Pastor F. M. Riley
January 2, 2012
“I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what He will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.
And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.”
Dear beloved brother,
In answer to your email, I most certainly agree with you that the topic of the Rapture of God’s people is being discussed and hotly debated today, both pro and con, more than at any time I can remember since 1988. I have no idea how old you were in 1988 and whether you remember what occurred that year or not, so I’ll just give you a quick review.
It was in 1988 that Ed Whisenant, a former NASA Engineer [a dedicated Christian believer], studied this prophecy in Habakkuk, and other related prophecies, and recognized it as a prophecy of the Lord’s return to resurrect and rapture His people to glory at the end of this age, Hebrews 10:35-39. That brother, having “read” this prophecy in Habakkuk and knowing that the nation of Israel was 40 years old that year, began to “run” with the “vision” of the return of Christ. Isn’t that exactly what this Scripture says that those who “readeth…..the vision” are supposed to do? He read the “vision” and ran with it! Well…??
Out of that brother’s commitment to “run” with the “vision” given to the prophet Habakkuk some 2,600 years ago, came what is still referred to today as the “Rapture 88” movement. During that movement the attention of millions of people all over the earth was awakened to the truth of the return of Christ and the resurrection and rapture of true believers. Thousands of lost people did take the matter seriously enough to start seeking the Lord for salvation. It is conservatively estimated, based on reports from many different pastors, churches, and ministries at that time, that as many as 150,000 people came to a saving knowledge of Christ during the “Rapture 88” movement. I personally had over 400 people call me on the phone after Rosh HaShanah, 1988, some of them in tears, rejoicing and praising the Lord for the “Rapture 88” movement, for during that movement they had finally been exposed to the gospel of Christ and the way of salvation and had been saved. There is no question in my mind, and in the minds of many who were saved, that the “Rapture 88” movement was the greatest “movement of God” to occur during the 20th century.
Yes, I am well aware that some do not share my opinion or feelings about the “Rapture 88” movement. I couldn’t care less! Right to this day there are still some “Christians” [??] who are so filled with anger and bitterness, and who have no forgiveness in their hearts, that after all of these years all they do is “look back” and condemn and spue out their venom on everyone that had any part in that movement. Brother, that was 23 years ago. That sure is a long time for a genuine “Christian” believer [??] to be loaded down with the burden of anger and bitterness and un-forgiveness.
It reminds me of the healing of the blind man in John 9. While the man that had been born blind rejoiced and praised the Lord that he could finally see, and had come to know the Lord as his own personal Savior, all the wicked Pharisees and other assorted “religionists” could do was criticize and find fault because everything hadn’t
been done just exactly like they thought it ought to have been done. God have mercy on such callous, hard hearted, mean spirited, un-forgiving hypocrites.
Instead of rejoicing over the thousands of souls who came to a saving knowledge of Christ during the “Rapture 88” movement, after 23 years all some today can still do is spew out their anger and bitterness. May our gracious Lord have more mercy on their souls than they have shown for others.
I personally have nothing but pity for such pathetic people who obviously think they are living “infallible” lives and are totally above error or even outright sin. The Lord Himself explicitly, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses,” Matthew 6:14-15. The inspired Word also explicitly commands God’s people, “…forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,” Philippians 3:13-14. The Lord Jesus Christ put all of our sins under His own precious blood, forgiving us all our trespasses and outright sins, yet some today are so “filled with themselves” that they have neither the grace nor the love of Christ to forgive a brother or sister whom they feel has erred, and then just simply move on. Pathetic! The last time I checked John 13:34-35 is still in the Bible! So is Matthew 7:1-5.
THE PROGRESS OF HABAKKUK’S VISION
The “Rapture 88” movement occurred 23 years ago. “23” is the Bible number associated with the doctrines of “death and destruction.” Now look around and see for yourself what humanity is staring in the face RIGHT NOW! Certainly the Lord didn’t come in 1988. Therefore lots of Scripturally illiterate people labeled the entire “Rapture 88” movement A LIE! Many “professing Christians” drew back from Bible prophecy and discarded their former claim of believing in the Pre-tribulation Rapture, exactly as predicted in both Habakkuk 2:4 and Hebrews 10:38-39. Isn’t this amazing? Yet some who claim to be “Christians” today don’t even believe that the
Scriptures are the Divinely Inspired Word of God. Sick!
Throughout these past 23 years the Lord has been using the teaching of the Pre-tribulation rapture to separate His faithful New Covenant believers [His true church] from the church going, bench warming, Laodicean “religionists” who have infiltrated the churches and are busy, busy, busy, spreading their “damnable heresies” among the ranks of Christianity today, 2 Peter 2:1-2.
After the Lord did not come in 1988, only the faithful continued to believe in the Lord’s literal, bodily, visible, return to resurrect and rapture true New Covenant believers to glory before the swiftly approaching terrible Tribulation period, exactly as the Lord Himself promised in Revelation 3:10. Many of the “Scripturally illiterate” as well as those who fancy themselves to be spiritual “intellectuals” [Romans 12:3; 1 Corinthians 1:26; 8:2; Galatians 6:3; 1 Peter 5:5-6], who felt that they had been “humiliated” by the failure of the “Rapture 88” movement [Tsk! Tsk!], “lifted up” their hearts in pride exactly as predicted in Habakkuk 2:4 and Hebrews 10:38-39, rejected the whole subject of Bible prophecy and the rapture, and went chasing off after numerous totally unscriptural theories and practices. See my Bible study, “Broken Cisterns.” I’ll be glad to send the study to any reader upon request.
