Bodies and Clothing—What Will Happen at the Rapture?

Left Behind

I love the Left Behind[1] series of books.  I’ve been fascinated by the Rapture for many years now.  However, there are a couple of details that I think they’ve gotten wrong: the antichrist will come from the ancient Roman Empire, but not from Europe.  Many Bible scholars are now saying that he will be a Muslim from the eastern part of that empire.  And there is very good evidence for that belief.  The other thing is the part about people being raptured out of their clothing.  I think the authors got that from the fact that Elijah left his mantle (2 Kings 2:13).  But Elijah wasn’t raptured out of all his clothing, just his mantle (which is like a coat).  The mantle was a symbol of Elijah’s anointing, which Elisha had asked for—and got.

“For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather,” Matthew 24:27-28 (emphasis mine).

I had always read these two verses as though they appear in separate paragraphs.  The original Greek (Greek is New Testament, Hebrew is Old Testament) has no punctuation.  Punctuation was invented centuries after the New Testament of the Bible was completed, so the punctuation and paragraph separations are ours.  Both the New International and the King James Versions of the Bible have these two verses in the same paragraph.  But it wasn’t until this morning that it finally dawned on me that when we are raptured, we might leave our mortal bodies behind.

I had read The Christ Clone Trilogy[2] by James Beauseigneur.  He has a pre-Tribulation Rapture scenario in which all the believing Christians just die.  When I read that I rejected it immediately because of Enoch and Elijah.  If Enoch’s body had been left, then how would those around him have known that he had been taken by God?  Wouldn’t it just look like he had died?  And the other prophets went to look for Elijah after his rapture, but they couldn’t find him.  If he had left his body behind, they would have found it (2 Kings 2:15-18).

Clearly, both Enoch and Elijah were raptured away in their bodies.  But that might be because they will be the two witnesses in the Tribulation who are going to be killed after preaching and prophesying for 1260 days (Revelation 11:3).  (The reason I say that it will be Enoch and Elijah is because Hebrews 9:27 says that humans die once.  I know many people saying that they will be Elijah and Moses because they appeared together on the Mount of Transfiguration.  And with Moses and Elijah you have the Law and the Prophets, which seems right.  But Moses died, God buried his body, and the people mourned (Deuteronomy 34:5-8).  So it can’t be Moses because he has already died once.  The only two people in the whole Bible who never died are Enoch and Elijah.)

But after reading Matthew above this morning, I double checked it with Luke 17:34-37:

“I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.” “Where, Lord?” they asked. He replied, “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather,” (emphasis mine).

Then I realized (perhaps divine revelation) that perhaps The Christ Clone scenario is the correct one.  After all, there has never yet been a worldwide mass Rapture before.  Enoch and Elijah were raptured in their mortal bodies for a specific purpose.  But the Word says that flesh and blood will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven (1 Corinthians 15:50—which interestingly comes just before Paul describes the Rapture).  Between that and the “carcasses and vultures” statement of Jesus, I now think it’s a good possibility that we will leave our bodies behind.

Our lifeless bodies will be yet another factor in the chaotic aftermath of the Rapture.  I have already described what I believe that aftermath will be like (see The Rapture and the World Left Behind).  In a nutshell, it’s going to be major chaos, violence, bloodshed, looting, and so forth.  And there will be no modern communications of any kind—at least not initially.

So we will leave our clothing behind if we also leave our bodies behind.  And, really, who cares about all that?  I’m looking forward to my extra-dimensional (glorified) body and my wedding day.  God is good!

[1] (The Left Behind Collection, 2014)

[2] (The Christ Clone Trilogy, 2006)

The View from the Summit

Christian political Europe

Greeting from Amsterdam!

I am here with Operation Capitals of Europe (OCE) as intercessors for the European Economic Summit, being held at the Dominion Centre.  The purpose of the summit is “to introduce new Biblical paradigms on finance and economy and to present transformational businesses as new models for poverty alleviation and sustainable solutions.”

