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While JESUS was alive, He prayed to His Father: "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.  John 17:15 (KJV)

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 "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." I Thess. 4:16-17 (KJV)

"In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed."  I Corin. 15:52

The "Resurrection" has been erroneously labeled The "Rapture". 

  9 For God/JESUS hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by JESUS

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Acts 17:10-12

10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.

11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

12 Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.
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Luke 21:25-28

25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;

26 Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. 

27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
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But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things
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Ps 122:6

Psa. 122:6   Pray  shalom Jerusalem:3389/3384 (to flow as waters):  prosper love. 7 Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. 8 For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. 9 Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.


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Re: The Church, Tribulation and the Rapture


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THE LAST TRUMPET

When we consider all the NT passages which speak of a trumpet sounding in relation to the glorious Second Coming of Christ, there is excellent agreement among them, indicating that the same last trumpet is spoken of. In Matthew ch.24, when Jesus speaks of this time, he says that immediately after the Great Tribulation, there will be awesome heavenly portents ( v.29 ), and he will then be "coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory, and he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds" ( v.30, 31 ). This trumpet heralds the Lord's Parousia ( "coming" in v.27 ), including the rapture (gathering of the elect), and we see that his angels are part of the catching up of the saints.

This is very similar to 1 Thess. 4, where Paul says that at the Parousia ( "coming" in v.15 ), "the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, and with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first" (v.16), and then the rapture occurs (v.17). It is easy to note several parallels between this and Matthew 24.

Again, in harmony with the two passages above, in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul writes of the time of the believer's resurrection and change to a new, spiritual body: "We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed --- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed" ( v.51-52 ). At the time of the believer's resurrection, we again read that there will be a trumpet sounded... but Paul adds here that it is the last trumpet ...which coordinates perfectly with the passages in Revelation, which we will consider next.

As John describes the tribulation period just before the Second Coming, in Revelation 8:6 through 11:15, he writes that seven trumpets will sound. When we read the contents of the seventh (or last) trumpet in Rev. ch.11, we read of loud voices declaring that "the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever" ( v.15 ), and the heavenly elders also declare, "you have taken your great power and have begun to reign" ( v.17 ). This celebration of the commencement of Christ's reign on earth, pinpoints Christ's glorious Second Coming as taking place at the sounding of the seventh trumpet in this series of trumpets. This is the last trumpet, just as Paul had said in 1 Corinthians 15. The agreement here is good.

Some may find it confusing that after this seventh trumpet, John further describes tribulational events in Revelation, but there is a very good explanation. --In his book, The Church and the Tribulation, ( Zondervan, (c)1973 ), Robert Gundry notes that in all three series, the Seals ( Rev.6 ), Trumpets ( Rev.8-11 ), and Bowls of Wrath (Rev.16), the seventh item in each series occurs at the Second Coming of Christ. Gundry points out that this arrangement is favored by the "Semitic style of Revelation ...according to which the seals, trumpets, and bowls will find somewhat concurrent fulfillment." Also, the fact that later descriptions "add more detail is a well-recognized feature of narratival style in Semitic literature" ( Gundry, p.75 ).

An illustration of this Semitic literary technique of marking time in related series, might be used to describe our approach to Midnight on New Year's Eve, with three different series, as such:



MONTHS: June July Aug Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec.
DAYS: Sun Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat
HOURS: 6 7 8 9 10 11 12



In the three series above, they run somewhat concurrently, and each one ends with Midnight on New Year's Eve ...with the last seven days contained within December, and the last seven hours contained within the last day.

Note, for example, that we find this same Semitic literary technique in the creation account, where creation is overviewed in Genesis 1:1, and then, the creation process is fully outlined in Genesis 1:2 - 2:2. Finally, in a third outline of creation in Genesis 2:2-25, a different but compatible viewpoint is brought out, which runs concurrently with the previous two, but with a different focus. The three descriptions do not constitute a conflict or contradiction, as some have supposed, but they simply consider varying focuses (and amounts) of detail in describing the same overall process.

So, similarly, in the book of the Revelation, the three different series of the seals, trumpets and bowls would start at different times, run somewhat concurrently and all end together at the Second Coming, approximately thus:




SEALS: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
TRUMPETS: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
BOWLS: 123456 7


(Note: Similar to the New Year's illustration above, the Seals & Trumpets may actually be much more spread out than this shows.
Trumpets might start after the 5th Seal starts. The Bowls might start after the 6th Trumpet starts.
But all three sevens should line up straight, as they occur together at the 2nd Coming, as described above.)


Note some advantages in the above arrangement: The seals, trumpets and bowls increase in frequency and severity, similar to birthpangs ( Mat.24:8 ); The sixth bowl ( Rev.16:12-16 ) is preparatory for the sixth trumpet (Rev.9:13-16); And the sixth seal ( Rev.6:12-14 ) fits in very well with the post-tribulational portents (signs) that Joel and Christ spoke of, which come just before Christ's glorious Second Coming ( Joel 2:30-31 & Mat.24:29-31 ) to set up his kingdom on earth ( Rev. 11:15-18 ). So, the seventh item from each of the three series, all happen together at the time of the Second Coming ...even the seventh seal's "silence in heaven for half an hour" ( Rev.8:1 ) occurs at this time, which is reasonable if the Lord Jesus along with all the heavenly armies have left heaven and gone to earth at the time of the Second Coming.


KEY WORD STUDIES

It is highly informative to focus on three special Greek words that impact the discussion on the rapture and the Second Coming.

The first word, "Epiphany" means "the visible appearance of the Lord Jesus on earth at the end" of the age ( ref: New Int'l. Dict. of N.T. Theology, Vol.3, Colin Brown, p.319 ). To the ancients, this word indicated the appearance of God on earth, so that humans see him there. The "Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament," (by Bauer, Arndt & Gingrich, 1957, p.304), states that the Greek word "epiphany" means "a visible manifestation of a hidden divinity," and in the literature of the New Testament, this word speaks "only of Christ's appearing on earth." In addition, Arndt & Gingrich's lexicon states that "epiphany" occurs in 1Tim.6:14 ; 2Tim. 4:1,8 ; Titus 2:13 ; and 2Thess. 2:8, in which they all speak "of Jesus' coming in judgment." ---Thus, taken all together, the "epiphany" of Jesus can be nothing other than the glorious and visible Coming of Christ when he ends up among mankind on the earth in judgment ...which is clearly post-tribulational.

Paul exhorts Timothy to "keep this commandment without spot or blame until the appearing (epiphany) of our Lord Jesus Christ" ( 1 Tim.6:14 ). So, Paul is saying to persevere in obedience to Christ faithfully until the big goal is reached: the post-trib epiphany.

