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"You said there will be no Rapture, and there is no Eternal Torment. The Bible teaches both Clearly."


----- Original Message -----
From: Name Withheld
To: Paul Stringini
Sent: Sunday, July 03, 2011 6:42 AM
Subject: doctorines

like you i have listened to alot of trash mr. murray has taught. i believe you were wrong though when at the end of your writing you said there will be no rapture, and there is no eternal torment. the bible teaches both clearly. while the word rapture doesnt occur, the word rapturo is clearly in 1st thessalonians. thank you for your time hope to hear back from you

My First Response:

----- Original Message -----
From: "Paul Stringini"
To: Name Withheld
Sent: Monday, July 04, 2011 3:24 PM
Subject: Re: doctorines

Hi, thanks for taking the time to write.  The rapture is a replacement
doctrine.  An usurper.  And you have to ask yourself this question, "Why do
people talk about the rapture but say so little about the resurrection?"
1Thessalonians 4 is about the resurrection of the dead.  The rapture
doctrine serves to divide the resurrection into separate events, but the
so-called rapture is just a side effect of the resurrection.

The rapture is a name men came up with for the moment at the coming of
Christ in which those who have been raised from the dead and those who
remain alive are caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. It is
derived as you rightly stated from the word "caught up"  I do not use this
term because this event does not require a special name.  It would be like
taking the word "together" from the same passage and making a doctrine
called the "togetherness"  and starting arguments about when the
"togetherness" happens and saying "Why don't you believe in the
"Togetherness."  It is insidious.

Giving this event a special name has led to many problems in Christianity.
Over time people have become conditioned to think of the "catching up" as
being a doctrine unto itself.  It seems that the Rapture has overshadowed
the bigger event of which it is merely a small part.  Today, we hear all
about the "catching up" but almost nothing about the RESURRECTION, and the
resurrection is a central doctrine of Christianity.

1 Thessalonians 4:16 describes the resurrection

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the
voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ
shall rise first:

That is the focus of 1 Thess 4, what happens to the dead, read it.  But what
verse gets all the attention?

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them
in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the

"Rapture" comes from the Latin  for "caught up"  and the word is NOT in
the bible as you suggested. The Greek word  in the bible from which they
get the idea of rapture is Harpazo.

But the real question is why do people call the Resurrection the Rapture?

We had a name for this event for over a thousand years but over the last
hundred and fifty years they decided to start focusing on the TRANSPORTATION
aspect instead of on the TRANSFORMATION aspect of this event and gave it a
name (Rapture).   I have also said in the past that "there is no Rapture"
and what I meant is that the doctrine that Jesus is coming to take us away
(The Rapture as it is commonly taught) is not correct.  Of course we will be
caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord, as the scriptures describe, but we
are not leaving the earth, Christ is returning to the earth and we will be
with him when we join him in the air on his way down.  These are the events
as described in the bible.

There is no sound evidence that the transportation spoken of will take us to
heaven as many believe.  When Jesus comes we are going to MEET him, he is on
his way here, and we meet him in the clouds,  to join him for his triumphant
return to Jerusalem immediately. We meet him in the clouds before he lands.
Heaven is coming to earth.  There is no sound  evidence for any secret
removal of Christians from the earth at any time.  Christians are suffering
tribulation and persecution this very day, the idea of being saved from
suffering tribulation is un-Christain and only makes sense to complacent and
comfort loving Christians in the west.

Phil 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to
believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;

Also the book of revelation is very clear that the candlesticks are the
churches (Rev 1:20)  And the two witnesses who are slain are called
"candlesticks"  The symbology is one of the most simple and elegant.  The
churches will be salt and light till the very end,  this is our destiny.

Instead of assuring themselves that they will not be on earth for
tribulation Christians ought to be preparing spiritually to stand in the
spiritual battle in the day of the Lord.  This is what I live for.  I don't
despise those who fear the tribulation but I would rather encourage them to
be strong and trust the Lord.  I want to dies in service to Christ (when my
work is finished).

Isaiah 48:10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen
thee in the furnace of affliction.

I have heard ministers talk how Christ doesn't want his bride "sullied" by
tribulation.  They say he does not want her bruised and battered.  But they
savor the things which are of men and not the things which God loves.   What
sullies Christ's bride is her love of material possessions and delight in
things which God despises.  The bride is already dirty and polluted,
tribulation will purify and prepare her.

Daniel12:10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the
wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the
wise shall understand.

For these reasons, I don't like the Rapture doctrine as it is commonly used,
and I don't teach it or use that word. You can teach Christianity without
ever using the word "rapture" and you don't have to know of the "catching
up", to be caught up.  But you cannot be true to Christianity without
teaching the hope and truth of the RESURRECTION of the dead.

John 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that
are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of
life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

I also reject the rapture doctrine as it is commonly taught, because it
tries to be replace the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead in the
hearts of Christians.  It also creates multiple resurrections prior to the
"first resurrection" (Rev 20)  It exalts itself above the knowledge of God.
Yes, we will be caught up, but that is just INCIDENTAL to the fact of the

These days people think that the dead are already in heaven.  But that is an
old heresy.

2Timothy 2:17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus
and Philetus;
18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past
already (or "even now is come"); and overthrow the faith of some.

When they say that  the dead are "with him" "in heaven" they are basically
denying that the dead are really dead and waiting for resurrection, but
rather that the person is actually in heaven and that only their body is
dead.  But is this a scriptural view?

John 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from
heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

The bible teaches that no one has ascended into heaven except Christ, he is
the "firstbegotten of the dead"  We are going to be raised from the dead,
as he was raised from the dead.  As the scriptures teach, "on the last day."

Acts 2:29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch
David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto
this day.
30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to
him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise
up Christ to sit on his throne;
31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul
was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of
the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye
now see and hear.
34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The
Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.

I don't know if these things are alien to you, or not, but this is the
truth.  If you are looking for sound teaching in the form of line by line,
chapter by chapter bible studies then I must recommend my bible studies,
they are all free.

Also I did a youtube video for Mark 13 which depicts the resurrection
roughly according to the biblical model.

Which brings me to the other subject of your inquiry, the end of the wicked
I have written extensively on the subject, though I did write it almost ten years ago
and I could certainly do a better job now and would like to soon, but having
seven children and a wife, a music and teaching ministry, and a regular job,
stretches my time a little thin.  But these things are precious to me, as
are questions.

To keep it brief, there are a few passages that generally lead one to
believe in eternal torture, but only a couple of them are legitimate
contenders.  On the other hand there are many passages which indicate that
the wicked will have an actual end of existence and that this end will be as
unconscious as death is.

First of all Death and hell are distinct.  That is clearly seen in
Revelation 20 (death and hell were cast into the lake of fire this is the
second death.  It is interesting to think that even death dies in the second

Hell (Hades or Sheol) is the place of the first death and we are all going
to hell.  It is a metaphysical state (not of the physical universe)  Jesus
went to hell when he died, as it is written "His soul was not left in

Psalm 139:7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from
thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed
in hell, behold, thou art there.

In all passages referring to death (and by association sheol or hades) it is
clear that the dead are unconscious (the only exception being the Parable of
Lazarus and the rich man but I will deal with that later)  The Apostle Paul
does not repeatedly refer to death as SLEEP for no reason.

The passages that refer to hades and sheol are very different than the
passages that use other words that are translated "hell"  (Specifically I'm
talking about the word "Gehenna or Ge-Hinnom"  which refers to one of the
valleys near Jerusalem where trash was burned (not a place of torment)

One of the most common places referred to by torture advocates is Mark 9

43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter
into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that
never shall be quenched: 44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not

Most people have been conditioned to think that this passage refers to
eternal torment but it clearly does not.  Torture requires the quenching of
fire,  an unquenchable fire implied a fire that does not stop burning and a
fire that does not stop burning consumes everything, leaving nothing  Jude
compared this fire to the fire that consumed Sodom, saying that they were
and example "suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."  This is also true of
the worms.  If the worms never die, they will eat you up.  If one looks at the
examples of eternal torment from paganism we always find that torment is
cyclical, the eagle eats your spleen, your spleen grows back, rinse, and
repeat.  But the burning and devouring described here is a one-way affair.
It does not stop consuming nor is it said to "reset" and start over.

I can almost hear someone saying, "That's right it never ends."  Well, the
fires that consumed Sodom seem to have burnt out, and according to Jude they
are an example.  So it is safe to say that eternal fire does not stop
burning until there is nothing left to burn, and even then, the fire does
not really stop burning,  it can't, but the thing it was burning is
consumed.  The worms live on, and the fires never go out (because it is
God's fire) but the thing that was being burned is consumed, destroyed.

Matt 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill
the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in

Many people do not realize that in Mark 9 Jesus is quoting the old testament
(probably because the learned like to keep inconvenient facts concealed):

Isaiah 66:22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make,
shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name
23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from
one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the
24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the CARCASES of the men that have
transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their
fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

Notice that the unquenchable fires and undying worms are consuming carcases,
which are difinitively unconscious things.

There is more to this because this passage is clearly set in "the new
heavens and earth"  (Because Gehinnom is the lake of fire, the second death,
the death of deaths)

Consider carefully what the apostle Paul said in 2 Thessalonians1

9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of
the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

The final punishment of the wicked is everlasting destruction from the
presence of God.  This is very significant because according to the Psalmist
(139 above)  God is in Hell, because, as we know, God is everywhere.  So how
can they be separated from God's presence, AND not only his presence, but
his POWER.  Because if a place of eternal torment exists then it would be
maintained by the power of God and exist somewhere within all things
created.  And God would be there.

2 Thessalonians 1 is important because when you combine that with Mark 9 and
Isaiah 66 we find that it is impossible for those described in Mark 9 to be
conscious.  The fact is that the burning takes place close by the eternal
city and it's place is supposed to remain there, that means that the place
of burning is located extremely close to God's throne.   If the place of
burning is close to the throne then those burned must be consumed and really
be dead because they have to be destroyed from his presence and his power.
Everything that exists is present with God in some sense of the word, the
only way that you could totally be destroyed from the presence of God would
be if you no longer had and conscious being "in him we live and move and
have our being"  The wicked will have no more being, other than the remains
of their burning, worm eaten carcasses.  That is the story that Jesus is
telling here.

This takes us to another passage  Revelation 14

9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man
worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in
his hand,
10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out
without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented
with fire and brimstone in the PRESENCE of the holy angels, and in the
PRESENCE of the Lamb:
11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they
have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and
whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

There are several things about this passage but right off the bat I'm sure
you noticed the capital letters.  If this torment is in the presence of the
Lamb then it cannot refer to the FINAL destruction destined for the wicked
because that is separation.

Also the timing here is all wrong because this is at the coming of Christ,
not after the thousand years of his reign (that is the time of the eternal

Also, the reference to smoke going up forever is poetic, smoke always goes
up forever, the only reason people read eternal torture into that is because
of conditioning and also the context does give a little boost with the
reference "day nor night" but this does not indicate eternal torment (I
rested neither day nor night)  All it means is that so long as this torment
goes on they will not have rest, so the torment here is unbroken but not
necessarily for ever because they can't  spend the whole millennium in front
of Jesus smoking and screaming, it that how you visualized the millennium?
Walking up to Jesus, people screaming and smoking around him non-stop?

It may be a mistake to lump every aspect of this punishment into one single
image, because, if you do, then you will have what I just described.  What I
expect is that when Christ returns they will be tormented with fire and
brimstone in his presence for a period, since the whole world is going to
worship the beast this may take some time, since they are not dead yet (Is
this torment a threat perhaps? In Matt 25Jesus makes it clear that he will
say to some "depart into everlasting fire," but since the timing is off, it
may be a threat/promise)  And after their punishment they will go,  they are
not killed but since they are not yet raised from the dead they must
eventually die.  I do not know what your idea about the millennium is but I
expect we shall rule the earth and the ones we will rule seem to be
survivors of those who take the mark  (the sheep and the goats) and their
descendants for a thousand years, and after that the second resurrection in
which the promise of eternal fire and eternal life will be fulfilled.  I'm
not totally clear on all that, so take it with a grain of salt, but I'm
quite sure Revelation 14 this does not refer to eternal torture

I'm running out of time and I want to just send this today, The last passage
I will include is the only passage in the bible that clearly indicates that
there is an idea of eternal torment in the bible and that is this

Rev 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire
and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be
tormented day and night for ever and ever.

While this passage clearly says tormented for ever and ever there are
several factors which should be considered.

This passage refers to Satan and other beings who may possibly not be human,
these may be exceptional cases.  It is notable that when human beings are
cast into the lake of fire the imagery is different

13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell
delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man
according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the
lake of fire.

This is the second death.  This event is not followed by the epitaph "and
shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever"  there is an axiom of
logic that says that the inclusion of one is the exclusion of all others.
meaning that it is not safe to assume that since the devil is tormented for
ever that humanity will also be tormented forever and ever.

Another problem is that there are other passages (Ezekiel 28  "never shalt
thou be any more") That seem to indicate Satan is also going to be destroyed
from being, and one must consider whether the epitaph "forever and ever" is
poetic language for "till the end"

Aside from the many biblical reasons (and I have only scratched the surface
here, you may ask further question, I promise I have the answers for every
one of them, the bible is my passion and I try to be very careful about
following it rather than making it follow me) I have many philosophical
reason for rejecting eternal torment as well, since the bible teaches
predestination, I would not be fit to serve a God that was sovereign and
intended to eternally torment souls that did not ask to be created.

Prov 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked
for the day of evil..

Read Carefully:
Romans 918 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he
will he hardeneth.
19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath
resisted his will?
20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing
formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one
vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
22 What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known,
endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

If you believe in eternal torture, then these passages become disturbing if
taken as they were intended.  That is why most torturist are so zealous for
the sovereignty of man over his own destiny.  But from my perspective it is
only fair that the wicked return to the nothing they came from.  And God
used them as he saw fit and he was good to them because they at least had a
chance to exist.  But if one believes in eternal torment then, well, then
you have to start thinking in terms other than those the Apostles spoke in.

2Cor 2:17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of
sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

I have more I could say but I have run out of time, I don't even have time
to proof read or spell check, so I hope this is at lead readable.

If you have further questions (and please be more specific this time)  I
will be happy to answer them to the best of my ability.

Paul Stringini


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