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WHEN DID JESUS SAY THE RAPTURE WOULD TAKE PLACE? by Steve Jackson WHEN WILL THE RAPTURE TAKE PLACE? In answering this question, many Christians will give a typical response of quoting Mt. 24:36 - "But of that day and hour no one knows..." to indicate that we can not know the day or hour of the Rapture. However, they stop there and do not read the next verse where Jesus says, " But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." Here He makes it clear that He is speaking of the timing of His Return, which still in the context of verses 29 and 30, is "after the tribulation", when all the world will see Him...an event at the end of the 7 year "week" of Daniel's prophecy....not at the start of the 7 years!! So, the verse "...of that day and hour no one knows..." does not necessarily refer to the Rapture....unless it is at the end of the 7 years. Perhaps, because of a mistaken idea on the timing of the rapture, many Christians are not even aware that Jesus Himself did tell us in other places when the Rapture would take place...in fact, the very day of the Rapture, and these other scriptures do not conflict with Mt. 24:36 above. In fact He told us 4 times exactly which day it would be! So, lets take a look at what else Jesus said so that we can see how this is possible and just what He did say that pertains to the Rapture. But before we look at what day Jesus said the Rapture would occur, "Rapture" must be defined. Some Christians say the word "rapture" is not in the scriptures. Well, it depends on what scriptures you're talking about! The Latin Vulgate Bible is the Latin translation of the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts by Jerome completed around 405 A.D., and it does have that word in the section of scripture we are going to look at right now. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 says "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, that you do not sorrow, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so those also who sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so we shall ever be with the Lord. Therefore, comfort one another with these words." The portion highlighted above in this color in the Latin Vulgate reads: "deinde nos qui vivimus qui relinquimur simul rapiemur cum illis in nubibus obviam Domino in aera et sic semper cum Domino erimus". The Latin word for "shall be caught up" is "rapiemur". The Latin dictionary says that root for the Latin word "rapiemur" is "rapio" which it says means "to seize , snatch, tear away; to hurry along a person or thing". In Latin endings are tacked on for case, number, gender, tense, etc. One ending is "raptus" for example. Many words are "transliterated" directly into English with English endings added. For example the Greek "" transliterates letter for letter to "baptism" in English. There you have it. "Rapture" is a scriptural word...just in a different language (translation)! Even though it is a scriptural word, because of the association of the word "rapture" with levitation in Hinduistic, Persian, and occultic literature and also in spiritualist circles in the United States and Britain in the 19th and 20th centuries, some Christians do not want to use this term to describe the wonderful event described in these verses. Since the strength of the event is so well described by this choice of the Greek word by the Holy Spirit, it is obvious that some human beings (i.e. Christians saved at this time - both physically living and dead) will get new resurrection bodies and be caught up into the clouds to be with Jesus forever. This event is what the Holy Spirit, Paul and many Christians refer to as the "catching away, seizing or snatching away" of Christians and some other Christians refer to as the Rapture. It may be time for Christians to claim back this word for this blessed event. Now the root Greek word for "shall be caught up" is "harpazo"
and means "to seize, catch up, carry off by force, snatch out or away" which is pretty much the same meaning as "rapiemur"...which is probably why Jerome translated that way!
So, it really does not matter if a person doesn't like the word "rapture", the meaning of either the Latin or Greek word, "to seize, catch up, carry off by force, snatch out or away" describes the essence and nature of the event in this scripture passage very, very well. Paul said he got this from the Lord Jesus "For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord" (verse 15) - maybe he saw it in a vision - and "I would not have you to be ignorant, brothers" (verse13), and he is educating us to TRUTH and doesn't want us to be ignorant of what the Lord Jesus says! If believers are going to be "seized, caught up, carried off by force, snatched away" to meet the Lord "IN THE CLOUDS...IN THE AIR", that ought to be good enough for us too!
With that in mind, take a look at all the places in the New Testament where "harpazo" is used and see how it is used:
Matthew 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take <726> it by force <726>.
Matthew 13:19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away <726> that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
John 6:15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take <726> him by force <726>, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.
John 10:12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth <726> them, and scattereth the sheep. [How does a wolf get a sheep? "Harpazo" meaning "to seize, catch up, carry off by force, snatch out or away" fits here pretty good....wouldn't you say? Well, it's the same way Christians will be "caught away to meet the Lord in the air"!]
John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall <726> any man pluck <726> them out of my hand.
John 10:29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck <726> them out of my Father's hand.
Acts 8:39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away <726> Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip was found at Azotus. [Note earlier in this section that the angel told Philip to catch up and intercept this man traveling by chariot from Jerusalem to Gaza on a desert route. Take a look of a map of Israel to understand the significance of his being "caught away". Now if Philip was "caught away" from the closest part of that route to Azotus, he would have been "caught away " 10 miles minimum. If it was not at the closest point, it would have been more than 10 miles. How would you like to travel that way with no chariot or car? Well, that is how Christians, who are alive when Jesus comes, will be caught up to Him.]
Acts 23:10 And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take <726> him by force <726> from among them, and to bring him into the castle.
2 Corinthians 12:2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up <726> to the third heaven...4 How that he was caught up <726> into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. [It is believed by most Bible scholars that Paul was speaking humbly about himself being "caught up" because in verses 1-8 he says he does not want to glory in the amount of visions and revelations God gave him.]
1 Thessalonians 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up <726> together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Jude 1:23 And others save with fear, pulling <726> them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
Revelation 12:4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child (i.e. Jesus) as soon as it was born. 5 And she brought forth a man child (i.e. Jesus), who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child (i.e. Jesus) was caught up <726> (i.e. his ascension to heaven 40 days after his resurrection) unto God, and to his throne.