In addition, Paul declares that it is the "epiphany" of Christ's "parousia" which destroys the Antichrist ( see 2Thess.2:8 ), therefore, it is the glorious epiphany (appearing) of Christ the God-man on earth which destroys the Antichrist just after the end of the great tribulation. If you will refer back to the Parousia-section above, you will note that the parousia is the time of the Rapture, and here we see clearly that Christ's glorious epiphany on earth is at the very same time.

And then, Paul tells Titus: "we wait for the blessed hope ----the glorious appearing (epiphany) of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ" ( Titus 2:13 ). Thus, the "blessed hope" we look to and wait for is not some secret disappearance before the great tribulation (as in a pre-trib or mid-trib rapture), but rather, it is the glorious and visible epiphany of Christ's Coming to be on earth in judgment, at which time the Antichrist is destroyed, ...which is unavoidably post-tribulational.

The second word, "Apocalypse," basically means "unveiling" or "revealing." In the NT it is the disclosure and glorious "revelation of Christ when he appears in the fullness of his power" (ref: New Int'l Dict. of N.T Theology, Vol.3, Colin Brown, p.315 ). In addition, Arndt and Gingrich's Greek-English Lexicon ( cited above, & p.92 ) states that when this word "apocalypse" is used to talk about Christ in eschatology (the last days/last things), it speaks of "the parousia," (see "parousia" in the first half of this article). ---Clearly, this word "apocalypse" ("revelation") is the powerful and glorious post-trib Coming of Christ, when he appears and is revealed to the whole world ( Rev.19:11-16 & Mat.24:29-31 ), ...and Paul uses this word when he says, "do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed (apocalypse)" ( 1 Cor.1:7 ). ---So, were the Corinthians and Paul eagerly waiting for a "secret rapture," where all the believers simply disappear? ---No. They were looking and waiting for the powerfully glorious "apocalypse" or appearing of Christ ...which can only be post-tribulational. (& See the section below on "Relief").

Peter also uses this word, "apocalypse" , as he writes: "trials... come so that your faith ...may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed (apocalypse)" ( 1 Pt. 1:7 ). ---When do pre-tribulationists expect this praise and honor to come from the Lord Jesus? At the pre-trib rapture. ...But that's not when Peter says it will come. He says it will come at the apocalypse, when Christ is revealed to the world in the fullness of his power. Peter continues: "set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed (apocalypse)" ( 1 Pt.1:13 ). ---So, your hope is to be riveted on the apocalypse ...which is clearly post-tribulational.

The third word, "PHANEROO," (pronounced "fawn-air-AHH'-oh") means "to reveal, manifest;" ---and according to Colin Brown it is used as a synonym for the above word we studied : "apocalypse" ( DNTT, Vol.3, Colin Brown, p.321 ). Arndt & Gingrich (cited, & on p.860 ) write that "phaneroo" indicates Christ's "appearance in the world." The apostle Peter writes: "when the Chief Shepherd appears (phaneroo), you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away" ( 1 Pet.5:4 ). ---And when will this crown of glory be given to believers? While the tribulation is taking place on the earth below? No. Believers will receive their "crown of glory" at the time of the phaneroo-apocalypse, when Christ appears and is revealed in glorious power on the earth, ...which is post-tribulational.

John says, "continue in him, so that when he appears (phaneroo) we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming (parousia)" ( 1 Jn.2:28 ). So, when will we ultimately need the confidence of having faithfully followed Christ?...and when will the Lord "size us up"? It won't be some time during the tribulation, but when he gloriously appears ("phaneroo") at the apocalypse and the post-trib parousia (see parousia section). Finally, John says, "when he appears (phaneroo), we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is" ( 1 Jn.3:2 ). And when will this happen, that believers will "become like" Jesus, or in other words, be glorified in resurrected bodies? Will it be just before (or in the middle of) the tribulation? ---No. According to the inerrant word written down by John, it will be at the phaneroo-apocalypse ...which is post-tribulational.

Consider the meaning and useage of the original Greek New Testament words to clarify the Bible's teaching on the rapture.

RELIEF

A very telling scripture in regard to the rapture, is found in 2 Thess. 1:5-10. As Paul writes, he is talking about the earthly suffering and persecution of the Church ( vs.1 ), and he includes himself in this persecuted group ( v.7 ). But Paul then says that God will pay back the persecutors of the Church, and that the Church will be relieved from this suffering and persecution ...and when will this relief happen? "This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed (apocalypse) from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels" ( v.7 ). Pre-tribulationists are expecting their relief from the world's persecutions at the time of a secret rapture before the tribulation (which would not yet be Christ's glorious coming). --But Paul expected his relief to come at the glorious revelation or "apocalypse" of Christ (see word study above), which can only be the coming of Christ in great power and judgment, just after the Great Tribulation. This is the exact same picture which our study (above) of the Greek word "Parousia" ( in James 5:7,8 ) gave us. The glorious apocalypse is also described in 1 Pet. 1:7,13, in 1 Cor. 1:7 and in Revelation 19:11-18. It is at this apocalypse that our relief comes, and no sooner. Although the Church will face persecution at the hands of Antichrist, Christians must not let fear keep them from facing the truth, but instead, should let God's love cast out all fear.

[ continued ]

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Zechariah 12:3,9:
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people; And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.



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Re: The Church, Tribulation and the Rapture


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TRIBULATION SAINTS "IN" CHRIST

The fact that there will be many saints (true believers in Jesus) on earth who will face Antichrist during the Tribulation ( Rev. 7:9-14; 13:7,10; 14:12,13; 17:6; 20:4 ) is not disputed by any of the three rapture teachings. --Pre-tribulationists, however, feel that the entire body of Christ ( the "Church" ) will have been raptured just before the beginning of the Tribulation, and that there can be no "Church-saints" on earth during the tribulation, so these "tribulation saints" we speak of in the above verses, would not be part of the body of Christ (the Church). --However, those who teach this pre-trib view may not realize that as they try to propose a group of Jesus-believing, blood-bought, New Testament saints "in" Christ, which are not part of the Church (Christ's body), this brings up very serious problems concerning the doctrines of justification, reconciliation and redemption ...indeed, such a viewpoint puts the biblical doctrine of salvation under attack.

Why does this view undermine the proper view of "salvation"?

