I am convinced that Scripture teaches that the Rapture of the Church (pretribulational) and Christ’s Second Coming to earth are two distinct events.
Taking It to the Bedrock
My belief that there will be a Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church stands on the bedrock of the following foundational tenets:
A) The Bible is the Word of God
The 66-book canon called the Bible is God’s inerrant, infallible message to mankind, explaining His purposes and plans for the ages (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21). No other document can be reliably trusted, nor remotely reach the bar for the requirements of authentication that the Bible attains to so easily.
B) The Bible is to be Interpreted Literally
God means what He says and says what He means. God wants His creations to know His will plainly. While God does indulge in picturesque descriptions and parables, an explanation almost always follows or context is provided for explanation. Spiritualization of text, therefore, has no proper place in interpreting Scriptures. Any eschatological viewpoint must then be thrown out if it is based on the reader’s desire to spiritualize the Bible into whatever ethereal meaning they desire. Take the Bible for its plain sense meaning.
C) The Church and Israel Are Separate Entities
Israel is not the Church and the Church is not Israel. A believer in Christ becomes a member of the Church, whether Jew or Gentile (Rom. 1:16), but a member of the Church does not become a form of spiritual Israel. God’s promises to Israel as a people and nation (see next tenet) are not the same as for the Bride of Christ, the Church.
D) A Literal 1000-Year Millennium
The Bible describes a future, literal 1000-year time period. The Greek word “chilias” for “one thousand” appears six times in Revelation 20, clearly marking the time period as having 1000 literal years. The purpose of this time period is for Jesus Christ to have an earthly kingdom from which to base His rule and to fulfill His promises (Gen. 13:14-17; 15:5,18-21; 2 Sam. 7:16-19; Isa. 10:21-22; 11:1-2; Jer. 23:5-8; 30:22; 31:31-34; Ezek. 11:18-20; 34:24; 36:24-28; Mic. 7:19-20; Hos. 3:5; Rom. 11:26-29).
E) A Literal 7-Year Tribulation
An upcoming time period has been set aside for God to pour out His wrath upon the evil of the world, to regather Israel back into its land, to force Israel to acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah, and for the Messiah to return and fight for His believing remnant (Deut. 4:26-31; Isa. 13:6-13; 17:4-11; Jer. 30:4-11; Ezek. 20:33-38; Dan. 9:27; 12:1; Zech. 14:1-4; Matt. 24:9-31). This time period begins with a covenant between Israel and the Antichrist (Dan. 9:27). The length of the Tribulation is seven years long, described in a variety of ways as “one seven” year block (Dan. 9:27), consisting of two “times, time and half a time” (two years + 1 year + half a year; Rev. 12:14), or two “1260 days” periods (Rev. 11:3), or two “42-month” periods (Rev. 11:2; 13:5).
F) Jesus Will Return Again to Earth
The Bible says Jesus will physically return again to earth (Zech. 14:1-21; Matt. 24:29-31; Mk. 13:24-27; Lk. 21:25-27; Rev. 19). Jesus returns is to defeat His enemies, set up His throne, restore Israel, rule with “a rod of iron” and share His authority with those who overcame in Him (Mat. 19:28; 25:31; Acts 1:3-6; Rev. 2:26-27; 3:21).
G) The Bible Teaches About a Rapture
1 Thessalonians 4:17 speaks of an event called “the Rapture”, Latin “rapio,” Greek “harpazo,” which means “to catch up, to snatch away, or to take out.” “After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” Paul states that the concept of the Rapture is meant to encourage believers during this Age (1 Thes. 4:18). Other New Testament references on the Rapture are Jn. 14:1-4; I Cor. 15:51-58; and 1 Thes. 4:13-18.
These bedrock statements about the Bible and its interpretation provide the foundation in which to analyze the following reasons for why I believe the Bible teaches a Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church.
1) The Bible describes the Rapture and Second Coming as different events.
The Bible must see the Rapture (Jn. 14:1-4; I Cor. 15:51-58; 1 Thes. 4:13-18) and the Second Coming (Zech. 14:1-21; Matt. 24:29-31; Mk. 13:24-27; Lk. 21:25-27; Rev. 19) as separate events, because when the verses are compared they describe two very different scenarios:
- Rapture — believers meet Christ in the air
Second Coming — Christ returns to the Mount of Olives to meet the believers on earth
- Rapture — Mount of Olives is unchanged
Second Coming — Mount of Olives is divided, forming a valley east of Jerusalem
- Rapture — living believers obtain glorified bodies
Second Coming — living believers remain in same bodies
- Rapture — believers go to heaven
Second Coming — glorified believers come from heaven, earthly believers stay on earth
- Rapture — world left unjudged and living in sin
Second Coming — world is judged and righteousness is established
- Rapture — depicts deliverance of the Church from wrath
Second Coming — depicts deliverance of believers who endured wrath
- Rapture — no signs precede it
Second Coming — many signs precede it
- Rapture — revealed only in New Testament
Second Coming — revealed in both Old and New Testaments
- Rapture — deals with only the saved
Second Coming — deals with both the saved and unsaved
- Rapture — Satan remains free
Second Coming — Satan is bound and thrown into the Abyss
Since the Rapture and Second Coming clearly are different events that do not occur at the same time, this would rule out a Post-Tribulation Rapture scenario.
2) The Rapture is described as occurring at any time without warning.
