Many have talked about the "Rapture of the church, as being on Saturday, May 21st. Today, I will share my thoughts as to why this information, which is not an Orthodox belief, is totally wrong and misconstrued. Rapture is a word that indicates to be "transported," It is the idea of which some Christians erroneously get from their understanding of being "caught up" and set aside, before the great tribulation. You have all seen the commercials, one taken, one left behind. The bumper sticker's on cars are funny as well, to those who know it to be a "falsehood".
It isn't that we don't believe in the words transformed to, or caught up, but it is a theory developed from a selected gospel passage and not taken from the whole. The following, disproves the rapture, showing it to be an incorrect belief.
Today's gospel reading reminded me that Philip, (one of seven deacons--Acts 6:3) was found at "Azotus," after the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the Eunuch saw him no more;" (Acts 8:39). (40)"But Philip was found at Azotus." (A Eunuch was an unmarried man who was devoted to the services of his master, and had come to Jerusalem to worship.) An angel directed Philip to explain the gospel of Isaiah, the prophet. This led to the Ethiopian's conversion, by hearing, acceptance and baptism. "Caught away" can mean many things, and to arrive at the correct understanding sometimes, can be difficult.
After the completion of the work of Christ, He was "caught up" to God and His throne. Christians call this the "Ascension". (See Rev.11:5).
Different times of the year we celebrate "feast days" that use words like "translated to life" such as the feast day of the Dormition of Mary the Mother of God, the Theotokos. One such hymn also states that she was translated by the "One who dwelt in her virginal womb!" Her body was buried in Gethsemane, by the apostles "who from the ends of the earth" being gathered together, another mystery, "appeared" and laid her body in burial. The Virgin Mother's body was mysteriously removed from the earth, being (translated) to be with her Son, Jesus.
The difference is not that we do not believe that we will be raised, it is more the understanding of when. Acts 1:9 tells us that Jesus was "taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight." (11) "This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."
No one knows the time when Jesus will come for us. As far as being isolated and protected in order to prevent participation in the great tribulation by way of the "rapture" can be disputed by the gospel readings. (Matthew 24:44) "Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."(Matthew 24:3-14). "But he who endures to the end shall be saved." (31)."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." The time of the Resurrection is found in (1Cor:52)"in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."
Finally, we learn that the dead in Christ will be raised first. (1Thessalonians 4:16) (15)"For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep."For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will 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 thus we shall always be with the Lord."
Some say we are experiencing the "birth pangs" and looking at the news each day, one may find agreement with that statement. Clearly, beyond that, who knows the day and the time? No-one...so we must constantly be on our guard in preparedness. Of course, there is always the possibility....."in just a twinkling of an eye"
(All Scriptural references have been taken from the Orthodox Study Bible)
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