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Friday, 12 September 2014 21:49

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HARPAZO: The Intra-Seal Rapture of the Church

by James Jacob Prasch
Copy-Edited by D. E. Isom

When it comes to books devoted to eschatology in general and the Rapture specifically, they often either read like a formal academic argument written solely for the benefit of scholars or employ the use of fiction to avoid directly handling the underlying biblical text. As with Jacob's previous books and exhaustive list of sermons covering nearly every area of theology, Harpazo presents the doctrine of the Rapture and Resurrection in the strictest biblical sense possible, leveraging the handling of Scripture in the same manner as passed along to us by Christ through the Apostles and Early Church of the 1st century.

Often the typical format of such books is to spend more time explaining and refuting all the positions the author does not subscribe to rather than focus exclusively on what they believe and have derived from Scripture. Harpazo may be unique in the complete absence of charts and seemingly endless trips to sidebars to constantly compare alternate interpretations the author does not subscribe to in the first place. Jacob was asked to continue to employ in an expanded book format the same exegesis of Scripture which is present in all of his teachings regardless of whether or not they are eschatological. After all, "The Apocalypse" means "unveiling", and that "lifting of the curtain", so to speak, as we approach the ever nearer Return of Christ is the Holy Spirit's revelation of Scripture as already given, not a new opinion by man..

The Gospels are clear that immediately in the wake of His Resurrection, Christ not only imparted the Holy Spirit to His disciples, but directly instructed them in how He was the fulfillment of the whole of Scripture. (Lk. 24:27, 44-45) In other words, the interpretation of all of God's Word, every Book of the Old Testament included, was re-cast as Christological, having not just a literal, primary meaning for the times any Scripture was originally given, but an added meaning for either Christ's First Coming, Second Coming, or both. Like every doctrine and theology, the Rapture and Resurrection are illustrated through many scriptural people, places and events throughout the whole of God"s Word and not simply limited to a single biblical reference.

Using the Early Church hermeneutics of typology to illustrate and illuminate doctrine, Jacob shows how there are many raptures and rescues in Scripture which combine to teach what is going to ultimately take place in the Parousia—the Second Coming of Christ. Likewise, there is a wealth of similar events and patterns throughout Scripture which teach us what to expect from related issues such as the Two Witnesses, the role of the 144,000 and Israel yet to come, the pattern of judgments in Revelation and how they actually replay Old Testament and historical parallels, and a wealth of other such End Times teachings already established in the canon of Scripture.

Jesus Himself established this hermeneutic by categorically teaching that the Last Days would be realized in the character of the days of Noah as well as Lot. The Apostles in their writings not only confirmed these specific examples but built upon them. The question for believers in the Last Days is not whether or not some kind of "new" revelation or word from God has been revealed, but how what has already been given is, in these final hours, being unveiled to believers by the Holy Spirit. What Daniel was told to seal until the end, John was told would be ultimately unsealed.

Some of the chapter titles in Harpazo will sound familiar to those already acquainted with Jacob's teachings, but he has never tied everything together overall to this degree before. This book is not about creating another End Times chart, but making a good faith effort to draw together in one place what the whole counsel of God's Word is teaching not just for a single event or prophetic fulfillment, but the overall doctrinal basis by which believers are supposed to act and behave as they are putting His Word into practice. Whereas many limit their teaching on the Rapture to just the drama of the physical event itself, one of the remarkable differences presented in Harpazo is the believer's place in the Rapture and Resurrection and their active role in preparation for it. Recognition of the nearness of His Return invokes a responsibility to live accordingly.

Those expecting an academic treatment of eschatology or hoping for a formal rebuttal of alternative positions will not find such in Harpazo. But those placing a priority on what God's Word is saying more than the word and opinions of man will derive tangible benefits from the book regardless of which "ism" or eschatology currently held. Jacob presents us with a thorough proactive exegesis of Scripture by concentrating on what Scripture affirms rather than a reactive rebuttal of the beliefs of man, which all too often actually fall outside biblical boundaries.

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