The sacrifice of Christ benefits all truly repentant sinners who have sincere faith and trust in Christ, but this benefit is conferred as God automatically baptizes all true believers in the Holy Spirit, which places them "into" the Body of Christ ( 1Cor.12:13 ) --and that "Body" is the Church (Eph.1:22,23), with the result that all believers are "IN Christ" (2Cor.5:17). Being "in Christ" is the place of justification ( Gal.2:17 ), redemption and forgiveness of sins ( Eph.1:7 ). What's more, Paul teaches that a person who is in the body of Christ, has died to the requirements and condemnation of the OT law ( Rom. 7:4,6 ) ---and thus, anyone who is not in the body of Christ remains condemned by the law ( Rom.2:12 ; Gal.3:10-11 ; Jas.2:10 ). There is no other place, than in Christ's body, for those spiritual transactions in the NT. It will only be people "in Christ" (and in his body), who have been crucified with him, who have died and been burried with him, and are made alive with him ( read Rom.6:1-10 ). For anyone to be saved, God places Jews or Gentiles "in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross" ( Eph.2:16 )... and that one body of reconciliation is the Church ( Eph.1:22-23 ). There will never be any other way to justification, reconciliation to God, redemption, resurrection and eternal life, than by being "IN Christ," which is in his body --the Church-- ...and anything else is another way of salvation (and really, another gospel) than is found in the Bible. --It would take some major explaining to tell how a person could be "in Christ" but not in his body (the Church). If the tribulation saints are not in Christ's body, then how are they saved? --Consider especially verses like Romans 12:5, which says, "so in Christ we who are many form one body." Paul says explicitly there that being "in" Christ means being in his "body", and he uses those two ideas as being inseparable. ---Biblical Christianity can never advance any other way of justification and redemption, other than being "IN Christ."

So, the pre-trib notion of a group of "tribulation saints" who are saved and redeemed during the tribulation, but yet are not part of the body of Christ (the Church), is actually a contradiction in terms, which rests on very shabby theology that undermines the biblical doctrine of salvation. ---The true situation during the tribulation will be: there will be Spirit-baptized saints who are "washed ...in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev.7:14), so, they are blood-bought and justified saints; they will be born-again Christians "who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus" ( Rev.12:17 ), and who "remain faithful to Jesus" ( Rev.14:12 ).

--And very crucial for this discussion: note those saints who "die IN the Lord" during the Great Tribulation ( see Rev.14:12-13 with 6:9-11 ) ...remembering from our previous discussion, that being "in the Lord," or "in Christ," is precisely the NT description of a believer who is part of the Church, the body of Christ!

Thus, there is no possible way that these tribulation "saints" can not part of the Church. --They must be.

The corporate body of Christ first came into being when believers were first baptized in the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost ( Acts 1:5 & 2:1-4 ). Since then, every true believer is automatically placed into the body of Christ by the Baptism in the Holy Spirit ( 1Cor.12:13 ), so that all believers are "in Christ" (and this must --since the Acts 2 day of Pentecost-- include all Old Testament saints, as well as tribulation saints). Redemptive union with Christ, in his body (the Church), has always been God's plan for all believers of all ages. Paul says that Jesus is the Savior of "his body" ( Eph.5:23 ), and it would take some major explaining to show that he is the Savior of anybody else. Anybody who is not part of the body of Christ, therefore, will not be saved. Jew or Gentile, there is no other provision in all of eternity for the salvation of sinners other than by being in the body of Christ. --So, unavoidably, since there are saved people on earth during the tribulation, the body of Christ, the Church, must be present on earth at that time.

Since the "Church" is clearly on earth during the Tribulation, there is no reason to say that the Church is evacuated just before the Tribulation begins.

Obviously, those who "die in the Lord" during the tribulation will be part of Christ's body, the Church, and they too ( like all who are in Christ ) will rise at the first resurrection and be raptured ( 1 Thess.4:16-18 ). Thus, the rapture must follow the tribulation, during which those tribulation saints "die IN the Lord."

SAINTS UNDER GOD'S WRATH?
Some Bible students are deeply concerned over the idea that born-again members of Christ's body ( the Church ) will be present on earth during the tribulation, thinking that these saints would necessarily be subject to God's wrath ...but this is an unnecessary and ill-founded concern. This is because no saint in any place or time will ever be subject to God's wrath ( 1 Thess.5:9 ). In point of fact: Right now, at this very moment today before the tribulation, "God's wrath is being revealed from heaven against all the... wickedness of men" (Rom.1:18 and 1 Thess.2:16), and this present wrath of God never touches a single saint. This is because --as we have already established-- no saint is ever subject to God's wrath. - As a result, the "tribulation saints" are IN Christ, and justified "by his blood" ( Rev.7:14 ), so it would also be impossible that they would be subject to God's tribulational wrath or any other divine wrath. Jesus died on the cross for every believer of all time-periods, and in doing that, Christ took the full measure of God's wrath against any believer, so no portion of God's wrath can ever touch him. There will be blood-bought saints on earth during the Tribulation ( Rev. 7:14 ), but none of God's wrath will ever touch them.

In contrast, however, God's tribulational (& post-tribulational) wrath will be poured out upon the "earth-dwellers" (Rev.8:13) who are of the earth --but the saints are not "of the earth" but they belong to Christ, and though they will be on the earth during the tribulation, God's wrath will never be poured out on them. The bowls of tribulational wrath (Rev.16) will be poured out particularly on the wicked who take the mark and worship the beast ( Rev.14:9,10; 16:2 ) and who kill the saints, and blaspheme God, and refuse to repent ( Rev.16:8-11 ). This wrath is focused on these people, and does not touch the saints. They will be shielded by God. - This situation is remarkably similar to the plagues of the Exodus that affected the Egyptians but not Israel (though Israel was not yet removed out from among the Egyptians) ...in fact, in Revelation 15, those who are victorious over the Antichrist, will sing "the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb" (Rev.15:3). Then very much like the exodus out of Egypt in Moses' day --at the end of the plagues, and after having been shielded from God's wrath-- the saints will be raptured at the Parousia and will join in with the armies of heaven as the returning Christ comes to judge, as he "treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God" ( Rev.19:11-21 ), and, along with Christ, "the saints will judge the world" ( 1 Cor. 6:2-3 ).

Although tribulation saints will experience very tough times, persecution and death from Antichrist during the tribulation, they will abide under the sufficient grace of God but never his wrath. Rather, they will set their hope on their soon-coming Lord Jesus.

SAINTS TO FACE ANTICHRIST

As we have established, there will be New Testament saints on earth during the Great Tribulation: blood-bought, justified, Holy Spirit-baptized saints IN Christ ...members of his body, the Church. This is unavoidable, since there will people on earth saved by the shed blood of Christ. They will be protected from God's wrath, but in Revelation 13 we see that the Antichrist (beast) will be permitted for 3 1/2 years "to make war against the saints and to conquer them" ( v.5,7 ). The saints will be subject to the murderous persecution of Antichrist, but not God's wrath. Daniel makes the same point, agreeing that the saints will be subject to him for 3 1/2 years ( Dan. 7:21,25 ).

