Bill Griese re: (19 May 2011) to Lyle Cooper
Dear Bill and fellow believers,
I was quite saddened by your letter - not surprised but saddened. Why? Because there is very little in your letter that is the intent of the scriptures.
“The premise that the Sixth Seal and the "gathering together of the elect" occur at the beginning of the 70th week violates Matt 24:29-31, Mark 13:24-27, and 2 Thess 2:1-4.”
It is a total myth that Matthew 24:31 is talking about Paul’s rapture. It is not. Where is the church when Jesus raises us up? Are we in heaven? No, we are on the surface of the earth. Now read closely:
“ they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
Sorry, but this is NOT the rapture of the church. It is some other gathering. The same Greek word for heaven is used here:
Luk 24:51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.
And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
Bill, the church is NOT in heaven. We are on the earth. And the instant our bodies are changed, we will FLY. There will be no need for angels to gather us, for we will have bodies quite like the angels.
Next, the TIMING is all wrong. This gathering, as you know, is AFTER the days of great tribulation. And if you look in Revelation 19, we see that it is AFTER the 70th week has ended. Now, when does Paul tell us HIS rapture will take place? Just 3 verses after Paul’s classic rapture verse, Paul writes:
2For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
Paul is tying his rapture to the day of the Lord. Next, Paul sets up a perfect paradigm, bring up two different groups of people side by side to compare what happens to each group at the beginning of this “day of the Lord.”
3For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
Notice there are “they” and “them,” contrasted with “Ye” and “you.” Also notice that is a SUDDENLY that happens - at a time of peace and safety. Something comes totally unexpected. And it comes suddenly. And two different groups of people have two totally different outcomes.
For “they” and “them” that live in darkness, “sudden destruction” comes upon them. WHEN does it come? When they are saying “peace and safety.” What does that mean? It means, they are believing and living “peace and safety.” They believe all is well with them. In other words, there have been no recent disasters. Things seem to be at peace. Does this SOUND like life after 7 trumpets have sounded and 7 vials of wrath have been poured out? Certainly it does NOT! It would sound much more like today.
Now, we already know what will happen to those in the darkness: they get SUDDEN DESTRUCTION and “they shall NOT escape.” But what happens to those in the light?
8But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
9For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
10Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
Notice that “us,” those living in the light, have NO appointment with wrath. In writing this, Paul is hinting STRONGLY that those living in darkness HAVE THAT APPOINTMENT and the sudden destruction is the beginning of God’s wrath. So we have no appointment with wrath and we don’t get wrath. What then do we get? We get SALVATION. What does Paul mean by that? It means we “should live together with Him.” In other words, Paul has NOT left the subject of the rapture. This “salvation” from the sudden destruction is via the rapture of the church. It is at the rapture that we get to “live together with Him.”
So what have we learned? There is a SUDDENLY coming, at a time of peace and safety. Those living in the darkness will get sudden destruction, while those in the light will be raptured. And the moment that we are raptured, the sudden destruction of the BEGINNING of the “day of the Lord” comes upon the world, and they will not escape – but we will.
So Paul has made it very clear that HIS rapture comes just before the start of the day of the Lord, NOT after, and NOT during, but before. In fact, the rapture is the trigger for the day of the Lord. The same instant we are raptured, they get sudden destruction and the day of the Lord has started. This is not a difficult passage.
Does this agree with John? Certainly it does. John teaches us that the SIGNS for "day of His wrath" begins at the 6th seal. So the DAY will begin as the next event after the 6th seal - which is the 7th seal. And just before the 7th seal, John saw the church in heaven.