“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: 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.” (I Thess. 4:16-17)
The phrase “caught up” was sadly translated rapturo in the Latin Bible, from whence we get the term rapture. The root of this word is “rape” which means to be taken against your will for sex. This has led to the false belief that when Christ descends from heaven and the trump sounds, living Christians will automatically be swept into the clouds to meet Jesus. But our BrideGroom is a Gentleman who will await our final consent as a member of His Bride.
Jesus taught there will be a moment of decision when He returns.
“28Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 29But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. 31In that day, he which shall be on the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. 32Remember Lot's wife. 33Whoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. 34I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.” (Luke 17:28-34)
Besides the rampant sexual sins in Sodom, there was also much commerce. Lot was rich prior to moving into Sodom (Genesis 13). He continued to do well in business and was an elder who sat in the gate (Gen. 19:1).
“And while he lingered, the men laid hold on his hand, and on the hand of his wife, and on the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful to him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.” (Gen. 19:16)
The word “lingered” is maw-hah in Hebrew from a root meaning to question. One angel took the hands of Lot and his wife, and the other angel took the hands of the two daughters. That means each of the four only had one free hand to carry anything with them (possibly some provisions bundled up the previous night). Lot’s delaying question might have been, “What more can we take with us?” to which the reply was “Nothing” as the angels grabbed their hands and pulled them out the door and out of the doomed city.
We’re not told why Lot’s wife disobeyed the angel’s command to not look back towards Sodom, but she did. Jesus used her as a warning for us, that we should be ready at any time to give up all that we have in order to follow Him. Our lives are hidden in Christ (Col. 3:3), and should not be so entangled with the world that we can’t separate ourselves from it (I John 2:15). Even your closest Christian friends might not understand they can choose to hold onto something in this world instead of obeying the trumpet call. Please share this message with them.
5th Seal of Beheaded Christian Martyrs
My 2009 understanding of the order and timing of Revelation might be all wrong, but it is apparent the 5th seal is currently taking place in the Middle East. Who could have foreseen in our modern world with weapons of mass destruction, that the enemies of God’s people would literally behead them?
“And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to 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 on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” (Rev. 20:4)
These Christian believers living in the Babylon of the Middle East are often given the choice to deny Jesus Christ and become Muslim, or die. These martyrs are now pleading with God to avenge their blood. The Lord tells them to rest a “little season” until all the martyrs join them.
“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, do you not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11And white robes were given to every one of them; and it was said to them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brothers, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. 12And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, see, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, even as a fig tree casts her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every slave, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Rev. 6:9-17)
The sun became black, a total solar eclipse, on March 20, 2015, and a blood moon or total lunar eclipse occurred the evening of Passover on April 4, 2015. Both were viewable from Israel. But there was no major Middle East earthquake prior to them. The Lyrid meteor shower can be viewed from mid to late April [link]. Verses 14-17 sound like a nuclear explosion and its aftermath, with people hiding in underground bunkers from radio-active fallout.