We have already determined that the event which destroys the Antichrist, is the glorious Parousia at Second Coming of Christ, ...therefore the time of Antichrist's great persecution of the Church, is the 3 1/2 years of the Great Tribulation just before that glorious Second Coming. We must remember, however, that even though we know the approximate duration of this persecution under Antichrist, we still will not be able to pinpoint the day or hour of the Lord's Coming ( Mat.24:36 ), because Jesus said that "those days (of the great tribulation) will somehow be "cut short" ( Mat.24:21-22 & Mk.13:19-20 ). So, in some way or another, God won't allow the full 3 1/2 years to run out their course, and we don't know how many days he'll cut off. ( See answer to this in "Rapture FAQs" ).

Though the Antichrist will "conquer" the saints in physical, political, and economic terms, this will not be the whole story. The Church will still faithfully carry the gospel to all nations, and then the end will come ( Mat.24:14 ). And not all Christians will die: Some will live until the Parousia (coming) of the Lord ( 1 Thess.4:15 ). The saints will be the ONLY people on earth guaranteed to resist and not to worship the Antichrist ( Rev.13:8 ), and to resist taking the mark ( Rev.14:9-12 ). The saints are the only ones who will not be deceived by the satanic deceit and powerful delusions of the Antichrist ( 2 Thess.2:9-12 ). Through all the Devil's attacks in the tribulation, believers "overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death" ( Rev.12:11 ).

IN SUMMARY

Whereas there is no explicitly clear scriptural evidence which places any component parts of the rapture before the tribulation period, ---there is explicit and direct evidence for a resurrection of believers at the start of the millennium ( Rev.20:4 ), and explicit statements of the post-tribulaional coming of Christ "on the clouds" with glory, and with a trumpet call, and with a "gathering" up of the elect (Christians) by angels (Mat.24:29-31). Evidence for a supposed pre-tribulational rapture is not clear and direct like this, but is only inferred by implications of different sorts. -- (Still I love all my pre-trib friends!)

Although Antichrist will persecute the Church during the Great Tribulation (the 3 1/2 years just before the glorious Second Coming of Christ), still, all the saints will overcome him spiritually by remaining faithful to Christ, and some saints will live through to Christ's Parousia (arrival to earth). When the Parousia happens, Christ appears in power, glory and wrathful judgment, the dead in Christ are raised, all Christians are caught up to meet Christ in the sky (raptured), the Antichrist is overthrown by the bright appearance of the "Parousia," and Christ lands on earth with all his saints, to begin his Millennial kingdom. ---This viewpoint is classic Christian theology. It has been so held for almost 20 centuries, since the apostles and early Church fathers, and thus is called "historic" Pre-millennialism. May the Lord guide and bless his saints to glorify him in the momentous days apparently soon to be on us.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus!


* * *
For further reading:
The best book I've seen on the time of the Rapture, is : "The Church and the Tribulation" by Robert F. Gundry, Zondervan, 1973.
However, since the above book is out of print, you may need to read : "First the Antichrist," by Robert Gundry, Baker Books, 1997.


* * *


This is "Ruffy," the pre-trib puppy, looking for scriptural evidence for the pre-trib rapture.
"How's it going, Ruffy?" - - - "Rough, ...Rough," he says.

(... Just kidding! ... )




++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Zechariah 12:3,9:
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people; And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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Rapture FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
...answered from a Post-Trib Perspective


- by Rhett Totten, MDiv - (c) 1999

A List of "Rapture FAQS" :
1. Does the promise in Revelation 3:10 to "keep from the hour of testing" indicate a pre-trib rapture?
2. Does the non-mention of the "Church" in Revelation chapters 4 through 18 indicate a pre-trib rapture?
3. Does "Removing the Restrainer" in 2Thess. chapter 2 necessitate a pre-trib rapture?
4. If the Rapture is Post-Trib, then who will populate the Millennium?
5. Aren't the 24 Elders in Rev.4 the pre-trib raptured Church?
6. "Imminence" : Is the Rapture the next prophesied event in history?
7. "No one can know the day," but couldn't the day of the 2nd Coming be calculated with Post Trib?
8. Does the Wedding Supper of the Lamb require a pre-trib rapture?
9. Doesn't the Post-Trib rapture deny the "Blessed Hope"?
10. If the church AND trib-saints are BOTH raptured post-trib, then who rides on horses with Jesus as he comes?
11. Since the Old Testament saints were not part of the church (not "in Christ"), when are they resurrected?
12. Wouldn't a Post-Trib rapture leave no "sheep" to go through judgment, so as to enter the millennium?




1. Does Christ's promise in Revelation 3:10 to "keep from the hour of testing" indicate a pre-trib rapture?

In the Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, seven local churches located in seven cities are addressed by the Lord. --This scripture is spoken to "the Church in Philadelphia" (Rev. 3:7), and some think it might conceivably indicate a pre-trib removal of the church if the Church in Philadelphia stood for the generation right before the beginning of the tribulation.

--However, if you take this portion of Scripture in its most straight-forward and normal (literal) way, then the Lord Jesus is talking to a specific local church in Philadelphia (Asia Minor --in today's Turkey) in 96 A.D. --he is not speaking specifically to some future generation of the church.

In commenting about this passage, Dr. Wilbur M. Smith writes that the interpretation which says these seven churches represent seven successive periods of church history "will reveal confusion upon confusion." (Wycliffe Bible Commentary "Revelation", W.Smith, Moody Press). This is because those seven churches do not match the periods of the history of the Church very well.

--And the most damaging part of this "historical periods" interpretation to the pre-trib view is the fact that since there are some spiritually victorious "overcomers" in the seventh church (the Laodicean church of Rev.3:21), this would be proof that the Church saints will be present on earth in the tribulation --since the sixth church (the Philadelphian church) stands for the raptured church.

Also, if the Philadelphian church is the raptured generation, then the "lukewarm" church of Laodicea would be the "great multitude" of tribulation saints (Rev.7:9,14)... a conflicting thought. --And, again, this scenario fits quite poorly, because the tribulational saints are fervent, "faithful" witnesses who have "faith in Jesus" ( Rev. 14:12 ), who are "washed in the blood of the Lamb" ( Rev. 7:14 ), and many of them lay down their lives for Christ and "die in the Lord" ( 14:13 ). So, the tribulation saints can't be reasonably described as "lukewarm." The "historical periods" schema doesn't fit. --Rather, using better hermeneutics, it would seem preferable to say that those seven churches are specifically ancient history in 96 A.D., and that they are then secondarily, perhaps, representative of different kinds of churches (& individual Christians) during any given year down through all the centuries leading up to the end.