Note that "harpazo" always means to catch, seize, pluck, or take something by force or power. It does not talk of some vague, weak action, but a strong, powerful, violent removal of something. All the verses in red deal with people changing location supernaturally...going from one place on earth to another place on earth, or going to the third heaven, or paradise, or to the throne of God. Why would being caught up to the clouds in the air in 1 Thes. 4:17 be any different? Well, it isn't!
This event is equated again by both Paul and the Holy Spirit to be one and the same as the Resurrection of 1 Cor. 15:35, 51-52. This being the case, then Jesus had very pointed statements as to when these 2 events would take place and at this point, we can now take a look at the 4 times Jesus told us what day would be the day of the Resurrection or the "snatching away"
You will be amazed at the four times in the gospels that Jesus told us when the Resurrection would take place because you have probably read them many times and never really noticed a phrase of three particular words repeated and grasped their significance. Have you ever heard or read them before? Here are those 4 passages:
1) "And this is the Father's will who has sent me, that of all whom He has given me I should lose none, but should raise him up again at the last day." (John 6:39) Dear Reader, are you one that the Father has given to Jesus? If so, Jesus said He would raise you up on the last day!
2) "And this is the will of him who sent me…that every one who sees the Son and believes on Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day". (John 6:40) Dear Reader, are you one that has believed on the Son? If so, Jesus said He would give you eternal life and raise you up on the last day!
3) "No man can come to Me, except the Father who has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:44) Dear Reader, are you one that the Father has drawn to Jesus? If so, Jesus said He would raise you up on the last day!
4) "Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:54) Dear Reader, are you one that has eaten His flesh and drank His blood and has eternal life? If so, Jesus said He would raise you up on the last day!
Jesus tells us 4 times, "…I will raise him up at the last day", but precedes that statement by telling us who he will raise, and most Christians would have to say those 4 preceding descriptions include them! So, Christians would be raised on the Last Day. Do they include you? If so, you will be raised on the last day too!
When is the Last Day? That is a good question and deserves an honest answer. In Mt. 24:3 "...the disciples came to Him privately, saying, Tell us, 'When shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?'" (Note on the word "age" in the verse just quoted: The King James Version translates the Greek word "aeon" as "world" whereas Greek lexicons translates it "age", meaning "an unbroken age, perpetuity of time". In fact "aeon" transliterates directly into English as "aeon" or "eon" (look both words up in your English dictionary) from which we have a popular expression…"I haven't seen him for eons (of time)!" They are saying in effect, "I haven't seen him for ages." The world will not end when Jesus comes back; the age will. "Age" is the correct translation for "aeon".)
Then Jesus gives his reply starting in the next verse. Note the high lighted parts:
4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
6 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.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Jesus concludes the answer in verses 29-31 with his coming at the end of the age:
29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Jesus concludes his answer to "when is the end of the age" by giving the signs of his Second Coming to planet Earth. This is the END OF THE AGE! Other time expressions occur in the Bible like "last time, last times, latter day, latter days, last days" (you will recall Acts 2:17 "in the last days, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh...") and here under discussion, "last day". So, the Last Day is the last day of the "latter days" or of the "last days" or of the Age. What could be simpler?
Obviously, "the last day" is a 24 hour day. Paul says the Resurrection (of Christians) will be in the twinkling of an eye (1 Cor. 15:52) and how long does that take? It certainly can't occupy more than one day because it is one split second! Incidentally, if there were two phases of one Resurrection separated by 7 years, as some people teach, wouldn't there have to be TWO "twinklings of an eye"? Paul would have had to been mistaken in telling us that there was only ONE!
There are still more "at the last day" scriptures we haven't looked at yet, but when have you ever heard an End Time expositor consider what Jesus had to say in these scriptures about when he says the Resurrection will take place? Let's take a look at another such scripture. It is John 11:24 where Martha, even with limited teaching from Jesus, understood the simple truth of when Jesus would "raise ALL believers". "Martha says to Him, 'I know that he [Lazarus] shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.'" How much better should we know it? So we may not know the particular "day or hour" of the Resurrection on the calendar, but we can know that it is on the "last day" of the Age!
Now since all Christians will be resurrected on the Last Day, then this event is described in different ways in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-55 and Matthew 24:29-31. Many Christians have been taught that Mt. 24 is for the Jew after Christians have been "snatched out" to be with the Lord (1 Thes. 4:15-17). However, as it can now be understood that Christians will be raised or changed on the Last Day of the Age, it can be seen that Mt. 24 is really for all believers and applies to Christians (Jew or Gentile) on Earth during that time. Thus, Mt. 24 is far more relevant than what so many have realized. Let's take a look and see what Jesus has to say to us.
Open your Bible to Mt. 24 and take a closer look at the end time events that Jesus gives and notice that they are basically in chronological order as indicated by a liberal supply of time-order indicators like "then" in verses 9, 10, 11, 14, 16, 21, 23, 30, 40, "not yet" in verse 6, "therefore when" in verse 15, and "immediately after" in verse 29. These time-ordering indicators makes it easy to see the chain of events that will happen. They are of the utmost importance in a proper end-time sequence to determine the timing of the rapture. This whole discourse of Jesus in Mt. 24 was preceded by the disciples asking 3 questions in verse 3: When will these things happen? What will be the sign of your coming? What will be the sign of the end of the age? Jesus answers them in verses 4 through 31. Read along in your Bible. Here is the order of events:
1) verses 4-8:
Jesus says this period is the "beginning of sorrows" (verse 8) before the tribulation of verse 9 for "the end is not yet" (verse 6). It is the time of escalating political unrest, famines, disease, and geological disturbance, with rising deceptive messianic claims.