Jesus stated in Matthew 24:42,44 to “Therefore keep watch because you do not know on what day your Lord will come… So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” Not only do believers in Christ not know when to expect Him, but the Father Himself seems to have left Jesus out on the exact time His Son is to return. As Jesus stated in Matthew 24:36, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” These and other verses (Mat. 24:36,42,44,50; 25:13; 1 Thes. 4:18; Tit. 2:13; 1 Jn. 2:28; 3:2-3) indicate that Jesus’ arrival will come when nobody expects it.
The Second Coming, on the other hand, is preceded by many events, such as the rise of the Antichrist (Rev. 12:13-17; Zech; 13:7-9), a treaty with Israel (Dan. 9:27), the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple (Mat. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:3-4; Rev. 11:1-2), as well as plagues and judgments and persecutions destroying most of the world’s population (Rev. 6-18). The Book of Revelation reports these events as occurring during the 7-year Tribulation, which Revelation reveals precede the Second Coming.
Because the Rapture could happen at any moment and without warning and the Second Coming is preceded by so many signs, then the Rapture and Second Coming must be different events. The Rapture has to occur before the seven years’ worth of signs because Christians are called to look for the Lord’s return rather than signs such as the Antichrist’s arrival. Once the signs begin, then the seven-year countdown begins towards its end with Christ’s return at the Second Coming.
Jesus’ imminent return dismisses any of the other viewpoints related to a rapture that occurs within or at the end of the Tribulation.
3) The Rapture and the removal of the “Restrainer” occur at the same time.
In 2 Thessalonians, the church at Thessalonica was afraid due to a false report that they had entered the Day of the Lord (Tribulation) and had somehow missed the Rapture. The Apostle Paul assured them that the Antichrist would not be revealed until a restraining force would be taken away so that the Man of Lawlessness could be revealed.
Because the revealing of the Antichrist coincides with the beginning of the 7-year Tribulation starting with his peace treaty with Israel (Dan. 9:27), then the Restrainer has to be removed before the Tribulation. As the Holy Spirit also works in salvation (Jn. 16:8-11; 1 Jn. 5:7) during the Tribulation, then it is the Church that must be the Restrainer that is removed. Therefore, the Rapture and the removal of the Church must coincide, and at the beginning of the seven years.
4) The Tribulation is for Israel’s redemption.
Jeremiah 30:7 describes the Tribulation as the “time of Jacob’s trouble” — “How awful that day will be! None will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it.”
In the Book of Matthew, whose primary audience is the Jews, Jesus explains to his Jewish followers what life will be like during the Tribulation. Also, Revelation 12 describes picturesquely a woman who gives birth and has to flee due to persecution during the Tribulation. The context shows the woman is Israel. And again, the Battle of Armageddon is the world against Israel. Two-thirds of the Jewish people will be killed from these battles. These texts and others show that the Tribulation is meant for the redemption of the Jewish people.
Why are the Jews the object of persecution during the Tribulation? For one, Satan hates the Jewish people for giving the world the Scriptures and the Messiah, as well as he wishes to thwart God’s promises to the Jews (see Bedrock #4). Secondly, the Jews have to be so desperately brought low that they finally call out to their Messiah “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” (Mat. 23:39; Lk. 13:35). The Tribulation, then, is used for Israel’s redemption which also results in the punishment of the wicked. The Church does not fit into this scenario and are left out of the purposes of the Tribulation. They would need to be removed — caught up — before the Tribulation begins.
5) The Tribulation is not for the Church.
The Tribulation is God’s wrath upon the unbelieving world, and not for those who are saved from Christ’s resurrection to the Rapture — called the Church. Yes, believers have suffered all throughout human history, but there is a special time (just like the Flood) set apart called the Day of the Lord for God’s wrath. Christians suffering and the Tribulation/Day of the Lord is different.
True believers in Christ during the Church Age, represented by the Church of Philadelphia, are promised in Revelation 3:10, “Since you have kept My command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.” Paul states in 1 Thessalonians 1:10, “and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.” He also states in 1 Thessalonians 5:9, “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:9 states, “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” Ephesians 5:6 states, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.” Colossians 3:4 states, “When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Again and again, Scripture states the Church is not meant to endure God’s wrath.
6) God’s wrath involves the whole 7-Year Tribulation.
The view that the Rapture will occur at the mid-point of the Tribulation is based upon 1 Corinthians 15:52 which states that the Rapture will occur at the blowing of “the last trumpet.” This Mid-Tribulation Rapture view then declares this trumpet to be the last of the seven trumpets in Revelation 11 that is blown at the mid-point of the Tribulation. Why of the 114 references to trumpets in the Bible these two are identified as one and the same only defies sound Bible study. The context clearly shows the last trumpet of 1 Corinthians 15 is blown for believers whereas the seven trumpets of Revelation 8, 9, and 11 are sounded for unbelievers. The Revelation trumpets therefore can have no relevance for the Church.
Proponents of the Pre-Wrath Rapture view believe the Rapture will occur about three-quarters of the way through the Tribulation, about five years or shortly thereafter, with up to four comings of Christ. According to Dr. David Reagan in his article The Pre-Wrath Rapture:
“Those who espouse this viewpoint believe that the Seal Judgments are the wrath of Man and Satan and that they continue throughout the first half of the Tribulation and into the second half, right up to the three-quarters point, or shortly thereafter. They place the Trumpet Judgments in the last quarter of the Tribulation and the Bowl Judgments in the first 30 days following the end of Daniel’s 70th Week of Years.”
But, isn’t it Jesus Himself who breaks the seals that launch each of the Revelation 6 seal judgments which occur at the beginning of the Tribulation? Also, the seven angels who blow the trumpets that initiate each of the trumpet judgments are given their trumpets at the throne of God (Revelation 8:2). And, Revelation 15:1 states that the bowl judgments at the end of the Tribulation finish the wrath of God, not begin His wrath.
