Rapture or not

Isaiah 57

The Blessed Death of the Righteous

1The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men aretaken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away (asaph) from the evil to come.

2He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking inhis uprightness.

asaph: to gather, remove

Original Word: אָסַף
Part of Speech: Verb
Transliteration: asaph
Phonetic Spelling: (aw-saf’)
Short Definition: gathered

collected/disappear/gather an individual into company of others: object person especially gather to one’s father. Protection being implied

Levitikus 23 

39Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day [shall be] a sabbath, and on the eighth day [shall be] a sabbath. 40And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thicktrees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. 41And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. [It shall be] a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 42Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: 43That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I [am] the LORD your God. 44And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD.

 Corinthians 15:50-58

50Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death (2288) is swallowed up in victory. 55O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin isthe law. 57But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

2288 thánatos (derived from 2348/thnḗskō, “to die”) – physical or spiritualdeath; (figuratively) separation from the life (salvation) of God forever by dying without first experiencing death to selfto receive His gift of salvation

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Persecution 

16Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. 17But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 18And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 19But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.20For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. Matthew 10

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Paul at Athens

16Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.

The Parthenon itself replaced an older temple of Athena, which historians call the Pre-Parthenon or Older Parthenon, that was destroyed in the Persian invasion of 480 BC. The temple is archaeoastronomically aligned to the Hyades. While a sacred building dedicated to the city’s patron goddess, the Parthenon was actually used primarily as a treasury. For a time, it served as the treasury of the Delian League, which later became the Athenian Empire. In the final decade of the sixth century AD, the Parthenon was converted into a Christian church dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

 17Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.

In the heart of the Ancient Agora of Athens, a mere stone’s throw away from the Acropolis, stood an unusual building believed by some scholars to have been the first synagogue in Greece dating back to the 5th century B.C.E.

 18Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.

Epicureans did believe in the gods, but did not believe that they intervened in the actions of the earth. Therefore, they believed that they had nothing to fear from the gods, and therefore nothing to fear from death. Life was simply to be lived, and therefore they concluded that the optimum life was lived as pleasurably as possible. 

To the Stoics, everything literally had one defined nature and purpose. The nature and purpose of the human, being the only animal that reasons, is to live its life using his natural capacity for reason. This meant living in accordance with nature, natural order, and therefore the reason allows us to understand what the natural order of the world actually is

 19And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is20For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. 21(For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)

In classical times, it functioned as the court for trying deliberate homicide. Ares was supposed to have been tried here by the gods for the murder of Poseidon’s son Halirrhothius. Later, the Romans referred to the rocky hill as “Mars Hill”, after Mars, the Roman God of War. The Areopagus was the council of elders of the city, similar to the Roman Senate.

Paul Before the Areopagus

22Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. 23For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. 24God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 26And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 27That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: 28For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.29Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. 30And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

32And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter33So Paul departed from among them. 34Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

Dionysius the Areopagite (Greek Διονύσιος ὁ Ἀρεωπαγίτης) was a judge of the Areopagus.