2) verses 9-14:
This period is the "sorrows" that Jesus alluded to in verse 8. It is the period of "tribulation" (verse 9), "offenses" growing into "hatred", persecution, and "betrayal" where "lawlessness abounds and love grows cold" making many people ripe for "false prophets that will mislead". Notice the word "then" being used 4 times here ordering the sequence of events. Notice further that Jesus says that this period ends at his coming and that the end won't occur until the gospel has been preached in all the world and that those "who endure to the end will be saved" (i.e. delivered in the broad sense of the Greek word "sozo").
3) verses 15-28:
This period is the "great tribulation" and starts in verse 15 when Jesus says, "Therefore when [note the time-order indicators] you see the Abomination of Desolation, spoken by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place...". Jesus is referring to what Daniel said, "And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the middle of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make [it] desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate." (Dan. 9:27), and "shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place there the abomination that makes desolate." (Dan. 11:31), and "And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that makes desolate set up..." (Dan.12:11).
Jesus said that this period of "great tribulation" starts when the Abomination of Desolation appears...which Daniel says takes place in the "middle of the (70th) week". Jesus tells us further that this period goes to the end of the age when He returns. Incidentally, since Daniel got all this information that was quoted above from the angel, Gabriel, and other angels who obviously got it from God, and Jesus referred to it as being correct, the above chronology and time table is beyond controversy.
Now the middle of the "week" (Hebrew word meaning "seven") of years is 3 1/2 years from the end of the week. This 3 1/2 years is referred to in other portions of the books of Daniel and Revelation as "time, times and half a time", "42 months", or "1260 days". They are one and the same period of time...just different ways of saying it (calculate it out yourself). For anyone looking for proof of this, Rev. 12:6 and 12:14 equate the "1260 days" and "time, times, and half a time", respectively, and Rev. 11: 2 and 11:3 equate the "42 months" and the "1260 days", respectively.
This time will be so bad that Jesus warns them that "when you see the Abomination of Desolation standing in the holy place" of the temple (see also Thes. 2:4), "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains". He tells them not even to go back home and get some clothes, but to drop everything and head for the hills! Maybe that's where the expression came from, "Head for the hills!" He further warns them that those who are pregnant, those who are nursing babies, and indeed, those who are practicing Jews and are limited by the distance they can travel on the Sabbath will suffer additional hardships, not to forget the increased misery all would have to suffer if this event occurs in the winter time. Note that Jesus' statements, "...standing in the holy place...those in Judea...Sabbath..." indicate local events in Jerusalem, Judea and much of Israel . It is not that the rest of the world will be untouched by end time events, but that Jesus is relating them to the land of Israel and the Jews who live there because that is where the worst of it will center. The rest of the world will hear about this through the mass media, but for those there in Israel, it will be a worse time than for the rest of the world. That's why Jesus says at this point that it is time to head for the hills!
The reason that Jesus gives these extreme commands to flee in the light of the great suffering people will have to endure is because, "For then [note again the time-order indicators] there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved [i.e. delivered]; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened" (verses 21, 22). When Jesus says there never was or will be a time with more tribulation than this, you had better be sure He knows what He is talking about. That is why He is warning us. Then in verses 23-28, He goes on with another time-order indicator, "Then, if anyone..." further warns them of the great deception that they are ripe for due to their great vulnerability to a whole flurry of false christs and prophets saying that the Christ has already come in secret. He says ignore them because when He, the real Christ comes, it will be as obvious as lightning starting at one end of the sky and streaking and flashing across to the opposite side and that just as the birds are drawn to a carcass, so will the saved be gathered together to him!
Yes, it will be a terrible time..., but it will also be a glorious time for God will show much grace and protection upon His children and many Christians will lead many people to the Lord. "After these things I looked, and saw a great multitude that no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, crying out with a loud voice, saying, 'Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb'. And all the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, 'Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might be onto our God forever and ever. Amen!' Then, one of the elders answered, saying to me, "Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?"...he said to me, 'These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them" (Rev. 7:9-15). Yes, this is not a time for Christians to fear, but to prepare for the greatest time and serve God with their whole heart, mind and soul.
If you believe that God did raise Jesus Christ from the dead, but have not yet given your life and will over to God through Jesus Christ, why not make Jesus your Lord, that is master, of your life and confess Him from the heart as your Lord and commit yourself to Him, so that He might save you to Himself and make a new creation out of you (see Romans 10:9-10 and 2 Cor. 5:17). Then you have no need to fear anything that is coming in the future, for you will have put your life into His hands!
4) verses 29-31:
This period is the "coming of the Son of Man", the Rapture: "Immediately after [note the time-order indicator again] the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then [another time-order indicator] the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Mt. 24:29-31)
This period starts "immediately after the tribulation of those days" and concludes with the Resurrection of dead Christians, the changing of living Christians to immortality and catching them all away to be with the Lord on the Last Day. Speaking of the events in the last paragraph, Jesus says in Lk. 21:28, "Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is very near!" Why? Because it's the rapture, and Jesus is coming to receive us to Himself! Why "look up and lift your heads"? Because He is coming from "up"..."coming in the clouds of glory"...and "we shall be caught up...in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air"! The events that happen at this point may be the most stupendous, the most incredible, the most fantastic events that any human being will have ever seen. They start with the heavenly signs that the prophets of old (Isa. 13:10, Ezek. 32:7, Joel) have prophesied over thousands of years ago. The Church was birthed on Peter's proclamation that the Pentecostal pouring out of God's Holy Spirit was the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy (see Acts 2:16-21 and Joel 2:28-32) and that God "would show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: blood, fire, and smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and notable Day of the Lord shall come." This is repeated in Rev. 6:12 as the Sixth Seal. What an awesome, fantastic event. No one will miss this when it happens. This will not be "done in a corner". You would have to be blind in one eye and not be able to see out of the other to miss this!