One of the perks of praying for the summit is being invited to sit in on the evening session.  Last night the speaker was the head of the Power Group, a South African construction company.  He shared his story of rising to the top, only to discover that he was sacrificing time with his family on the way.  He became a Christian, and started the Unashamedly Ethical business community (you can like them on Facebook, too).  His talk was Combating Systemic Poverty and Corruption, which is the goal of Unashamedly Ethical.  They get businesses to work together toward the common good without sacrificing the bottom line.  And in doing so, they are preventing people from being trafficked and combating poverty by providing jobs.  I think that this is the first time I’ve ever heard of a truly possible solution to poverty.

Tonight’s speaker is a member of the chairing committee for the Global Think Tank on Business as Mission, (you can like them on Facebook).  He spoke on Transformational Business.

We have had the opportunity to meet some of the business people here.  A few of the business people have skipped some of the sessions and come to join us in the prayer room.  We gathered around them and prayed for them, since that’s what we are here for.

One surprise is that my friend, Bill, from Bulgaria is here.  Neither of us knew that the other would be here, so it was a mutual surprise.

If you are a Christian business person, I highly recommend checking those links and coming to the next summit.  You will not be disappointed.  God is good!

Dutch Salv Army

A Question of Justice

jhop the hague

Greetings from The Hague!

I came here with Operation Capitals of Europe (OCE) to pray for the Netherlands.  Although Amsterdam is named as the capital of the Netherlands, The Hague is where the Parliament is.  Yesterday and the day before we met at the Justice House of Prayer here.  I was delighted to learn that there are many houses of prayer throughout the Netherlands, and that there is a lot of cooperation and collaboration between them.

Our first day here, the director of the Schuman Centre for European Studies at University of the Nations came and spoke to us about the history of Netherlands from a Christian perspective.  The Schuman Centre promotes biblical perspectives on Europe, its Christian heritage and future.  The thing I loved about hearing him speak is that he maintains a hopeful outlook for the future (of both the Netherlands and Europe in general), while being honest about how far they have fallen away from the faith.

Next we heard from the coordinator of the European Economic Summit, which will be in Amsterdam this weekend.  Her story is pretty amazing.  She shared that she had the same attitude toward money that many Christians have: that enough is enough, but we don’t need to be rich.  We all know about the greedy televangelists who sell healing prayers and spend all their wealth on themselves.  But God revealed to her that money is to be our servant.  So she and her husband decided that they wanted wealth so that they could tithe 90 percent and live off the remaining 10 percent.  Just think if the world’s Christians began to think this way about money.  What a lot of good we could do in this world.  Now that thought excited me.  We were all inspired by what she shared.

One other thing that our hosts shared with us is that the next day (yesterday) was Prinsjesdag, the 200th anniversary of the first speech from the King of the Netherlands.  So we prayed about it and decided to go to the parade route and bless the king on his way to Parliament.  Willem Alexander took the throne just last year when his mother, Princess Beatrix stepped down.  The king’s speech is about the coming year’s budget, and is written and approved by parliament.  So he’s giving a speech to them that they wrote for him.  Last year he ended his speech by saying: “Join me in praying for strength and God’s blessing upon you.”  In this pluralistic, politically correct world, it takes courage to live your faith openly—especially when you’re a public figure.

So we went to the parade route, where I made this observation: Dutch people are tall.  I saw only the head and shoulders of the cavalrymen on horseback (and the ears of the horses).  When the king’s gold carriage went by, all I could see was phones held high, recording it all.  Although I would like to have seen the king, I wasn’t there for that as much as to pray for him, which I did.

We later heard that this year’s speech, he ended with: “In discharging your duties, you may feel supported in the knowledge that many are wishing you wisdom and join me in praying for strength and God’s blessing upon you.”  So even though the king’s speech is written for him, it’s nice to know that he adds his own prayer and blessing at the end of the speech.


Peace Palace at The Hague

After lunch we went to the Peace Palace to pray.  The Peace Palace is where the International Court of Justice (the judicial branch of the United Nations) meets.  It is also where the Permanent Court of Arbitration meets.  Unfortunately neither judicial body is able to enforce their judgments.  And to me that seems sadly symbolic of the Peace Palace, itself, because it was built in 1913—the year before World War I broke out.