Concerning the words "keep from" in Rev.3:10, the word "from" is a translation of the Greek word "ek", which actually means "out from within" a place. In the Greek-English Lexicon by Bauer Arndt & Gingrich, they say that "ek" is used "of situations and circumstances out of which someone is brought" ...and they even cite Rev.3:10 as an example. Because of this, we should recognize that if this verse did speak about the tribulation, the church must first have been "within" the tribulation, in order to be brought out at a later time. --A.T. Robertson, in his Greek Grammar, agrees that the meaning of the Greek word "ek" is "out from within", --as do Dana & Mantey in their Greek Grammar ( p.102 ).

Concerning the word "keep" ...it is a translation of the Greek word "tere'o", which means "to guard" or "protect". This word conveys the idea of guarding and protecting from danger that is surrounding or nearby in the area. If the church is in heaven, then such "guarding" or "protecting" of the church makes little sense, because there is no nearby danger in heaven. --If we consider putting the two words together, then we have the meaning conveyed that the Lord will "guard" and "protect" these believers from nearby danger until they are "out from having been within" the tribulation.

There's only one other verse in the N.T. that uses the above two Greek words ("tere'o" and "ek") together, and it is John 17:15. In that verse, Jesus is praying, "I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep ("tere'o") them from ("ek") the evil one". --So, in the only other place where these two words occur together in the N.T., Jesus considers the guarding and keeping work of God to be sufficient without removing believers from the world ...and he specifically says so!

All of this makes clear that though Christians will suffer, they will be guarded spiritually if not physically.



2. Does the non-mention of the "Church" in Revelation chapters 4 through 18 indicate a pre-trib rapture?

Admittedly, the specific term "church" is missing from those chapters (and some suppose this might imply the rapture has occurred), however, neither does John mention the "church" (specifically by name) during his several visions of heaven nor in what he sees in the air, which fairly well cancels out the omission of the Church as being on earth. --There is a word, though, that is just as good as "church", and that is the term "saints,"in Rev.13:7,10 and 14:12. Now that we are living under the authority of the New Testament, a "saint" can only be a person who is a born-again believer in Christ. This must be true during the tribulation as well. --Even more pointed than that, is where John records the voice from heaven which pronounces a blessing in Rev.14:13 on all those who die "IN the Lord" during the time of Antichrist's persecution. If you read the letters of Paul, and especially Ephesians, you'll see that if someone is "IN Christ" or "IN the Lord", then they are born-again people who are part of the "body of Christ", which is the "Church", according to Eph.5:23 and Col.1:24. Unavoidably, then, it is the "Church", the body of Christ, which will be persecuted and dieing at the hand of Antichrist... they are testifiers about Jesus ( 17:6 ) who are "washed in the blood of the Lamb" ( 7:14 ). Such saints would necessarily have to be part of the body of Christ.

Actually, if we say that "tribulation saints" are not part of Christ's body, then we would produce much more serious doctrinal problems than just with the timing of the rapture, --because we would create problems in the doctrine of salvation, as is explained in this web-site's article entitled : The Church, Tribulation and Rapture (read the section on "Tribulation Saints").



3. Does "Removing the Restrainer" in 2Thess. chapter 2 necessitate a pre-trib rapture?

In 2Thessalonians 2:6-7, Paul reminds his readers of previous discussions they had had about the coming appearance of Antichrist to the world, saying : "And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but he who now holds it back will continue to do so until he is taken out of the way."

Since the restrainer is referred to as both a "what" and a "he", this vagueness has given rise to much speculation as to the restrainer's identity. Suggestions range from God's power to human government, to an angel, to Satan's power. However, several considerations favor the view that the restrainer is the Holy Spirit : The main points are that several teachers in the early church taught that the restrainer is the Holy Spirit, and the restrainer is a personal "he", and the restrainer must be powerful enough to hold back the working of Satan, who is the most powerful being in the universe other than God himself. So, let's say the restrainer it is God's Spirit.

Now, pretribulationists believe that the Holy Spirit performs this restraining work through the Church, and therefore, the removal of the restrainer from the earth necessitates the removal of the Church from the earth as well --hence, the rapture is necessary before the Tribulation during which the Antichrist will be revealed.

This sounds pretty convincing, until you read what the text clearly says. Does verse 7 say that the restrainer will be removed "from the earth"? ...or "out of the world," or some such phraseology? No. It says he will be taken "out of the way." This is quite a different thing than being removed from the earth. --A lion can easily be released by sliding the cage-door "out of the way", and this does not necessitate taking the door into outer space. --Besides, the force of the Greek words means more literally, that he is removed "out of the middle." This conveys the picture that the Holy Spirit stands inbetween the Antichrist and his ability to come out onto the stage of history, --and at the right moment, the Spirit will get "out of the way" and allow the man of lawlessness to begin his satanic work. This is the plain and straight-forward sense of Scripture.

Thus, this text does not necessitate the removal of the Holy Spirit from the earth in order to withdraw his restraint of Antichrist. --In addition, according to Acts 2:32-33, the fulness of the Spirit's ministry is based upon the resurrection, ascension and exaltation of Christ ...and a retreat to the immature status of the old testament-type ministry would be a repudiation and annulment of the work and exaltation of Christ. Bad theology. Such a removal of the Spirit from the earth and his indwelling ministry would be to deny the Pentecostal fulness and power of the Spirit inaugurated by Christ ...as Jesus said, "It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment" ( John 16:7-8 ). It should be apparent by the multitudes that become believers during the Tribulation, that this dynamic ministry of the Spirit is not diminished, but heightened during that crucial period of time ( see Rev.7:9-14 ).



4. If the rapture is Post-Trib, then who will populate the Millennium?

Pre-tribulationists think the above question is a major difficulty for those holding the post-tribulational position, for the following reasons : If all believers were raptured immediately before the start of the millennium (in a post-trib rapture) they would be glorified immortals ( because glorification happens at the rapture; 1Cor. 15:52 ), and thus they would be non-child-bearing ( Mat. 22:30 ), ...and if all the rest of the world were non-believers who would be condemned and cleared off the earth in a judgment by Christ at the Second Coming (whereby none of them would be allowed to enter the millennial kingdom), then no one would be left to populate the millennium. - - - [ So goes the problem ...but I don't accept the premises. ]

Now, those holding the pre and post-trib points of view both agree that scripture clearly indicates that the milliennial earth is partly populated by sinful mortals in their natural bodies (see Isa.65:20), which is clearly verified by the satanic rebellion by sinful, unredeemed people just after the 1000 years ( Rev. 20:7,8 ) --thus, there seems to be a dilemma: where did these mortal non-believing sinners come from that live in the millennium and rebel at its end?