If this was not enough, "then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory". This is going to be a "two for one special" like none before. On the heels of the first dramatic eye opener will be the Lord's personal appearance and revelation and "Behold, he comes with clouds, and every eye will see him...and all the kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him" (Rev. 1:7).
Perhaps "the sign of the Son of Man in heaven" will be a vision of "they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven..." since when he comes back in his physical resurrection body, he can be only in one place physically at a time and obviously that will be in the sky over Jerusalem, and the rest of the world will need a sign and comprehension that something did take place - namely, his return to planet earth! That may be why "all the tribes will mourn" and "every eye will see him".
Now if even this wasn't enough, there's more yet! "And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other" (Mat. 24:31). This will be 1 Thes. 4:15-17 coming alive! No more of just words on a page. The Incredible will have taken place..."the Lord, himself, shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead shall rise first. Then, we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air..." The archangel and angels will be involved in this at the Lord's command collecting the saints from the "four corners of heaven" " together to meet the Lord to be with him forever."
That trumpet is the Seventh Trumpet of Rev. 11:15-19 which signals the end of the Age and its history. Some Christians (who are pre-tribulationists) believe the "last trumpet" of 1 Cor. 15:52 is the first "last trumpet" and the Seventh Trumpet will come 7 years later and is the second "last trumpet". However, there are no two "last trumpets"; there is only one...just as there are not two raptures at the start and end of Daniel's Seventieth Week...just one...and it will be on the Last Day of the Age.
Thank God Jesus told us when the rapture would take place...not only four places and times in John's gospel but also in Matthew 24. We may not be able to say right now what the date is, but we do know it will be "after the tribulation of those days", and we can know the chronology and the number of days between certain events so that we can know when Jesus will come for us. The closer we get to it, the more obvious will be those things in prophecy which are hard to foresee right now. Thank God Jesus told us the whole scenario that we can understand how simple and straight forward it really will be. These are exciting times to be living in. We could be very close to his coming and to being caught up to be with him forever!
"Behold, I show you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?'" (1 Cor.15:51-55)
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WHEN IS THE RAPTURE TAKING PLACE 2011, 2012
"But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand." Ezekiel 33:6
Will the Rapture take place in 2011 or 2012?
What does the Bible really teach us about the Rapture(s) and when will they happen?
In this article I will not explain why there will be two raptures you can find this information covered on other articles on this site.
I am not setting any definite dates here you should always live like the rapture will happen today.
This web site looks for the best scenario of the coming time in light of the Bible and history. It is not an absolute prediction.
Being a Christian is all about having faith, and the information here on this web site is very creditable and not in any way just some fantasy of a deluded man, if you will read my pages with an open mind and with faith in Jesus Christ and his ability to keep his promise to his people you will see that the time is right for the Rapture, however remember the saying "For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible."
Also it should be noted that I am a "watchman" I wait and watch, I expect nothing I just watch for the right time for the return of Jesus because he made that promise to us that he will return so that's why I watch, it is my job to sound the alert when I see that the time is right and I invite you to be a watcher with me however if you are one of those people that gets upset when thing don't your way then it might be better to not be a watcher. Being a watcher is all about faith and patience and being faithful to the end.
"But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand." Ezekiel 33:6
So I am warning all of you as to what I see in the very near further:
Folks, at this time life on earth is changing! This change is beyond what anyone dreamed of or even imagined would occur, especially in America. The “signs” of such changes are all about us, and can easily be seen by those who are seriously studying God’s Word and watching world events.
Every area of life as we have known it in the past is collapsing. There is no question in my mind that total collapse will occur very soon. The economy will collapse, our money will become worthless, more businesses and factories will close, thousands of people will be without work, gas and food shortages will develop, utilities [gas; water; electric] will fail, all forms of communication will break down [yes, even your computer and cell phone], crime will mushroom, law enforcement and governmental authority will break down, and people will be left to their own resources to provide for themselves and their families or starve and die. Martial law will be declared and the authorities will oppress and enslave the people. Humanity is now facing a time unlike anything they have ever seen before in human history. If any reader doesn’t believe this, it won’t change the truth one bit. Just keep breathing and you will see it for yourself.
But don’t despair! In this dark forecast there is a bright side.
I am personally expecting the Lord to come through Heaven’s “open door” and rescue [rapture] His people [true believers] sometime in 2011 or 2012. READY OR NOT HE IS COMING!
Revelation 3:10-11 -- Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
1 Thessalonians 4: 16-17 -- For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-10 -- But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7 For they that sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
Philippians 3:20-21 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
Matthew 25:1-13 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. 11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
The question you ask should not be when will the rapture happen but will I be taken when it does happen?
The Difference in those taken and those that will not be taken in the rapture.
“Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”
It should be obvious to any reader willing to deal honestly with the Scriptures, from this statement of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself that some are going to be “accounted worthy to escape” all the terrible earthquakes, famines, pestilences, raging of the seas, shaking of the heavens, wars, persecutions, terrible trouble, and destruction and death, that Christ predicted to come upon the earth during the Tribulation period as recorded in His Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, and Luke 21.
In spite of the lack of serious Bible study and “willing ignorance” of some “professing Christians” today, the inspired Word of God still teaches that the Tribulation will bring God’s righteous and well deserved judgment UPON THE ENTIRE EARTH. See Isaiah 13:9-11, 14:26, 34:1-2, 66:15-16, Jeremiah 10:10, 25:31-33, Nahum 1:5, Haggai 2:6-7, Zephaniah 3:8, and many other similar passages. If one studies these passages and believes what is actually and literally stated, the Tribulation judgments will include every square inch of the earth’s surface plus the interior beneath the surface.