Today we went to the Parliament building to meet with an MP.  He is a member of one of the three Christian parties.  He was adamant about his desire to end prostitution by jailing the johns.  He proposed a scaled-back version of the Swedish anti-prostitution laws, and the head of his own party refused to back it.  So he prayed about it, and one-by-one met with various heads of the other political parties over the next few weeks—all scheduled and organized by God because he hadn’t sought them, but they each called him.  He told each about his proposal, and most agreed, including some key leaders.  With their backing, he went back to his own party, and they said that he could present it, but not under the party’s banner.  So please keep this courageous MP in your prayers for the next few weeks.  I would love to see the shame (and sham!) of legalized prostitution end.

Then our guide took us on a tour of the Parliament building.  We sat in for about 20 minutes on a Parliamentary session, but there was no translation.  That was OK because we were really there more to pray than to watch.  Our guide works for one of the Christian parties, and she showed us her office.  Her window has a view of the central square where protests and demonstrations are made.  It is an ideal place to pray when there is a protest of some sort.

Christian party window

Christian Party Office window’s view of the square

After lunch we went to the International Criminal Court and sat in on part of a trial.  Having worked for lawyers, I have always been fascinated by courtroom proceedings.  The other members of the team were mostly bored by the proceedings because of the endless repetition of various phrasings of the same question.

International Criminal Court Building at The Hague

Now I understand why the house of prayer here is called the Justice House of Prayer.  Indeed, the Hague is an international center for justice (or at least, it should be).  God is the only truly just Judge, and He will right all the injustices of this world.  God is good!

Sheltered in Amsterdam

Amsterdam 5

Greetings from Amsterdam!

Although Amsterdam is a beautiful city, I have to admit that some aspects of this city are very disturbing.  Legalized prostitution is one of them.  Now, if legal prostitution meant that women who enjoy that work are free to make a living, then that would be OK with me.  Honestly, I can’t imagine the woman who enjoys having 20-50 men use her that way.  And it is a fact that virtually all of the women who voluntarily choose the oldest profession have a history of past sexual abuse.  Nevertheless, I would not jail prostitutes.  That never was the answer.

The problem is that wherever you see prostitution, there’s trafficking.  Legalized prostitution simply makes it easier for the real criminals (the traffickers) to enslave women and make money from them.  It also eases the conscience of the johns, who satisfy their lust and lie to themselves, believing that the women enjoy the work.  Legal prostitution allows them to believe that there is nothing shameful about paying for sex with a stranger.  But if there really is nothing shameful about it, then why do they hide this activity from friends, family, and coworkers?  They go on sex tourist vacations to Amsterdam or the Dominican Republic and visiting prostitutes becomes an addiction[1].

In addition, if legalized prostitution is just like any other profession or business, then why would the window girls of Amsterdam need a panic button?  Yes, each room is supposed to be equipped with a panic button in case the john becomes violent.  Many of the men who visit prostitutes actually hate women.  Often johns turn violent, and even brag about abusing prostitutes in anonymous chatrooms (according to The Johns by Victor Malarek).

Prostitutes not only have short career lives, but they actually have a shorter life expectancy than other women.  Violent johns is only one hazard of the job.  Often the traffickers use narcotics to subdue and eventually get the women so addicted that they will literally do anything for their next fix.  Often the women, once offered freedom and rehabilitation from the drugs, are so ashamed that they refuse to return home to their families—especially if their family is poor.

Amsterdam 3

So, it is against this backdrop that I came to Amsterdam to meet Allita (from the last chapter of my new book Holy Goosebumps).  She had visited me in Milan while I edited and got the book ready for publication.  From there, she came to Amsterdam and has been prayer walking the city of Amsterdam, as she did in Milan.  We had a couple of days together in this beautiful city.  We explored the city, renewing our friendship.

Amsterdam 4

At the hostel where we both stayed, we made friends with the staff and other visitors.  The hostel we stayed at is one of the two Christian hostels: The Shelter and The Shelter Jordan.  We stayed at The Shelter Jordan.  They were very friendly and welcoming, and is definitely one of the nicest hostels I’ve ever stayed at—and by now, I’ve stayed at many hostels all over Europe.  One young man who worked at the front desk is a fellow writer.  He wrote A Life Method.  I also met a young Italian man, who was delighted to find someone to speak Italian with.  We talked about Italy, Amsterdam, the US, and eventually Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit.  He had looked for work in Italy, and finding none, he had come to Amsterdam, saying that he will never return to Italy—well, only to visit his mom.  He admitted that he smokes pot, but was very open to learning about a genuine Christian life.