Pre-tribulationists say they have a good answer to this problem, because unsaved people at the pre-trib rapture will not be glorified, but will enter into the tribulation. And then, the people who are saved during the tribulation would remain un-glorified (because they missed the rapture) and they would be allowed to enter the millennial kingdom, and yet they (still being un-glorified) would also bear unsaved, mortal children. That is the pre-trib solution.

This issue of "populating the millennium" may seem to be a problem for the post-trib rapture position ...that is if you buy into the premise that non-believers will be totally disallowed from entering the millennial kingdom. But where does the Bible teach that un-saved people will not be allowed to enter the 1000 year millennium? Nowhere that I know of. Somebody will be under the reign of Christ and his resurrected saints ( Rev. 20:4 ). --On the contrary --and most importantly-- scripture quite clearly and directly indicates that non-believers who survive the great tribulation will enter into the millennium : -- Zechariah 14:16-17 says, "Then the survivors (those who are left) from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, they will have no rain." --The above scripture, in its context, clearly indicates that some of the people from all the nations who "attacked Jerusalem" (just after the end of the great tribulation), will also be survivors of the final post-tribulational battle at the Second Coming of Christ (who fights the Battle of Armageddon and then descends onto the Mt of Olives). These survivors can only be non-belivers who attacked Jerusalem --something which glorified believers would never do. Even if everyone who personally participates in the battle of Armageddon is killed, there would still be many women and young people "who are left" back in their home-nations all around the world who would survive to enter the millennium.

Thus, a straight-forward and normal (literal) reading of Zechariah 14:16 explicitly teaches that these surviving attackers of Jerusalem are themselves the very people (and not their children) who initially will "go up year after year to worship the King." Read the verse again in context. These are non-believers who are required to go up to worship Christ. The phrase "year after year" is an idiomatic phrase indicating a long stretch of many years, which nicely indicates the 1000-year millennium. In addition, Zechariah goes on to explain that eventually, among those survivor nations, different nation-groups will occasionally rebel against being forced to go up to Jerusalem to worship the Lord ...and such rebellion against worshiping the Lord is not at all the behavior of believers. These people are non-believers throughout the millennium. Pre-tribulationst's attempts to explain away these verses in Zechariah 14 are very inadequate, and it is their pre-conceived viewpoint which forces them to ignore the plain sense of these verses.

Adding to Zechariah's clear teaching that non-believers will enter the millennium and be forced to worship the Lord, one should then ask : "Is it true that other scriptures demonstrate a ban on all un-believers entering the millennium?" No. Such a ban is not at all clear. (If it were, we would have a virtual contradiction). --And, by the way, think about it : It does not make sense for there to be an initial ban on non-believers entering into the millennium, when (under the pre-trib schema) there would very soon be non-belivers in there anyway. Either non-believers can be tolerated in the millennium, or they can't. --For them to be allowed at a later date, would be like a hospital's surgery room declaring that "No unclean thing may enter into this operating room at the beginning of surgery," ...but ten minutes after surgery starts you can bring in all kinds of filth and infection. It makes a non-sensical mockery of the initial ban at the beginning. -- The Lord would not operate in such an inconsistent and illogical way.

While a few passages are thought to teach that no non-believers will be allowed to enter into the millennium, those passages instead fall into groups which actually teach other things, such as :

First, a number of passages, thought by some to demonstrate such a ban, are more appropriately seen as talking about the final "Great White Throne" judgment after the end of the millennium. An example of this, is the "sheep and goats" judgment in Mat.25:31-46. It makes sense to consider this passage as describing the final judgment, because it follows a brief description of the millennium with Jesus sitting "on his throne in heavenly glory" (v.31) --and then, also, this passage fits the final judgment picture well since the judgment-results are "eternal" and decide about entrance into eternal life versus eternal hell-fire ( v.46 ) --they do not merely decide about entrance into the millennium.

Second, another group of prophetic verses are much more appropriately understood as teaching about the situation in the new earth and the new Jerusalem, rather than in the millennium. For example, in talking about the new Jerusalem, Revelation 21:26-27 says, "The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life." Similar prophetic descriptions more fittingly apply to the final state, rather than the milliennial kingdom on earth.

And thirdly, other passages may be indicating the manner in which the Lord Jesus will "rule with a rod of iron" over the non-believing nations during the millennium, such as Psalm 2:12 which says, "kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way." This seems to describe Jesus' absolute and authoritative rule over sometimes rebellious people during the millennium, and not an indication that he will ban all non-believers from entering the millennium in the first place.

Thus, Zechariah clearly teaches that some sinful and mortal non-believers will enter into the Millennial kingdom on earth, and other Bible passages do not clearly indicate a ban on such entrance --rather, the Scriptures do indicate that no unbeliever or anything impure will ever enter into the final eternal state which will exist on the new earth and in the new Jerusalem.

[continued ]

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Zechariah 12:3,9:
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people; And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Disclaimer: Rapture Bible Prophecy Forum, ( http://www.rapturebibleprophecyforum.com ) does not necessarily endorse or agree with every opinion expressed in every article posted on this site. We do however, encourage a healthy and friendly debate on the issues of our day. Whether you agree or disagree, we encourage you to post your feedback by using the reply button.

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5. - In Revelation chapter 4, does John being caught up into heaven, and the 24 Elders there, represent the pre-trib raptured Church in heaven?

If you read Revelation 4 in its most normal and straight-forward (literal) way, you have John talking, and John is caught up into heaven in order to show him what will happen in the future. --Now, some people think John represents "the Church", but it doesn't say that, does it? Taking the chapter most literally, you have John, back in about 96 A.D., being shown (in the Spirit) a vision of heaven.

Now, some people would also like to think that the 24 elders ( Rev.4:4,10 ) represent the Church that has just been raptured, ...but it doesn't say that, does it? --The 24 elders actually seem to be beings of great age and dignity and rulership in heaven, who are responsible for the heavenly worship of God ( vss.9-11 & 5:8-12 ). In fact, it seems that the 24 elders are not human at all, because those 24 elders talk about redeemed men in the 3rd person ( " they " ), whereby the 24 elders aren't even talking about themselves ( read Rev.5:8-10 ). They are also set off from redeemed mankind in Rev.11:16-18 and 14:3. In Rev.5:10 the elders do not say that they themselves will rule with Christ on earth, but that redeemed mankind will do that. --It is also suggested that the crowns of the 24 elders indicate raptured Christians who have received their rewards, --however, beings other than humans wear crowns ( Rev.9:7 ; 12:1 ) and crown-wearing doesn't necessarily mean reward ( Rev.9:7 ; 14:14 ), but rather, crowns may indicate rulership, power, authority, and high position. Obviously then, it is very unlikely that the 24 heavenly elders represent the newly raptured Church.