It should then be obvious that since the Tribulation is to come upon “all the earth,” the ONLY way to “escape” will require being total removed from off the earth. This being the case, then it should also be obvious that those “accounted worthy to escape” will either have to physically DIE en mass just before the beginning of the Tribulation, or they will have to be bodily and supernaturally removed [raptured] from off the face of the earth. There is no other logical, reasonable, and SCRIPTURAL conclusion that even makes sense. Hello!
Now just where in the Scriptures are we told that God’s people [true believers] are going to DIE en mass just before the Tribulation begins? Where? It isn’t going to happen!
But the inspired Word does tell us….. “Behold, I show you a mystery; We [true believers] shall not all sleep [die; sleep of death], but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed,” 1 Corinthians 15:50-51. Now compare this statement with Philippians 3:20-21 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, and you will KNOW what kind of “change” the Lord Himself has in mind for every true believer at the time our Heavenly Father has appointed for the Pre-tribulation Rapture to occur, Acts 17:26.
Dear readers, it doesn’t really matter who or how many want to deny it, the Pre-tribulation rapture of God’s people IS SCRIPTURALLY ESTABLISHED TRUTH! Regardless of how many people “professing” to love God and His Word refuse to believe it and even stand up to deny it, it will still occur right on schedule whether they believe it or not. How can I be so sure?
Because it was also the Lord Jesus Christ Himself who explicitly stated to His church and all those who “hath an ear,” “Because thou hast kept the Word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation [peirasmos…look it up]; which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth,” Revelation 3:10; 3:13. The Lord Jesus I believe in and serve IS NOT A LIAR!
The question then to be considered is not whether the rapture of God’s people is going to occur, for it will! Neither is the question whether some will “escape” the Tribulation by being raptured, for the Lord’s own statement makes it evident that those who are “accounted worthy” will “escape.” The real question then to be considered by those who claim to believe God’s Word is.....
WHO IS GOING TO BE TAKEN IN THE RAPTURE?
Here we are faced with another topic which is causing considerable controversy in the ranks of Christianity today. Who is going to be taken in the rapture, and who is going to BE LEFT BEHIND? This controversy is totally unnecessary if people would just seriously study the Word and pay attention to what they are reading.
Now WHO did the Lord Himself say would “escape”? Read our text for this study again… The Lord explicitly said that it will be those who are “accounted worthy.” Now how do you read that Scripture? Did the Lord just say “worthy”? He absolutely did not! Then why do so many today read the Scripture that way? Is your attention span that short? Do you not know how to read? Or are you just dull witted? No, I’m not deliberately trying to be offensive! The Lord knows my heart and He knows that I mean no offense to any reader. God forbid! Rather, I’m trying to get those who claim to be God’s people to get serious about studying the Scriptures and pay attention to what they are reading. What the Lord actually and literally said was “accounted worthy.” Is this stated plainly enough?
Dear readers, with the exception of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, there has not been a single member of Adam’s race who has ever lived, or who is living today, who is “worthy” of God’s grace, God’s mercy, God’s salvation, God’s blessings, God’s Heaven, or of “escaping” God’s “wrath.” Yes, every one of us, myself included, DESERVE nothing better than eternal damnation in the lake of fire and brimstone “for ever and ever, Revelation 20:15. Why? Because we have “all sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23. Read Romans 3:9-18 and let the truth stated there soak in. Any reader who doesn’t like this statement or agree with it should read Galatians 6:3 and Romans 3:3-4. By God’s grace I have stated the truth whether some like it or not!
Now are our readers beginning to get a mental [and spiritual] picture of just how precious “the grace of God” really is? And yet the Lord has graciously and lovingly chosen to bestow His grace upon hell deserving sinners? Praise God!
What does it mean to be “accounted worthy”?
Since no human being, living or dead, has ever been or ever will be “worthy,” then who is it that is going to be “accounted worthy to escape all these things…..and to stand before the Son of man” in glory following the rapture? I’m so glad you asked…
If our readers really want the answer to this question settled in their hearts and minds once and for all, then why not pay attention to what the Lord Himself said about being “accounted worthy”? The only other time in the entire New Testament where this particular expression occurs is in the preceding chapter in Luke 20:35-36. In this context the Lord was answering the silly question of the unbelieving Sadducees. In replying to them the Lord explicitly said, “…The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die anymore: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” Praise the Lord!
The Lord Himself in this passage explicitly stated that those who are “accounted worthy” are “children of God” and are also “children of the resurrection.” Glory to God! In other words they are true believers who have been saved by the grace of God [Ephesians 2:8-9], born of the Spirit of God [John 3:3-8], washed from sin by the precious blood of our Lord [1 Peter 1:18-19], and have the righteousness of Christ Himself “imputed” to them, Romans 4:1-25. In this chapter in Romans notice especially verses 23-25. The Father in Heaven and the Lord Himself therefore no longer see the true believer as a lost sinner deserving of eternal damnation, but rather our Heavenly Father sees us as His children, clean, pure, holy, undefiled, and ready to be raptured to glory, Romans 8:14-17. Hallelujah!
Every reader should be able to understand that the “spiritual position” of the true believer in Christ then makes a distinct difference between those who are saved, and those who are still unbelieving and lost in sin. Sadly, many if not most “professing Christians” today fall into the latter category.
Before we return to the main point of this study, let’s examine some differences that many today in the ranks of Christianity choose to ignore.
