THEOLOGY & APOLOGETICS
Roman Catholicism and the Rapture
By Sally Plemons
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Continued from Page One
God is not through with Israel, and neither has Israel been replaced by the church in God's order. God's covenant with Israel — the physical offspring of Abraham — is forever, as declared throughout the Bible. God's covenants are sealed in blood, and though He has temporarily set Israel aside because of their idolatry and rejection of His Son, Jesus, as their Messiah, He will once again restore them to Himself (Romans 11:25-29).
If God were through with Israel (the Jews); then why would He state, in Romans 2:28-29: "For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God"? A Jew (Israelite) who is born again (saved), and a Gentile (Greek) who is born again (saved) are the same in Christ (Colossians 3:11-13).
The second false theology Catholics use in their interpretation of end times prophecy is preterism, which states most if not all of the judgments, events, and people in the Book of Revelation have already happened. There are a multitude of other footnotes explaining away the prophecies dealing with the end times, the Tribulation, the Millennial Reign, and of course, the Rapture of the church (the bride of Christ). The misinformation, misinterpretation, and deception employed for the purpose of suppressing the truth of God's holy and inerrant word will eventually bring God's wrath upon those who do so, according to Romans 1:18: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness."
Revelation 13:5-6: Evangelicals believe that these verses speak of the future antichrist while the footnotes for these verses in the Catholic Bible claim they refer to the long deceased Roman Emperor Domitian:Footnote 5-6: "Domitian, like Antiochus IV Epiphanes (Daniel 7:8, 11, 25), demanded that he be called by divine titles such as 'our lord and god' and 'Jupiter.'"Revelation 13:18: The subject of this verse is the future "mark of the beast," but Catholics say it refers to the long deceased Roman Emperor Nero (Latin: Caesar Nero):"Each of the letters of the alphabet in Hebrew as well as in Greek has a numerical value. Many possible combinations of letters will add up to 666, and many candidates have been nominated for this infamous number. The most likely is the emperor Caesar Nero (see the note on Rev 13:3), the Greek form of whose name in Hebrew letters gives the required sum. (The Latin form of this name equals 616, which is the reading of a few manuscripts.) Nero personifies the emperors who viciously persecuted the church. It has also been observed that '6' represents imperfection, falling short of the perfect number '7,' and is represented here in a triple or superlative form."
The "catching away" of the bride of Christ (the church — the true church, made up of born again believers and followers of Jesus Christ) is alluded to throughout the Bible, but the order of the Rapture is very simple, and it is stated clearly in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. Those who have died before the Rapture occurs will be raised first (v.16); then those who are alive at that moment will be "caught up" together with them to "meet the Lord in the air" (v.17).
When a human being dies a physical death, his/her body (their flesh) goes into the grave, to decay and turn to dust, but their spirit (their inner man — 2 Corinthians 4:16), which is eternal, goes to its final destination — either heaven, or hell. For those who did not believe and trust in Jesus for their salvation (eternal life), their spirits go into hell, but for those who were born again (saved) before their death, the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write, in 2 Corinthians 5:6-8: "Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord — for we walk by faith, not by sight — we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord."
Since the spirits of those who have died "in Christ" (the saved) are already in heaven, when Jesus comes to take His bride (the church) home at the Rapture, 1 Thessalonians 4:14 explains that He will bring their spirits with Him to be reunited with their bodies. This means that the fleshly bodies of the apostles, the early disciples, the martyrs, and all of those who died a physical death since Christ came and gave Himself as a sacrifice on Calvary, will be reassembled, changed (glorified), and raised to be reunited with their spirits, a feat only God could accomplish (see Psalm 139:15-16; Matthew 10:30-31). Since flesh cannot live in the spirit realm, it must be changed, in order that the whole person, created in God's image — body, soul, and spirit — can dwell in His presence forever (1 Corinthians 15:49-50. Therefore, those who are alive in the flesh will be changed — given glorified bodies (1 Corinthians 15:52-55).
1. catholicbible101.com: Topic: The Rapture
2. ewtn.com: Topic: End Times, Millennium, and Rapture
3. vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/_INDEX.HTM: Revelation 12/footnotes
Image Credit: Correggio; "The Vision of St. John on Patmos"; 1520-1523; Public Domain
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Controversial-Issues | End-Times | False-Teaching | Other-Religions
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