The Scriptural teaching of the Pre-tribulation rapture is still separating today between those who truly believe
what God’s Word actually and literally says and teaches, and those “vain professors” who place more value on their own theories and opinions and “feelings” than they do on the inspired Word of God.
EXAMINING THE VISION
But dear brother, look again at the passage in Habakkuk 2:3. This passage explicitly states, “For the vision is yet [still] for an appointed time [a set time; holy day], but at the end it shall speak [as it spoke in 1988], and not lie [will not be a lie!]: though it tarry [hesitates], wait for it; because it [He] will surely come, it [He] will not tarry [delay].” This exact verse is transliterated in Hebrews 10:37, where it is clearly speaking of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have not added a thing to these Scriptures in any way, but rather have taken them at face value for
exactly what they actually and literally say in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament and the Greek text of the New Testament. Check this out for yourself with your own Concordance or Lexicon!
I would point out that the two English words translated as “tarry” in this passage in Habakkuk 2:3 are translated from two entirely different Hebrew words. The first occurrence in the verse is translated from the Hebrew word, “mahah.” This word literally means, “to wait; delay; linger; hesitate.” Strong’s No. 4102. This is exactly what occurred in 1988. At that time the Lord “hesitated” to come for a number of reasons, foremost among them being set forth in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” These passages, 2 Peter 3:9, Habakkuk 2:3, and Hebrews 10:37 make it clear that the Lord graciously extended to mankind a time of “long-suffering” between 1988 and the present time. As the passage in Hebrews 10:37 words it, “a little while…”
The second Hebrew word translated as “tarry” in Habakkuk 2:3 is the word, “ahar.” This word literally means, “delay; to come late; to tarry.” Strong’s No. 309. Now notice that the statement or sentence explicitly states that “it [He] will not tarry.” Compare Hebrews 10:37. The Lord is coming right at the exact appointed time without
any “delay”. He will not be a minute late! PERIOD! Praise the Lord!
WAS THE “RAPTURE 88” MOVEMENT A LIE?
In view of the exact wording of this passage in Habakkuk 2:3, how could the “Rapture 88” movement have been a lie when the whole movement was predicted right here in the inspired Word in exact detail some 2,600 years in advance? Well…??
It is clearly predicted in 2:2 that some unnamed person living at or towards “the end” would “read…the vision” and then would “run” with it. Isn’t that exactly what happened in 1988? Don’t “hem or haw” around! Just answer the question honestly. Then 2:3 explicitly predicts that after the unnamed person had “run” with “the vision” there would be a delay; a period of time between the “running” and “the end.” This is exactly to the letter what has happened. Now how can anyone with spiritual discernment above that of a goose label the “Rapture 88” movement as a lie when the Lord Himself predicted it in exact detail in this vision given to His prophet Habakkuk some 2,600 years in advance? Hello! Speak up! I’m not hearing your answer! Is the truth of God’s Word choking in your throat? I would suggest that perhaps some “Christians” need to seriously study more and run their mouth less. 1 Thessalonians 4:11 is still in the Bible too!
But now the period of “delay” is almost up and the Lord is coming at any minute of any day now. How do I know? I’m so glad you asked…..
THE VISION IS SPEAKING!
Brother, you are absolutely correct in saying that the major topic of conversation among real Bible believing Christians today is the rapture of God’s people. This has been true throughout this entire past year of 2011! As each day of 2011 passed progressing towards the end of the year, the discussion about and anticipation of the rapture among true believers increased daily. There is more discussion and anticipation of the rapture today than at any time since 1988. This is exactly as predicted. The “vision” the Lord gave to His prophet Habakkuk, is speaking again, exactly as predicted in Habakkuk 2:3. There is no way this is “coincidence!” The coming of our Lord to resurrect and rapture His New Covenant believers [“the just shall live by his faith,” 2:4] to glory is right at the door. Praise the Lord! Hallelujah! Glory to God!
Notice carefully that this inspired Scripture explicitly states that when “the vision” speaks [again] “at the end” it will not be a lie! It will happen! The Lord will come for His people! We are in that “time frame” RIGHT NOW! No, I do not know the “date,” but I do know what these Scriptures explicitly state, and I do know that the major topic of conversation and anticipation among true believers today is the coming of the Lord to rapture His people to glory. Oh glory to God! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! He is coming! It doesn’t matter how many people deny this truth or rail against it or try to explain it away. Our Lord is coming to “deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father,” Galatians 1:4. Praise the Lord!
2012 will be the greatest year for New Covenant believers in this entire “dispensation of grace,” and in the lives of every true believer living today, for this is the year we are going “HOME!” Hallelujah! Glory to God! Praise the Lord! Thank you Lord Jesus!
God bless you dear brother. I’ll meet you and sister _______ in glory REAL SOON. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Glory to God! Please keep me in your prayers. In the love of Christ Jesus our precious Savior and Lord.
Pastor F. M. Riley
“Even so, come, Lord Jesus,” Revelation 22:20.
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Permission is granted to any true believer or Bible believing ministry to reproduce this study to share with others or to quote from it in context as written.
Please address all comments, questions, and correspondence to: Pastor F. M. Riley, 184 County Road 108, Harrisburg, Missouri 65256, or via email to: email@example.com
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