Amsterdam 2

That’s the wonderful thing about places like The Shelter: people can mix and share their faith in such a natural way that there is none of the stiffness of bringing them into a church.  Let’s face it, most churches are not comfortable places for people who are being convicted by the Holy Spirit.  But over a coffee in a friendly Christian café, they’re ready to listen and to talk without arguing.  Arguing someone into the kingdom doesn’t work anyway.  Love is what attracts people into the kingdom, and The Shelter is a great place to love people into the kingdom.


We need more places like The Shelter and Christian coffeehouses.  I would rather see our people build those things than churches.  If we want to reach this generation with the Gospel, we’re going to have to adapt.  God is good!

[1] Whether you call it an addiction or an obsession, behaviors like this can become a drug—an escape from the unhappy realities of life.

It’s Nothing, Just the Neighborhood Anarchists

fishing gunfishing gun 2

Here’s the gun swinging in the early morning breeze about a week before the anarchist house eviction

There’s a house two blocks from mine.  It’s always covered in political graffiti, with banners saying “no TAV.”  TAV is the Italian acronym for high-speed trains (Treno ad Alta Velocità), and the reason for protesting the fast trains is mostly their ultra-high cost.  The whole railway infrastructure has had to be rebuilt in order to accommodate the high-speed trains.  And guess who bears the burden?  Then Italian taxpayers (who already among the highest income tax rates in the world).  In addition, the ticket price for all the trains has gone up.  The high-speed trains are exorbitant, having quadrupled ticket prices between popular destinations.

The environmental and health impact of the high-speed trains is something that has never been adequately explored in the rush to get the trains up and running.

About two weeks ago, the Lord told me to get out and take a walk in the neighborhood.  The Holy Spirit led me right to walk right in front of that house, then instructed me to stop and turn around.  When I did, I saw a pistol hanging from a fishing pole attached to the wall of the anarchist house.

anarchist house

Anarchist house with graffiti

A week later, as I was entering my local coffee shop, I noticed Carabinieri (Italian Military Police—at least two dozen of them—in front of the coffee shop, many of them were looking down the street toward the anarchist house.  They had two police vans blocking the street in front of the coffee shop.  There were several more police officers in the coffee shop, too.  When I asked what was going on, I was given a generic reassurance: “We’ve got everything under control.”  So I asked the cashier of the coffee shop. 

anarchist evictionanarchist eviction 3

Anarchist house eviction from a couple of angles

I figured that it was another protest because there is an animal research lab just a block away from the anarchist house, and there are frequently protests in front of the lab, but nothing of a violent nature (mostly people carrying signs, blowing whistles, and chanting).  I don’t know for sure that the anarchists of the graffiti house were involved in the animal rights protests, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

anarchist eviction 2anarchist eviction 7

other views of the eviction

But she said that the anarchists had been squatting illegally in the house, and were being evicted.  Indeed, when I left the coffee shop I saw a white couch sitting in the middle of the street, and a rented moving truck parked nearby.  I also saw another two dozen or so finance cops at the other end of the street, with two of their vans blocking that end of the street.

When I saw my building’s custodian, she said that the mayor’s son was among the anarchists.  She said that the mayor had given them permission to live in the house, even though he didn’t have the right to give that permission.  Things apparently came to a head when several nights in a row there were loud parties lasting until four in the morning.  Neighbors complained to police, and the police came in force to evict the squatting anarchists.

anarchist eviction 4anarchist eviction 5

anarchist eviction 6

The Finance Police get involved, too

Later, as I passed on a bus, I saw smoke coming from the house: regular gray smoke and also a strange green smoke.  I don’t know if they were burning documents or drugs or what, but that green smoke did not look normal.

Anyway, so it was no big deal, just the local anarchists getting evicted.  You just never know what’s going to be going on in the neighborhood.

evicted anarchist

Evicted anarchist