampment. They will collect and pick up armament: Lances, arrows, and bows. For seven years within a fire They will burn them, as it is written: ‘They will not need to gather Wood from the field or thickets.’ Seven years they will throw in the fire Shields and clubs, Arrows, spears, and bows. They will prove sufficient for fueling the fire for seven years. Then the Lord will bring in His peace, Which attests His glorification among the heavens. And once more the empire of the Romans Will spring up and flourish in its place. It will possess the earth and its extremities, And no one will exist who opposes it. And when iniquity has become rife on earth And has polluted the whole of creation, Then a judgment will arise Which will entirely obliterate the people. The Son of Destruction, the Evil One, Will emerge and come upon the earth. A deceiver of humanity, An instigator of trouble over the whole earth. On the day when he comes to it, (when) the Son of Destruction arrives on earth, The created order will be thrown into commotion, And terror will engulf the earth. The sun will become dark in its place, And the stars will fall from the height; All the luminaries will be quenched, Darkness will cover the created order. The earth with its inhabitants will shake, And mountains and heights will quake; Springs and fountains will dry up, And the waves in the sea will abate And the fish therein grow still. Rulers will stop rendering judgment And priests will tremble in the sanctuary And military power will collapse. Confusion will be on the earth And all human powers will be paralyzed, For the Evil One will be ready. He will come to and enter Jerusalem. He will rebuild and establish himself in Zion, And will make himself to be God And enter into the sanctuary to take a seat In accordance with what the Apostle wrote to us. The Jews will take pride in him; They will prepare themselves and come to him. And he moreover will blaspheme when he says: ‘I, even I, am the Father and the Son! The First and the Last! There is no other god apart from me!’ But at that time ten thousand Jews will denounce him: They will answer him in truth: ‘You are a deceiver for (all) creatures! For the one whom our ancestors restrained At the top of the wood(en cross) on Golgotha Is (actually) the redeemer of (all) creatures, And he was raised up to the One Who sent him!’ Then the Evil One will be enraged And he will issue a command regarding those who denounced him That they should immediately die by the sword, And everyone will be too afraid to renounce him. Then he will begin to display Wonders through deception In the heavens and on the earth, Within the sea and on the dry land. He will summon the rain and it will fall; He will command the seed and it will sprout However he will not actually perform (miracles); He will be employing magic. He will command the waves and they will cease, And the winds will be obedient to him. He will suspend fruits on the trees And cause water to gush from the ground. He will address the leprous and they will become clean, (Speak to) the blind, and they will see light, He will call to the deaf and they will hear him, (Address) even the mute and they will speak. He will effect all the wonders Which Our Lord performed within the created order, Except that he will not be able to resurrect the dead, For he will not have authority over (the) spirits (of the dead). Lightening-flashes will be his messengers, And are the sign of his advent; Demons are his armies And the commanders of the devils are his pupils; He will dispatch the heads of his legions To distant lands Where they will display marvelous powers and healings And mislead the whole of creation. Behold, the Apostle has penned a warning for us In his epistle to the Thessalonians: ‘Let no word or no letter Trouble you that is not from us. For the rebellion comes first, Also the Man of Sin And he will exalt himself over God, Making himself to be God.’ And when the Accursed One comes And displays his mighty works and wonders, The nations will gather together and come As (if) they were going to see God. Groups and nations will join him, And every person will renounce their deity; Everyone will say of him to their fellow That they should acknowledge him, the Son of Destruction! Peoples will fall upon one another, Slaying each other with swords. The elect will flee from his presence To the peaks of mountains and hills, And there will be calamity on earth Unlike any that came before. Fear will fall upon all people And they will be overcome with terror. Children will renounce their father And follow after the Evil One; Priests will abandon their altars To serve as his heralds. People will flee to cemeteries And hide themselves among the dead, Pronouncing the good fortune of the deceased Who had avoided the calamity: ‘Blessed are you for you were borne away (to the grave) And hence you escaped from the afflictions! But as for us, woe is us! For when we die, Vultures will serve as escort for us!’ And if the days of that time were not shortened, The elect would never survive The calamities and afflictions. For Our Lord revealed (and) disclosed to us In his Gospel when He said: ‘Those days will be shortened For the sake of the elect and the saints.’ And when he has harassed the whole of creation, (When) the Son of Destruction (has bent it) to his will, Enoch and Elijah will be sent That they might persuade the Evil One. With a gentle question The saints will come before him, In order to expose the Son of Destruction Before the assemblies surrounding him: ‘If you are indeed God, Tell us what we ask of you: Where is the place that you have hidden The elders Elijah and Enoch?’ The Evil One will respond and say To the saints at that time: ‘When I wish (it), they are in the height(s), Or again should I choose, they are within the sea; For I have authority over habitations, Since there is no other god apart from me And I can make anything On earth (and) also in heaven!’ They will answer The Son of Destruction as follows: ‘If you are truly God, Call out to the deceased so that they will rise! For it is written within the books Of the prophets and the apostles That when the Messiah reveals Himself, He will resurrect the dead from the graves. If you cannot show us this (sign), Then the One who was crucified is greater than you! For he roused and resurrected those who were dead, And was exalted in great splendor.’ Then the Evil One will become enraged With the saints at that time; He will draw his terrible sword And sever the necks of the righteous ones. But Gabriel will arise (and) descend (With) Michael (as) military commanders; They will resurrect those saints While the Evil One stands confused with his servants. They will approach and seize that Accursed One And the Lord will rebuke (him) from heaven; Then He will destroy the Accursed One And all of his forces. Angels will suddenly approach And cast him into Gehenna, And all of those who believed in him Will be thrust into the flame(s). Then the Lord will come from above In splendor and with a company of His angels, And between earth and heaven A throne-chariot will be fixed there. He will admonish the sea and it will dry up; The fish within it will perish. He will dissolve the heavens and the earth, And there will be (only) darkness and gloom. He will dispatch fire upon the earth, And it will burn there for forty <days> Purifying it of iniquity And of pollution and of sins. A great throne will be adorned And the Son will be seated on the right; Seats will be positioned For the twelve apostles of the Son; And couches will be decorated for the martyrs And a royal chamber for the righteous ones. The Watchers will blow trumpets And the dead will arise from the dust; Fiery entities will suddenly go forth And assemble all the descendants of Adam. They will gather the wheat in a storehouse And throw the straw into the fire; The good will go forth into the Kingdom, And the bad will remain in Gehenna; The righteous will fly up to the height, And the sinners will burn in fire. The martyrs will float to the couch; The wicked will go out into darkness. And Christ will reign forever, He will be sovereign over each generation. To Him be the glory, and His mercy is over us For all time, amen, amen!
 In this version the timing The Resurrection of the Saints clearly seems to agree with a Post-Trib view I'm afraid.