6. "Imminence" : Is the Rapture the next prophesied event in history?

Pre-tribulationists often teach that the rapture is "imminent," meaning that it could happen "at any moment." They say the Bible tells us to "watch" for the rapture as the next prophesied event in history because there are no events or "signs" prophesied to happen before the rapture. --However, in studying the Scriptures, we find that there are prophesied events that must occur before the rapture does, therefore, the rapture is not imminent ( as of this writing, in 1999 AD ).

One key passage that contradicts the notion of the rapture's imminence, is 2Thessalonians 2:1-3. --Condensed for clarity, it says : with regard to to the coming (parousia) of our Lord Jesus, and our gathering together to Him (the rapture), do not be disturbed by anyone who says that the day of the Lord has come, because that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness (the Antichrist) is revealed.

In the above passage, the parousia of the Lord, and the rapture, are identified in time with the "day of the Lord," --meaning that all three start basically at the same time. Paul talks about these three events in one uninterrupted thought, without a transition in time --because all three start together. Paul reassured his readers that they had not missed the 2nd Coming, rapture and "day of the Lord," because none of the three could start to happen unless the apostasy comes first along with the revealing of Antichrist. --So, neither the rapture nor the parousia can occur, nor can the Day of the Lord begin, until first there is a great spiritual rebellion against God and Christ, and the Antichrist is revealed during the great tribulation. Therefore, the idea of the rapture's imminence (before the tribulation) is wrong and unbiblical.

Now, some pretribulationists have tried to say that the word translated "rebellion" or "apostasy" ( in 2Thess. 2:3 ) can be translated as "departure," and therefore that word may refer to the rapture (as a departure). But if you accept that meaning, it creates a very strange situation, where Paul ( in 1Thess.5:4-8 ) tells the Christians to be alert and sober because the Day of the Lord will come upon and overtake them ( but not like a thief ) , --and then he tells them (in 2Thess 2) that they are going to depart from the earth before that day begins. This is nonsense, and portrays Paul as telling a falsehood. --No, rather, that word "apostasy" (a noun) had aquired a special meaning of political or religious departure or rebellion, and it did not mean a "spatial" departure with physical movement from one place to another. Thus, the best translation is "rebellion," and Bible students should realize that the rapture cannot possibly be imminent until the spiritual rebellion (apostasy) and revelation of Antichrist take place.



7. "No one can know the day," but couldn't the exact day of the 2nd Coming be calculated with Post Trib?

One pre-trib objection to post-trib runs like this : Post-trib cannot be right because Jesus said, "of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone" ( Mat.24:36 ), ...but if the Christian Church is in the tribulation, couldn't they count 3 1/2 years from the "abomination" (in the middle) and know the exact end-day of the tribulation?

--No. -- let's re-think this :

Even with the Pre-Trib rapture view, if you and I in this day are smart enough to count down from the time of the "abomination" to the exact day of Christ's coming, then don't you think the saints living in the tribulation will be just as smart, and be able to do the very same thing? --Of course they will. --After all, they'll have all our "Scofield" and "Ryrie" Study-Bibles that we left behind, and they'll have all our pre-trib literature and video teaching-tapes laying around to study during the first half of the tribulation, and won't they be smart enough to calculate the date? --Sure! You bet they would. --But they won't be able to calculate the exact date regardless, because Scripture says no one will be able to know for sure the exact day, even if they are alive on earth during the tribulation.

In addition, if the post-trib view is correct, then people still won't be able to calculate the exact "day or hour", because Jesus said that "those days (of the great tribulation) will be "cut off" ( Mat.24:21-22 & Mk.13:19-20 ). So, God won't allow the full 3 1/2 years to run out their course, and we don't know how many days he'll cut off.

And think about this for a minute:
There's good scriptural confirmation of those days being "cut off", as follows : Whenever something like one of the 7 "Seals" is opened in the book of Revelation, the event described under that seal happens ; Likewise, if one of the 7 "Trumpets" is blown, the events under that trumpet happen on earth. --Well, look at Rev. 10:1-4, and you'll see there is another series of 7, and they are the "7 Thunders". Those 7 thunders were evidently at one time supposed to describe 7 more events during the tribulation, ...but the Lord commanded that the 7 thunders be "sealed up" and "not written down," therefore, they now will not happen, and the time it would have taken for them to occur has been taken off of the time of the tribulation. --Just as Jesus said, the tribulation will be "cut short" ...for how long? We do not know how long the 7 thunders would have taken if their events would have happened on earth ...but it seems reasonable that the tribulation will be shortened by at least that unknown number of days required for them to happen.

Similarly, even though tribulation saints may see other events known to be near the end of the tribulation, still, no will will be able to calculate the exact day or hour of the Lord's return.

Finally, when the sun and moon darken, and the "stars" are moved and the heavenly powers shaken ( Mat.24:29-31 ), then that day will actually be the day of the Lord's return, and all possibility of calculating ahead of time will be over and finished, because when we see all these things, it will be "the Day" and it will be the time to "lift up your eyes" for Jesus will be "right at the door" ( Mat.24:33 ) imminently coming in power and glory!


8. Does the Wedding Supper of the Lamb require a pre-trib rapture?

It is sometimes maintained that the "Wedding of the Lamb," mentioned in Rev.19, happens in heaven during the tribulation, and that, therefore, this necessitates a pre-tribulaitonal rapture so that the Church (the bride of Christ) can be present in heaven for that event.

There turns out to be no pre-tribulational support from this line of thinking, however, because we see that John, in Rev.19:7-9, records a hymn about that wonderful wedding event, but it is not spoken of as having already happened in the past. --Rather, in v.7, John hears the multitude saying that the time for the wedding "has come."

(Grammatical Note: The words "has come" of v.7 is a translation of the aorist form of the Greek verb "elthen," which may be dramatic or ingressive --which would indicate that the event is imminently about to start, but has not actually started yet).
In addition, verse 7 goes on to say that the bride "has made herself ready". --Clearly, a bride who is just now "ready" for the wedding, is not yet married, but is still waiting for the big event. So, in Rev.19:7, the wedding is about to happen soon, but it has not yet happened.

Verse 9 underscores this same picture, because it speaks about the blessedness of those guests who are "invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb," . . .thus, in like manner, the supper cannot be a past event if the focus is still on those who are "invited" to the supper, but are still waiting for it. --Therefore, in Rev.19:6-10, both the wedding and supper are yet to come.

