Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What biblical, or scriptural, evidence is there of the rapture?

  This conversation began with a question about the so-called "rapture" and evolved into explaining how many Christian beliefs are a result of using "Humpty Dumpty semantics" in order to make words mean whatever they want them to mean.  It's a little long, but the conversation is interesting and illustrates that the "rapture," according to the bible, should have happened within the lifetimes of the apostles.....

Atheist: If there was a rapture, it was supposed to have happened in Paul's generation, as it states in the Bible. A generation is a generation; NOT 1000 years or 2000 years or whatever the spin doctors make up. It is a generation, and it passed long ago, and everything has already been determined by Yahweh. Read the passages below carefully:

(NIV Matthew 10:23) When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

(NIV Matthew 16:27-28) For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

(NIV Matthew 24:34) I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.

A generation is a generation, and all of those people are now dead. So everything has already happened that is supposed to have happened, according to the bible.

Christian: “If you had studied the Bible extensively you would understand the philosophies there in, and the “contradictions” would fade! 
The point of the "1=1000=1" is to show that God is not bound by time and furthermore neither are his predictions. This is a mistake the Pharisees and Sadducees along with other various sects made.”

Atheist: “ANY "mistakes" in the bible, which is touted as the "word of a perfect god" makes ALL of it unreliable.

When you say “1=1000=1”, you are confusing 'like' with 'is', and they are two different things altogether. When they are speaking of the return of the son of man in the passages I cited, they are speaking in THEIR terms of time, not god's. (THEIR generation)

I do hope you understand that. Do you also understand what "Humpty Dumpty" semantics are? This where you make words and sentences mean whatever you want them to mean, and this is why there are so many different interpretations for everything written in the bible. This is the dialogue between Humpty Dumpty and Alice in “Through The Looking Glass”, by Lewis Carroll. It should explain it for you:

"I don't know what you mean by 'glory,'" Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. "Of course you don't – till I tell you. I meant 'there's a nice knock-down argument for you!'"
"But 'glory' doesn't mean 'a nice knock-down argument,'" Alice objected.
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in a rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master – that's all."
Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again.
"They've a temper, some of them – particularly verbs, they're the proudest – adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs – however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That's what I say!"

Anyone who studies Christianity in seminary, and in many other universities, is given multiple explanations for passages in the bible. I know clergy that are in reality atheists/agnostic as they know the same things I do, but continue in the profession, as it is a nice life, if you can ignore the contradictions, and outright lies. Once, I even asked a bishop why he didn't tell his "flock" the whole truth, and he told me, "The ignorant peasants don't need to know too much." This says it all, as religion is nothing but a tool to control and take money from the masses...nothing more. I was once offered a "position" in the church, but I chose to teach instead, as I could not bring myself to becoming a hypocrite and a liar for sake of the almighty dollar.

Christian: “Isaiah 9:6-7 What does this passage mean? I selected it specifically because it is a messianic passage. 

”For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. 
And he will be called 
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 
Of the increase of his government and peace 
there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne 
and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.”

You would think that the messiah would over throw the government and rule for ever correct? Not the case! 
 I have read these "contradictions" and they can be explained internally or if you go to the root language. Some require a hermeneutics , some are not dealt with directly however fallacious attempts to discredit Biblical inerrancy can be dismissed with philosophies internal of scripture! 

Atheist: “As I stated before, the rapture did not happen as predicted by NT scripture. It did not happen in the time frame stated in those passages. The passage that you just now sent me, does not change that fact. This is known as a "red herring"

Now, in reference to this new topic, I must point out to you that the word "Messiah" is but the word for "king", as in ANY king. Many scholars regard these passages as being in reference to King Hezekiah, who was a descendant of David, and who tried to make Jerusalem into a holy city.

If you did not know this already, the Jews admit to embellishments when it came to the writings of the OT, and much of what is there, was written AFTER the fact. Also, Josephus, the so-called "historian" is known to be a forger....and we do not take his writings as being factual.”

Christian: “My intent was by no means a distraction. It was simply to show that a strict adherence instead of an interpretive reading of scripture is at times a flawed. The particular scripture made a direct reference to a child being born residing as God over the government. The Jews at the time believed it was the physical earthly government. Just the same, you assume the generation CHRIST or GOD spoke of was a literal generation! When the fact is that no one is dead to God and God is unrestricted by time. Moreover, premise: God exists. Who is to say all the people of that generation are dead? Of course you don't believe in such things so lets stick to the former.”

Atheist: “You say: "It was simply to show that a strict adherence instead of an interpretive reading of scripture is at times a flawed."

Now, who has the authority to say what is flawed, and what is not? I find that interesting, in that christians take the bible literally when it fits their agenda (ie going against homosexuality) yet claim it to be metaphorical/allegorical when it does not. Again, as I stated before, this is why there are so many different denominations of christianity on the planet. They ALL have their own agendas. It is also a reason for a great deal of problems in our society, but that is an entirely different topic.