If you deny that the The Church and Israel are separate covenants then you have no choice but to accept the Post-Trib position, as Chuck Missler likes to explain.  The Church developed Anti-Semitic views early on accepting Replacement theology and that is why the Truth of the nature of The Rapture has been so rare, prior to the re-emergence of Pro-Israel Christians in England following The Protestant Reformation.

This other Translation also agrees with me on Enoch and Elijah being The Witnesses.  And it agrees with my view I've argued for elsewhere that at the Time of Jesus's Resurrection others Arose too.

Mid-Trib and Pre-Wrath

This post won't be an in depth study.  I've already explained all the core reasons I'm Mid-Trib, and not any other Position.  And even touched a little on Futurism over Preterism, and Premillennial over Amillennial.

So future posts I make on The Rapture will mostly be minor anecdotes, responses to recent things said by people, which will direct reading to earlier for more details.  My future in depth studied posted here will be on other Eschatological issues, which may or may not also touch on The Rapture.

What I want to say briefly today is about Mid-Trib and Pre-Wrath.  To me the terms should be synonymous, because to me Wrath is the Second half of the 70th Week.  And the Seven Bowls of God's Wrath.  Nothing more or less.

But instead the Pre-Wrath position defines itself as being predicated on a garbling of the chronology of Revelation.  My Sixth Seal post primarily dismantles their logic, the foundation of which is a flawed understanding of how the Sixth Seal relates to Matthew 24.  And my Seventh Trumpet study and the very first post I made here shows how Revelation 9 renders the Pre-Wrath position impossible.

In a certain sense though Pre-Wrathers remains the most similar to me.  They don't deny the Uniqueness of The Church like Post-Trib does.  But don't insist we'll never see The Antichrist like Pre-Trib does.  Since fellow Mid-Trib teachers are rare now, I spend a lot of time listening to Pre-Wrath teachers like Chris White.

That's all I felt like saying today.  If you haven't read my earlier studies yet please do so.  And don't be afraid to point out to me any grammatical mistakes so I correct them.  And feel free to leave comments disagreeing with me, I want an open robust debate.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Arguing for the Divinity of The Messiah

The thought has occasionally entered my mind, of a Jewish person possibly hypothetically saying the following during a debate with a Christian.

"Maybe, hypothetically, a Christian could convince me (but it wouldn't be easy) of the idea of The Messiah, having two advents where he doesn't do any of the Kingly stuff until the second coming. Or him suffering and dying as an offering for Sin and then being Resurrected, and maybe even Born of a Virgin. And that maybe Jesus/Yeshua was that. But what I could never accept is the idea of The Messiah being the Son of God, or God manifesting as a Human. It's inherently not Monotheistic, it's Pagan like the demigods of Greek mythology or the Avatars of Vishnu in Hinduism."

Now I haven't encountered a Jewish person willing to say that, or heard of one. But I think it's an important aspect to look at. I think it's a good idea here to set aside all the other disagreements in how Christians (Jew and Gentile) and Non-Christian Jews interpret Messianic Prophecy and look chiefly at what was most offensive to the Scribes and Pharisees of Yeshua's own day. The idea of God being made Flesh.

So I've felt moved by The Holy Spirit to try and help prepare fellow believers for such a discussion. Below I'll be speaking as if talking to Jews directly, so feel free to Copy/Paste my arguments, I don't Copyright any of these dissertations.

I'll be basing all of this on only the Masoretic Hebrew Text, no Septuagint or Hellenistic apocryphal writings. And nothing from Christian translations Jews would object to. I'll be using this linked below Translation made by Jews. Rather then my usual KJV defaulting.
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0.htm

The objection clearly isn't that it's something God can't do. Besides simply saying God can do anything, even Jewish interpretations of Scripture agree that "The Angel of The LORD" or "The Angel of God" is God taking a physical tangible Human looking form. The Word (Dabar in Hebrew) could be viewed that way also, like in Genesis 15 where the Dabar performs the Covenant ritual all on his own. The Angel who announces the conception of Samson is an example, and the Captain of The Host who appears to Joshua before The Battle of Jericho. Anytime an Angel accepts Worship and yet isn't evil or fallen that's clearly not an ordinary Angel but God Himself.

The very name of Israel comes from when Jacob wrestled with God. And in Genesis 18 everyone agrees the leader of the three Angels there is God himself talking with Abraham. And He actually eats food with Abraham and Sarah. That's a pretty physical tangible Human like form, I'd argue incarnating as a Human isn't that much greater a leap.

But again, it's not about what God can do but what he's willing to. Is actually becoming a Human simply to far beneath him? Remember God made Adam in his own Image, Genesis 1:26. So really why assume incarnating as a Human is something he'd never do when Adam was modeled after himself to begin with?

Then there is the Hebrew word Go'el. That word is variously translated Kinsman, Redeemer, and Avenger/Revenger. The word means all of those things. It maybe does not necessarily literally have to mean a biological relative every time it's used, but the Kinsman aspect is important to it's function in the Mosaic Law. And is vital to understanding the Book of Ruth, where Boaz is the Kinsman Redeemer, being a near male relative of Naomi and Ruth's late husband.

The word is used of God in Isaiah 41:14 and 43:14 "Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I help thee, saith the LORD, and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel." Also in 44:6 and 24. And 47:4, 48:17, 49:7 and 26 and 54:5. And other Isaiah examples, also Jeremiah 50:34

Job said in 19:25 "But as for me, I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He will witness at the last upon the dust". Also Psalms 19:14 and 78:35.

What about the Preexistence of The Messiah?