Because these judgments are initiated by Jesus Himself at the beginning of the Tribulation, the whole Tribulation must be God’s wrath, which the Church is exempt from.
7) The Old Testament and Revelation leave the Church out of the Tribulation.
The focus of the Tribulation — to pour out God’s wrath on the earth just like the Flood (Isa. 24:22; Zeph. 3:8; 1 Thes. 5:3; 2 Thes. 2:12) and to bring the Jewish people to accept Jesus as Messiah (Mat. 23:39; Lk. 13:35) — is addressed by the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation to the unbelievers and the Jewish people. In any biblical content concerning the Tribulation/Day of the Lord, the Church cannot be found.
The whole concept of the Church was a mystery to the Old Testament prophets. They focused on the nation of Israel. The Book of Matthew is written to the Jewish people, whom Jesus is addressing in Matthew 24. In the Book of Revelation, chapters 2 and 3 cover the Church Age, but then there is no mention of the Church until after the Tribulation/Day of the Lord chapters 6-18. In Chapter 19, the Church returns to the texts and can be found, not suffering, but celebrating with Christ at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and preparing to return with Jesus to earth.
8) The Church is busy elsewhere during the Tribulation.
While the 7-year Tribulation is occurring, the Bible records the Church will be busy with three events. None of the three have to do with suffering on a world being destroyed.
The first event the raptured Church will participate in is a judgment by God — the Judgment of the Just. This judgment on works is not to determine eternal destiny, but to determine degrees of reward (2 Cor. 5:10; Rev. 19:6-9).
The second event is the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. This feast celebrates the spiritual marriage of Christ’s Bride — the Church — to her Savior. Revelation 19:7-9 shares this wonderful celebration, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) Then the angel said to me, ‘Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ And he added, ‘These are the true words of God.’”
The third event follows the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and is the Church’s preparation to follow the King of Kings into the Battle of Armageddon at the conclusion of the Tribulation. This event is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Zech. 14:1-21; Matt. 24:29-31; Mk. 13:24-27; Lk. 21:25-27; Rev. 19:11-21). Revelation 19:14 identifies the Church in their “fine linen, white and clean,” which was given to them during the first event — the Judgment of the Just. The Church and angelic forces follow the King of Kings into His Second Coming to the earth, but only Jesus Himself will engage in battle and with mere words defeat the nations in the siege against Jerusalem.
9) There needs to be sheep to separate from the goats.
If the Church is raptured at the end of the Tribulation, receives their glorified bodies, and then immediately u-turns back with Christ for the Second Coming as the Post-Tribulation Rapture view holds, then what believer in Christ will be available for the Sheep and Goats Judgment of Matthew 25? The only people left on earth would be unbelievers, called goats. No believer — sheep — would be available for God to put into the sheep category.
Since those who are in glorified bodies will be like the angels in that they aren’t given in marriage or reproduce (Matt. 22:30; Mk. 12:25), then a believing, unglorified, human remnant must make it into the sheep category and go on to produce the nations during the Millennial reign of Christ (Ezek. 43:13-27; Isa. 19:21; Isa. 65:20-22; Rev. 20:7-10). This would mean that people would need to come to Christ during the Tribulation yet after the Rapture to produce this Millennial population.
10) The Bible shows God rescues the righteous from His wrath.
Being a Christian means having to endure suffering and trials at the hand of man (Jn. 16:33; Phil. 1:27; 1 Thes. 3:3; 1 Pet. 4:12-13). But, the Bible has many examples of those who put their faith in God are exempt from God’s wrath. Noah and his family were removed from the Flood waters that in God’s wrath were used to judge and cleanse the earth. Lot and his wife and two daughters were made to leave Sodom and Gomorrah before God burned the towns up with fire and sulfur. Rahab’s family was set apart when Joshua’s army invaded Jericho.
Could believers be miraculously protected during the Tribulation, like the Israelites were during the plagues on Egypt? Yes, the 144,000 Jewish evangelists from Revelation 7 and 14, for instance, will be divinely protected. But, the slaughter of believers during the Tribulation will be so massive that they are certainly not under any special protection (Rev. 7:9-17; 20:4).
11) The Pre-Tribulation Rapture view is not too new to discount.
Some will argue that the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view is just “too new” to be considered viable. Critics will point to the origin of the modern Pre-Tribulation view and credit John Nelson Darby (1800-1882) with its founding. But, is that assessment historically accurate? Indeed, it is not.
The Early Church fathers’ such as Barnabas (ca.100-105), Papias (ca. 60-130), Justin Martyr (110-195), Irenaeus (120-202), Tertullian (145-220), Hippolytus (ca. 185-236), Cyprian (200-250), and Lactantius (260-330) wrote on the imminent return of Jesus Christ, the central argument for the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view.
Biblical truth is determined by Scripture, and not how that teaching has been perceived at different times during history. When Augustine began spiritualizing the Bible, his view of a non-literal interpretation took hold of the church until the Renaissance, obliterating the Premillennial and Pre-Tribulation Rapture views in favor of Amillennialism. But, some Medieval writers such as Ephraem of Nisibis (306-373), Abbot Ceolfrid’s Latin Codex Amiatinus (ca. 690-716), and Brother Dolcino wrote statements that distinguish the Rapture from the Second Coming.
