Report From The Tower
Mike Okoro has asked all of us to consider some prophecies that predict a future, partial pre-tribulation rapture. This will require us to judge the specific prophecies against the scripture.
Mike has also asked us to accept Ray Aguilera as a prophet of the Lord, even though he does not hold himself out as a prophet, but as one who receives prophecies. In order to do this, we will have to examine the man, his life and his fruit.
Mike has also attached a link to a prophetic dream that he alleges works as a type of confirmation of the prophecies of Ray Aguilera. I know nothing about an Armin Wolff, the author of the linked article, but the prophetic dream focuses more on the "changed in the twinkling of an eye" scripture than it does on the rapture of the church. It is interesting reading, but it is not particularly relevant to this discussion.
I want you to know that I take the responsibility of what I am about to do very seriously. I have conferred with the men with whom I am in covenant: Randy McKee, Joseph Cook and Tracey Meeks. I believe that, after conferring with them, they are in agreement with the great majority of what I am about to write, if not all of it, but nevertheless, the responsibility is upon me, before the Lord, and I have taken a few days to complete this work and to pray about it many times.
And so, without further delay, I begin.
JUDGEMENT OF THE RAPTURE PROPHECIES OF RAYMOND AGUILERA
The scripture clearly states that those who are in Christ will be resurrected and will rise up to meet the Lord in the air on the Day of the Lord, which is the day that Jesus Christ will appear on the clouds of heaven. This is the clear message of the passage in 1 Thessalonians 4. This is the first resurrection of the dead that is mentioned in scripture.
"13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 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. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
So, with great fear, I place the scriptures of 1 Thessalonians 4, and Revelation 20, side by side, and I believe they refer to the very same event: The First Resurrection of the dead. Furthermore, I believe it is right to interpret these two scriptures literally.
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
The Thessalonians word says that the FIRST resurrection of the dead will precede, or come before the gathering of those who are alive in Christ where they are caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Those dead with him have already been resurrected when we see them in the air, with the Lord.
Since the Revelation 20 passage EXPLICITLY refers to the FIRST RESURRECTION by use of the Greek words PROTOS ANASTASIS, there is a very clear and precise translation here, and the intended meaning could not be more clear, it seems proper to me to conclude that it portrays events that happen in heaven just prior the our Lord's departure from heaven with the dead who have just been raised.
Therefore, I logically conclude, from just these two scriptures, that the dead in Christ who are with Him when he appears in the air must include, in their midst, those who had been beheaded for their witness about Jesus and for their refusal to take the mark of the beast and worship him. I do not see any way around this conclusion.
Since this matter is clearly established by putting these two FIRST RESURRECTION passages together, why is there all this disagreement?
People have many reasons why they make such additions to that which is clearly revealed in scripture.
Some see a scripture passage here or there that seems to give hope for an earlier escape from trouble. There are many of these that are present, in scripture, for those who are found worthy to escape what is coming upon the Earth (Luke 21). They ignore the fact that all of the allegorical comparisons given by Jesus about the means of protection from the time of trouble involve the protection of the people of God by secreting them or moving them about on the face of the Earth.
God secreted them, in the days of Noah, in an ARK on the water. He moved them, in the days of Lot, out of Sodom, and gave them permission and time to reach a small town where they had been given permission to flee to. They did not leave the Earth in either case, and they were certainly not resurrected from the dead.
God has never even once yet protected His people by resurrecting them and by giving them new bodies. In fact, the resurrection of the dead, explicitly designated as THE FIRST RESURRECTION, is presented to us in Revelation 20 in conjunction with some extremely disturbing and horrific graphic images. Can anyone portray anything more terrifying than death by guillotine? These witnesses for Jesus were beheaded for refusing to take the mark of the beast in their foreheads and in their heads.
We know from Revelation 13 what this mark of the beast is all about: buying and selling. Here, I have this horrific image in my mind of starving children, and the parent can only buy food by taking the mark.
So, the biblical images that we are given IN THE ONLY BIBLICAL PASSAGE THAT EXPLICITLY REFERS TO THE FIRST RESURRECTION says nothing at all about protecting believers in Christ from harm by resurrecting them. To the contrary, it paints a picture that is exactly opposite: believers in Jesus will be terribly harmed, and yet, they have their eternal hope of being with the Lord forever.