Micah 5 "out of thee shall one come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from ancient days." and Isaiah 9:5 "For a child is born unto us, a son is given unto us". Both verses even in Jewish translations imply a Preexistence.

Rapheal Patai is a Jewish scholar who agrees to the Preexistence of The Messiah "The concept of the preexistence of The Messiah accords with the general Talmudic view which holds that "The Holy One, blessed be He, prepares the remedy before the wound"", (The Messiah Texts pp. 16-17). Preexistence alone doesn't prove Divinity, but it makes him very special. Because while some cults believe we all had a preexistence like the Mormons, that view is entirely UnBiblical, from Genesis 2 "Then the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." The Soul and Spirit are created at the same time The Body is.

The Messiah is David's Son/Descendant. Yet David calls him lord in Psalm 110 "The LORD saith unto my lord: 'Sit thou at My right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.'" Psalm 2 is also interesting. The Messiah appears to be relating how "the LORD said unto me: 'Thou art My son, this day have I begotten thee. Ask of Me, and I will give the nations for thine inheritance, and the ends of the earth for thy possession."

Psalm 45 is considered a Messianic Psalm, it explicitly refers to the King as God in verse 8, and says in verse 11 to Worship him.

The clincher however I believe is to look at Ezekiel 40-48's description of the coming Messianic Kingdom. How come this in depth description mentions no Palace where The Messiah Ben-David rules from? A great deal of the point of the Messianic Age is to fulfill the Davidic promise from II Samuel 7, that a Son of David would sit on David's Throne forever. And this promise is inherently linked to Jerusalem.

And yet Ezekiel in his in-depth description of The Messianic future geography and architecture of Israel, Jerusalem and The Temple mentions no dwelling place for The Messiah. The only Throne mentioned is in Ezekiel 43:7 in the Holy of Holies, no longer separated from The Holy Place by the Veil. Where The LORD tells Ezekiel "this is the place of My throne, and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever; and the house of Israel shall no more defile My holy name".

 Here the LORD is saying he himself will rule. How can this be reconciled with the Davidic Promise? Clearly the Throne of David and the Throne of God have become the same Throne. And therefor God must incarnate as The Son of David, Son of Abraham, Son of Adam.

Ezekiel 40-48 does have references to a "Prince" (Nasi in the Hebrew). If the word for Prince here had been Sar or Nagyid then it could make sense to say he's The Messiah, but Nasi isn't a royal term, and could more accurately be translated President.  Ezekiel 34:23&24 and 37:24:25 explain that the Nasi is David himself Resurrected, not his Son who's The Messiah.

The LORD also enters through the Eastern Gate, just as The Messiah is supposed to do.

Add on top of that some interesting material from Zechariah 12-14. In 12:17 "In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that stumbleth among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as a godlike being, as the angel of the LORD before them."

 That verse is definitely translated differently in Christian translations, but even the way it's translated here is still pretty compelling. Also 14:9 "And the LORD shall be King over all the earth; in that day shall the LORD be One, and His name one." And in verse 16 "And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations that came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles."

Now as far as the comparison to Polytheistic Pagan concepts go. The demigods of Greek mythology were half-man/half-god. Christians view Yeshua as All-Man and All-God. And he was born of a Virgin, no weird Zeus turning into an animal or a golden shower to seduce and/or rape a girl.

The Avatars of Vishnu comparison is, I'll admit, a more valid one. Though I'd like to point out it's unclear how long people in India even understood the concept as they do now, even the Mahabharata is much younger then many casual references say it is, being post Alexander. Modern Hinduism is mostly the result of British Colonialism.

Many Scholars are probably more qualified to explain all the distinctions then I am. The key one I feel however is the Uniqueness. God only did this once, Yeshua will have a Second Coming, but it'll be the same Body he had before, still carrying the Wounds he received on The Cross. I know some bizarre cults and theorists out there try to argue for a Rebirth by abusing Revelation 12, but all serious scholars of Revelation know that that is a symbolic recap of History. So there are no repeated incarnations every age like what Vishu does.

I hope the above discussion has been revealing and insightful.

Distinguishing between The Millennium and The New Heaven and New Earth.

Distinguishing between The Millennium, and The New Heaven and New Earth in the Hebrew Scriptures can be difficult. One can argue that without the help of the New Testament we wouldn't know for certain there are two distinct future Messiah reigning on Earth time periods to look forward to. But I do think it's possible to draw that conclusion from the Hebrew Bible alone. But we certainly don't get any doctrinally absolute reason to give either a time frame of exactly 1,000 years without the Book of Revelation.

Chuck Missler likes to say that most of what we know about the Millennium comes from the Old Testament, not Revelation 20. Thing is I don't think he's ever cited any OT passage as being about the New Heaven and New Earth, or New Jerusalem.

Futurists are good at understanding everything that happens during the Eschatological Week in Revelation based on it's OT references. But it seems to be we're not so great at doing the same for Chapters 20-22.

Chuck Missler also likes to define the Millennium as the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant. But the Davidic Promise in II Samuel 7 and elsewhere is never defined as a Thousand years, it's defined as Forever.

Let's take Isaiah 65 for example. Chuck Missler and others are convinced this can't be the Eternal state yet where there is absolutely no Curse because Death does seem to happen during this time in verse 20.

"There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed."

First off the assumption that there is absolutely no Death in the Eternal state simply because The Curse of Genesis 3 is gone I think is based on an assumption that no one new will be Born during this period, and thus no one new will need their Eternal fate to be decided. But the Eternal state is also a return to how things where supposed to be before Adam fell, and before Adam fell he was already told to be fruitful and multiply. Adam's Sin is the origin of Death, I'm not a Gap or Extended Day theorist. But in the future there could still be new people who need to make Adam's choice. I also feel like Saved Women should get the opportunity to experience painless childbirth if they choose to.

Yes I know how people think Jesus statement about there being no Marriage in the Resurrection equals no reproduction. But they're misusing that the same way that same passage is misused to support the Sethite view of Genesis 6.

But besides all that, this verse is expressed in a poetic style, and it's possible to interpret the real message of the verse as being that there is no Death. Certainly not the Death Curse we've been bound to, where it is appointed unto each Man once to die. And which I think to an extent could still exist in the Thousand years, nearly a Thousand Years was the normal lifespan between the Fall and the Flood.