When the chains of allegorical interpretation began to fall off beginning with the Reformation in the 1400 and 1500s, writers such as Joseph Mede (1586-1638), Increase Mather (1639-1723), Peter Jurieu (1687), Philip Doddridge (1738), John Gill (1748), James Macknight (1763), Thomas Scott (1792) and Morgan Edwards (1722-1795) all wrote concerning the Rapture occurring separately from the Second Coming. Even in the more modern church, those like William Witherby (1818) were precursors to John Darby in support of the view. The Pre-Tribulation Rapture view is indeed then not only biblical but supported throughout Church history.
Here is a wonderful table showing further differences in the Rapture vs the Second Coming by my brother in Christ Kyle Hornsey.
|Promise…||to the Church||to Israel|
|Prophesied in OT?||a mystery||as Day of the Lord|
|Focus is…||the true Church||Israel|
|Christ comes…||to redeem||to judge then reign|
|Christ comes as…||the Bridegroom||King of kings, man of war|
|Christ comes to…||rescue His bride||present His bride|
|Christ comes to…||meet us in the air!||the Mount of Olives|
|Christ comes…||for His saints||with His saints|
|Timing||before Tribulation||end of Tribulation|
|Trumpet calls…||all believers from Earth||all ‘elect’ to Earth|
|Who calls?||Jesus Christ – Himself!||the angels|
|Private or public?||private – in the clouds||‘every eye shall see Him’|
|Who is gathered?||the true Church||Israel & the nations|
|Cause for…||hope, joy, comfort||much mourning|
|Effect||1st Resurrection||death of wicked|
|Result||believers transformed||Creation restored|
|Saints taken…||to the Father’s house||to Earth|
|Relevance to Israel||a sign to Israel||rescue of Israel|
|Shock factor||greatest miracle since Creation||greatest earthquake in Middle East|
|Effect on Satan||in a great rage||bound for 1000 years|
|Leaves the nations…||under wrath||judged|
|Dispensational||end of Grace era||beginning of Millennium|
5 responses to “Rapture vs Second Coming”
Agree totally my brother. Great post.
Leo Trepp a German-born American rabbi, the last surviving rabbi who had led a congregation in Nazi Germany during the early days of The Holocaust. [Shavelson, Lonny. “Nazi Germany’s Last Surviving Rabbi Marks Passover Seder: Leo Trepp sees modern message of freedom in ritual]” Trepp spent 20 years teaching Jewish religion, Jewish mysticism and Talmud to students at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz.
Guardian angel – 1864 – hymnsandchants.com https://www.hymnsandchants.com/Texts/Fiat/Saints/1002GuardianAngel.pdf
[[[“””The belief that angels can be guides and intercessors for men can be found in Job 33:23-6, and in the Daniel 10:13 angels seem to be assigned to certain countries. In this latter case, the “prince of the Persian kingdom” contends with Gabriel. The same verse mentions “Michael, one of the chief princes”….”””]]]
The latter Holy Writings bases itself upon HaShem, who issued a command to Moshe the prophet, by the command of HaShem – that the “angel” Moshe travel to Egypt and Par’o to free Israel from bondage. Another early Prophetic source, the Book of Yehoshua, at the oath sworn brit cut @ Gilgal, conducted in the presence of an “Angel”; the oath sworn unto the revealed Name – the first Sinai commandment – that רוח הקודש tohor middot would for ever live within the hearts of the People, who just sanctified tohor middot dedicated through the mitzvah of brit melah unto HaShem. Specifically that HaShem war against the Gods\Guardian Angels/ worshiped by the kingdoms of Canaan; just as did HaShem war, through the plagues, which judged the Gods\Guardian Angels/ worshiped by Egypt and Par’o.
The fathers of the early Church chose to divorce the Xtian faith from Judaism. Throughout this period and beyond, the Church condemned Jews as cursed Christ Killers. What Guardian Angel did Lord JeZeus assign to fallen Israel – other than Satan himself?
[[[“””Thomas Aquinas agreed with Honorius and believed that it was the lowest order of angels who served as guardians, and his view was most successful in popular thought, but Duns Scotus said that any angel is bound by duty, authority and obedience to the Divine Authority to accept the mission to which that angel is assigned. In the 15th century, the Feast of the Guardian Angels was added to the official calendar of Catholic holidays.”””]]]
Known as the paschal mystery, this theology argues that JeZeus saves the church from the “fires of hell”. This bi-polar faith very much compares to Zoroastrianism. It seems to me that the משל of Angels, requires its necessary נמשל דיוק. The inference drawn, HaShem affixes a destiny path walk unto the people of the Cohen nation by means of Angelic ambassadors. Something like Yaacov sending “Angels” unto his brother Esua. (דברים לב:ח) seems to support this premise.
Mohammad based the revelation of the Koran upon the interaction of a ‘Guardian Angel’. Xtian mysticism too tells of mystics who conducted protracted dialogues with their respective guardian angle(s). Alas, reliance upon ‘guardian angels’, just an excuse for sloppy scholarship. The scholarship of the assimilated kabbalist Yosef Karo, it stands at the top of this list. The sages permanently sealed the T’NaCH\Talmud/Siddur to prevent this ‘appeal to some unknown higher authority’ – narisheit. The sealed Masoret in Bava Metzia 59א-ב, includes an Aggadic mussar story, known as the Oven of Akhnai. According to the Talmud, a heavenly voice, a tree, a nearby stream, and the walls of the house of study all agreed with Eliezer’s interpretation. The sages responded by placing the ban of charem upon Eliezer ben Hurcanus, one of the great instructors of Rabbi Akiva.
