Monday, November 9, 2015

Re-post: No dates! The rapture is a number-driven event

I wrote this in October 2009. It bears repeating. :)

"For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in." (Romans 11:25)(NAS) (Above, poster source)

Paul writing to the Romans here assuring them of the fact of it happening but reminding them that it will not happen until a certain "number" has come in. And after that, Israel's spiritual blindness will be lifted. The NIV translation states, "full number." The full number refers to a nautical term, that a ship cannot sail until the required number of sailors had been signed on. And 'come in', well, who has not heard of the old saying, "My ship has come in"?

In 1806 the British Parliament passed an act releasing ships from having to stay in port until the 'full number' has been reached, and allowing them to sail to certain ports with less than their ship's required complement. In Dixon Kemp's "Manual of Yacht and Boat Sailing and Architecture" (11th and final edition, 1913) the "full number is defined as "Complement.-- The full number; the whole ship's crew." These two examples really have nothing directly related to the scripture in Romans, except to present original documents that show the term is indeed nautical and number-driven.

In Mark 13:32, Jesus told the Apostles, "But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone." Many Christians take this to mean that since we cannot know the day nor the hour, we should not study end time prophecies. Others say that they are simply unknowable. But these notions are incorrect. Kelley again explains, using scripture, that the 'day nor hour' refers to the very end, the Second Coming of Jesus after the tribulation. As for the Rapture, we are actually commanded to watch, to look, and to encourage each other as we wait. The Crown of Righteousness is reserved for those Christians who have actively longed for His appearing.

In reality, there are several things Christians can do to hasten His coming, in reaching that pre-determined number. One is to witness, and the other is to pray. If we have shared the Gospel with an unbeliever, we should pray for that person to receive it on a prepared heart and through the drawing of the Holy Spirit. The fullness of the Gentiles will come in when that last person claims the gift of grace, so witnessing and prayer are key in that process. If we never share the Good News then obviously it will take longer to reach the "fullness." (Though God already knows when that will be.)

Since there is not a date on which God has said the Rapture will take place, praying for it to occur will not violate His precepts and it even confirms them. When we pray we are being obedient to Him who wants to hear from us. In Luke 18:1-7, Jesus told a parable about how important it is to persevere in prayer. (The Widow and the Judge). So pray for hearts to receive His Gospel and for Him to gather his sheep from the coming storm!

We are commanded to witness, (Matthew 28:19), and we are commanded to ask, to seek, and to knock, (Mt 7:7-8). Ask the Lord for His soon return, and then go out into this fine day and share the Good News. Who knows, the person you lead to Christ might just be the one destined to complete the number, and then the ship will sail!


  1. this is a very cool thought...then the ship will sail...:)

  2. I must disagree concerning the timing of the Rapture. I strongly believe in the Sovereignty of God, that He has a predetermined number of Gentiles, as you said, and also that each one of those will be regenerated by the Holy Spirit at their appointed time, and that the Rapture will occur at its appointed time. Jesus is building His church on His time frame, and I do not believe we have any power to hasten or hinder the timing of the Rapture that God has already set. We wait on God to act, He does not wait on us. And His timing is never random, for events in scripture have always occurred "at the appropriate time," which indicates God's appointed time. That's because He is in control of them all, down to the final second, and He isn't depending on us to accomplish for Him what we're incapable of. Our efforts are only successful if it is according to His will. It seems to me from your statement it inaccurately removes the control from God's hands and places it in the hands of men. And that is why I must take the position for the Sovereignty of God over every event in human history, for they will come to pass when He has appointed and He alone will accomplish it.

    1. Hi Sheryl,

      Thank you for standing up for truth and yet in your disagreement being so gracious.

      I agree with you. I believe everything you said. Totally.

      God's sovereignty is complete. WHen I say pray to hasten the time, I am in mind of 2 Peter 3:12. Here is the verse in context.

      The Day of the Lord
      …11Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!

      In this context hasten is to mean "deep, earnest expectation". Picture a puppy whose master has come home from a long day, and the puppy knows that he will be fed. He wags his tail, jumps, yips, and generally shakes all over, in expectation of the coming food. He isn't influencing the master INTO getting him the food, but is eagerly cooperating in desirous expectation of an event he knows is coming. The food will appear whether the puppy is unknowingly asleep in the bedroom or jumping on the master's knees. It will happen. But in the kitchen, the aware puppy sees the soon event and cooperates and devotes himself to the master by cooperating in eagerness. To the puppy from his perspective, he may think he caused the food to appear!

      Jesus said when we pray, pray in this way- "Thy Kingdom come." We are praying for the appearance of the Kingdom. Or Psalm 122:6 which says, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” We are really praying for the second coming because after that is only when Jerusalem will be at peace. The Kingdom is coming and Jerusalem will be at peace no matter what, but we're still told by God to pray for these things.

      Our prayers can and do change things, from OUR perspective. Here is a link to an essay at Christian Classics Ethereal Library on the tension between God's sovereignty and our prayers + witnessing in cooperation with that sovereignty.

      thank you again!

  3. Truly, I enjoyed the original post, finding the analogies Biblical & easy to follow. I also find the comments shared to be in harmony with the original post although the authors don't recognize it, yet. I would love to explain, but don't have time right this minute to point out the interlaced beauty of each approach. Guess you could say, 'at this point, I want to give thumbs up to the original author. And I can't wait to stop by later & demonstrate the harmony of discourse.
    Hoping to share this on air this morning
    Blessings to all,
    cj Randolph

  4. Hahaha ;) laughing at myself for not noticing this is a dialogue of 2, not 3. That certainly helps in the harmony department.


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