The thing is verses 17-19 just before this says.

"For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying."

Now if you read that without any preconceived notion put in your head by your favorite commentator about where this fits into Biblical Chronology. I'm pretty sure you'd have to conclude it resembles Revelation 21 far more then Revelation 20.

Ezekiel 40-48 is another important passage where Chuck Missler and Chris White and almost every major commentator simply states unambiguously that this is the Millennial Temple/Kingdom. But the thing is New Jerusalem in Revelation 21-22 is drawing on imagery of Ezekiel 40-48 constantly, not just the 12 gates named for the 12 tribes, and there are no Ezekiel 40-48 references in Revelation 20.

Ezekiel 43:7-9 tells us how long this condition God's revealing to Ezekiel will last.  It does not say 1000 years, it says FOR EVER.

The differences people use to refute seeing these as the same, are no more significant to me then the inconsistencies between Revelation 4, Ezekiel 1 and Isaiah's visions of the Heavenly Throne Room of God. They're clearly describing basically the same thing, but because they're mortal four dimensional humans seeing something that is in fact beyond their compression because they've left Space-Time, the details of what they see, or how they choose to describe what they see, have some pretty seemingly incompatible differences.

The first and most obvious difference that comes to mind is that Revelation 21:22 says "And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it." And Ezekiel's vision revolves around The Temple. But a few things to consider. 

First, The Temple in Ezekiel is very different in both how it looks and how worship there functions, it could very well be that John seeing the same thing simply saw it as a Royal Palace or Throne Room rather then as a Temple.

Second, Technically John just says there was no Temple in the City, and Ezekiel's Temple is technically outside the City.

Third, Revelation 21:3 does say "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men". And sometimes the future Messianic Temple is described as the "Tabernacle of David" (Psalm 15:1, Isaiah 16:5, Amos 9:11).  The name of Ezekiel's Jerusalem is Yahweh Shammah, meaning "The LORD (YHWH) is there" Ezekiel 48:35, clearly parallels that verse from Revelation 21.

And Ezekiel's description of the "Temple" he saw never tells us the material the walls are made out of.  For all we know it could be a Tabernacle rather then a Stone Temple.

Chis White when he mentions this debate briefly acknowledges the similarities but says the differences are far greater. But it's only the Size he singles out, (and the size is the only difference I even remotely consider a problem).  Observing that the size of Revelation's New Jerusalem dwarfs the entirety of the Promised land laid out in Ezekiel, being about half the size of the Continental United States.

But again, in the Eternal state physical reality itself has changed, and even size could be a matter of Ezekiel and John's perception.

Some have argued you can calculate the circumference of the Earth by combing the measurements in Ezekiel 40-48 and Revelation 21-22.

http://www.pickle-publishing.com/papers/ezekiels-city-circumference-of-the-earth.htmModern science tells us that the circumference of the earth about the equator is 24,902.4 mi. (40,076.5 km), and that the circumference about the poles is 24,860.2 mi. (40,008.6 km). Using data from the biblical books of Ezekiel and Revelation, we can easily arrive at a number between these two figures.
There are reasons I'm not inclined to agree with the entity of that site's premise, but it's an interesting mathematical theorem.

The main point is that regardless of size Yahweh-Shammah and New Jerusalem have the exact same shape, a perfect Cube.

Perspective is important to consider, Ezekiel ultimately spends more time on the rest of the Holy Land, while John pretty much only describes New Jerusalem.

I think maybe Ezekiel is describing the size of the city as it appears from the Outside and John how it appears on the inside.  That may be difficult to wrap your head around, but remember in The New Creation the laws of physics itself could be different.  If you're a Comic Book Nerd, think of it maybe as being like the Bottled City of Kandor, except the bottle is still larger then the entire modern city of Jerusalem.

Another objection is Ezekiel also seems to allude to people possibly dying. Ezekiel's style isn't as Poetic as Isaiah, but I still feel the same arguments can apply.

That Sacrifices are performed is an issue for Christian theology whether it's the Millennium or the New Creation.  One answer I've considered is that the Sacrifices references are semi-allegorical and it's all Jesus Blood that was shed on The Cross.

Revelation 22 begins by describing the same river Ezekiel describes. Now I've seen people say Ezekiel's River is also in Joel and Zechariah, in contexts that have it coming into existence around the time of Armageddon. And not connecting it to Revelation 22 at all. But I've looked at the relevant references in Joel and Zechariah, and they don't seem like they're describing this single very special River at all, certainly not as identically as Revelation 22 does. Daniel 12 also seems to see the same River and places it after the White Throne Judgment.

But still the view I'm advocating here could have the River come into existence at the start of the Millennium in some form, before the Holy City's descends and perfects it. But it's also clear to me in Daniel 12 that some Old Testament discussions of Eschatology tend to skip right from the end of the First Resurrection to the Second Resurrection, effectively skipping the Millennium the same as Chuck Missler likes to point out how The Church Age is often skipped over.

The possibility that much of what Ezekiel describes begins in The Millennium is possible.  The connection to Revelation 21-22 are pretty much all in the Description of New Jerusalem itself, which directly comes into view in the last chapter.

Paul defines The Church as The Temple of God in I Corinthians 3:16 "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" And Ephesians 2:21 "In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:". In the Latter the Twelve Apostles are also defined as the Foundation, fitting Revelation 21's description where it's in parallel to the Twelve Tribes. Jesus promises the Disciples they'd rule the Twelve Tribes at The Last Supper.

And each individual believer's body is also defined as The Temple of God in I Corinthians 6:19 "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?". John 2:21 also defines the body of Jesus as The Temple. And The Church is The Body of Christ.

New Jerusalem is spoken of as being synonymous with The Bride of Christ. "Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife." So all this imagery overlaps. I do not believe any of this contradicts there being a literal Temple Building or City lay out like Ezekiel saw and measured.