Blood Libel: The Conspiracy Theory That Jews Are ‘Anti-Human’ https://news.yahoo.com/blood-libel-conspiracy-theory-jews-103052553.html
Anti-Semitism has many exceptional qualities; unlike most forms of racism, it represents a conspiracy theory. Many conspiracy theories, make a search for the Devil, or for the Devil’s agents on this earth. Jewish refugee populations, scattered across Europe, Christians imagined them, not as an exploited and despised underclass, but as a preternaturally powerful elite Christ-Killer, that enslaves and destroys humankind. The anti-Semite “punches up” at these Jewish refugees who had no rights, as guilty of all human suffering, who close at hand with the Devil, and seal of the road to deliverance from oppression.
Despite racism’s lethality, the form known as anti-Semitism most often erased, excused, and even encouraged by people, the priests of the Catholic and Protestant churches, who publicly identify themselves as “antiracist.” One post WWII explanation for this increasingly dangerous phenomenon, its expressions of harassment, vandalism, and violence against Jews across the West, the failure of Holocaust education to emphasize the importance of conspiracism played in Nazi ideology & propaganda. For their part, the not so distant ‘American anti-racists’ render Jews “white” and “privileged” through a limited lens of race and power, taking an approach that represents a political allotrope (According to Michael Fertik, allotrope: “long enough for a reader to inhabit a world or a consciousness.”) of anti-Semitism and disqualifies Jews from concern.
So when U.S. representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar resolved to visit Israel in August to showcase to the world its peculiar evil, and it emerged that Miftah, the Palestinian non-governmental organization co-sponsoring their trip, had published on its website that Jews bake Christian blood into their matzoh, most major media ignored it. For them this trivial story besmirched the good name of ‘liberal democracy’. The erosion of liberal democracy, attacked by the tag team of Trump and Netanyahu, who barred entry to these congresswomen to Israel. Little indication that the blood libel stirred concern on the left where just a month earlier “Never again” was intoned relentlessly about Trump’s Mexican “concentration camps” at the border.
That omission, really quite striking. The ‘Blood libel’ the most vile expression of Jew-hatred throughout history. To overlook the recent Miftah ‘blood libel’, not only ignored a spectacular instance of bigotry; the liberal left, allies of Hillary Clinton, made itself oblivious to anti-Semitism. The blood libel sits at a apex place in the persecution of Jewish refugee populations. It exemplifies anti-Semitism’s worst exceptional quality of hatred without cause. Most types of racism define their victims as an “other” in relation to the group and regard them as less than human. Anti-Semitism, like all conspiracy theories, marks its target as an “other” in relation to humanity and regards the target as anti-human.
This dynamic has been present since the beginning of Western civilization. In his book Europe’s Inner Demons, the historian Norman Cohn demonstrates that by the second century a popular “fantasy” had emerged that civilization was threatened by a secret society “addicted to practices which were felt to be wholly abominable.” Of course, xenophobia has always assumed the existence of in-groups and out-groups. Generally, out-groups are opposed to in-groups through stereotypes that suggest the inferiority of the former. Ancient Greeks, for example, regarded various foreign peoples as childlike babblers. Romans thought their Jewish subjects smelled bad — a prejudice that survived in Europe long after the Empire fell.
Conspiracist xenophobia uses stereotypes that suggest much more — a set of behaviors, terrible and extranormal, of which only anti-human conspirators, their alliance with the Devil, makes them capable. These include cannibalism, atrocious sexual practices such as incest and pedophilia, and the sexualized worship of monstrous gods. These anti-humans perform their secret Kabbalah Rituals in clandestine ceremonies. At the center this heinous circle of a Christian child, typically a young boy, murdered and consumed for purposes of cursing the Christian Church.
Ritual murder was a “stock charge” in the ancient world. Dio Cassius accused three separate cabals — the Cataline conspirators and Egyptians and Alexandrian Jews in revolt against Rome — of sacrificing a boy and eating his entrails to inaugurate their plots for power. The Greek grammarian Apion applied the canard against all Jews. In 177 the Romans martyred believers near present-day Lyons, torturing their pagan slaves into corroborating familiar rumors — that their Christian masters were an incest cult who sacrificed and devoured children.
After Christianity was established as the state religion of the Roman Empire in the fourth century, those lurid fantasies simmered underground for the better part of a millennium. Meanwhile, Christians refined their theology of combat between the forces of good and the forces of evil: between God and Satan, between Christ and Antichrist, and between the righteous people and the demonic people who served as their agents on earth. In that morally supercharged xenophobia, Satan was attached to groups set apart as the “other.” The scope of the anti-human conspiracy became cosmic.
While Christian heretics and women thought to be witches would suffer unimaginably from this association, the Jews were destined to reap the worst of it in the form of the Holocaust. (The word alludes, with the grimmest irony, to a “burnt offering.”) Various passages of the New Testament were read as confirmation of the idea of Jewish guilt for killing Christ and of Jewish communion with the Devil.
In the medieval mind, the association between Jews and the Devil grew. Shortly before Easter in 1144, a young boy named William was found dead in the sallow grass of a heath near the lively center of Norwich, England. His body, stripped naked save for a jacket and shoes, showed signs of violence. He had been gagged with a piece of wood. Despairing relatives accused local Jews of the crime, but the charge didn’t take. Five years later, a Benedictine monk hoping to establish a local cult spun the rumors into a tale of ritual murder.
The myth of little William spread, partly because it met a subterranean need we all share: to explain and dramatize terrible events that happen for mysterious or mundane reasons. Over the next hundred years, copycat claims arose throughout Europe. Yet the mature blood accusation — that Jews ritually murder Christians to harvest their blood for Passover — wouldn’t become standard until the 14th century. The thinking about Jews and blood needed to develop before it might make emotional sense.
