The Rapture, Part VIII



We  were quite shocked when an apologetic ministry boldly  stated that  the  Bible was written by Catholics. When  we investigated that statement, we found it to be incorrect. Because most  people we  know have not much understanding of how the Bible  came into existence,  we would like to present a thumbnail sketch.

Though the first Book, the Book of Genesis of the Old Testament,  contains no express record for denying that Moses  is  the author, not only of Genesis, but of all five books of the  Pentateuch  under  the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  The  following books through Psalms, were written by servants of the Lord to whom the  books pertain to.

The Book of Psalms is a collection  of  at least six authors. King David himself wrote 73 Psalms of the  150 contained  in  the  Book. The Book of Proverbs  was  authored  by numerous people,  although  they are often  attributed  to  King Solomon.  From  Proverbs to the New Testament  each  prophet  described wrote before Christ.

The first book of the New Testament was written approximately  A.D. 58 - 68 only 25 years after Jesus was crucified in  both languages, Hebrew and Greek. The Book of Mark dates to A.D. 67 or 68.  Luke, a physician, a Gentile, wrote his account A.D. 58-60. The Apostle John is believed to have written his account in  A.D. 90.  Luke was responsible for Acts and the Apostle Paul wrote  to the  Gentiles  who  had accepted Jesus Christ  as  their  Savior.

Beginning  with A.D. 56, the Book of Romans up to James  was  intended  by Paul to educate the believers in the basic  doctrines. The  only author `unknown' was the book of  Hebrews.  Speculation has it that Apollos wrote it. The letters of James and Jude, both brothers  of  Jesus (see Gal. 1:19, Jude 1:1),  were  written by them, as well as the letters of the Apostles of Peter and John.

The  Catholic Church was not in existence at that  time.  So close  to the time of Christ's life were the writings,  that  accounts of His life, teachings and future events were described by eye witnesses. Each book of the Bible was written by hand  originally in Hebrew and Greek and the name of the first biblical text in  it's entirety was the ancient version called  `The  Vulgate', put  together  in A.D. 400. This record was taken  directly from ancient copies of individual books written by Old and New  Testament prophets and Apostles in Hebrew and Greek.

The  Vulgate  was later translated into  Latin  language  by Jerome  at  Bethlehem. (p. 1586 Thompson  Chain  Reference  Bible (KJV)  The Old Testament is a careful translation of  the Hebrew Masoretic text. For this purpose Jerome sought the aid of several Jewish rabbis. The New Testament was also done by Jerome  first; he  revised the old Latin Gospels carefully, leaving the text  as it  stood unless it was actually incorrect. The two Gospels were translated in A.D. 382-83.

In 1546 the Council of Trent made  the Vulgate  the official version of the Roman Catholic  Church.  "In 1933  Benedictines, deputed by the Holy See (the Pope),  began a thorough revision of the Vulgate.." (Columbia Encyclopedia p.205) The  King James Version (1611) was written long  before  the revision by the Catholics. The KJV was done by forty seven scholars  under  the  authorization of King James I  of  England.  The
`Bishop's  Bible'  still based on the original  `Vulgate'  (1568) prepared  under  the direction of the  Archbishop  of  Canterbury during the reign of Elisabeth was mainly a revision of the  Great Bible not popular with common people.

The Hebrew and Greek  texts were studied and other English translations consulted with a view of  obtaining the best results. The KJV has held the first  place throughout the English speaking world for over three centuries.What  is most interesting now about later Bibles  beginning with  Berkeley (1959), Amplified (1965), JB (1966),  NEB  (1970),
NASB (1971) and later Bibles, modern translations, are taken from early  Catholic works: Codex Alexandrinus, Codex  Vaticanus  and Codex Sinairicus. (p. 1586 Thompson Chain Reference Bible, KJV)

Since  the King James Version will continue to be  the  most reliable,  original,  a  least tampered with source,  it  can  be considered to be the true Word of God. The writings are based  on eyewitness reports and written by people who were personally  involved. The Scripture predicts a famine of the Word and the signs are here even we have a multitude of new versions. We expect  the KJV to disappear from the shelves one of these days,  unavailable in book stores, just as the first Living Bible which was an excellent translation into every day language, easy to understand. It is out of print and has been replaced with a new translation.

Pretribulation  research was unknown before the 1800  or  so they thought, after which a number of thinkers got involved. (See Pre-Trib  Perspectives  Newsletters) John Nelson Darby,  born  in 1800  in  Ireland, was a brilliant, fighting  Fundamentalist  who already challenged modernism in his day. He stated: "It was  not at  all  a strange thing - immediately after  conversion  to  the living  God - "to wait for his Son from heaven, even Jesus,  who delivered  us  from the wrath to come." (Darby,  Letters,  2:361) Just before he departed in 1882 he wrote in a final letter to the Brethren, "I can say, Christ has been my only object; thank  God, my  righteousness  too .. Hold fast to  Christ."  (A.C.Gaebelein,
Half  a Century (New York: Our Hope Publication Office 1930),  p. 85).

Grant R. Jeffrey, a member of the Pre-Trib Study Group,  has found  an ancient citation, which dates back to the  period  A.D. 374-627, a Sermon by Pseudo-Ephraem in Latin, translated now into English which clearly teaches that believers will be raptured and
taken  to heaven before the Tribulation. Grant found this  important  citation in Paul J. Alexander's `The Byzantine  Apocalyptic Tradition'  (Berkeley: University of California Press,  1985,  p. 210).

The English translation of the Latin was provided by Cameron Rhoades, instructor of Latin at Tyndale Theological  Seminary, Ft. Worth, Texas. Pseudo-Ephraem's Rapture Statement occurs twice in Section 2. The Latin text is produced (from four  manuscripts) in C.P. Caspari's Briefe, Abhandlungen und Predigten aus den zwei letzten Jahrhunderten des kirchlichen Altertums and  dem  Anfang des  Mittelalter,  Christiana, 1890,  pp.  208-20.  (Interpreted: Caspari's  letters, treatments  and sermons from  the  last  two latest middle-ages) Section 2 "We ought to understand  thoroughly therefore, my brothers, what is imminent or overhanging.  

Already there have been hunger and plagues, violent movements of  nations and  signs,  which have been predicted by the  Lord,  they  have already been fulfilled (consummated), and there is no other which remains, except the advent of the wicked one in the completion of the  Roman  kingdom. Why therefore are we occupied  with  worldly business,  and  why is our mind held fixed on the  lusts  of  the world  or on the anxieties of the ages? Why therefore do  we  not reject  every care of earthly actions and prepare  ourselves  for the  meeting of the Lord Christ, so that he may draw us from  the confusion,  which overwhelms the world?

Believe you  me,  dearest brother,  because the coming advent of the Lord is nigh, believe you  me,  because the end of the world is at  hand,  believe  me, because  it is the very last time. Or do you not  believe  unless you  see  with  your eyes? See to it that this sentence  be  not fulfilled  among you of the prophet who declares: "Woe  to  those who desire to see the day of Lord!" For all the saints and  elect of  God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is  to  come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is  to overwhelm  the world because of our sins. And so,  brothers  most dear  to  me, it is the eleventh hour, and the end of  the  world comes to the harvest, and angels, armed and prepared, hold  sickles in their hands, awaiting the empire of the Lord.

And we think that  the  earth exists with blind infidelity,  arriving  at  its downfall early.. because they hurl fear at us, and we do not wish to be changed, although we at least stand in need of penance  for our actions!" (Copy of whole document available from The Pre-Trib Research  Center, 370 L'Enfant Promenade, S.W., Suite 801,  Washington, D.C. 20024)

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