I still see Israel and The Church as distinct Covenants, don't think I'm confused on that. But they are linked Covenants, our salvation is still derived from Genesis 12. The promise made to the Twelve Disciples shows those in the Church that are of physical Israel are in a sense inheritors of both covenants. The 144,000 are also interesting to look at, I don't allegorize them, they are specific people from each Tribe minus Dan. But in Revelation 14 they sound an awful lot like The Church.

Now you might be worried that I'm supporting some form of Amillennialism, by pushing up some of the epic unmistakable details of the Millennium.  No, I still take Revelation 20 literally.

Even if the time-span of a Thousand Years doesn't calculate to exactly how we'd measure a Thousand Years, it's still a period of time when Christ rules on Earth with Bodily Resurrected believers. And there is still no way you could convince me the events of Revelation 6-19, or Matthew 24, already happened in 70 A.D. or any other period already in the past.

The problem with Amillennialisim is making the Millennium synonymous with the Church Age. My own reading of Revelation 19-21 gives me the impression The Church won't even be on Earth during The Millennium. Christ's Co-Rulers there are chiefly the Post-Rapture Tribulation Saints who were Martyred for not taking the Mark and worshiping the Beast or his Image. But I do feel inclined to see Pre-Church Saints, who were Resurrected soon after Jesus in 30 A.D. as Matthew 27:52 records, as being here too.

If Ezekiel is not describing the Millennial Temple as we keep assuming. Maybe it's wrong to assume the Millennial Temple will be a separate building from the coming Third Temple. The Second Temple could be rededicated after it's violated by Antiochus Epiphanes. Jesus is at least as qualified to rededicate a violated Temple as the Maccabees where. And if we believe Daniel 8's Little Horn applies to the coming Man of Sin as much as to Antiochus, verse 14 says the Sanctuary will be cleansed, not destroyed and rebuilt.

Independent Nation States do still exist in the New Heaven and New Earth, not just The Millennium. Revelation 21:24 "And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it." That's probably another stumbling block that makes people assume the Millennium in various Psalms and Isaiah passages where perhaps they shouldn't.

Psalm 48 I believe is about the descent of New Jerusalem.  It's linked to the "Sides of The North" a term elsewhere in Scripture is used only once, linked to God's Heavenly Throne in Isaiah 14.

So since I see the New Heaven and New Earth in so many places where most see the Millennium, where do I see the Millennium in the Hebrew Scriptures? Well some passages that are very broad in nature might simply have both in view together, like one simply saying The Messiah will reign for ever.

Daniel 7 is one key passage for getting from the Hebrew Bible that there is a distinction. The Fourth Beast (Edom-Rome) is destroyed right at the beginning of the Reign of the Son of Man in verse 11. But the other Three beasts (Assyria, Persia, Greece) in verse 12 "they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time." So there is a distinction here.

I've come to support the Post-Millenial view of Ezekiel 38&39 but allowing the possibility of a lesser near fulfillment. Christ White while he does not agree with my New Jerusalem view makes a good argument on this subject. Based on that, I think it's probable that it's only really Persia which won't continue into the Eternal State, being destroyed for taking part in the Gog and Magog invasion.

It's possible to some degree changes will take place even during the Millennium. Ezekiel 29-32 seems to see a period of Egypt being desolate and it's people scattered for 40 years, and I also see the possibility of The Antichrist as contemporary with the beginning of this period. Joel also sees Egypt as Desolate at the time the Millennium starts like Edom had become. But it won't be forever like Edom because Isaiah 19 talks about Egypt and Assyria having a special relationship during some Future Messianic era. Whether that's latter in the Millennium or the Eternal State I don't know.

The Jubilee is often seen as a type of the Millennium.   That too should maybe be rethought.

If the the Thousand years are a "Sabbath Millennium" as often thought.  Then we should remember that The Jubilee isn't the Seventh of something, it's an 8th, what comes after the Seven are all complete.  Like the 8th day of Tabernacles is sometimes viewed as.

On the other hand, defining the Millennium as a Sabbath Millennium isn't directly Biblical, and arguably draws on accepting too much Rabbinic tradition.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Olivite Discourse, Mark

Mark, also is distinct from the other two, is generally set aside.

Starting again with the setting, Mark's more resembles Matthew's as it's a private teaching and not a public sermon. But while in Matthew all the Disciples are implied to be present, Mark 13:3 says "And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately". So this is even more selective knowledge, at least at first.

Now for Mark's version of the core set of signs all 3 have in common.

Mr 13:5 And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you: For many shall come in my name, saying, I am He; and shall deceive many.  And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.
What I neglected to address here before is that the "be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet." And it's equivalent wording in the other accounts is basically saying these aren't signs at all. Chuck Missler likes to call them the "non signs". Their about conditions that exist all through the period of time between The Second and Third Temples. To a lesser extent they can apply to Pre-70 A.D. too, as students of the History know, and could continue into the 70th week also. But for Eschatological Doctrine building purposes this is defining of the Temple-less Diaspora period.

The account of the persecution is more like Luke's because it's defined as being Jewish in origin. But it does have a connection to Matthew's where it talks of the Gospel being preached to all nations. But Mark is saying not to worry for the Church can't be wiped out during this period because the Gospel must be preached to all nations and that hasn't happened yet. While Matthew says that at that time The Gospel will be Preached to all nations, and that is the last thing to happen before the Abomination of Desolation.

The timing distinction between the Non Signs and the Persecution that is so important to the Matthew-Luke distinction doesn't exist at all. As if in Mark this Persecution is during this period, not before or after.

After the Abomination of Desolation part it parallels Matthew's pretty well. But the core of my view of Mark 13 is in how the Abomination of Desolation is described differently in Mark. Matthew says it will happen in the Holy Place, in the Temple. But in Mark.

Mr 13:14 But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:
"Where it ought not", is a pretty interesting distinction. Mark's, unlike every other reference, does not require The Temple to be standing for it to be literally fulfilled. Just an Abomination placed on that same land area.

I think we are dealing with a double fulfillment in this verse. I know your thinking "but the near fulfillment of the Abomination of Desolation was Antiochus Epiphanes, already in the past". Some times the multiple fulfillment doctrine has even more then just two. Every key detail of Jesus's First Advent had an OT foreshadowing, and some of the First Advent has a Second Repeat, mainly the Triumphal Entry.