Christians in the Middle Ages regarded Jews as sorcerers, allied with demons. Little distinction was made between magic and medicine. When the charges of ritual murder were spreading, Jews were widely thought to suffer from peculiar maladies, many of which caused blood loss: hemorrhages, hemorrhoids, quinsy, scrofula, skin diseases, purulent sores; Jewish men were said to menstruate along with women, and Jewish babies to be born with one hand fixed to their foreheads, requiring surgery to detach. The recipes of medieval magic often focused on sickness and health, and sometimes they called for blood or body parts. Jews were assumed to need non-Jewish blood to be well. Christian life and Jewish life were literally held to be inversely related.
The effect of such fantasies was demonstrated in 1475 when a little boy named Simon went missing in Trent. Local Jews were seized and tortured into confessing that they ritually slaughtered him and drained his blood. Many were burned alive. Blood had become the preferred motif for expressing what medieval Christians conceived of as a parasitical Jewish project to destroy their civilization. While the Nazi movement thought itself superior to Christianity, it imported wholesale the idea of the Jews as the Devil’s agents, coupled to the anti-human stereotype that was embodied by the medieval blood libel. Rumors of blood libel and incidents related to it recurred in Europe until even after the Nazi surrender.
In the blood-libel piece posted on the Miftah site in 2013, President Obama was said to have held an imprudent Passover seder at the White House, where he enjoyed “Jewish cuisine” that was likely prepared with the blood of Christians. Under intense criticism, Miftah eventually retracted and apologized, but the medieval pitch of the piece was so true that I browsed their website for similar material and quickly found an article by Bouthaina Shaaban, who is now Bashar Assad’s media adviser. There Shaaban writes that Israel stole “Ukrainian children in order to harvest their organs.” The blood libel was transferred to the Arab world by Christian missionaries, surfacing in a famous case at Damascus in 1840. Today it is a recurring feature of Arab and Muslim anti-Semitism.
It would be a mistake to think that the phenomenon as it exists today is exclusively a Middle Eastern vice. As in the ancient world, the blood libel and other canards about the anti-human can be applied to any enemy. In the Pizzagate affair, far-right opponents of the Hillary Clinton campaign spread the rumor that a pizzeria in Washington, D.C., was a hub for human trafficking, child sex, and Satanic ritual abuse by high-ranking members of the Democratic party. The premises were shot up by a conspiracy theorist with an AR-15.
Often, of course, the targets in the present day, as in the Middle Ages, are Jewish. Alex Jones raves that CNN correspondent Brian Stelter is a “literal demon spawn” who is “drunk on our children’s blood.” Louis Farrakhan preaches that “pedophilia and sexual perversion institutionalized in Hollywood . . . can be traced to Talmudic principles and . . . Satanic influence under the name of Jew.”
It would also be a mistake to think that anti-Semitism is confined to the political Right. Karl Marx, in 1847, repeated the ancient calumny that “Christians really did slaughter human beings and eat and drink human flesh at Communion.” The Second Intifada and the Arab–Israeli impasse retrained focus on the Jews. In 2001 journalist Chris Hedges wrote in Harper’s that Israeli soldiers “entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport.” On Holocaust Memorial Day in 2003, The Independent ran a political cartoon that showed Ariel Sharon eating the head of a Palestinian baby. Recently Rutgers University professor Jasbir Puar was celebrated for bedecking the canard of Jewish organ theft in a sumptuous fabric of critical theory.
A Left that insists on a myopic analysis of race and power, taking the supernatural coordination inherent in conspiracy theories and off-loading it onto “systems” and “structures,” an oblivious to the anti-Semitic slander made by putative victims who “punch up.” In that moral void, the Holocaust becomes a drain catch for the current the ‘crisis’ of the day. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez retrofits it to Trump’s border policies, which she calls “dehumanizing.” Yet she defends Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, who partner with present-day peddlers of the blood libel. The Holocaust parallel there is much clearer.
We cannot afford double standards. In Poland in the aftermath of the Holocaust, 42 Jewish residents of Kielce, murdered by their neighbors acting on rumors that Jews had kidnapped a young boy. In Brooklyn today, Jews are attacked on the street with increasing frequency. Many of those hate crimes are committed in Crown Heights, where in 1991 an anti-Semitic riot broke out after rumors that Jews had hoarded emergency medical attention for themselves while a local young boy died.
America has seen two mass murders of Jewish worshipers in the past year. Stereotypes of the anti-human are the armature of extremism. “Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a god,” Eric Hoffer observed, “but never without a belief in a devil.”
GOD BLESS AMEN
The Crown of Thorns
“The Crown of Thorns Reveals to us the Evil of Venial Sin.” from Revelations or Effusions of the Heart of Jesus by Father Alexis LeFebvre.
‘Plectentes coronam de spinis, posuerunt super caput ejus.’
‘And platting a crown of thorns, they put it upon His head’ (Matt. xxvii. 29).
The crowning with thorns was one of the most cruel sufferings and bloody outrages endured by Jesus Christ on the day of His dolours and death. Both blood and tears were in the eyes of that meek Saviour when, with a reed in His hand, He silently and lovingly gazed on the soldiers and executioners, who, as they passed, bent the knee before Him, saying insultingly, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’
But a crown of thorns around a heart! Can we conceive greater suffering, and what means this mystery of pain and love? I will give them a Heart to know Me. Let us repeat this touching text: ‘I will give them a Heart, My Heart, and they shall understand,’ We have already learned from the Cross of this Divine Heart what mortal sin is; the thorns of this crown are a figure of venial sin, those slight and numerous faults for which idle and cowardly souls forgive themselves, alas, but too readily, for they wound and tear the Heart of Jesus.
