For all those who are reading this for the first time, I was one of the loudest voices on the newsgroups speaking about a "Rapture on Feast of Trumpets" this for Sept. 1999.
I'm sorry. I was wrong. I was a prideful idiot. I deceived myself. I have spoken presumptuously and deserve death under the Law according to Deuteronomy... And I deceived others who believed me. I lusted after the promise of the Kingdom, and through my pride and arrogance, I thought I could divine the time, and/or that I was worthy enough to be given divine revelation. Obviously, I was preaching out of my vain imagination, because I came to the wrong conclusions. Nothing happened! I was wrong! I'm sorry!
Do you want to know what happened? My thoughts on how I went so wrong?
The Full Apology 27k
I cannot prove or demonstrate who will go up in the rapture. That is not my place, nor any man's. (Romans 9)
Jesus tells us repeatedly to watch, prepare, and be ready. And, as this site shows, the main example given is that we are like a bride who is to make herself be ready to be 'taken' away by her husband at his arrival.
Jesus, when beginning his ministry, invited people to follow him. Poor excuses given were "I have to bury my father" or "Let me just say goodbye first"... and Jesus said, they were not ready to follow him. In other words, Jesus was not their top priority, and they still had ties to the world. Jesus said to not be a part of the world, but they were. Jesus also said to sell everything, and give to the poor, and the "rich man" could not do it, which is why Jesus said it was just about impossible for a rich man to get into the Kingdom of Heaven.
The rapture is also likened to a wedding invitation that went out (Matthew 22), and also like a command, "Come up hither." As with all invitations and commands, one has the option to ignore, decline, & disobey, OR, one can acknowledge, receive, accept and obey.
The 5 foolish virgins were caught unprepared, and the wise did not share their lamp oil. I think the oil represents preparedness, faith, knowledge & wisdom.
In the parable, they could not get this oil from the wise believers, they had to go and buy it from those who buy and sell.
...the Bible says to "buy wisdom and sell it not" in proverbs...
Perhaps this oil is something you have to get on your own. Wisdom & faith is like that. You can't just have people pour it into you, you have to do the studying & believing on your own.
It is true, knowledge is something you are supposed to get from fellow believers--and that's what the foolish virgins demand, but it just doesn't always work that way.
As I preach on the internet, I realize that I cannot 'give' somebody the knowledge and faith that I have, even if someone else demands it from me. I try and try, but it's impossible. Many people on the internet actually provoke, defy, challenge me to prove to them that God exists. I can't pour my lamp oil into them, no matter how hard I try or want to do so, no matter how much they beg for my oil/faith... I end up telling them that they have to go and work out their own salvation. It's between God and them, not me and them. It's not up to me to save them or the world... Our Lord Jesus Christ did that. Their desire for him has to come from them, on their own. We can tell people about our faith, but that does not cause someone else to believe. They have to do their own studying and work.
As for the "having to do it on your own" part, the Bible says to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling".
In Revelation 2-4, Jesus repeatedly tells his Churches to repent because He's coming quickly. Repent means to turn away from sin, and turn back to Jesus Christ. We should not desire anything of the world, only Jesus Christ.
The Bride is supposed to be ready to leave everything behind, to go with the groom in her new life. The main things she does to prepare is to learn how to please her husband. So, in our case, it means that we are to know the Bible, and to be ready to be made anew, born again.
[John 3:3] Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto
thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
[John 3:5] Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
[John 3:7] Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
[2Tim 4:8] Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
[Heb 9:28] so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
[Luke 21:36] Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may
be accounted worthy to escape all these things that
shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
[Col 3:3] For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
[Col 3:4] When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
[Mat 22:1] And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying,
[Mat 22:2] "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son,
[Mat 22:3] and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come.
[Mat 22:4] Again he sent other servants, saying, `Tell those who are invited, Behold, I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and everything is ready; come to the marriage feast.'
[Mat 22:5] But they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business,
[Mat 22:6] while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them.
[Mat 22:7] The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
[Mat 22:8] Then he said to his servants, `The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy.
[Mat 22:9] Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.
[Mat 22:10] And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.
[Mat 22:11] "But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment;
[Mat 22:12] and he said to him, `Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless.
[Mat 22:13] Then the king said to the attendants, `Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.
[Mat 22:14] For many are called, but few are chosen."