Something that could be viewed as "close enough" was already in the past even in Daniel's time. King Manasseh of Judah, son of Hezekiah, placed Idols in The Temple.

I think the double fulfillment applies only to to the Abomination verse here. I don't see any future Christian persecutions being chiefly Jewish in origin, so what's before it here is the past. But what's after strongly matches Matthew too much for me to see it as different. So this Abomination is a jump forward point. Like how Daniel 8 jumps forward at Antiochus Epiphanes persecution, and Daniel 11:35 at the Maccabees victory.

I believe The Abomination of Desolation that is the near fulfillment here is The Equestrian Statue of Hadrian in the Jupiter Temple complex built over the Holy Mount after the Bar Kochba revolt was crushed. I discus that statue elsewhere, when I talk of my support for the Southern Conjecture or Al-Kas fountain view of The Temple's location.

The Bar Kochba revolt's importance to not just Jewish but Christian History is sadly overlooked. To me it's vital, and I also believe it was Bar Kochba not The Beast Yeshua meant in John 5:43 "I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive." Though I also consider that a verse not to build Doctrine on at all, least not Prophetic Doctrine, as the "if" makes it purely hypothetical. Like the imagined Psalm 83 War, or the hypothetical Assyrian attack in Micah 5.

What more people need to understand about the schism between Judaism and Christianity, is that it didn't simply go from bad to worse consistently from Stephen to Hitler.

The Jewish-Christian conflicts you see in Acts (and foretold in Luke 21) actually ceased after 70 A.D. Because the sects of Judaism most hostile to Christians, (Sadducees, Zelots, and Shammai following Pharisees) were completely wiped out in the 66-73 A.D. War. And the sect most tolerant of Christians, the Pharisees who followed Hillel The Elder (Hillel's grandson was the Gamaliel of Acts 4) became the sole surviving sect, until it eventually broke up among themselves. So from 75ish on into Hadrian's reign Christians and Jews not only got along, but were the same to outsiders, as historical references linked to Domitian's persecution of both demonstrates.

But in 132 A.D. Simon Bar Kochba started another Jewish revolt,in response to Hadrian's plans to built a Temple to Jupiter on the Temple Mount. Christians might have been supportive, but because he proclaimed himself The Messiah, Christians were naturally not wiling to follow him. So he started a vicious persecution of Christians. And resentment towards this Persecution is what Christian Anti-Semitism was born from, we failed this time to follow the example of Stephen's dying words. "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge."

I tend to agree with those Prophecy teachers who say that to some extend all of Israel's history has been laid out in advance by God. The Bar Kochba period is definitely of vital importance.

Perhaps to a lesser extent even what happens after the Abomination verse could have a type fulfillment in this period. Bar Kochba certainly was a False Christ(False Messiah) and the Rabbi who wrote the Sedar Olam to try and make the 70 week Prophecy point to him was indeed a False Prophet and/or False Teacher. And them in Judea did flee, many scholars consider this the real beginning of the Diaspora rather then 70 A.D. Indeed in 70 A.D. it was mostly Jews being taken as slaves to Rome, which Luke's Discourse references but not Mark, Hadrian kicked all the Jews out of Jerusalem, and many out of Judea.

Do the three different contexts color the differences in how the Non Signs are expressed? I will address only one. Contrary to what the many Translations say, the Greek text used Christos after "Many shall come in my name, saying, I am....." only in Matthew.

First though does the "in my name" really mean literally claiming to be Jesus? Not really, it can just mean someone usurping his status. Revelation 19 says both "and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself." and "And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."

You might at first think this usage of the word Christ/Messiah is the opposite of what you'd expect. The two in the contexts of Jewish in origin persecution, and Jewish revolts that involved Messianic claimants. But I think the key is who's being warned not to be deceived. Matthew the most has a Jewish context in mind. While the other two are for more general predominantly Gentile Christians, they weren't vulnerable to thinking Bar Kochba was The Messiah.

Luke's is the one taught publicly because that was the one nearest to be fulfilled, the word needed to spread fast. Matthew and Mark quickly wrote down what future generations needed to know.

Matthew's was heard by all 12 Disciples, so Matthew was again recording something he was an eye witness too, he tends to write down the longest speeches, being trained in short hand as a Roman customs official gave him an advantage there. I believe the statements of the Early Fathers that Mark was writing down what Peter preached in the 40s A.D. is correct, and has possible Biblical support in Peter's referring to Mark in his Epistle. I also believe subtleties of the text in Acts 13 imply Mark's Gospel was already written by the time those events took place. So we have Peter's eye witness account in Mark 13.

The Olivite Discourse, Matthew and Luke



Mark 13 may be a separate matter altogether.

First off, the setting.

Mt 24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
____________________________________
Lu 21:5 And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.  And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?
Matthew's is a private conference with the Disciples where some time has passed since his "not one stone left" statement. And said statement is not really what the Disciples asked, they asked about his coming and the time of the end. Maybe they assumed they'd be the same thing, but the Answer Yeshua gave made no illusion to The Temple's destruction.

But in Luke he's asked to elaborate on what he said immediately, and is clearly in context something he preached publicly. The introduction to Luke's Gospel if you know the Greek implies Luke interviewed eye witnesses, he wrote down I think reports he got from many, not just the Disciples with whom his contact was limited if he knew them at all, cause he joins Paul in Acts 16, after his last meeting with the Disciples.

The very set up tells us their different. See I'm going to argue that the Preterists are mostly right about Luke 21, but not at all about Matthew 24. Luke's context is to explain the Destruction of The Temple, but Matthew's is The End Times and his Second Coming

Mt 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 
And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

__________________________________________
Lu 21:8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am He; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.  But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.
Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.
These have difference in details but I won't dispute he's talking about the same thing. This is the section constantly interpreted to be parallel to the Four Horsemen, I'll explain my issues with that in a future study, but for my purpose here that's irrelevant.

The key distinction is the timing of what comes next. Persecution of believers is what's being described in both, in some similar terms because persecution are often similar, Satan isn't that creative. but how their timed with what he just described is distinct.