Profession…….Dear readers, there is a vast difference between “professing” faith in Christ and genuinely placing one’s faith in Christ, Galatians 3:26. Talk is cheap! Any lost “religionist” can make a “profession.” Walking up a church aisle and shaking the pastor’s hand and making a “profession” of faith IS NOT SALVATION! If a “vain profession” is all any reader of this study is counting on for their salvation, your “profession” was nothing but an exercise in futility. You are still lost in sin and on the broad way “that leadeth to destruction, Matthew 7:13-14.
Baptism…….There is also a vast difference between being “born of the Spirit” [John 3:3-8] and being dunked, poured, or sprinkled by someone or some church or religion. Many today who “profess” to be Christians look back to the time when they were “baptized,” and claim that experience as their salvation. Hogwash! Yes I said “Hogwash!” One can wash a hog until the hog is sparkling clean on the outside, but the hog will still inevitably go right back to their “wallowing in the mire.” God’s Word says so! Read it for yourself in 2 Peter 2:20-22. Baptism [immersion in water, or the corruptions of it through pouring on water or sprinkling] has never saved anyone, nor will it ever save anyone! If baptism is all any reader is depending on for their salvation, then they are still lost in sin and on the road to hell, 1 Peter 3:21.
Church membership…….There is also a vast difference between being written in “the Lamb’s book of life” in Heaven [Revelation 21:27], and having one’s name on the roll of some church on earth. Over and over again throughout the New Testament people are warned about “religious” lost people who would infiltrate the churches, pretending to be “Christians.” It would take an absolute “dunce” to deny that it has happened! In most churches today are lost church members who are depending on their church membership for their salvation. God have mercy on such spiritual ignorance! Being a member of a church has never saved anyone, and never will save anyone.
I have had the blessing of seeing hundreds of precious souls come to a saving knowledge of Christ across these many years. I rejoice and thank God that they finally found the Lord Jesus Christ as their own personal Savior, for the sad truth is that an estimated three-fourths of them were lost church members when they finally got saved. If “church membership” is all some readers are depending on for their salvation, they are going to be terribly disappointed when they stand before the “Great White Throne” in eternity, Revelation 20:15.
I could mention many other differences between real salvation in Christ, and vain claims that have no substance in reality. But rather than labor the point, let’s go back to the real point of this entire study. ”Who is going to be taken in the rapture”? And……
What determines the Difference…??
Folks, who is taken in the rapture and who is left behind is totally and absolutely A MATTER OF THE HEART! I want to emphasize the real difference which will determine who will be taken when the rapture occurs and who be left behind on the earth to face the terrible Tribulation.
“But what saith it? The Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the Word of faith, which we preach;
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation,” Romans 10:8-10.
Yes, a person “professing” to be a “Christian” can still miss the rapture! In this passage in Romans 10 the “way” for a lost sinner to be saved is as clearly stated as anywhere in the entire Word of God. Notice that the word “heart” occurs three times in these inspired verses. The number, “3,” just happens to be the Bible number connected with “the resurrection and rapture” repeatedly throughout the entire Bible. The inspired Word repeatedly teaches in both the Old and New Testaments that the Lord God of Heaven is looking at what is in man’s heart. Where salvation is concerned [and even service to and for the Lord], the Lord is not at all impressed by the “outward appearance” of men. He is looking at what is in the “heart.” See 1 Samuel 16:7, Jeremiah 17:9-10, and Proverbs 14:12.
In Matthew 15:7-8, the Lord in speaking to the scribes and Pharisees [“religious” people], said, “Ye hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoreth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me.” It is obvious from the Lord’s statement that He refused to accept their outward “profession” of love for Him, when He knew what was really in their “heart.” Now what makes some “professing Christians” today think they can deceive the Lord Jesus Christ by cloaking themselves in “religion,” any more than the ancient scribes and Pharisees were able to deceive Him? Some today are deceived all right, but the Lord isn’t!
I suggest that our readers carefully read the letter to the church at Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-22 again, remembering that this particular church letter represents [typifies] the very period in church history in which we are living RIGHT NOW. Now be honest about what you read! Which of those addressed in this church letter did the Lord promise to come in to? Was it those who were “lukewarm” and “boastful” [3:15-17], or was it those who hear His “knock,” listen to His “voice,” [His Word] and “open the door” to let Him in, 3:20? Isn’t the answer glaringly obvious? Well…?? The Lord still looks on the heart!
There are many other passages in God’s Word we could use to emphasize this truth, but let’s look at only one more passage. In Matthew 5:8 the Lord Himself explicitly stated, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”
Now carefully read Revelation 4:1-11 and notice WHO it was that John and the 24 elders [type of the raptured saints, 5:8-10] saw sitting on the Throne in Heaven immediately after the “voice…..of a trumpet” commanded him to “Come up hither” in 4:1. It was Almighty God, the Heavenly Father of every true believer, Romans 8:14-17. Why will John and the 24 elders be able to see God sitting upon His throne in glory? Because the “heart” of every true believer will have been “purified” by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 1:18-23. Read the passage for yourself, and if you are a true believer then lift your eyes and heart to Heaven and give glory and honor and praise and thanksgiving to God for your salvation. Praise the Lord!
What can we conclude from these Scriptures, and many others that I could present? Simple!
PURE IN HEART…..”accounted worthy” and RAPTURED TO GLORY!
VAIN PROFESSION…..spiritually blind Laodicean “religiosity”…..still lost in sin and LEFT BEHIND at the rapture.
Dear reader, there is not one person who reads this study who has to be left behind at the rapture, for our gracious and loving Lord has provided a “way” of “escape” for every one of us, John 14:6; 3:36; Acts 16:30-31. The Lord God of Heaven gave you a “will” of your own and you are able and “must” make a choice, Acts 4:12. Choose carefully! Yes, you MAY be saved during the Tribulation if you are LEFT BEHIND when the rapture occurs, but you also MAY NOT be saved during that terrible time. Choose carefully! It is your own eternal soul that is hanging in the balances! Choose carefully!
I am going to bring this study to closure with this simple but awesome truth stated in God’s Word,
“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent,” Acts 17:30.
May the Lord graciously bless His Word to the hearts and minds of every reader is my prayer.
The bottom line message of the signs is that we are living on borrowed time. And the crucial question for every human being is: Are you ready for the return of Jesus; will He come as your Blessed Hope or your Holy Terror?
It will be one or the other, for God is determined to deal with sin, and He does so with either grace or wrath:
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
If you have put your faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then you are under God's grace. Your sins have been forgiven and forgotten, and you can look forward with confidence to that glorious day when Jesus will appear in the heavens and call us home in the Rapture.
But if you have not received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are under the wrath of God, and you have nothing to look forward to except the terror of His wrath.
Are you ready for the Rapture? The only way to be ready is to be born again in Christ and live the true Christian life.
The fact is people die every day. On average one person dies every 11 seconds and most of them die without any warning. So the main question you should be asking yourself is if I die right now would I go to heaven or hell?
Learn how to be Saved and become a true Christian and know you have a home in heaven.
God bless you all.
Rev. JR Seabolt
(Flying away soon to occur. Not responsible for stove left on, un piloted vehicle, unpaid parking tickets, sudden traffic jams, one world currency, Destruction of Damascus, Islamic terrorists taking control of governments or churches that maintain attendance numbers post rapture.)
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What is God's will for your life? Many students desire to do God's will, but struggle because they don't know what God's will is. The following are some principles from God's Word that will help you to discern what God's will is for you. God does have great plans for your life! We were created by God, in His image, for a purpose. Just as God set apart from birth Isaiah (Isaiah 49:1), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:5) and Paul (Galatians 1:15) for a specific purpose, he also has a specific plan for your life. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declared the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11). The Bible says that God's will is “good, pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2). God's will, first and foremost, is that we have a relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4). God wants us to be Christ's disciples. This means Christians must be committed to following God's will daily, whatever the cost. “If anyone would come to me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). The Bible will help us to know God's will. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105). God promises to give us wisdom if we just ask Him in prayer, believing that He will give it. Sometimes we need to just ask God to give us wisdom to discern His will. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). In Philippians 4:6, God tells us that we can pray about everything. God has given us the Holy Spirit for guidance. “...when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth...” (John 16:13a). We should listen to the advice of godly men and women that God has placed in our lives. Many times the advice of a parent, pastor, youth minister, Sunday school teacher or other mature person is just what we need to hear to help us decide what God wants us to do. “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice” (Proverbs 12:15). “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22). The Bible says that there is a peace that comes when we are pleasing God with our lives. When deciding between two alternatives that you have been praying about, sometimes one of the options will give you a greater peace. That option is probably God's will. “The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever” (Isaiah 32:17). We should trust God in faith that He will accomplish His will in our lives. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6). “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in your will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). God has given each of us gifts and abilities to use in His service. God always equips us to do what he calls us to do. If you aren't gifted in a certain area, God is probably not calling you to minister in that area. (see Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 and Ephesians 4:11-13 for lists of spiritual gifts and a discussion of them.) Remember that God's ultimate purpose for all of us is that He would be glorified (1 Corinthians 10:31) and that the gospel and God's kingdom would be advanced (Genesis 50:20 and Philippians 1:12). [ If this information has been helpful, please prayerfully consider a donation to help pay the expenses for making this faith-building service available to you and your family! Donations are tax-deductible. ] Author: Dawson McAllister of Dawson McAllister Live! Copyright © 1997, 1998, Dawson McAllister Live!, All Rights Reserved - except as noted on attached “Usage and Copyright” page that grants ChristianAnswers.Net users generous rights for putting this page to work in their homes, personal witnessing, churches and schools.
Adolescent Spirituality 1 Adolescent Spiritual Development by Donald Ratcliff, Ph.D. Reprinted by permission from Salt and Light (2002) I was a teenage hypocrite. Or at least that is what it would seem to most people, although I would not have thought so at the time. I was an adolescent who attended church regularly, prayed at least occasionally, and even worked at a Christian radio station on the weekends. At times I would lead people in the “sinner’s prayer” as they listened on the radio. When people called the radio station, I sometimes provided advice of a spiritual nature. Many people looked up to me as something near ideal as a Christian teenager. I was even featured on the cover of a magazine for Christian teenagers! But the fact was that when I was with my friends, I was a different person. Most of my friends were anything but Christian. I don’t recall hurting anyone, although we did cause discomfort with some of our pranks—a favorite was ringing the church bell in the middle of the night. We also did a few things that were outside of the bounds of the law, primarily for the excitement of the experience. Often teenagers participate in such risky behavior because they enjoy retelling the experience over and over with friends (Lightfoot, 1997), and I suspect that was a strong incentive for my group as well. At the time, my experience as simultaneous saint and sinner did not seem as wildly incongruent as it does in retrospect. I have been quite perplexed with those memories. My experience also points to the complexity of the topic before us. Adolescence is such a strange time of life, and to speak of spirituality during this time period only adds more complexity. What is Adolescence? Perhaps it may clarify things to define what we are talking about. First, what is adolescence? The simple definition seems clear at first, but quickly becomes murky. Adolescence, of course, is that period of life between childhood and adulthood. But when does childhood end and when does adulthood