This is, doubtless, a most important and necessary subject for those who will some day read this book. The habit of small faults is an immense danger, and causes the death of souls by that sad slow malady called tepidity, which is a most difficult subject to treat of. I tremble to say too much, lest any faithful, and at the same time fearful, souls, who may apply these words to themselves, should be alarmed or discouraged; but far more do I fear saying too little on this subject, and so leaving many others to sleep in death.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, thou hast promised to heal all hearts, even those that are tepid and lukewarm; be Thou our strength and light; we can never have greater need of thy grace, never have we more confidently invoked it! We shall, then,
I. Examine the signs or symptoms of this malady.
II. Study its character or nature. III. Point out the remedies.
I. A few words will suffice to enlighten the welldisposed soul ; for there are certain signs by which the malady and its dangers are made evident; thus, the habit one has of committing venial sins ; the frequency of these slight faults, and above all an habitual contempt of little things—I mean small graces, or rather, small infidelities; habitual negligence in all that concerns the service of God, such as prayer and receiving the Sacraments; disgust, ennui, and routine in pious exercises; and above all when there is scarcely any resistance or struggle before committing a fault, and but little remorse or repentance afterwards. All these are alarming symptoms, and may well cause you to fear. If you are not already struck with this malady, you are certainly threatened with it; already have you plunged many of these thorns into the Heart of your God ; you have wounded Him by all these infidelities.
But there is no thorn that tears this Heart more cruelly than a divided soul, which gives itself but partially, fighting continually against His love, refusing Him almost every sacrifice. As if it were possible to reconcile the Gospel with the world, or to mingle heaven and earth! Jesus could not endure a soul in such a state, and would not remain with it; it would disgust Him; He would soon reject it, and cast it out of His Heart. And mark this well : the more the graces received, the more alarming are the symptoms, and the more is death to be feared. Yet, again, do you understand what it is that makes this state so sad, and the contrast between the two hearts so horrible? The one burns with love, devoured by the flames of the most ardent charity ; the other is tepid and languid, what do I say? it is cold, and will soon be frozen in death! Dead from the very heart!
II. Let us now study the characteristics of this sad malady, and at once declare it to be, not only a condition of pain, but replete with danger.
These divided souls and weak hearts generally suffer much; for God is not pleased, nor can He be; then He complains, He often threatens, and sometimes strikes. He complains; and thenceforward there is not the same confiding intercourse. He is resisted, and can no longer give His peace. Who that resists Him can have peace? The soul withdraws from Him, and then His light becomes less, and finally disappears. He threatens: I will place, He says, thorns in all his paths; the malediction of the Lord is ready to fall upon him who fights his battles with cowardice, and who negligently performs the Lord’s work. ‘Cursed be he that doth the work of the Lord deceitfully’ (Jer. xlviii. 10). At last He strikes, and sometimes with heavy blows of justice; He makes His thunderbolts fall upon these ungrateful children to rouse them from their sleep of death, unless some day, fully disgusted, He holds His peace, and flees away, which is incomparably more fatal for the soul, which is thus left to die. All these, and the following verities, are of faith, reason, and experience. God has said, and you also know, dear reader, that you have never been really happy in the service of God, except when you have been faithful and generous.
But it is time for us to enter upon the terrors of this subject, and to speak of the dangerous character of this sad malady of tepidity, which infallibly leads to the death of souls—yes, infallibly; but—and this is what appears to me so terrifying—it leads the soul very gently on to this fatal termination: Paulatim, by little and little, says the Holy Spirit, and so imperceptibly that a soul may be really dead, and yet preserve the appearance of life. Three kinds of paths or descents lead to this abyss, all so rapid and imperceptible, that the progress, or rather the fall, is scarcely observed. This explanation is necessary for the comprehension of two sentences which seem to contradict each other. God says, they shall fall little by little, very gently: ‘He that contemneth small things shall fall by little and little’ (Eccles. xix. 1). St. Bernard says, ‘They begin by small things, trifling faults, and soon are carried away,are precipitated into great ones, and then into crime, because the descent is gentle and rapid at the same time.’
The path of illusion is one of the ways by which the soul goes to its death. Self-deception is so easy. What! when even the science of theology is not always sufficient for a priest to be able to pronounce whether the sin of which you accuse yourself is mortal or venial; and yet you do not fear to decide in your own favour! Nevertheless there is not a great distance between a thought negligently resisted and the commencement of complaisance, or even of guilty desire; not so great a distance as you may imagine between a look of imprudent curiosity and one of impurity. ‘Fear then: thou hast the name of being alive, and thou art dead’ (Apoc. iii. 1). Yes, perhaps even now you are dead, and at the bottom of the abyss!