Mt 24:8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted,

_______________________________________________
Lu 21:12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you,
In Matthew he speaks of a persecution that follows the prior signs he just described. But in Luke the Persecution comes first. In Luke it's the persecutions inflicted by Jews that Luke latter records in Acts, as starting with Stephen. Specifically Jewish references exit in Luke like Synagogues. No references to False Prophets here, meaning no falling away within the Church, because they were prepared for this persecution.

In Matthew no specific Jewish references like Synagogues exist, but we are hated of All Nations for his name's sake. False Prophets do arise to deceive many, and iniquity abounds. The believers were not prepared for this Persecution. Even though I'm against Pre-Trib I'm not gonna blame people being Pre-Trib on this, cause lots of Pre-Tribbers like Chuck Missler believe a Pre-Trib persecution. Regardless of their Rapture views all Western Christians have become complacent by having it too easy for so long now. But Matthew also says during this time The Gospel shall reach all kingdoms of the world, and then the time of the End shall come.

I'm not gonna quote the Persecution accounts here, read them for yourselves. My next point is what follows Persecution. The centerpiece of both accounts are different.

Mt 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
_______________________________________________
Lu 21:20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains
No reference to Daniel in Luke, no Armies surrounding the city in Matthew. No Abomination or Holy Place in Luke. Also Jerusalem is only named in Luke but that's not significant both clearly mean Jerusalem.

Only the word "Desolation" and a warning to Flee to Mountains gives any basis for thinking their the same.

Desolation only refers to "The Abomination of Desolation" when both words are used together. The Hebrew Scriptures often uses "Desolations of Jerusalem" to refer to Jerusalem being desolate after the destruction in 588 B.C. Like in Daniel 9 setting up the 70 Weeks prophecy. In Luke Yeshua is foretelling that that shall happen again.

Some trying to insist a preterist interpretation doesn't work even for Luke's insist the word Desolation should make us think only of the Abomination, and that he's clearly directed people to the 70 Weeks prophecy. But the second to last verse of Daniel 9, in the same sentence that foretells the Second Temple's destruction says "and unto the end of the war desolations are determined." Same word that's translated "desolation" in the next verse.

It shouldn't surprise us both these events would be followed by people fleeing, possibly to mountainous regions, and some similar poetic language used. Josephus records how the problems of succession in Rome following Nero's death, the Romans Armies surrounded Jerusalem for a year before the siege really started. The Early Church fathers like Eusebius of Caesarea record how the Christians of the Jerusalem Church under their second "Bishop" Simon (possibly the half Brother of Jesus) fled Judea heeding Jesus warnings and so no Christians were killed in the 70 A.D. siege.

Some criticizing this view of Luke 21 insist things seem to happen to quickly in the description here to match 70 AD.  This is not the only time that how much time passes can seem shorter in divine Prophecy.  Remember Preterist base their whole argument on  things like "I Am coming quickly".  I don't think it's good idea for Futurists to fall into the same trap when it suits us.  Unless a amount of time is given, I feel it's unwise to build Doctrine to strongly on things seeming to happen quickly.

The big problem with making Luke 21:20-14 End Times is Jerusalem will NOT be successfully sieged in the End Times.  Zachariah 12-14 make clear that siege will fail because Jesus will return to defend Jerusalem.  When people Flee Jerusalem in the End Times it's after the Abomination of Desolation, something that doesn't happen until the Wars of the first half of the 70th Week are over.

But also only Luke refers to

Lu 21:24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
The "times of the Gentiles" is further explained in Romans 9-11. It's an idiom of the Church Age. After this the materiel again matches Matthew's, in a very broad sense at least, lots of details are missing.

Where the Preterists stumble is that that reference is were it jumps forward. As long as Jerusalem is still trampled by Gentiles (is even now with the Muslim shrines there) this Prophecy isn't done.

 Some insist the "Times of the Gentiles" refer to here must be only the Three and Half Years Revelation 11 speaks of the Outer Curt being trodden under.  That view however makes that Three and half years the Second half of the 70th week.  Revelation 11 as I've argued elsewhere must be the first half.  I do believe Revelation 11 marks the end of that period though, which is why I believe it ends as it appears to, when The Rapture is to happen, Mid-Trib.

Harmonizing The Gospels, The Disciples who were likely present when this Pubic sermon in Luke was given, may have at first drew the same false conclusion from this public speech Preterists take, that the End Times signs immediately follow Jerusalem's destruction, and sought more details on the subject.

The statement that prompts The Olivet Discourse occurs in all 3 Synoptic Gospels. But Luke uniquely seems interested in recording Jesus predictions of the Coming fall of Jerusalem even outside this Chapter. After the Triumphal entry Luke 19:41-44 records that Jesus.

And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying.  "If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.  For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation."
And then the cleansing of The Temple follows this.

As Jesus is bearing his Cross on to his Crucifixion Luke 23:27-

And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him.  But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.  For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.  Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.  For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?
Where he speaks of Judgment that will come upon them in the lifetime of their small Children, when they've become full grown adults. Some people want to add an End Times context here because of "say to the mountains, Fall on us" but such idioms of distress are not limited to the actual End Times.

What's interesting is Matthew and Mark were written way before Luke, The Gospels were written in the order we place them in according to all early Church sources. Mark was written based on what Peter taught in Rome in the Second year of Claudius. So the discourse(s) given more privately were written down first. Logical since people already knew what he taught publicly, only the bare essentials of that were of high priority to write down at first, mainly the Sermon on the Mount. which Matthew has the most complete account of

Luke was written right when it's narrative ended I believe, two years after Paul's first arrival in Rome. 62 A.D. about the latest possible date. So Luke was inspired to write down these Prophecies Yeshua gave of The Temple's destruction when it was less then a decade away.

In terms of the intent Audience wise, is the usual Pre-Triber view that Matthew's is to Israel and Luke's The Church accurate?

Matthew's is a Gospel that is in some ways the most Jewish as it was written in Hebrew first, and is the first Gospel written, Paul said "The Gospel is for the Jews first and then the Gentiles". But Matthew's is also kind of very Church specific, being the most themed on Discipleship.

Luke was a Gentile, who's audience was over all Gentiles ultimately. But that ironically results in Luke spending the most time explaining Jewish things.