You should also realize that the Jews who wrote the Tanakh/OT, had no notion of Jesus, and to this day they have nothing to do with him. In fact, one of the reasons he was crucified was because he did not have "a large following" to save him. The Jews actually hated him because they knew he was a fraud, and his real father was a soldier by the name of Panthera. ( Immaculate conception and virgin birth are attributes for the births of other gods such as Mithras, Dionysus, Krishna, etc. and these gods came BEFORE the time of Christ) If the Jews loved him, there would have been so many more witnesses to the event...but there were only a few.

I wonder what you could possible mean by the statement: "Who is to say all the people of that generation are dead"

These are the definitions for the word generation from

1. the entire body of individuals born and living at about the same time: the postwar generation.

2. the term of years, roughly 30 among human beings, accepted as the average period between the birth of parents and the birth of their offspring.

3. a group of individuals, most of whom are the same approximate age, having similar ideas, problems, attitudes, etc.Compare Beat Generation, Lost Generation.

4. a group of individuals belonging to a specific category at the same time: Chaplin belonged to the generation of silent-screen stars.

I could find no definition which fits your claim for what a generation means. That was a very poor attempt at using “Humpty Dumpty” semantics to try to support your claim that a generation is longer than “a term of roughly 30 years”.”

Christian: “Neither do they oppose the idea!” (concerning 1=100=1 as a definition of generation)

Atheist: “When you say: "Neither do they oppose the idea!", this implies that you can make up definitions as you go along, just as Humpty Dumpty does. That would mean that just because the definition of "ape" is the following:

“any of a group of anthropoid primates characterized by long arms, a broad chest, and the absence of a tail, comprising the family Pongidae (great ape), which includes the chimpanzee, gorilla, and orangutan, and the family Hylobatidae (lesser ape), which includes the gibbon and siamang.”

I could say that hey, I can call humanity a bunch of apes, and that would be ok, because I said so. It doesn't say otherwise.

Do you see how ridiculous that sounds??

Christian: “The Bible is the authority on matters concerning itself! I take it you didn’t watch the movie link I sent you? 

I believe homosexuality is wrong just as lust is, I would be just as much a law breaker as any. However I don’t actively lust and live constantly in that sin with a total disregard to the law. I however cannot judge anyone for their sin as I would be judging myself!”

Atheist: “I did not receive the link in your previous messages, but I did just now watch it, as I have watched many videos produced by ICHTHUS. (The video claims that Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri claimed to have seen the Messiah and wrote a coded message to be opened a year after his death which would reveal his name. The coded name was revealed as “Yeshua, or Jesus”)

Now, as for the video, if what the Rabbi said was true, and he believed it to be true, why did he not convert to Christianity, so he could be "raptured" with the rest of them? Does that not sound strange to you? If it were true, would he not want to convert and spend eternity with this Messiah? Because as a Jew, that would not be possible. For the Jews, heaven is on earth.

And also I must point out that Jesus (or Yeshua, or whatever name you would like to give him) said that you must follow ALL of Yahweh's laws if you plan on going to heaven. Read the passages below carefully. It states ANYONE which is universal for EVERYONE must obey the laws; all of them.

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. ANYONE who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." Mat 5:17- 20 

Christian: “You do not have to be a Christian to believe Christ is Lord! The passage you provided makes no mention of my condemnation! Furthermore, not only do I try my best to avoid such sin… I do my best to teach others to do the same! Salvation is a gift for everyone… Christ calls us brothers not slaves, slaves work because they have to, brothers because they want to. No one deserves salvation. It is given freely for those who are faithful! Inherently those who are faithful will follow the law!”

Atheist:To say the Rabbi does not have to be a christian to believe Christ is the Lord”, is ridiculous. Jews do not believe in if he believed Jesus was the Messiah, he would have converted on the spot! Every religion has adherents who make the same types of "claims through experience". This is nothing new.

And as for Christ--he said nothing against slavery. If he disagreed with it, I'm sure he would have said something about it in the bible, but he doesn't. You are a slave to many things in life, including your religion.

So, to gain your so called "salvation", you must follow ALL of Yahweh's archaic laws stated in the OT, as Jesus said you must. Good luck with that.”

Christian: “ Once again you are imposing, trying to dictate to God what he can and cannot do. Scripture clearly says no one is dead to God! And again time is a non-issue. That being understood those people have not tasted death and as far as I am concerned some of them may very well be alive in the flesh.”

Atheist: “Scripture says no one is dead to god...does NOT mean we are not physically dead...and a generation is STILL a generation!

Your reasoning skills are abominable, and you are showing your ignorance. And if the words can mean whatever I want them to mean as you say they are god's words, and therefore they don't abide by the rules of language, then you can't tell me what they mean! If that is the case, then when it says jesus died on the cross, that means he had a wild homosexual orgy with the disciples, and his heterosexual self died, and his new homosexual self was resurrected. I know this because I know god's language, and what he means in the bible. The words don't mean what they seem to mean, and you cannot put restrictions on gods words. If YOU don't believe what I just wrote, that is too bad, because you can't put restrictions on god's words! See, I can play "Humpty Dumpty" semantics too...:)

Christian: “Once again the words don’t mean what you want them to, that, is the point! The words mean what the Bible dictates not you!”