We have many scriptural promises that we will be kept from the hour, if we are faithful in the way that the Church of the Philadelphians was said to be. We are also not appointed to suffer God's wrath, and we will not if we are obedient to follow the instructions of God as the Israelites were when they dwelt in Goshen, and suffered not at all while Egypt was being destroyed by the Lord with ten plagues.
Help us and preserve us Lord Jesus. We will need supernatural enablement and miraculous supply if we are to endure and persevere in our faithful obedience through this time period.
To agree with me, all you really need to do is to agree that the first resurrection as it is referred to in Revelation 20 actually means that it refers to the very first resurrection of the dead. You will now see what men have done with this simplicity.
You can search, as I have done, to see what answer the advocates of the pre-tribulation rapture teaching might have to the argument I have just presented. They state that the FIRST RESURRECTION is actually made up of many resurrections that began with the resurrection of Jesus, and will include a resurrection at the rapture before the start of the tribulation, and another resurrection later during the great tribulation. One writer has actually prophesied that there will have been a total of seven resurrections when everything has ended.
I would point out to you that they leap and stretch terribly to reach this conclusion.
First, the context in Revelation 20:4-5 has nothing to do with the resurrection of Jesus. It describes a very detailed set of events, and then labels that event THE FIRST RESURRECTION.
Why not 21 resurrections for 24 for that matter? Since we have entered the realm of fantasy, where are the delimiters? If the words FIRST RESURRECTION do not mean what they say, then we have a variable that may be interpreted in any way that anyone chooses to do. I present this information so that you can pray, and reach your own conclusions.
It is incredible to report it, but the very clear and orderly words of Jesus in Matthew 24 do not say anything about a secret unannounced rapture. Look at these verses carefully: 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 will send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
First, there is a tribulation that we must come to the end of. Then, Jesus says that AFTER THE TRIBULATION, a celestial show begins.
Then, the Lord is seen, on the clouds.
This is the testimony of Jesus Christ, and nowhere does he insert a discussion about another, secret coming to take away the church, prior to tribulation. The gathering of the elect, as Jesus describes it, comes "after the tribulation of those days."
This is simple and quite clear.
And look at John chapter 6. FOUR times Jesus says he will raise us up AT the LAST day. The LAST day is defined in John 12:48. Look at 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9 where Paul says that WE WILL GET RELIEF – not tribulation saints – but we, the church (if 1 Thess 5:9 applies, so does 2 Thess 1:6-9) and he says THIS WILL HAPPEN WHEN – Jesus is revealed from Heaven visibly and to punish unbelievers – and those who do not obey the gospel.
Some, like Raymond Aguilera, claim to have had a prophetic word that purports to separate the resurrection of the dead from the Day of the Lord, and move it to a place that is, as Mr. Aguilera states,
"And I will take My Lambs, My Sheep, to Heaven before the Tribulation, before the slaughter, before I lay My Wrath upon the earth."
Mr. Aguilera's prophecy number 45 clearly says that "his rapture" is most assuredly a resurrection of the dead, and this is in apparent conflict with the two bible passages I have just discussed in 1 Thessalonians and in Revelation 20.
I do not see how this can possibly be, as to place this event before "the tribulation" would place it before the beheadings of the witnesses of Jesus as they are described in Revelation 20:4.
Mr. Aguilera's prophecy presents a scenario where God will purportedly remove all "the good Ones, the Righteous, the Spotless, the Ones who Repent. The Ones who love Me with their Heart, not their Lips."
And yet, we see from Revelation 20 that there are a vast number who are saved out of this trouble. This is also portrayed in Revelation 7:9-14 where a great multitude is seen, coming out of the great tribulation.
The bible clearly says in Romans 10:14-"How shall they hear without a preacher", yet every pre-tribulation rapture scheme would snatch away every single one of the best, cleanest and most repentant preachers and teachers. We are asked to believe that this huge multitude shall come to Christ in some way not heretofore recognized in the annals of church history: that a bunch of previously dirty, unrepentant preachers and teachers who did not qualify to be snatched away to heaven will now become the greatest army of evangelists that the world has ever seen.
I am inclined to believe that Mr. Aguilera's prophecy is trumped by the bible.
Stephen L. Bening
HUNDREDS OF CONFIRMING PROPHETIC VOICES
(For example: Position your mouse cursor over California on the map, and click to see a page of California Earthquake Prophecies)
"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" Matt 4:4
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