This essay was, in a sense, a critique of a short post from Pete Garcia. You can view his page, education, and background on the Telegram app as REV310.
Part one of at least three.
I am doing this because the numbered points are things that you might hear in church but rarely understand; that, and I happen to think that some things need definition, especially when it comes to the Revelation. And yes, I tend to get carried away with my writing and, therefore, have to cut my essay into segments.
I have noticed that Mr. Garcia has become a sought-after speaker in a brief time when it comes to Eschatology (The study of end-time events related to scripture.) Like Dr. Chuck Missler, he has an extensive military background, but I don’t buy everything he says.
Having said all that, when I saw his eight quick points on how the end will come I immediately wanted to see what he had to say and to find out if what he was trying to convey was valid; the way I do that is to look at the passages he uses to define his points and see if they explain his point.
For example, Number 1 is the Church age. I will tell you that most people, even the old-timers, which I have now become, cannot define what the church age is. Can I relate this age to say, the stone age, seeing as somehow, at least the stone age can be defined? Perhaps an answer to this is to simply start from the day the church, that believes in Jesus, began on the day of Pentecost when over 3000 people came to accept Jesus as their savior/Messiah. This event occurred over two thousand years ago and will continue until the church is snatched away from the turmoil that is coming.
The title of this post is: How the Bible states the end will come. The numbered points “1)” etc, is Pete’s.
) Church age (or our present-day) Philippians 1:10, Romans 11:25, Revelation chapters 2-3.
We are starting with Revelation 2-3. While these passages are descriptions of the church, they, for the most part, were written to existing churches, most of whom were in the Asia Minor region. All of these continue to represent the church age as it progressed through the centuries. Today, we are a living representation of the Laodicean church; we have turned our backs on God.
Philippians 1:9-10 NASB (9) And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, (10) so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;
While Philippians does not speak to a particular church associated with Revelation 2-3, the church of Philippi was one of the many churches started by Paul. It was also in Asia Minor, along with the seven churches. Again, these words speak to us as well. Note how Paul prayed that their love would abound, that they would operate in knowledge and discernment, and be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ.
Although we loudly proclaim that Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles, his evangelism toward the Gentiles, for at least 15 years, was only a consequence of his messages to the Jewish communities he tried to enlighten. An understanding of who Paul was talking to should cause us to understand what he is saying when he proclaims, “in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ.” Most of these “converts” had a Jewish background, and one might assume that the day of Christ could have everything to do with Jesus coming back as the warring Messiah.
If that had been the case, the terminology would have been stated “as the day of the Lord,” but it was not, so our understanding leans toward Jesus coming back to retrieve His church.
And finally, let’s try to consider why Mr. Garcia included Romans 11:25.
Romans 11:25 NASB For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery–so that you will not be wise in your own estimation–that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;
This verse has everything to do with a hardening of the heart that causes them NOT to believe. Current day Jewish teachers in Israel forbid the reading of scriptures like Isaiah 53 and the prophecies of Daniel. Passages like these should be life-changing, but perhaps not because there is a hardening of the heart that prevents understanding.
Note how Paul uses the word mystery. Most religious folk will tell you that the Bible is a mystery and that NO ONE can understand it or know. There is a problem if you try to use the word mystery as a weapon in your goal to keep the masses illiterate and uneducated.
The word mystery is the Greek word mustērion and means something previously hidden but now fully revealed.
Eugene Peterson’s Message says it best.
“‘Go on about your business, Daniel,’ he said. ‘The message is confidential and under lock and key until the end until things are about to be wrapped up.
(Daniel 12:9 MSG)
This may not shock you, but God is about to wrap this church thing up. With that being said, I do not see how reading about the seven churches can convince some that we are living in that age, especially since this age has lasted for over two thousand years. But then, there is that idea that God has unlocked the understanding for those who choose to understand.
2. ) Rapture of the Church (John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 4:13-18, 5:9; 1 Corinthians 15:51-56, Revelation 3:10
The first consideration is that there is NO direct reference to the phrase “the rapture of the church;” Yet, there are many examples of the church being caught up. The expression is derived from the Latin Vulgate, which uses the term rapio, which means to be snatched.
Revelation 12:5 speaks of the church, her child, being caught up unto God. In 1 Thessalonians 4:17, the Apostle Paul states that we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And finally, Philip in Acts 8:39 was caught up and moved a great distance to another place, Azotus – not that the site is essential.
Here in Acts 8:39, the translators used the word snatched. Webster’s dictionary defines snatched as seized suddenly and violently.
Caught up or snatched is the Greek word harpazō, and it carries several implications such as: to seize, take away by force, snatch away, convey away suddenly, or transport hastily.
There are many willing to fight with you about this subject. Some believe that we, the church, are already in the time of tribulations. I think that if I could have a conversation with “believers” from Ukraine, they might agree.
My point of view, and I believe my opinion stems from a competent comprehension of the scriptures and we will experience a catching away of the church prior to God’s wrath being poured out upon the world.
John 14 does not use the term harpazo but bears the implication of our being gathered.
John 14:2-3 NASB “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. (3) “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”
Why would He need to gather us, the church, back to Himself?
Because there is wrath that is coming, that exceeds your imagination.
1 Thessalonians 1:10 NASB (10) and wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.
Paul wrote this letter to the church in Thessalonica to address worries and concerns about some being left behind. I give you a portion of Pete Garcia’s reference.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NASB (16) For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. (17) Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 5:9 speaks of the church not being destined for wrath. Most call the time of wrath – the Great Tribulation.
Well, how would you expect to be delivered from this wrath?
Only through death or the catching away of the church. By the way, Jesus told us that tribulations would be a way of life for His followers.
1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 NASB (9) For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, (10) who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.
1 Corinthians 15 communicates how these perishable bodies cannot inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 15:50 NASB (50) Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
There is a solution for that, to go through a change in which we obtain imperishable bodies.
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 NASB (51) Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, (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 imperishable, and we will be changed.
So, when does that change occur, most likely when we are caught up or snatched into the clouds to be with Jesus. The last example the author uses is Revelation 3:10.
Revelation 3:10 NASB ‘Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
Though it does not speak expressly about catching away or snatching, the idea is there, and the presumption is that you would understand this by now.