Atheist: “I am a professor of religion and philosophy, and I have read the bible from beginning to end, and in various versions, including the Mormon bible. I have studied with JW, Quakers, muslims, Jews, etc. I taught at a Christian university for 4 years, and also taught their seminary students, as they were required to take my classes to get their theological degree. I KNOW that I know more than you do.

Again, what you said amused me...:) You say: "The words mean what the Bible dictates not you". EVERY book and every written word, including the bible has to be interpreted. That is how we are made, and that is how we play the language game. Some interpretations are better than others. Yours however, make no sense at all.

For example: if I say "The Apache's rode in on their mustangs to attack the cavalry." There are several interpretations that could be given. One is, that they could have gone out and bought some Ford Mustangs. The other however, is that they rode on mustang horses, as there was no Ford company in those days, and hence no Ford Mustangs. The first interpretation sucks.

Furthermore, if the bible talks, it does a very poor job of it, as many christians themselves disagree about the meanings of the various passages. Also, the majority of Jews who's ancestors wrote the Torah/Tanakh must be deaf and dumb not to hear the same thing the bible says you claim it says, because they believe the opposite!

Christian: “You apparently haven’t read the Bible!

John 15:1
”You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”

Matthew 12:49-50 “Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. 50For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."

Atheist: “This is why cherry picking passages is so ineffective when you are talking to someone like me. You quoted the passages from Matthew 12:49-50:

“Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."

But if you read it in its entirety, Jesus tells his disciples to abandon their families in favor of him. That doesn't say much for family values. One had to bury his father, (Matt 8:21) but Jesus said, no, leave him, and follow me. What about the families that needed support etc? Jesus did not care. Just as he did not care about the poor when he had his feet anointed with the oil, as he said they would always have the poor!! (Matt 14:7) I guess that meant to him that they didn't matter! That money could have been used for a more worthwhile cause, and I believe that Judas betrayed him because he saw that Jesus was nothing but a hypocrite.

Mat 12:46-50
“While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

And for your other passage, when Jesus says: "You are my friends if you do what I command, " I ask you, what kind of a friend makes someone do as they "command"? That is not a friend, that is a MASTER. Slaves and sheeple do as they are commanded. Don't think, don't interpret for yourself, just follow blindly and do as you are COMMANDED to do.

BTW--you are NOT following the words of Jesus. You are following the words of Constantine, Athanasius, and Paul. If you used your OWN mind to think about what was written, you might have a different interpretation.” There are other books that were considered valid at the Nicene Council, but were left out because they didn't fit in with Athanasius's view of the “divine Jesus”. The Book of Barnabas for instance, quotes Jesus as saying he “Is not God”

Christian: “Yes I have read the some of the Gnostic Gospels as well and several versions of the Bible. At one point I owned 5 or 6 for cross reference, concordances… etc

What would you give up for the truth? Nothing obviously! If your family is not allowing you to grow in the Lord it is better for all of you to leave them! You are manipulating scripture or you honestly don’t know it. Christ’s family are those who are in him. 

Once again, if you do what Christ commands under your own will you are his friend, and brother. A faimly will be there for each other! In truth, in Love! 

John 15:20
Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.'[b] If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, ***they will obey yours also.”

Atheist: “Once again, if you do what anyone COMMANDS you to do, you are their slave, or their serf, or their employee, as friends do not COMMAND their friends to do anything and threaten them with burning hell fire if they disobeyed.
What would you give up for the truth? Nothing obviously, as I am sure if you had a "vision" and god "commanded" you to leave your family to preach to the masses, you would do so. Faith is only good if it is faith in the right thing. Yes, sometimes family life isn't so good, and we leave. The example in the bible of Jesus commanding his followers to leave their families did not say anything about their families being bad, which does not set a good example for family values. And the case of following someone blindly, that is dangerous, as per the example below.

Hypothetically, would you have allowed your daughter (if you have one) to join the cult of David Koresh? He too said that he was the "Messiah", so by your logic, I assume you would have gladly let her go! If you had, well, we know what would have happened.

Charles Manson is another one that comes to mind. He too claimed to be Jesus, and had his "followers" kill for him. Would you let your child follow him? I don't think so.

There is no real proof for the existence of Jesus, and even less that he was anything more than a man. The words in the bible do not count for anything, as almost all biblical scholars do not consider it to be a historical document. It is hearsay.”
This was the end of our conversation, as he had no further reply. I often wonder if my reasoning made him think more deeply as to why he held to his beliefs, and why he interprets the bible the way he does, when it is all so ambiguous, anyone can interpret it any way they want, and make similar claims that he did. These are the consequences of herd mentality, and in order to overcome it, we need to free ourselves from following anything blindly, whether it be religious spin doctors, or any of the propaganda we are inundated with on a daily basis.