The Church and Israel are separate Covenants, but they do overlap, all Jewish believers, the remnant not under the Spiritual Blindness Paul spoke of, are heirs to both Covenants. That begins with the 12, promised to rule over the 12 Tribes, and goes don to any present at the Rapture. I'm still unsure if I view the 144,000 as part of The Church.

If either Discourse was only for the Church it would be Matthew which was given, like the Kingdom parables, to only the Disciples. While Luke's account is a Public speech all of the Jews, whether they became saved or not, in Jerusalem during that Passover season heard. But in fact I view both as being equally for both, in terms of 70 A.D. only Christians heeded the warning, but he gave it to all.

But in terms of what the Disciples were told about the End Times, it's supposed to be what those of us who already know the content of this warning are proclaiming to the people of Israel who's time of Trouble is at hand, and I think chiefly the 144,000 will be doing just that, as well as the Two Witnesses. So that when it happens, they will know at that moment the New Testament was right, and their national salvation won't happen all at once here , but it begins in this moment. The persecution Matthew records before the Abomination of Desolation however is a Christian persecution not Jewish. The Disciples listening (representing the Church) are refereed to inclusively with those who are persecuted, but not with those who flee Judea.

Some have minimized the significance of the Sabbath reference in the fleeing part of Matthew's account. Saying that on the Sabbath it's difficult to travel for anyone in the region. Those usual traffic patterns of Israel however will be mot when this very Public Earth shattering event happens. The Sabbath isn't part of the Luke warning.

My interpretation of the Sabbath reference making it a warning for the Jews doesn't mean that I think they should delay fleeing when this happens if it's the Sabbath. Just to hope that it isn't an issue.

Now some hold the view that the people in Judea being told to flee here must be Christians because it must be understood in the context of the earlier persecution where they are hated "for my Name's sake. That doesn't fit grammatically or contextually at all. These people flee in response to the Abomination event, the victims of the earlier persecution are obviously all ready on the run, they did not need to see this event to become frighted. In fact Christians in this period should be relived, we should know his coming is imminent.

Who are the Elect. Elect means Chosen, 7 times the same Greek word is rendered Chosen. It can mean either the Church or Israel, or maybe even sometimes both. And once is used of Yeshua's Messianic claim in Luke 23:35. And of Angels in I Thessalonians 5:21. Those who want to assume it always refers to the exact same Elect are not paying close enough attention.

Thinking it means only The Church or The Saved is chiefly a Calvinist heresy to support their twisted take on Predestination. 1 Peter 1:2 makes clear we're Elect/Chosen because of the foreknowledge of God. God is outside time, so when we accept Yehsua as our Savior he writes our names in the Lamb's Book of Life before the Foundation of the World.

But some Pre-Tirbers insist it always means Israel to support their desire to claim Matthew 24:31 isn't the Rapture. Yet this part of Matthew resembles Paul's two definitive Rapture accounts in Corinthians and I Thessalonians more definitively then any other supposed Rapture reference.

The Elect in Matthew 24:31 are gathered from "all the winds of Heaven" Israel at he the end of the 70th week is in Edom, not scattered in different regions. And we know from Comparing John 19 and Isaiah 63 Yeshua returns to them, gathering is only a part of the Rapture.

Sadly, many fellow Mid-Trib or Pre-Wrath supporters (like Chris White) state definitively "Elect" NEVER means Israel in their zeal to refute the Pre-Trib view here. I don't know if he is Calvinist, or just ignoring the Calvinist implication of this very dangerous conclusion.

He cites John's Second Epistle's "Elect Lady" as a proof it means The Church always. This one is the least clear to me, first off I believe the individual woman being written to may well be like many others suspect Mary the Mother of Christ, who is the individual Woman in whom the core purpose of the Revelation 12 Woman was fulfilled, birthing The Seed of The Woman. And who Jesus entrusted John to take care of from The Cross.

To those who insist there is no individual in mind in 3 John,and it's simply to The Church, she has specific relatives refereed to in verse 4 and 13. Why not use this phrase in all three epistles if it simply means the Church?

Verses like "For many are called, but few are chosen." can't meant the Church unless you support the Calvinist heresy. This refers to Israel being God's Chosen people. It doesn't meant their Salvation works any differently, but they have an Election for a special status in Eternity if they accept Yeshua. Some of the Parables elaborate on this.

Eklegomai (ek-leg'-om-ahee) is a related but different word also rendered Chosen. On many occasions this and not Elect is used to refer to the 12 Disciples, that might help confuse people, it clearly includes Judas who was not saved. John's Gospel always uses this word, not Elect. He may have meant the same thing by the word. Either way, using it of Judas proves you don't need to be saved to qualify for that word.

The 12 are part of the overlap between Israel and the Church remember, they will rule over the 12 Tribes in Eternity.

Paul in Romans 8-11 uses another Greek word related to Elect, translated Election, clearly refers to the same concept, the verb form. 9-11 is all about refuting replacement theology. Those of us who are saved are saved by the "Election of Grace" Israel's covenant is a different Election, but is an Election. "As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes." enemies of the Gospel only because of a temporary Spiritual Blindness.

2 Thessalonians 2:14 is absolutely using Elect of Israel, not the Church, because he wants them to become Saved, so their clearly not saved believers already in The Church.

Back to The Olivet Discourses' usage of the word. Luke's doesn't use it at all. In addition to the key Rapture reference. The reference to "deceive if possible even the Elect" is probably also The Church, I'm not sure what exactly this means, if it means we can't be deceived, or that we could be if we're not paying close enough attention. But I know it's related to having The Holy Ghost, being biologically of Israel gives no special resistance to Deception. All the Unsaved will accept The Mark.

The first usage of the word is Matthew 24:22 "And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." And Mark 13:20 "And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.". Must be chronologically after the rest, regardless of what you think Elect means or when the Rapture is, this is referring to the days in question, and what follows is talking about what leads to that.

In this Context I feel it means Israel, because their people at risk of being killed if those days aren't shortened. Saved here clearly doesn't mean Eternal Salvation, but being saved from death and destruction, because it speaks of the flesh. But why even in the same discussion mean something different with each usage? Because the Rapture helps bring about the Spiritual Salvation of Israel.