He Comes With His Holy Ones!
By Joe Ortiz - May 11, 2011
Editor’s Note: This article is part of a special series dealing with the issue of the Rapture by author Joe Ortiz. This series argues against a “pre-tribulation” Rapture of the Church in the Last Days.
One of the tactics used by “Rapture” theorists (whether they be Pre, Mid or Post) is to provide scripture they believe proves many Christians are already in Heaven, having ascended immediately up there after they died (or will be there by virtue of the Rapture) and can be seen coming back with Jesus Christ (as they interpret Revelation 19:7-14, which reads, And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
This particular posting will solely address that assertion as we identify who are these “armies” that are also deemed to be the “saints” spoken of in 1 Thessalonians 3:13, where in the King James Version we read, To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
The next 4 to 5 postings will actually be devoted to this entire matter where theorists assert that Christians are already in Heaven, as well as the other claims that the church should be viewed as the Bride of the Lamb, will be part of a great wedding in Heaven, and then returns with Jesus at the 2nd Advent to rule and reign with Christ on earth, solely for a 1000 year period and then return back to spend an eternity in Heaven. Obviously addressing all of these assertions cannot be accomplished in one posting; therefore, we will be breaking them down in 4 to 5 segments. The first one is dedicated to addressing the sole issue of who are these “armies” spoken of in Revelation 19:7-14.
In order to best understand this entire matter, we will be deeply examining two words (saints and holy ones) not only as defined by the Greek dictionaries, but how these two words are used in other scripture as well as presenting corroborating scripture that specifically identifies and confirms who these “”armies” are.
Now, we recognize that to challenge the assertions that the church is to be viewed as “armies” accompanying Christ will be viewed as heretical. This view is long held to be orthodox doctrine, just as is the presumption that the Bride of the Lamb is to be viewed as the church. For the first ten years of my walk with Christ I believed in these claims, wholeheartedly, of which the majority of them were taught to me by Assembly of God preachers and teachers between 1975 and 1984. That is until I began my deep study in these matters.
As we were able to prove in our posting concerning how millions of Christians have erred in the true meaning of the word left as we did in our second posting, we will be applying the same exegetical principles as we address the issue concerning the true identity of “armies” that many believe is the church coming down with Christ at the 2nd Advent.
As I mention in the Introduction section of my book, The End Times Passover, in future postings we will also be providing biblical proof that the Holy Spirit is not “The Restrainer; that saints do not go immediately to Heaven when they die, that the saints rest on earth until the one and only Resurrection that ensues upon His final return, that the church is not the Bride of the Lamb, that the marriage of the Jesus with the Bride of the Lamb actually represents Jesus Christ taking possession of New Jerusalem, which is not the church but rather it is the Heavenly City of God that descends with Christ at the 2nd Advent. We will also show that the saints are the guests at the great wedding banquet (which will be held on earth), that Jesus’ reign on earth will be longer than the perceived “1000” years theorists call the Millennium, that the Great White Throne Judgment and the Judgment Seat of Christ are one and the same event (which will be held on earth), and that those who occupy the present state of Israel in the Middle East are not God’s children of promise but rather it is the faith-believing remnant of God (going back as far as Abel), who will reside inside the true promised land (New Jerusalem) on earth for eternity.
I realize the above statements go across most of what modern-day evangelicals believe and preach upon today. I myself believed for about ten years in the predominate talking points being promoted by folks like Hal Lindsey, Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, Jack Van Impe, Pat Robertson, Mike Evans, Tommy Ice, their adamant followers and all of those theorists who have been trained to abide by the “Rapture” polemic currently being taught at religious schools like Dallas Theological Seminary, Liberty University and many other mainline Protestant institutions.
Nevertheless, after reading the majority of the books written by these well-intended preachers, teachers and writers of ‘pop prophecy’ books, and after spending over 25 years of deep intensive study comparing their writings with what the Bible states, the information we provide paints an entirely different picture. Yet, the Bible evidence we will be providing has been with us since the Holy scriptures were first penned. We don’t present new theories, but rather (slowly and clearly) provide scripture upon scripture that boldly substantiate the information we have submitted (and will continue to provide) for the edification of the saints and to give God His due glory!
One important caveat concerning this matter; we sincerely believe that whatever we write and promote concerning our Lord and Savior, if it doesn’t honor and bring glory to Jesus Christ, then we need to examine much more closely why we even promote the various unscriptural theories we so loosely toss out into the theological arena. Obviously, God-fearing, God-loving and cross-bearing saints want to study and learn about God’s plan for mankind, and (more importantly) relay the information He wants His children to possess for them to fulfill His mission. Not our mission, but His! Recognizing this edict, we should always welcome the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s message with greater clarity rather than trusting solely on our own intelligence. This means our (we teachers) learning mission is never complete, that opening our hearts to God’s wisdom is a never-ending process and we never will possess the totality of His wisdom. But, for the sake of those we do teach, it behooves us to keep on examining God’s word for greater clarity, if for no other reason that those of us who work as teachers will face more stern judgment than our students who deserve the best possible training to move forward for Christ.
Click this link to download this excerpt from my book, The End Times Passover, Chapter Seven, He Comes With His Holy Ones!
Joe Ortiz has the distinction of being the first Mexican American in US history to conduct a talk show on an English-language, commercial radio station. He began his broadcasting career in 1971 at KABC TALK RADIO 790 AM in the highly competitive Los Angeles media market. He went on to become an award-winning broadcaster, news reporter and newspaper columnist in Los Angeles for over 20 years. Joe writes regularly on his two blogs The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation.