Skip to comments.The Rapture [RAPTURE CAUCUS]
Posted on 03/18/2009 10:27:27 PM PDT by Star Traveler
The Rapture [RAPTURE CAUCUS]
What is it? Who will it affect? When is it most likely to take place?
by Dr. David R. Reagan
The Rapture is a glorious event which God has promised to the Church.
The promise is that someday very soon, at the blowing of a trumpet and the shout of an archangel, Jesus will appear in the sky and take up His Church, living and dead, to Heaven.
The term "Rapture" comes from a Latin word, "rapio," that means "to catch up, to snatch away, or to take out." It is, in turn, a translation of the Greek word, "harpazo."
So, "Rapture" is a Biblical word that comes right out of the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible. The word is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. In the New American Standard Version, the English phrase, "caught up," is used. The same phrase is used in the King James and New International Versions.
A Promise to the Church
The concept of the Rapture was not revealed to the Old Testament prophets because it is a promise to the New Testament Church and not to the saints of God who lived before the establishment of the Church. Jesus will return as a bridegroom for His bride, and that bride consists only of Church Age saints.
The saints of Old Testament times will be resurrected at the end of the Tribulation and not at the time of the Rapture of the Church. Daniel reveals this fact in Daniel 12:1-2 where he says that the saints of that age will be resurrected at the end of the "time of distress."
The first clear mention of the Rapture in Scripture is found in the words of Jesus recorded in John 14:1-4. Jesus said, "I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."
The most detailed revelation of the actual events related to the Rapture is given by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. He says that when Jesus appears, the dead in Christ (Church Age saints) will be resurrected and caught up first. Then, those of us who are alive in Christ will be translated "to meet the Lord in the air."
Paul mentions the Rapture again in 1 Corinthians 15 his famous chapter on the resurrection of the dead: "Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet" (verses 51-52).
Paul's reference here to being changed is an allusion to the fact that the saints will receive glorified bodies that will be imperishable, immortal, and perfected (1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 50-55 and Isaiah 35:5-6).
To summarize, these passages teach that the shout of an archangel and the blowing of a trumpet will herald the sudden appearance of Jesus in the heavens (1 Thessalonians 4:16). The dead in Christ will be resurrected and rise up to meet the Lord in the sky. Then, those saints who are alive will be "caught up" to the Lord. Paul concludes his description in 1 Thessalonians 4 by encouraging his readers to "comfort one another with these words."
And truly the Rapture is a comforting thought! Consider the promises contained in the concept of the Rapture. Jesus will bring with Him the spirits of those who have died in Him (1 Thessalonians 4:14). He will resurrect their bodies in a great miracle of re-creation; He will reunite their bodies with their spirits; and He will then glorify their bodies, making them immortal. And those believers who are living will not even taste death. Rather, they will be caught up to the Lord, and in transit, they will be translated from mortal to immortal.
All my life I have heard that there are two things no one can avoid: taxes and death. Well, that is not true. According to 1 Thessalonians 4, a whole generation of believers will escape death. Taxes appear to be the only inevitability!
The most controversial aspect of the Rapture is its timing. Some place it at the end of the Tribulation, making it one and the same event as the Second Coming. Others place it in the middle of the Tribulation. Still others believe that it will occur at the beginning of the Tribulation.
The reason for these differing viewpoints is that the exact time of the Rapture is not precisely revealed in scripture. It is only inferred. There is, therefore, room for honest differences of opinion, and lines of fellowship should certainly not be drawn over differences regarding this point, even though it is an important point.
Those who place the timing at the end of the Tribulation usually base their argument on two parables in Matthew 13 and on the Lord's Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24.
In Matthew 24 the Lord portrays His gathering of the saints as an event that will take place "immediately after the tribulation of those days" (Matthew 24:29). This certainly sounds like a post-Tribulation Rapture. But it must be kept in mind that the book of Matthew was written to the Jews, and therefore the recording of Jesus' speech by Matthew has a distinctively Jewish flavor to it as compared to Luke's record of the same speech.
Note, for example, Matthew's references to Judea and to Jewish law regarding travel on the Sabbath (Matthew 24:15-20). These are omitted in Luke's account. Instead, Luke speaks of the saints looking up for deliverance "to escape all these things" when the end time signs "begin to take place" (Luke 21:28, 36). The saints in Matthew are instructed to flee from Judea and hide. The saints in Luke are told to look up for deliverance.
It appears, therefore, that Matthew and Luke are speaking of two different sets of saints. The saints in Matthew's account are most likely Jews who receive Jesus as their Messiah during the Tribulation. The saints in Luke are those who receive Christ before the Tribulation begins. Most of those who accept the Lord during the Tribulation will be martyred (Revelation 7:9-14). Those who live to the end will be gathered by the angels of the Lord (Matthew 24:31).
The parable of the wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24-30) and the parable of the dragnet (Matthew 13:47-50) can be explained in the same way. They refer to a separation of saints and sinners that will take place at the end of the Tribulation. The saints are those who receive Jesus as their Savior during the Tribulation (Gentile and Jew) and who live to the end of that awful period.
The Bible clearly teaches that the Rapture is an event that is separate and apart from the Second Coming. The two simply cannot be combined into one event.
There are variations of the mid-Tribulation Rapture concept. The most common is that the Church will be taken out in the exact middle of the Tribulation, at the point in time when the Antichrist is revealed.
This concept is based upon a statement in 1 Corinthians 15:52 which says that the Rapture will occur at the blowing of "the last trumpet." This trumpet is then identified with the seventh trumpet of the trumpet judgments in the book of Revelation. Since the blowing of the seventh trumpet is recorded in Revelation 11, the mid-point of the Tribulation, the conclusion is that the Rapture must occur in the middle of the Tribulation.
But there are two problems with this interpretation. The first is that 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 have no relevance for the Church. The last trumpet of 1 Corinthians 15 is a trumpet for the righteous. The last trumpet for the unrighteous is the one described in Revelation 11.
Another problem with this interpretation is that the passage in Revelation 11 that portrays the sounding of the seventh trumpet is a "flash forward" to the end of the Tribulation. Flash forwards are very common in the book of Revelation. They occur after something terrible is described in order to assure the reader that everything is going to turn out all right when Jesus returns at the end of the Tribulation.
Thus, the eighth and ninth chapters of Revelation, which describe the horrors of the trumpet judgments, are followed immediately by a flash forward in chapter 10 that pictures the return of Jesus in victory at the end of the Tribulation. The mid-Tribulation action resumes in chapter 11 with a description of the killing of the two great prophets of God by the Antichrist. Then, to offset that terrible event, we are presented with another flash forward, beginning with verse 15. The seventh trumpet is sounded and we find ourselves propelled forward to the end of the Tribulation when "the kingdom of the world becomes the kingdom of our Lord."
The point is that the seventh trumpet of Revelation relates to the end of the Tribulation and not the middle. It is the same trumpet that is referred to in Matthew 24:31, the trumpet that will be blown to announce the Second Coming of Jesus. It is therefore no basis for an argument in behalf of a mid-Tribulation Rapture.
A variation of the mid-Tribulation Rapture is the pre-wrath Rapture concept that places the Rapture at the beginning of the last quarter of the Tribulation, about five and a half years into the Tribulation.
The argument for this view is that the Church is promised protection only from the wrath of God and not the wrath of Man or of Satan. It is then argued that only the bowl judgments in the last quarter of the Tribulation (Revelation 16) represent the wrath of God.
But the argument for this view disintegrates when you consider two facts. First, it is Jesus Himself who breaks the seals that launch each of the seal judgments recorded in Revelation 6. These judgments occur at the beginning of the Tribulation. Second, 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).
All the judgments of Revelation are clearly superintended by God. That is the reason we are told in Revelation 15:1 that the bowl judgments at the end of the Tribulation will finish the wrath of God, not begin His wrath.
The Pre-Tribulation Rapture
I believe the best inference of Scripture is that the Rapture will occur at the beginning of the Tribulation. The most important reason I believe this has to do with the issue of imminence.
Over and over in Scripture we are told to watch for the appearing of the Lord. We are told "to be ready" (Matthew 24:44), "to be on the alert" (Matthew 24:42), "to be dressed in readiness" (Luke 12:35), and to "keep your lamps alight" (Luke 12:35). The clear force of these persistent warnings is that Jesus can appear at any moment.
Only the pre-Tribulation concept of the Rapture allows for the imminence of the Lord's appearing for His Church. When the Rapture is placed at any other point in time, the imminence of the Lord's appearing is destroyed because other prophetic events must happen first.
For example, if the Rapture is going to occur in mid-Tribulation, then why should I live looking for the Lord's appearing at any moment? I would be looking instead for an Israeli peace treaty, the rebuilding of the Temple, and the revelation of the Antichrist. Then and only then could the Lord appear.
This raises the issue of what we are to be looking for. Nowhere are believers told to watch for the appearance of the Antichrist. On the contrary, we are told to watch for Jesus Christ. In Titus 2:13 Paul says we are to live "looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus." Likewise, Peter urges us to "fix our hope completely on the grace to be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:13). John completes the apostolic chorus by similarly urging us to "fix our hope on Him" at His appearing (1 John 3:2-3).
Only Matthew speaks of watching for the Antichrist (Matthew 24:15), but he is speaking to the Jews living in Israel in the middle of the Tribulation when the Antichrist desecrates the rebuilt Temple.
Another argument in behalf of a pre-Tribulation Rapture has to do with the promises of God to protect the Church from His wrath. As has already been demonstrated, the book of Revelation shows that the wrath of God will be poured out during the entire period of the Tribulation.
The Word promises over and over that the Church will be delivered from God's wrath. Romans 5:9 says that "we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him [Jesus]." 1 Thessalonians 1:10 states that we are waiting "for His Son from heaven... who will deliver us from the wrath to come." The promise is repeated in 1 Thessalonians 5:9 "God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Some argue that God could supernaturally protect the Church during the Tribulation. Yes, He could. In fact, He promises to do just that for the 144,000 Jews who will be sealed as bond-servants at the beginning of the Tribulation (Revelation 7:1-8).
But God's promise to the Church during the Tribulation is not one of protection but one of deliverance. Jesus said we would "escape" the horrors of the Tribulation (Luke 21:3-6). Paul says Jesus is coming to "deliver" us from God's wrath (1 Thessalonians 1:10).
There are several prophetic types that seem to affirm the concept of deliverance from Tribulation.
Take Enoch for example. He was a prophet to the Gentiles who was raptured out of the world before God poured out His wrath in the great flood of Noah's time. Enoch appears to be a type of the Gentile Church that will be taken out of the world before God pours out His wrath again. If so, then Noah and his family are a type of the Jewish remnant that will be protected through the Tribulation.
Another Old Testament symbolic type which points toward a pre-Tribulation Rapture is the experience of Lot and his family. They were delivered out of Sodom and Gomorrah before those cities were destroyed.
The Apostle Peter alludes to both of these examples in his second epistle. He states that if God spared Noah and Lot, then He surely "knows how to rescue the godly from trial and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment" (2 Peter 2:4-9).
Another beautiful prophetic type is to be found in the Jewish wedding traditions of Jesus' time. After the betrothal, the groom would return to his father's house to prepare a wedding chamber for his bride. He would return for his bride at an unexpected moment, so the bride had to be ready constantly. When he returned, he would take his bride back to his father's house to the chamber he had prepared. He and his bride would then be sealed in the chamber for seven days. When they emerged, a great wedding feast would be celebrated.
Likewise, Jesus has returned to Heaven to prepare a place for His bride, the Church. When He returns for His bride, He will take her to His Father's heavenly home. There He will remain with His bride for seven years (the duration of the Tribulation). The period will end with "the marriage supper of the Lamb" described in Revelation 19. Thus the seven days in the wedding chamber point prophetically to the seven years that Jesus and His bride will remain in Heaven during the Tribulation.
Speaking of Revelation, the structure of that book also implies a pre-Tribulation Rapture in a symbolic sense.
The first three chapters focus on the Church. Chapter 4 begins with the door of Heaven opening and John being raptured from the Isle of Patmos to the throne of God in Heaven. The Church is not mentioned thereafter until Revelation 19:7-9 when it is portrayed as the "bride of Christ" in Heaven with Jesus celebrating the "marriage supper of the Lamb." At Revelation 19:11 the door of Heaven opens again, and Jesus emerges riding a white horse on His way to earth, followed by His Church (Revelation 19:14).
The rapture of the Apostle John in Revelation 4 appears to be a symbolic type of the Rapture of the Church. Note that it is initiated by the cry of a voice that sounds like the blowing of a trumpet (Revelation 4:1). Since the Tribulation does not begin until Revelation 6, the rapture of John in Revelation 4 appears to be a symbolic type that points to a pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church.
Some counter this argument by pointing out that although the Church is not mentioned in Revelation during that book's description of the Tribulation, there is constant mention of "saints" (for example, Revelation 13:7). But that term is not used in the Bible exclusively to refer to members of the Church. Daniel uses it to refer to Old Testament believers who lived long before the Church was established (Daniel 7:18). The saints referred to in the book of Revelation are most likely those people who will be saved during the Tribulation, after the Church has been taken out of the world.
An interesting argument in behalf of the pre-Tribulation timing of the Rapture can be found in 2 Thessalonians. The church at Thessalonica was in a turmoil because someone had written them a letter under Paul's name stating that they had missed the "gathering to the Lord" and were, in fact, living in "the day of the Lord" (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2).
Paul attempted to calm them down by reminding them of his teaching that the day of the Lord would not come until after the Antichrist is revealed. He then stated that the Antichrist would not be revealed until a restraining force "is taken out of the way" (2 Thessalonians 2:3-7).
There has been much speculation as to the identity of this restraining force that Paul refers to. Some have identified it as the Holy Spirit. But it cannot be the Holy Spirit because there will be people saved during the Tribulation, and no one can be saved apart from the testimony of the Spirit (John 16:8-11 & 1 John 5:7).
Others have identified the restrainer as human government. It is true that government was ordained by God to restrain evil (Romans 13:1-4). But the governments of the world are in rebellion against God and His Son (Psalm 2), and they are therefore a contributor to the evil that characterizes the world. Furthermore, the Tribulation will not be characterized by a lack of government. Rather, it will feature the first true worldwide government (Revelation 13:7).
In my opinion that leaves only one other candidate for Paul's restrainer and that is the Church. It is the Church that serves as the primary restrainer of evil in the world today as it proclaims the Gospel and stands for righteousness. When the Church fails in this mission, evil multiplies, as Paul graphically points out in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. Paul says that society in the end times will be characterized by chaos and despair because "men will hold to a form of religion but will deny its power." When the Church is removed from the world, all hell will literally break loose.
The pre-Tribulation concept of the Rapture has often been condemned as "escapism." I think this criticism is unjustified. The Bible itself says that Christians are to "comfort one another" with the thought of the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:18). Is it a comfort to think of the Rapture occurring at the end of the world's worst period of war instead of at the beginning?
Regardless of when the Rapture actually occurs, we need to keep in mind that the Bible teaches that societal conditions are going to grow increasingly worse the closer we get to the Lord's return. That means Christians will suffer tribulation whether or not they go into the Great Tribulation. And that means all of us had better be preparing ourselves for unprecedented suffering and spiritual warfare.
If you are a Christian, you can do that on a daily basis by putting on "the full armor of God" (Ephesians 6:13), praying at all times in the Spirit that you will be able to stand firm against the attacks of Satan (Ephesians 6:14-18).
If you are not a Christian, your only hope is to reach out in faith and receive the free gift of God's salvation which He has provided through His Son, Jesus (John 3:16).
Some of the things I like to concentrate on has to do with "tools" and "resources" for getting good and accurate information, plus listing teachers, preachers, pastors and so on, who teach and preach on the Rapture (and other related things to that subject, which fit into it, too...).
With the Internet being what it is, and with it only costing about $10 and some change to put up a website... (LOL...), there's a whole lot of garbage on the Internet about Bible Prophecy.
And in saying that, I came across this a while back...
I've always thought about putting together a list of teachers of Bible Prophecy and what they teach, along with a brief description of them -- but -- someone else did it already... :-)
The following is a list of some well-known and recognized Bible Prophecy teachers -- and -- a "rating system" for them. I've looked it over and it looks fairly accurate and it does give one an insight into what someone is teaching and where they are coming from, if you wnat to know about them. It's a very useful tool.
AND, if you have a name of someone and they are not on this list, then that means they are not well-known enough to be considered. But, you can also send in their name to be considered for this list, too (if you think they should be on the list). At any rate, I would say that if they are not on this list, then it's "buyer beware"... :-)
The individuals listed below are Christians (past and present) who are compassionate about their faith. Some are recognized pastors, scholars and teachers of Bible prophecy and eschatology (study of end-times) who also belong to various denominations. Also listed here are those from pseudo-Christian organizations (so-called Christian groups that adhere to doctrines outside mainstream Christianity). This comprehensive list of individuals is meant to help you identify sound teaching on Bible prophecy and prophecy topics only. Some have devoted their entire lives to teaching Bible prophecy. Not all are always in agreement, and not all are sound in their doctrines. Therefore, study for yourselves, and use this as a guide only.
Though there are many good prophecy teachers, some should be avoided. With that in mind, remember that we are commanded to pray for those whom we take issue with. Please don't confuse this list with those who claim to be prophets or those with prophetic revelations, dreams, visions or other so-called prophecies.
The below "apple" rating is solely for the teaching of Bible prophecy and prophecy topics, not for individual ministries or personal lives of those listed. You might find some listed here who teach sound Bible prophecy, yet to support other doctrines you disagree with. Their teaching on other important Bible doctrines should not necessarily be confused with the comments here. "Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding." Proverbs 4:7.
See the list on this webpage for all the names ...
Clarifying the confusion of the word "rapture" being found in the Bible:
Is the word "rapture" found in the Bible? Yes, in the original Greek. The Greek "harpazo" or "harpotso" means "to seize upon with force" or "to snatch up." Harpazo was rendered in Latin as "rapere," "rapus" or "rapiemur;" both verbs meaning "to seize." In the fourth century A.D., the Latin Vulgate used "rapiemur," as translated by Jerome. Other verb forms in the Latin Vulgate are "raptum", "raptus" and "raptura or rapturo." The Latin "rapiemur" (or rapturo) is root of the English and French term "rapture." The French meaning is literally "abduction" or "to carry off." The English meaning is "caught up," equivalent to the Greek "harpazo," and the Latin "rapiemur."
Described precisely in the original Greek, living believers will be "caught up/raptured/rapiemur/harpazo" in the air, translated into the clouds, in a moment in time to join the Lord. It's a sudden, rapid change. Other Latin words had similar meanings. For example, the English word "rapid" comes from the Latin "rapidus," meaning "hasty, snatching," which is from the Latin "rapere," meaning "hurry away, carry off, seize, plunder," where, again, we get the English term "rapture."
The word "rapture" is unquestionably a Biblical term. For those who say the term "rapture" is not in the Bible, they are saying the term is foreign to the Bible itself, which it is not. That also leads to the wrong conclusion that the doctrine itself is not Biblical since they suggest the term is entirely foreign to the Word of God. The truth is that the term is there, in plain Greek, Latin and English!
Almost all words in our English Bible are translations of Greek or Hebrew expressions, and are not always in the form we know them. For example, "Jesus" is a good translation of His name "Yeshua" ("Joshua," "The Lord Saves," in Hebrew). In the same way, the English word "rapture" which means "caught up" is an excellent translation for the Greek "harpazo." Because God's Word was originally written in Hebrew and Greek, one could say that all English words are not in the Bible.
For those who erroneously claim the word rapture is not in the Bible, they also claim that nowhere in the Bible does it say that the Church will be raptured before the tribulation period. Obviously we could follow that logic by saying neither does the Bible directly say the Church will go through the tribulation period.
The removal of the Body of Christ before the tribulation period (Daniel's 70th week) is a self-evident promise in Scripture. If we study and comprehend the differences between the Church and Israel, and the differences between the rapture and the Second Coming, then other prophetic passages will be more understandable.
Dr. Dave Reagan
The Origin of the Concept of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, From Man or the Bible?
Dr. Thomas Ice
The Rapture in 2 Thessalonians 2:3
Defending the Pre-Tribulation Rapture
Bible Prophecy Study: Pre-Tribulation Rapture
Four Views of End Times Prophecy
Reasons Why The Church Will Not Be In The Tribulation Period
BIO for the author
Tim Osterholm has a BA in Business Administration & Human Resources Management, and enjoys studying Christian apologetics, eschatology and theology. With the belief that we are truly living in the "last days", his goal is to reach the "scoffers of the last days" (2 Peter 3:3-7), those who are convinced their own education and knowledge is enough:
Down through history, God has increasingly revealed information that allows us to know more about the things we read in the Bible; and now irrefutable evidence as to many of the accounts described in Biblical records. We can now see with our own eyes the evidences that human wisdom requires as proof of these events. The sad thing is that even though there is overwhelming evidence as to the accuracy of the Bible, many people still believe that Biblical accounts, such as that of Noah's Ark, are only fiction. We are told that would be a sign of the last days.
The Rapture may be soon!
Well..., here is an interesting graphic of where the Rapture fits into the "Dispensations"... using the "Van Noy Model" of the Dispensations. And typically, there are seven dispensations given with the "eighth" being the "Eternal State"... which is fitting for the number "8"...
Click on the graphic for the full article, which will "fill out" some of this information.
NOTE: See that God's Judgment occurs after each "dispensation" from the beginning, judging each dispensation with His action at the end of that dispensation -- except that the last dispensation, the "Eternal State" has none...
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
He replied, When evening comes, you say, It will be fair weather, for the sky is red, and in the morning, Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast. You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. (Matt. 16:2-3)
So when you see standing in the holy place the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of through the prophet Daniellet the reader understand then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. (Matt. 24:15-16)
For then there will be great distress (Great Tribulation), unequaled from the beginning of the world until nowand never to be equaled again. (Matt. 24:21)
When it comes to developing any kind of time line concerning the End Times, the watershed event has to be the Abomination that Causes Desolation. Why? Because from that time forward, the Bible gives a very clear sequence of events.
First, the Abomination is the event that kicks off the Great Tribulation, a period of judgments 3 1/2 years long.(Matt 24:15,21) After the Great Tribulation, the Lord returns and following His return the Millennium begins. After the Millennium comes Eternity. Any one on Earth during this time will be able to predict these events with reasonable accuracy.
Second, we who study prophecy can also count backward from the Abomination that Causes Desolation and predict the sequence of events leading up to it by applying our knowledge of Scripture.
How Does That Work?
Well, we know that the Abomination involves the anti-Christ standing in the Temple in Israel, proclaiming himself to be God. (Daniel 9:27 and 2 Thes. 2:4)
But that cant happen until some other things take place first. Obviously the anti-Christ has to be revealed. And the Jews have to build their Temple. This is something that cant happen until they experience a change in attitude causing them to demand a Temple regardless of the consequences. Today less than 1 in 4 citizens of Israel want a Temple built, but even if every one of them did just the hint that they were going to build one would send the rest of the world into a tizzy. It simply wouldnt be permitted.
Some major event has to take place to convince the Jewish people that building a Temple in Israel is the right thing to do in spite of all the trouble it could cause, and some world leader has to have enough clout to convince the rest of the world, especially the Moslem Middle East, to let them do it.
Daniel 9:27 also reveals that as the End of the Age approaches, a leader from among the people who destroyed the Temple in 67 AD will confirm (enforce) a 7 year covenant with Israel that includes permission to build a new Temple, and that in the middle of this period he will commit the Abomination that Causes Desolation. That explains the persuasive world leader. Hes the anti-Christ, and he wants the Temple built for reasons that have nothing to do with Israel. The unanswered question in Daniels prophecy is why the Jews would desire a Temple at that particular time.
Our knowledge of the Old Testament tells us that a Temple was necessary to fulfill the requirements of the Levitical worship system. So then, because of the uproar it would create, it seems logical to assume that the Jews would only want a Temple if they felt it was absolutely necessary for the Nation of Israel to re-instate their Old Covenant worship of God.
How Does That Happen?
Toward the end of his two-chapter prophecy that speaks of a great end times battle between Israel and its neighbors (Ezek. 38-39), Ezekiel noted that God is going to use this battle to reveal Himself to Israel and the world once again. The way Hell do this is to give Israel a decisive victory in the face of such overwhelming odds that everyone on Earth will realize that only God could have done it. Ezekiel wrote that following the battle God would gather all His people alive at the time to Israel, not leaving any behind. (Ezek. 39:28)
So this battle is the event that compels a national return to God in Israel. And when all the living Jews in the world are suddenly drawn to Israel because God has called them there, theyll demand a Temple so they can resume their Old Covenant relationship with Him. If He was calling them through the Messiah into a New Covenant relationship they wouldnt need a Temple, so it has to be a resumption of the Old Covenant. Their New Covenant call, prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31, happens later during the time of the Two Witnesses (Rev 11) and theyll respond to it toward the end of the Great Tribulation, according to Zechariah 12:10.
Also on the heels of Ezekiels battle, the anti-Christ will emerge with a plan to restore peace to the Middle East. He first appears as a peacemaker as foretold in Daniel 8:25. He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power. I prefer the King James translation of the second sentence, which begins, By means of peace he will destroy many . So the battle of Ezekiel 38-39 creates the circumstances for both the anti-Christ and the Temple to appear on the scene, setting the stage for the Abomination that Causes Desolation.
Connecting The Dots
Using our Bible knowledge to back into the present from the Abomination that Causes Desolation, so far we find the sequence looks like this.
The Abomination cant happen till the Temples built. But that cant happen till a 7-year covenant is confirmed permitting its construction. (By the way, this 7-year period is often called Daniels 70th week because its the last week of years in a prophecy consisting of 70 weeks of years given to Daniel in about 538 BC. Dan. 9:24-27)
The 7-year covenant cant happen till someone from among the descendants of the Roman people emerges with a plan for peace in the Middle East. And that cant happen till the battle described in Ezekiel 38-39 puts the Middle East in all out war.
Ezekiels battle cant happen until God is ready to reveal Himself to Israel again, bringing Jews from all over the world to Israel clamoring for a Temple so they can re-instate their Old Covenant relationship with Him.
For all of my 25 plus years as a student of prophecy, scholars have been expecting the Battle of Ezekiel 38. Yet the conditions that make it possible have never been met. For one thing, the participants are not all in place, but more importantly Israel has never known a single day of peace, let alone the prolonged period necessary for them to be described as a peaceful and unsuspecting people, the way Ezekiel did (Ezek. 38:11). Something has to happen to make them feel like they no longer have a threatening enemy while leaving Iran, Russia, and the other nations Ezekiel identified in position to attack.
Recently, several writers, myself included, have seen two other Old Testament prophecies as likely preludes to Ezekiel 38. In Psalm 83 it appears that all of Israels next door neighbors will rise up in an attack intended to destroy the Jewish nation, and Isaiah 17 specifically mentions Israels destruction of Damascus. The defeat of Israels neighbors fills in two more blanks in the end times sequence. First, it explains why none of them are mentioned in Ezekiel 38, when logic dictates that they should be right in the thick of things. Second, it reveals how the Jews can be caught with their guard down. With Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah, Lebanon, and the others defeated, Israel will finally have some breathing room. Since Russia and Iran have traditionally used these neighbors as proxies rather than having a face-to-face confrontation, Israel may feel theres no longer any threat from them either.
But Wait, Theres More!
And neither Gods revelation to Israel nor the emergence of the anti-Christ can happen until the Church is gone, for two very good reasons.
1. In Acts 15:14 James clearly prophesied that after the Lord had taken the church He would return and rebuild the Temple. Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: After this I will return and rebuild Davids fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it (Acts 15:14-16).
After the Lord has taken the Church, Hell return and rebuild the Temple. Two Greek words are critical to our understanding of this passage. The one translated tent also means Tabernacle, a reference to the Temple. The one translated taking means to lay hold of, or take up in order to carry, or carry away. I believe its a veiled reference to the Rapture of the Church preceding Gods return to Israel.
If so, its consistent with Gods way. He seems to focus either on Israel or the Church, never both at once. In the greater context of the passage James was illustrating this very point from the other end of the Church Age. He told the gathered Apostles that God was setting Israel aside while He took from among the Gentiles a people for Himself. But after He had taken them, He would return to restore Israel.
Later, Paul alluded to this sequence in Romans 11:25-27. I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.
As Ive pointed out before, in Pauls day the phrase full number was a nautical term that stood for the number of crewmen necessary before a ship could legally set sail. Apparently God has assigned a specific number to the church before it can be raptured. When that number is complete, the Church will come in to the place prepared for us. Come in was another nautical term meaning to arrive at the intended destination, which Jesus described as His fathers house in John 14:1-3. Then God will turn again to Israel, reversing the hardening of Israels heart, taking the blinders from their eyes, and offering salvation once more.
2. In 2nd Thessalonians 2:6-7 Paul explained that the anti-Christ could not be revealed until the power thats restraining him is taken out of the way (literally out of the midst). To most evangelical scholars the power Paul wrote about is the Holy Spirit as resident in the Church. Since this power is sealed within us (Ephe 1:13) it stands to reason that if the Holy Spirit is taken we have to go too. Heres another hint of the Rapture of the Church, this time preceding the appearance of the anti-Christ.
So if the Rapture has to precede both the revelation of God to Israel and the revelation of the anti-Christ to the world, then the Rapture has to precede the battle of Ezekiel 38 as well. Since no one knows what the full number of the Church is, no one can know in advance exactly how long before Ezekiel 38 the Rapture will take place. It could literally happen any day, and theres no day more likely than any other. For that reason we cant locate it any more specifically in the End Times sequence than to say that it must precede Ezekiel 38.
But apart from that, the sequence of events will go like this. The Battle of Psalm 83/Isaiah 17, the Battle of Ezekiel 38, anti-Christs appearance as a peace maker, the 70th week of Daniel begins, the Abomination that Causes Desolation takes place, then the Great Tribulation, the Second Coming, the Millennium, and Eternity. The first of these could be very close. So close that you can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah. 11-05-08
Perspective by Jack Kelley
8th Annual Update January 2009
There are seven major prophetic signs of the Second Coming, and for the first time in history all seven are in some stage of fulfillment. As in years past, Ill list the seven with their primary biblical references and offer commentary from current events.
1. Israel Will Be In The Land
Ezekiel 36:24, 37:21
For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.
This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land.
In 1948, when Israel took its place among the nations of the world again for the first time in nearly 2000 years, students of prophecy recognized the fulfillment of the primary sign that the end of the age was upon us. Both Isaiah 11:11-12 and Amos 9:14-15 had also clearly foretold this. Jesus said that some from the generation being born when this happened would still be alive when He returned (Matt. 24:34).
The fulfillment of this prophecy caused another reaction as well. Satan reads prophecy too, and began exerting his influence on world leaders in his continuing effort to thwart the plan of God. As a result, Israel has fought six major wars in the last 60 years, each of them an attempt to erase the Jewish Homeland from the face of the Earth. And its clear that this effort will continue, with the biggest battle of all looming on the horizon, foretold by Ezekiel in chapters 38-39. Israels enemies, both physical and spiritual, wont let up until theyve either succeeded (their view) or been destroyed (Gods view).
For try as these nations might to destroy Israel, God sees a different outcome.
In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea. He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth. (Isaiah 11:11-12)
I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them, says the LORD your God. (Amos 9:14-15)
2. Jerusalem Will Be In Jewish Hands
They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
The Lord prophesied that the reunification of Jerusalem as a Jewish City would be a sign that foreign (gentile) influence over His land, and indeed the world, was about to end. Fulfillment of this prophecy began in 1967, and prophecy experts saw it as another major sign that the End of the Age had begun. The almost world wide effort to take the city apart again is in essence a battle of wills; the Will of God vs. the will of man. Until recently every Israeli politician has stood firmly on a pledge to keep Jerusalem united forever as Israels capital.
But then former Prime Minister Sharon said that if re-elected hed consider abandoning parts of the suburbs to achieve peace. A stroke-induced coma from which he has never recovered ended his political career, but his hand picked successor, Ehud Olmert, hinted at following through on Sharons proposals. Olmerts poor performance in the war against Hezbollah in 2006 and the corruption charges against him have driven him from office and robbed him of the political strength to follow through.
Ive come to believe that Jerusalem wont really be free of Gentile trampling until the Lord returns. Daniels prophecy that Gentile Dominion would not end until the Lord establishes His kingdom (Daniel 2:36-45), Zechariahs prophecy of the city being captured just before the Lords return (Zech. 14:2), and Johns observations in Rev. 11:1-2 of the gentiles trampling the outer court of the Temple during the Great Tribulation all confirm this.
The ongoing fulfillment of these major prophecies concerning Israel has caused confusion in the minds of some commentators. It centers around an incorrect interpretation of Matt. 24:34, that all end times prophecies would be fulfilled within a generation, nominally 40 years, of Israels re-gathering in 1948. That error made 1988 seem like the likely time for the End. But when 1988 came and went scholars focused on the Jerusalem date, 1967, and began adding 40 years to that, advancing their predictions to 2007. The rationale for this is that the timing of the First Coming prophecies in Daniel 9:24-27 keyed off the rebuilt city, not off the return to the Land. but that date proved wrong as well.
Problem is, the Lord didnt promise that all end times prophecies would be fulfilled within a generation of their beginning, only that the generation being born at the time of the first of the signs would still be alive to see their completion. According to Psalm 90:10 an average Biblical life span is 70 years, so predicting the approximate time of the End requires the addition of 70 years to 1948, not 40.
As it draws nearer, the approximate timing of the 2nd Coming will become more and more obvious. Those people around when a treaty is enforced permitting the Jews to build their Temple in Israel will know that its about seven years away. (Daniel 9:27) Those who witness the anti Christ standing in that Temple proclaiming himself to be God will know there are only 1260 days left until the end of the Great Tribulation, and the 2nd Coming happens shortly after that. (Matt. 24:15,21 & 2 Thes. 2:4) But even so, the Lord did state quite clearly that those alive on Earth at the end of the Great Tribulation would not know the exact day or hour of His coming until He actually appeared. (Matt. 24:42 & 44, 25:13)
3. A Moslem Coalition Armed And Led By Russia Will Attack The Holy Land
Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him. This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole armyyour horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords. Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troopsthe many nations with you.
(For a more detailed explanation of the modern equivalents to these biblical names, read An In Depth Look At The Modern Equivalent To Biblical Names in Ezek.38".
Over 130 historical references make it plain that Magog stands for modern Russia, and the other countries named here form a coalition based on their common religion, Islam. (Today Russia is 30% Moslem and growing.) Among them are Iran, several North African countries, Eastern European countries along the Danube, and the Turkic nations of Asia Minor. A quick look at a world map will reveal that these areas are home to some of the most radical Islamic groups.
The Russians are already a major supplier of arms for the Moslem coalition, just as Ezekiel prophesied, and will be drawn into joining in this battle by God Himself. Russias barely disguised policy of becoming the major outside force in the Middle East is playing right into the Lords hands. Iran and Russia are well into the implementation of a $50 billion deal to provide Iran with nuclear power. The 10 reactors called for in the deal are supposedly for electrical power generation, but most western leaders suspect theyll be used to build bombs, too. Some experts claim that Iran will become a nuclear power this year, but others think a bomb is still a ways off. Israel has again vowed to prevent that ever happening, but dont be surprised if the US continues to back away from its similar promise.
Russia has also formed commercial and military alliances with Turkey and Syria, and has become Turkeys 2nd largest trading partner after Germany. Russia has also sold Damascus a state of the art anti-air defense system along with their latest generation missiles and anti-tank rockets and plan to construct a major military seaport in northern Syria, moving components of their Black Sea fleet there. In Lebanon, Russian Military Intelligence has just about taken over the town of Sidon, spying on Israel for Iran and Syria. Iran has taken delivery of a Russian air defense system too, to protect its Bushier reactor site, first it the series Russia has promised to build.
Iran seems to be preparing its people for war with Israel, making the most outlandish claims in an effort to whip their people into a frenzy not seen since the days of the US embassy kidnapping of the 70s. This inflammatory ranting has included a Holocaust denial seminar attended by 30 countries, and a promise to wipe Israel off the face of the map. Former and likely future Israeli PM Netanyahu has said that for the Jews its like 1938 all over again.
The major obstacle to an early fulfillment of this prophecy is the reference to its occurrence at a time when Israel is a peaceful and unsuspecting people (Ezekiel 38:11). This certainly is not the case today, but In Psalm 83 theres a yet-to-be-fulfilled prophecy that appears to involve all of Israels next door neighbors in another unsuccessful attempt to wipe the Jewish nation off the map. The psalmist pleads with the Lord to intervene and defeat Israels attackers. If this happens, it explains why none of them are named in Ezekiels list of antagonists, and how Israel could be living in a perceived state of safety as Ezekiel 38:11 requires. Many of us have been watching to see if the recent Gaza incursion would escalate into a fulfillment of that prophecy, and though it hasnt yet, it still could.
Two other pre-requisites for Ezekiels battle are also in the process of fulfillment. The Gaza war may have strained Israels relationship with Turkey to the breaking point, and as Ive shown Turkey will be on the Moslem side in Ezekiels battle. Public support in Turkey for membership in the EU is also declining, another sign that attitudes toward the West are changing. It wont take much more for Turkey to switch sides. And Israels recent natural gas discovery, said to be of historic proportions, could create the wealth necessary to make Israel an attractive target for Russian conquest, fulfilling the prophecy of Ezekiel 38:13 that Israels enemies will have attacked partly for plunder. Till now Israel really hasnt had any substantial wealth, but the natural gas discovery is worth billions.
I believe that the removal of the US as Israels powerful ally is also necessary to pave the way for Ezekiels battle, because I dont think the Moslem coalition will attack until theyre sure the US wont retaliate. Any one of several scenarios currently being played out could accomplish this. Our national policy could change. A deepening recession could force us to turn inward and render us unwilling to keep our promise to support Israel. Likewise, the threat or actual occurrence of a major terrorist attack could cause us to stand down. And the Rapture of the Church could deprive the US of both the leadership and manpower to respond. Its no where near as difficult to see the US abandoning its commitment to Israel as it was just a few years ago.
When the time is right, having recently taken His church to Heaven, the Lord will use this battle to orchestrate His reconciliation with Israel, and on its heels the anti Christ will emerge with a peace plan that includes a Jewish Temple. So once this battle takes place, end times prophecy will go on fast forward.
4. The Ancient Roman Empire Will Re-Emerge As A Political Force
This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while. (This one is a little obscure if you dont know your history. When John was writing this, about 95AD, there had been five great world powers; Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and Greece. All were conquered and absorbed. The current power was Rome, which was never really conquered and will re-emerge at the end of the age, according to Daniel 9:26.)
Daniel 2:36-45 describes Gentile Dominion from Daniels time forward (Egypt and Assyria had already fallen) in the form of a giant statue representing the four remaining Kingdoms, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and the two appearances of Rome. Read it carefully and youll find some interesting things in the description of the two feet upon which the statue stands. Theyre made of iron mixed with clay. In the first place the two dont mix. We can imagine sticky clay serving as glue sticking pieces of iron together, but the language describes a clay thats made of dust and already baked hard and brittle like shards of pottery. You cant make random pieces of iron and pottery adhere.
These two feet describe the two divisions of the Roman Empire, Western and Eastern. Today the territory of the Western division is occupied by Europe, while the Eastern territoty holds the Islamic countries of the Middle East. Some experts insist that the combined defeats spoken of in Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38-39 will render the Eastern leg, or Moslem world, incapable of becoming part of the World Empire of the End Times, but Daniel had both feet in view in chapter 2 so both divisions of the Roman Empire have to be present at the End of the Age. His use of iron and pottery in their makeup speaks to the difficulty the Western and Eastern cultures will have in remaining united. And the fact that Daniel only identified four empires means the last one can only be some form of ancient Rome.
5. The World Will Embrace A Single Religion
All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beastall whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.
Make no mistake about it. Islam is the major religious force in the world today and their goal is nothing less than world domination, by any means necessary. Its the worlds fastest growing religion and is second only to Christianity in number of adherents. Already nearly one out of every five inhabitants of the world is Moslem, and like most Christians and Jews they dont really know what they believe or why. Im no prophet, but as I look into the future, its much easier for me to see Islam riding its current wave of momentum to fill the void left by the departure of the Church than it is to imagine some watered down mix of Christianity and New Age Mysticism doing so.
Much has been written recently about al Mahdi, a figure out of Moslem prophecies that are strikingly similar to Christian prophecies of the anti-Christ. Both show a leader coming on the scene during a time of great turmoil on Earth. Both depict him as man of peace who will have a seven year reign, head up a one world religion and one world government, and claim supernatural origins. Both prophecies culminate in a battle between good and evil that brings about Earths final judgment. Its as theyre pointing to the same person. The difference is that in Islam hes a good guy, but the Bible calls him evil.
Take this charismatic political and religious leader with his supernatural power, add the widely held but incorrect belief that God and Allah are the same, and that Islam is a religion of peace, and then subtract the spirit of discernment found in the Church and you can see how he could be the straw that a world on the brink of disaster grasps for survival.
6. The World Will Accept A Single Government
The whole world was astonished and followed the beast.
Recent events in the US have shown how quickly a fearful and disillusioned people will get behind someone who promises to change things. When you look at the shape of the world it doesnt take much to imagine circumstances getting to a point where the whole world will agree to follow a leader who will promise to bring order out of chaos. With all the things that already threaten world stability getting worse by the day, how much more frantic will people be after millions of their neighbors suddenly disappear without warning or explanation, and theres been a nuclear exchange that brings destruction from Europe through the Middle East and into Russia?
7. Babylon Will Re-Emerge As A Prominent City In World Affairs
With a mighty voice he shouted: Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.
Babylon is still a ways away from accepting its destiny as a city of power in the end times. Its just a ceremonial city right now, but 20 years ago nobody even knew it existed at all. One of the shocks of Gulf War 1 was the discovery of Babylon standing there on the banks of the Euphrates again.
You may think that being little more than a giant museum is a far cry from being a center of world power, but not too long ago, some of Iraqs new political leaders were calling for their nations capital to be moved to Babylon. The logic behind this is that Baghdad was Saddams capital, and the new Iraq needs a new capital, more consistent with its heritage. Babylon fills the bill, and becoming the capital of Iraq would be a giant first step toward achieving its transformation into a center of power. Onenewsnow.com recently reported that the US has pledged $700K to help rebuild the ancient city.
Because of Babylons current lack of importance in the world, some students of prophecy search for an allegorical fulfillment of its destruction in Rev. 18, and of course many see the USA or some city therein as a logical candidate.
But remember, even though in Revelation 17:9 John describes mystery Babylon as seated on seven hills (meaning Rome), a prophecy in Zechariah 5:5-11 shows it being moved to the plains of Shinar a reference to ancient Mesopotamia called Iraq today. We cant switch from literal to allegorical interpretations of Scripture without clear direction, and where Babylon is concerned no such direction exists. In fact the opposite is true.
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matt. 24:6-14)
Then he said to them: Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. (Luke 21:10-11)
There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. (Luke 21:25-28)
WARS AND RUMORS OF WARS According to intelligence reports that include all our wars as well as conflicts where a cease fire exists but are still unresolved, 41 wars are currently being fought around the world, with a substantial number of additional disputes threatening to erupt into war at any time.
THE INCREASE OF NATURAL DISASTERS More frequent and more severe hurricanes, more frequent and more intense earthquakes. Killer storms and quakes continue to dot the news.
SIGNS IN THE SUN, MOON, AND STARS The Magnetic Polar Reversal, predicted by computer model for 2012 is gaining more attention since its likelihood was first announced. While the effects of a Magnetic Polar Reversal have never been observed by mankind, it has apparently happened in the distant past. Whats unique this time is that the Sun is due for a polar reversal at the same time. What this means is that while the Sun will be experiencing its most intense radioactive storms, Earths magnetic field (that protects us from these Sun storms) will be at its weakest and may even be non-existent in some parts of the world. No one knows the extent of the damage this could cause, but based on expert opinion Ive speculated that the combined effects of the 2 polar reversals could fulfill the 6th Seal judgment of Revelation 6 and if the projected time of 2012 is correct, it fits into the early stages of Daniels 70th Week that I believe will begin sometime in 2011.
PESTILENCE Not only new diseases like HIV and SARS, but also the return of old ones like Whooping cough. But the big news is still the likely spread of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu). A few cases among humans have lead to fears that the virus has mutated to thrive in a human host. Dire predictions are placing possible deaths from this pandemic in the millions
THE LOVE OF MOST WILL GROW COLD 3500 people die every day in defense of the Christian faith. Run away crime, children being abused and murdered by their parents, children killing children. Murder trials as public entertainment soon to be followed by televised executions. Ethnic cleansing, rape and forced pregnancy, pedophilia, random shootings, the incidence of disrespect is enough to make you sick.
THIS GOSPEL WILL BE PREACHED IN ALL NATIONS Looking at the state of the world, its hard to be encouraged. But as world news gets worse and worse, more people are turning to the Lord for solace. According to some reports as many as 175,000 new believers are born again every day, mostly in Africa, China, and India. Reports of these conversions are accompanied by accounts of miracles, people receiving supernatural healings and even being raised from the dead. Just as He did at the beginning of the church Age the Holy Spirit is moving mightily at its End. I believe the Lord is issuing a giant last call before He suddenly takes the church out of here to begin the End Times judgments.
The above are given as indicators in the Olivet Discourse (Matt 24, Mark 13, Luke 21) and well continue to bring you periodic information on these as well.
As you know most of the signs in the Olivet Discourse are progressive and all are described as happening well before the end. Their main interest to us is found in the phrase beginning of birth pangs. Natural disasters, the tendency toward war as a tool of diplomacy, famine amidst plenty (35,000 children die each day of starvation and related diseases) and pestilence are described as being common to the era but increasing in frequency and intensity as the end approaches.
Its true that for over 100 years folks have been saying, how much worse can it get? Sadly, the answer now as it was then is, Much! It seems mans depravity knows no limits. But take heart. Though we are in the world, we are not of the world. We dont belong here, being citizens of heaven. And one day soon our long awaited King will return to take us there. Maranatha!
The Battle of Psalm 83/Isaiah 17
This is new to me and very interesting. Since Iran is involved in Ezekiel 38 maybe Israel will not attack Iran after all as we all expect but have a war with With Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah, Lebanon, and the others instead?
A little bit about Mark Hitchcock (because you should get to know this prophecy teacher as he's a prolific writer and a good prophecy teacher and a good teacher in general.
Mark Hitchcock is a leading Bible prophecy expert, prolific author who has penned over 20 books on the end times, senior pastor, and adjunct faculty member of the Dallas Theological Seminary. He has appeared on hundreds of radio programs and in print as well as The History Channel, MSNBC, Fox, The Glenn Beck Show, and CNN. A leading Christian voice on Mayan 2012 prophecy, he is scheduled to appear on an NBC sci-fi special related to 2012 airing fall, 2009.
A former attorney, Mark initially worked for the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. Following a call to full-time ministry, today he serves as senior pastor of Faith Bible Church in Edmond, Oklahoma, just outside of Oklahoma City. He graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary in 1991, where he subsequently earned his doctorate in 2006 and more recently has served as an adjunct faculty member.
Hitchcock has been a contributing editor for the Left Behind Prophecy Club for many years. His new book 2012, the Bible, and the End of the World (Harvest House Publishers) will be released September 15, 2009. He has also recently released Cashless (July 1, 2009, also published by Harvest House), showing how todays headlines foreshadow a new and vastly different economic futurea one-world economy that is consistent with Bible prophecy in Revelation 13. Some of his other titles include: The Late Great United States: What Bible Prophecy Reveals about Americas Last Days; Armageddon, Oil, and Terror; Iran the Coming Crisis: Radical Islam, Oil and the Nuclear Threat; The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; What On Earth is Going On?; Is America in Bible Prophecy?; The Coming Islamic Invasion of Israel; Is the Antichrist Alive Today?; Seven Signs of the End Times; and What Jesus Says About Earths Final Days.
Hitchcock maintains an active speaking schedule, appearing frequently at prophecy conferences, seminaries, and churches. He and his wife, Cheryl, live in Edmond, Oklahoma with their two sons Justin and Samuel.
Faith Bible Church
600 N. Coltrane
Edmond, Oklahoma 73034
The teaching of Dispensationalim / Pastor Mark Hitchcock and Dr. Charles Ryrie
Wed, Nov 7 2007 -- Dispensationalism part I
Wed, Nov 14 2007 -- Dispensationalism Part II
Wed, Nov 28 2007 -- Dispensationalism Part III
Wed, Dec 5 2007 -- Dispensationalism Part IV
Left Behind - What's It All About? / Tim LaHaye and Gary Frazier
Sat, May 19 2007 -- Signs of the Coming Christ / Gary Frazier
Sat, May 19 2007 -- God's Plan for the Ages / Tim LaHaye
Sat, May 19 2007 -- The Role of Israel in Bible Prophecy / Gary Frazier
Sat, May 19 2007 -- The Rapture, 2nd Coming & Glorious Appearing / Tim LaHaye
Sat, May 19 2007 -- Deception and the Last Days / Gary Frazier
Sat, May 19 2007 -- The Merciful God of Prophecy / Tim LaHaye
Sun, May 20 2007 -- Jesus Is Coming / Dr. Tim LaHaye
Sun, Nov 30 2008 -- The Rapture of the Church / Mark Hitchcock
Sun, Dec 7 2008 -- The Timing of the Rapture / Mark Hitchcock
The Pre-Trib Rapture
Sun, Feb 25 2007 -- The Pre-trib Rapture, Pt 2 / Mark Hitchcock
Sun, Mar 11 2007 -- The Pre-trib Rapture, Pt. 3 / Mark Hitchcock
[Part 1 didn't get recorded...]
And..., here's one to educate yourself about End Times Controversies, especially when you are challenged on the Rapture. I would say this one is essential as it's jam packed full of necessary information. Mark Hitchcock did his Doctoral Paper on this subject at Dallas Theological Seminary and wrote a book about it, too.
About Errors and End Times Controversy / Pastor Mark Hitchcock
Wed, Jan 11 2006 -- An Introduction - Part 1
Wed, Jan 18 2006 -- End Times Controversey - Part 2
Wed, Jan 25 2006 -- A Critique of Matthew 24 - Part 3
Wed, Feb 1 2006 -- An Introduction to Interpretation of Revelation - Part 4
Wed, Feb 8 2006 -- Was Nero the Beast of Revelation 13 - Part 5
Wed, Feb 15 2006 -- The Date of Revelation 13 - Part 6
Wed, Feb 22 2006 -- The Date of Revelation 13 - Part 7
Wed, Mar 1 2006 -- Questions & Answers - Part 8
Faith Bible Church Teaching
We teach that the Bible is the Word of God, supernaturally inspired so that it is inerrant in the original manuscripts and has been preserved by God, so that it is the divinely authoritative standard for every age and every life.
We teach that there is one God eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient manifesting Himself in three persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit; one in nature, equal in attributes, essence, power and glory.
We teach that the Lord Jesus Christ is God incarnate, very God and very man, that He was begotten by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, and offered Himself on the cross as a substitutionary sacrifice, suffering the full penalty for sinners. He was raised bodily on the third day and ascended to the right hand of the Father, there to intercede for us as our advocate and High Priest.
We teach that man, as a consequence of Adam's sin, is subject to the wrath of God, justly condemned in His sight, wholly unable to save himself. Although man was originally created in the image of God, apart from God's salvation through Christ man is eternally lost.
We teach that salvation is wholly by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and entirely apart from any ordinance, ritual, human merit or works. Salvation is the free gift of God and once it is received it cannot by any means be lost. While sin may interrupt the joy of a believers fellowship with God and bring the loving discipline of the Father, the true believer is eternally secure.
We teach that Christ gives to each believer, at conversion, by the ministry of the Holy Spirit, some gift or gifts to equip him to serve the Lord and edify other believers.
We teach that the universal Church consists of all true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ from Pentecost to the Rapture. Each local assembly or church should be a miniature of the universal Church, expressing the great truths of the latter. The local assembly consists of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ who meet regularly for teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, prayer and evangelism.
We teach that there are two Christian ordinances: water baptism and the Lord's Supper. Baptism is the testimony of a believer showing forth in solemn and beautiful emblem his faith in the crucified, buried and risen Savior, and his union and identification with Him in death to sin and resurrection to a new life. We teach that the Lord's Supper serves as a commemoration and proclamation of Jesus' death until He comes.
We teach the following future events: the personal, imminent coming of the Lord Jesus to rapture the Church, the tribulation period, the second coming of Christ, the millennial reign of Christ, the judgment of the lost, and the eternal state.
And here is the Faith Bible Church page with all the sermons on it.
I feel your vision is coming true! Every Pro Rapture related item in Free Republic will one day be found in the RAPTURE CAUCUS. Without all the skeptic baggage.
Since Iran is involved in Ezekiel 38 maybe Israel will not attack Iran after all as we all expect but have a war with With Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah, Lebanon, and the others instead?
Yes..., that's the general idea and it's a recent idea in Bible Prophecy, only "discovered" in the last few years. It's apparently "making sense" to a lot of Bible Prophecy teachers, now, as it explains some problems with the Ezekiel 38/39 scenario. With the Psalm 83 prophecy, it definitely makes more sense.
Follow up on Bill Salus for more information on that one.
BUT, I should say that it's still possible that there may be an attack on Iran, but it's not the kind of attack that will disable it. It will still have its military intact. In fact, one could build a scenario in which such an attack now, will be the motivating force (also, along with Russia and its aims) to attack Israel in the Ezekiel 38/39 prophecy.
I’ll be pinging the newly created ping list on Tuesday when I get back to work. (Don’t worry I am self employed.) Do you want me to maintain the list?
Yeah, sure.., that would be cool, to maintain that. I’m not the one who is controlling that aspect of it anyway, so it’s open for someone to pick up and run with it... :-)
Yep, we never know... :-)
To be clear, I wholeheartedly agree with that reasoning. It is IMO another very strong element supporting the pre-trib position.
If we happen to be wrong and are present during the Tribulation, God might direct you toward self-preservation in order to keep you working. ;-)
MM (in TX)
It is really neat to know that when God promised David a Kingdom that would last forever with its capital in Jerusalem in the Davidic covenant. He could read David’s mind and know that David was thinking about a literal kingdom on earth. God saw no need to correct David’s thinking. God will keep his promises.
It is really neat to know that when God promised David a Kingdom that would last forever with its capital in Jerusalem in the Davidic covenant. He could read Davids mind and know that David was thinking about a literal kingdom on earth. God saw no need to correct Davids thinking. God will keep his promises.
And, to add to that, it's sort of amazing to know that there are people (certain Christians) who think and will say that God knew what David was saying/thinking and meant -- but that God was going to "trick him" anyway, and saw no need to "clue him in" on the fact that God was not going to do what King David thought God was telling him.
That would make God out to be more of a trickster than Satan himself... if God really was that way... LOL...
"Thank God" He's not... and that God does tell the truth and that He says what He means and does what He says... :-)
Subject: THE SECOND COMING OF THE LORD
Questions by S. W. Royes; Answers by H. P. Barker
IT is well to remind one another that what the Bible presents to us is not theories or opinions, but facts. And if anyone were to say to me, What are the principal facts connected with Christianity? I should reply that three of the most astounding facts are these:
(1) The throne of Deity is occupied by a Man.
(2) God the Holy Ghost is a Resident upon this planet.
(3) The Lord Jesus Christ has a peculiar treasure in the world, and is about to come personally to transfer that treasure from earth to heaven.
It is with the last of these three that we are concerned on this occasion. It is a fact that Jesus is coming again, as truly a fact as that He has already been here for thirty-three years, and died upon the cross.
Before we commence our questions, I will ask you to open your Bibles and read three striking passages, in which the second coming of the Lord is spoken of as a fact, first by an apostle, then by an angel, and thirdly by the Lord Himself.
First turn to 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17.
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto THE COMING OF THE LORD shall not prevent [or go before] them which are asleep.
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:
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 Lord.
Now look at Acts 1:11, where we have angelic testimony to the same truth:
This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
The third passage I ask you to read is John 14:3, where the Lord Himself, while yet on earth, distinctly promises to return for the purpose of receiving His people to His Fathers house.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I WILL COME AGAIN, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
These three passages suffice to show that the truth of the Lords second coming is an integral part of Christian doctrine. But, remember, it is not a mere doctrine, it is a fact; and as a fact we shall consider it.
When you speak of the Lords coming, do you refer to death?
Indeed I do not. Nobody who carefully reads the three passages I have pointed out could fall into the mistake of confounding the two things. When a believer dies, does the Lord descend with a shout? Does He come in like manner as they saw Him go? Are the sleeping saints called from their graves and summoned to meet the Lord in the air? Nothing of the kind takes place.
Let me try to show you, by a simple illustration, what death is for the Christian.
A gentleman enters one of the country railway stations and asks for a first-class ticket to Kingston. The train not being due for twenty minutes, he walks into the comfortable first-class waiting-room and sits down. While there, another man enters the station. To judge by his appearance, he is a working man, and not very well off in this worlds goods. He, too, is bound for Kingston, and asks for a third-class ticket. He, like the first comer, has to wait for the train, but he may not use the first-class waiting room. He must be content with the uncomfortable, draughty, crowded third class room.
But mark this, the man in the first-class room and the man in the third-class room are both waiting for the same train.
In the same way there are two classes of believers bound for glory, and waiting for the Lords coming to take them there. There are those of us who are still alive, waiting in this dreary, uncomfortable third-class waiting-room of a world, surrounded by trials, subject to temptations, and beset with sin. Others there are who have, as it were, passed into the first-class waiting-room. They rest in a scene of unclouded peace, with neither sin, nor care, nor sorrow to mar their happiness. They are with Christ, but their bodies are in the grave. They have not yet entered into the fulness of resurrection life. They are still waitingwaiting for the very same thing that we are waiting for, namely, the coming of the Lord.
Death, therefore, for the Christian, far from being the fulfillment of his hope, is merely the servant that ushers him into the first-class waiting-room, where he will be absent from the body, present with the Lord until the day when Jesus comes.
Does not the Christian often experience the coming of Christ to his heart?
Yes, undoubtedly; but that is not what we are talking about just now.
I remember speaking to an old lady about the Lords coming. As I spoke, her face lit up with joy, and laying her hand upon her heart she exclaimed, Oh, He often comes to me! Hardly a day passes without His coming.
The dear old lady was right. Jesus does come to His peoples hearts in a spiritual way. But that is a very different thing from the coming of which we have read together.
If you will turn to John 14, you will see the two things. Read verse 23: If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him.
Contrast this with what we have already read in verse 3 of the same chapter. Verse 23 speaks of a spiritual coming of Christ and the Father to us; verse 3 speaks of the future, personal, actual coming of Christ for us. The one is what we may enjoy daily; the other is what we yet hope for.
Will the end of the world take place when the Lord comes?
No, indeed. Scripture is full of promises and prophecies which show that the world is to be the scene of wonderful blessing under the rule of Christ for a thousand years. Men shall beat their swords into ploughshares and live in harmony. Restored Israel shall be the centre from which blessing will radiate to the uttermost parts of the earth (Isa. 2:3). Even the animal creation will share the joy of that age the lion shall lie down with the lamb. Satan shall be bound, and righteousness shall reign. All this takes place after the Lord comes, so the end of the world will be at least a thousand years subsequent. The Lords coming is the preliminary to a long course of events. He is about to take possession of the kingdoms of earth, and reign with His saints and assume His rights in the place where He has been rejected. But before He comes forth for that purpose, He comes to take possession of that which is already His His own peculiar treasure, His pearl of great price His blood-bought Church.
With it the Lord will return as the rightful Heir to subdue the earth and reign in peace and justice, so that there will be a long period of time between His coming and the end of the world.
What will happen when Jesus comes?
If you will carefully read those verses in 1 Thessalonians over again, and compare them with 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52, you will find a very clear answer to that question. The living saints will be changed, the sleeping ones will be raised, and together they will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Those who are not Christs, whether dead or living, will be left behind.
You know what a magnet is, do you not? Suppose that upon this table I had a mixture of steel filings and chaff. I bring the magnet nearer and nearer to the table. What happens? Suddenly all the steel filings fly up and stick to the magnet. And what of the chaff? It is left upon the table unmoved.
That is just what will happen when the Lord comes. He has, indeed, been a magnet to these hearts of ours, charming and attracting them. When He comes, those with whom He has a link the steel filings, the true believers will by His power be gathered up to Him in the air. And what of those who know Him notthe chaff? They will for the time be left alone, but their career will soon be over: He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire (Matt. 3:12).
Will there be no chance of salvation for those who are left behind?
For those who have heard the gospel and refused it there will be none. They will be judicially blinded and hardened. Let Scripture speak as to this. Read the solemn words of 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12: They received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
The door of mercy, now open so wide, will then be irrevocably closed. When once the Master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us; and He shall answer and say unto you, I know not whence ye are: then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets. But He shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity (Luke 13:25-27).
These awfully solemn words answer your question clearly and decisively. No, there will be no salvation for those who refuse it now.
Will you make the distinction clearer between the Lords coming for His people and His subsequent coming with them?
A friend of mine was once taking me for a stroll around Newcastle-on-Tyne. Do you see that hill yonder? he asked, pointing to a considerable eminence on the further side of the river.
Yes, I replied. Is there anything noticeable about it?
It is called Sheriffs Hill, he said, and the reason is this. In the olden days, when the circuit judges came from Durham to hold the assizes at Newcastle, the sheriffs of the city used to go out as far as that hill to meet them. Having met them there, they accompanied the judges back to the city to open the assizes.
Now this will, perhaps, help in making clear the distinction between the Lords coming for His people and His subsequent coming with them. You get both referred to in Scripture. First, I will come again and receive you unto Myself. That is His coming for us. Then, in Jude 14, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment. He is coming to hold the assizes, as it were, to visit the ungodly with His displeasure and throughly purge His floor. In this He will be accompanied by His saints, as the judges in coming from Durham to Newcastle were accompanied by the sheriffs of the latter place. But in order that this may be so, His people will be summoned from earth to meet Him in the air. Then they will return with Him when He comes forth in conquering might. See Revelation 19:11-14. It is this latter event that is referred to again and again in the Old Testament. In the New Testament it is often spoken of as His appearing, or His manifestation in glory, as contrasted with His coming for His own people only.
What will happen between the Lords coming for His Church and His appearing in power?
It would take me a very long while to give even an outline of the course of events indicated in the prophetic scriptures as happening in that period. We cannot even refer to the passages that speak of them. But I may briefly say that a careful study of Scripture would lead us to believe that as soon as the Church is taken to heaven, wickedness will increase in the world with rapid strides, and will culminate in the man of sin, who, under the direct influence of Satan, will head a most fearful apostasy. God will meanwhile be working in and through some of His ancient people, the Jews, gathering them again to the land of their fathers, and preparing them, amid unheard-of sufferings, to be channels of blessing to the whole world. At the same time remarkable developments will take place in the political sphere. The Roman Empire, revived in the form of ten confederate kingdoms, will support its head, the beast, who is in close alliance with the antichrist, or man of sin. Corrupt Christendom will at first be the governing influence, but infidelity will gain the ascendancy, and the apostate church, spued out of Christs mouth, will fall a miserable prey to the powers of the world, whose favours she has sought long.
Then after many heavy strokes from Gods rod have fallen upon the earth, suddenly Christ will appear, with His saints, bringing swift destruction to the wicked one (antichrist) and his associates. But in order to trace out all these points in Scripture, a careful study of the whole scope of prophecy is necessary, which is quite beyond the limits of our present subject.
Can any date be fixed for the coming of the Lord?
We are told in Mark 13:35 to watch, because the hour of His coming is unknown. How could anyone watch for the Lord to come, if it were known that He would not come until a certain time? The exhortation to watch implies upon the face of it uncertainty as to the time.
I am well aware that many attempts have been made to fix dates for the Lords return. The only result of such attempts is to bring discredit upon that blessed hope, and cause it to be associated in peoples minds with folly and fanaticism.
Much confusion has arisen through people failing to see that the present time is an interval in the line of Gods dealings with men. When Christ was slain by the Jews, God suspended His dealings with them as a nation. From that day onward He has been occupied in saving by His grace those who compose the Church. When the Church is complete, the Lord will come and remove her from earth. Then God will take up the thread, so to speak, which He has dropped; and then the history of His earthly people will recommence and dates and times and seasons will again have a place. But no dates are connected with the present interval. At any moment we may hear the home-call. How sweet for those who are ready! Dear fellow-believer, think of it! Another moment, and you may hear the voice of the Beloved of your soul! Another moment, and you may feel the embrace of those everlasting arms! Another moment, and you may be at home your home because it is His home; and you are His and He is yours!
Have we anything besides watching to do in view of the Lords coming?
Yes. We have to go out to meet Him (Matt. 25:6). Out from everything that we should not like Him to find us mixed up with; out from slothful ease; out from sinful habits; out from unholy associations.
Then we are told to occupy till He comes (Luke 19:13). We are to be engaged in looking after His interests during His absence, intent on serving Him.
If you read the New Testament you will be surprised to find how often the thought of the Lords return is brought in a practical way, to enforce various admonitions. To cherish this blessed hope and to live in daily expectation of the Lords return it to be a very practical Christian. Every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure (1 John 3:3).
May it be ours, dear fellow-Christians, not only to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world, but to look for that blessed hope and also for what will follow, the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ (Titus 2:12, 13).
Twelve Bible Dialogues - Harold P. Barker et al.
Scanning, OCR and revision according to the original: Andreu Escuain
© Copyright 2005, SEDIN for the digital edition - All rights reserved.
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