begin? For most of history, and for many non-Western cultures today, those two events coincide—childhood ends and adulthood begins with biological maturity, often celebrated with a special rite of passage such as the Jewish bar mitzvah. The time “in-between” childhood and adulthood is a few days, a couple of weeks at most, after which the twelve or thirteen-year-old is considered an adult; ready for career, marriage, and starting a family. It has only been about a hundred years that we have had a several year period termed “adolescence,” where the child is no longer a child yet is not considered an adult (Koteskey, 1991). Like many things—both good and bad—adolescence is the product of the Industrial Revolution, although it did not become firmly rooted in American soil until the Roaring Twenties, and became universally accepted with the Baby Boom generation of the late 1940’s and 1950’s. This social invention was created, in part, so that the prolonged education deemed necessary for a literate society would be readily accessible (it is also possible that high unemployment was a motive for removing teenagers from the labor market). It was a grand social experiment, this invention called “adolescence,” but the results at best can be described as mixed. When the negative consequences of the invention of adolescence are considered, such as increased use of illegal drugs, sexual license, vandalism, and other evils, the results for some teens is closer to catastrophe. Thus adolescence is an invented period of life when teenagers are provided with an ambiguous role to play—if they are neither children nor adults, what are they? They decide who they are, and do so in two ways. First, adolescents individually choose an identity, rather than having an identity provided for them, as it was prior to the Industrial Revolution (a boy usually entered his father’s trade, a girl followed her mother’s role). Adolescents also define themselves collectively in the phenomenon of “youth culture” (Davies, 1991), usually in the form of new music, unusual styles of dress, and creation of innovative words (“argot”), all of which distinguish them from children and adults. As a result, adolescence is in constant flux, as the youth culture of one era is infused into the mainstream culture of the next, and people bring selected parts of their adolescence into adulthood, leaving the next generation of adolescents to reinvent itself with different music, different styles, and different lingo. Adolescent Spirituality 2 What is Spiritual Development? In his summary of the literature, Kenneth Hyde (1991) describes many religious aspects of adolescence, such as their behavior, attitudes, influences, and understandings of religion. While most Christian schools and churches have emphasized learning about the Bible, God, and beliefs, the last few years have produced a new emphasis upon the experiential aspects of faith, often termed “spirituality.” This is in part because one can know a great deal about God, and even make an initial commitment to the Christian faith, yet not have an active, ongoing relationship with God that includes religious experiences. “Spirituality” emphasizes awe, wonder, and other experiences that are beyond mundane, everyday life, and that connect the individual to something transcendent and/or of ultimate importance. While spirituality includes experiences with God, it can also include awe and wonder from experiences such as viewing a beautiful sunset that overwhelms the person emotionally and even perceptually. Spiritual experience can be either positive and constructive, or negative and counterproductive (Hay & Nye, 1998). A Few Negative Spiritualities [this designation is similar to what Berryman (1991) terms “pseudo-play”] 1. Violence 2. Suicide 3. Bullying 4. Illegal Drug Use 5. Risk-Taking 6. Controlling with Detachment and Disguise (by “spirituality sponges” who are parasites, says Berryman) 7. Lack of Moral Impulse/Corruption 8. Lack of Concern for Others 9. Meaninglessness 10. Prejudice 11. Materialism 12. Evil Personality (M. Scott Peck) The Importance of Being Grateful and Tips to be Grateful Count your Blessings and not your Crosses we were told as children, and this holds as true for us as adults. Being grateful for what you have reminds you not to be envious and jealous and helps us in our quest to be content and happy. Here are the following tips to develop an attitude of gratitude- 1. In the morning and at night before going to bed, say a prayer of gratitude even for mundane things such as a new day, the fact that you have a home, family, job and so on. 2. Be grateful for each meal; that gives you three occasions in a day to be grateful for; to remind yourself how grateful you should be that there is food to eat on each of those occasions. 3. Verbalize one thing each day that you are grateful for, to a partner, friend or family member. Those that live alone can express the same thought of gratitude to a journal. 4. Be grateful for things you desire. Putting your goals into words can help you achieve those goal. 5. On the hour, each waking hour, look around and give thanks for one thing – set a cell phone timer or watch to go off each hour to remind you to do this.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Eph. 4:14 - 'Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our
minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different
or because someone has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the
truth. Instead, we will hold to the truth in love, becoming more and more in
every way like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.' NLT
A lot of times we get so caught up with our own problems, situations, or negative circumstances, that we forget the mandate that God has on our lives to win others for him. We can start so many "better me" campaigns until we totally forget that there is a world out there dying in sin. We are the cure! The world is waiting on the gift that we have to make things right for them. God has given us the power to show the world righteousness instead of sinfulness. God has called us to share his truth with them so they can be saved. But if we spend all of our time working on ourselves, then when will we ever be ready to bring others into the kingdom?
You see, that's the devils plan for a lot of us today. To get us so caught up in ourselves and healing our past hurts and pains, that we cannot concentrate on the people that need our help. So the world dies because we spend all of our time trying to live? You can buy tons of self help books, watch Oprah, pray for yourself, name it, claim it, be loosed, set goals, write the vision, declare your destiny, find your purpose by design, tap into your inner self, heal your past, go confront all those that ever hurt you, go on Maury to say "look at me now", practice self love, etc. but what about the world that doesn't know God? Jesus made you a Son of God by his death, so now you have the same power he had. Lay hands on yourself and get delivered so you will be some good to the Kingdom. Stop using all of your time trying to fix yourself and spend time walking in the newness of life. God made you a new creature instantly. Sure it takes time to grow in grace and learn of God. But don't forget, you are responsible for everyone you know that doesn't know! You should not always be your focus, but you should set your heart to help someone know the way. Yes, you are blessed, but now it's time to be a blessing!
Suggested Reading: Matt. 16:24, Luke 9:23, John 15:13, James 2:8