Another path is that by which the soul is drawn away. This fatal habit of easy indifference, this life of self-indulgence and concession, ends by overcoming the will. There is first a force which lessens the attraction to what is good, and an influence augmenting the attraction of evil; then a day comes when the measure of evil is full, and the soul is crushed under the weight of a thousand trifling faults, which, though considered to be but trifles, are sufficient by their frightful accumulation to destroy its life; there is no courage to resist the supreme effort of the perfidious enemy, who only waited for this day and hour to give battle and to triumph. You will understand I do not not say that venial sins will in the end become mortal; ordinarily this would not be true, though i
t is certain that in matters of justice they might in some cases impose an obligation sub gravi, and form a grave matter or crime, and consequently a mortal sin. I mean merely -to say that generally the soul enchained by the force of habit finds itself gently, but surely, conducted by this path of attraction to death—that is to say, to mortal sin. Finally, there is the road of divine justice or chastisement. Wounded and outraged by all these resistances to grace, wounded and outraged in His love by all these infidelities and faults, God is at last exhausted, even His Heart is filled with disgust. At first He is silent; He withdraws Himself, He abandons and even curses this soul; and then—the terrible word must be said—He rejects, and finally vomits it: ‘Because thou art lukewarm, I will begin to vomit thee out of My mouth’ (Apoc. iii. 16). O misery! Destiny a thousand times more sad in one sense than that of the sinner! Jesus wishes not for his death, but that he might return to life. Comprehend, then, my dear reader, the difference. If you are a sinner, Jesus Christ pities you; He opens His Heart to you, and will shed tears of compassion over you, and the treasure of His merciful pity. Weep, and He will pardon you ; but if you continue tepid, He cannot endure you; you disgust Him; He will vomit you forth out of His mouth. ‘I will begin to vomit thee;’ and perhaps this has already begun. ‘I would thou wert cold or hot. But because thou art lukewarm, I will begin to vomit thee out of My mouth’ (Apoc. iii. 16).
To vomit! This is the terrible word which I cannot write without trembling, and which I had even rather not attempt to explain here, for fear of plunging some soul into despair. I will, then, merely ask when and how Jesus Christ could return, and take back this soul which He had once vomited forth with disgust? I wish to know if there is anything by which the soul can be roused from this death-sleep or restored to life. Would good reading effect this? We know that many sinners have been converted by reading good books—St. Augustine, Ignatius Loyola, and many others we could name; but have you ever seen or heard of this effect upon a tepid soul? Would confession be likely to rouse it? Alas, a tepid soul prepares itself without care, and approaches this Sacrament unconcernedly, not even understanding what the priest says! Would Holy Communion effect it? On the contrary, most certainly a tepid Communion would consummate the evil, and the soul would sink into an abyss of sin and death. Would, then, the Holy Scriptures, which are searching, efficacious, and penetrating, and by which God has often worked wonders, be the means of restoring this soul to life? Alas, it is rarely, indeed, that lukewarm souls are touched by the Holy Word, for they have ears and hear not.
It may be truly said that nothing can arrest them when once they begin to descend into the abyss; nothing can raise them when once they have fallen; nothing restore them to life when they are dead. ‘I would thou wert cold!’
Yet, further, mark the difference. I will suppose a fervent soul finds itself a prey to sudden and horrible temptation. If it yields and begins to fall, it is alarmed, and immediately asks whither it is going, and prays its guardian angel to arrest and protect it. Startled and aroused even by the shock of its fall, it sorrowfully asks where it is, and cries from the bottom of the abyss to God to have pity. ‘Out of the depths have I called to Thee, O Lord.’ But the tepid soul, on the contrary, which gradually, imperceptibly descends, never stops to inquire whither it is going, or where it is. The barren tree is fallen, is dead! Is there not every reason to fear that as it falls, so it will lie? But enough, O my God ; perhaps even too much for more than one soul; and how do I tremble lest in these words I may have written my own sentence! Let us, then, hasten to say there is yet a remedy, and that we must never cease to hope.
III. Yes, you can be healed, if you wish, and I am about to point out two remedies, which are as infallible as they appear mild and easy. Do you really wish for them? Will you be made whole?
The first, then, is prayer; above all, prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He has promised to save and heal all who invoke Him with confidence, even tepid souls : a spark of love, or a tear shed over you, will recall you to life. Say to Him, then, ‘O my Jesus, he whom Thou lovest is sick’ (John xi. 3); ‘O my God, I die !’ and He will have pity on you, and will restore you the strength and joy of the years of your first fervour. Have confidence; cast yourself into this Divine Heart.
The second remedy is even more simple, easy, and prompt: it is action, or sacrifice. You will try to conquer yourself, and will at once commence by a little sacrifice. You will gain a victory over yourself by restraining your lips even from one useless word, or by repressing the idle curiosity of a look in walking in the streets or in the church. You will make this sacrifice to-day in honour of the Heart of Jesus, and He will recompense you by the peace and joy of His love. To-morrow offer Him two sacrifices, two equally easy victories; then three, and four. Thus you will go on for several days, and there will be a proportionate increase of peace, love, and joy in your hearts. I assure you that not only will you be healed, but you will live joyfully for His glory, and you will live to die no more. Thus each day you will remove some of those thorns which wound His Heart, and this grateful and faithful God will daily bestow upon you a more abundant portion of life and grace. ‘That they may have it more abundantly’ (John x. 10).
1st Sunday of Lent, the temptation of Christ in the desert. From St. Augustine:
“Our pilgrimage on earth cannot be exempt from trial. We progress by means of trial. No one knows himself except through trial, or receives a crown except after victory, or strives except against an enemy or temptations. The one who cries from the ends of the earth is in anguish, but is not left on his own. Christ chose to foreshadow us, who are his body, by means of his body, in which he has died, risen and ascended into heaven, so that the members of his body may hope to follow where their head has gone before.”
Vjerojatno bi trebalo promijeniti i Evanđelja, točnije, ono što nam je Krist govorio. Da nam govori danas, vjerojatno bi govorio potpuno drugačije. Pa, niti On nije mogao znati što će biti danas, zar ne? Biskupu bih preporučio da pročita “Braću Karamazove”, i to “Legendu o velikom inkvizitoru”! Ako se sam u njemu ne prepozna, recite mu daje to upravo njegova slika! Ako je i od jednog biskupa, previše je! Kao što naši ljudi kažu: “Što jedna budala može napraviti štete, sto pametnih ne može popraviti!” A, da je samo jedan:::!!!