With the bride and the invited guests ready and waiting for the soon-coming wedding and supper, what is the very next event described in Revelation chapter 19? --It is the glorious Second Coming of the Lord Jesus, in verses 11-16. --So, it must be at the time of the 2nd Coming, --and/or soon thereafter-- that the wedding and the supper will take place.

And note: The Scriptures never say that the wedding or the supper take place in heaven or during the tribulation. The wedding may be at least partly included as part of the 2nd Coming, and the wedding supper may follow soon after that in Jerusalem.



9. Doesn't the Post-Trib rapture deny the "Blessed Hope"?

No. --The phrase "the Blessed Hope" is found in Titus 2:13, and it is in reading the complete verse that we see exactly what Paul meant by the idea of the "Blessed Hope." The full verse 13 says: "while we wait for the blessed hope --the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,"

Reading this complete verse tells us specifically that the blessed hope IS the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ --in other words, Christ's glorious appearing constitutes the blessed hope for Christians, and that appearing is the main event of the end times for which we wait. So, what is that "glorious appearing"?

In Titus 2:13, the Greek word for "appearing" is "epiphany." --The word "Epiphany" means "the visible appearance of the Lord Jesus on earth at the end" of the age (ref: New Int'l. Dict. of N.T. Theology, Vol.3, Colin Brown, p.319). To the ancients, this word indicated the appearance of God on earth, so that humans see him there. The "Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament," ( by Bauer, Arndt & Gingrich, 1957, p.304 ), states that the Greek word "epiphany" means "a visible manifestation of a hidden divinity," and in the literature of the New Testament, the word speaks "only of Christ's appearing on earth." In addition, Arndt & Gingrich's lexicon states that as the same word "epiphany" occurs in 1Tim.6:14 ; 2Tim. 4:1,8 ; Titus 2:13 ; and 2Thess. 2:8, all of those verses speak "of Jesus' coming in judgment." --Thus, taken all together, the "epiphany" of Jesus can be nothing other than the glorious and visible Coming of Christ when he ends up among people on the earth in judgment ...which is clearly post-tribulational.

Paul exhorts Timothy to "keep this commandment without spot or blame until the appearing (epiphany) of our Lord Jesus Christ" ( 1 Tim.6:14 ). So, Paul is saying to persevere faithfully until the big goal is reached : the post-trib epiphany.

In addition, Paul declares that it is the "epiphany" (which is part of Christ's "parousia") which destroys the Antichrist ( 2Thess.2:8 ) --therefore, it is the glorious epiphany (appearing) of Christ the God-man on earth which destroys the Antichrist just after the end of the great tribulation.

Recalling the words of Titus 2:13, Paul tells Titus: "we wait for the blessed hope --the glorious appearing (epiphany) of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ". Thus, the "blessed hope" we look to and wait for is not some secret disappearance before the great tribulation (as in the pre-trib or mid-trib rapture), but rather, it is the glorious and visible epiphany of Christ's Coming to earth in judgment, at which time the Antichrist is destroyed ...which is post-tribulational.

Conclusion?: When is the next time that "our great God Jesus Christ" will appear on the earth? --It will be at the Post-tribulational "epiphany" of Jesus, when he descends in great power and glory down to the earth.

So this is the "blessed hope" which all Christians await, and to which we should expectantly look. --The post-tribulational rapture does not deny the blessed hope, but it looks forward to it in a scriptural fashion.



10. - If both the church and the tribulation-saints are resurrected and raptured post-tribulation, then who comes riding on horses with Jesus as he comes?

The resurrection and rapture of 1Thess.4 occurs just after the end of the Great Tribulation, so, it is correct to say that it would include tribulation saints, because the trib-saints must be part of the church. Since this is true, those who come with Jesus riding on horses would be all of the church which has just been raptured (including the trib-saints).

So, the picture of the 1Thess.4 scene is much as follows:
... The Lord appears in the highest atmosphere above the clouds and as he descends from heaven. Then he shouts out a command, and there's a trumpet call and the dead in Christ are raised (this is the first resurrection), and then those who are still alive are raptured along with those who have just been raised, and the whole church (which includes trib-saints) meets the still-descending Lord among the highest clouds --where the church mounts heavenly horses-- and the whole church continues to descend down through the clouds with the Lord at his Second Coming.

This resurrected and raptured church constitutes the saints who come "with the Lord" at his Second Coming --and so we will always be with the Lord.



11. Since the Old Testament saints were not part of the church (not "in Christ"), when are they resurrected?

It is correct to say that the OT saints were not part of the church, because the church is the body of Christ, which did not exist until after the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus.
--However, after the Lord accomplished his earthly ministry, it is necessary that Abraham and David and all the OT saints were incorporated into the Body of Christ on the day of Pentecost ( in Acts 2 ), when the Holy Spirit came and the church began. From that day forward, the OT saints have been "in Christ," and have been part of the church (the body of Christ).

This is necessary, because there is no other way of redemption provided other than through the body of Christ. Although Abraham and the rest didn't know about it during their earthly life, the redemption through Christ was provided for them, as they had faith in Christ (looking forward by faith) before they even knew his name. I go into more depth on this in an article on this website, which you might read.



12. Wouldn't a Post-Trib rapture leave no "sheep" to go through judgment, so as to enter the millennium?

Some people wonder: If there was a Post-Tribulation Rapture, then all believers would be caught up to heaven and glorified, and there wouldn't be any "sheep" left to go through the "judgment of the nations" (Mat. 25:31-46) nor would there be "sheep" to populate the earth during the millennium. --This sounds like a real problem for the post-trib view, until one realizes that this question assumes too much, and is based on some wrong ideas.

First of all, this question already assumes the pre-trib rapture schema to be correct: that the raptured saints will be caught up into heaven and kept there for a period of time. But the Bible does not say this will be the case. In 1Thess. 4:14-17 --the "rapture passage"-- it says that Jesus will descend from heaven and the Christians will be caught up "to meet the Lord in the air." This does state where we will "meet," but it does not specify to where Christ will take the saints after that point of meeting. In fact, the only directional wording given, is that Christ will "descend from heaven," and the idea that he will reverse his course, is pure speculation which rests on the assumption that the pre-trib rapture notion is correct. It is better, rather, to let the Word declare what it simply says: that Christ will descend from heaven. The post-trib view takes this word of Scripture at face value.

The other problem with this "judment of nations" question, is that the scriptural outcome of this judgment ( in Mat. 25:31-46 ) is ignored by the pre-trib view.
-- In verse 34, we see that the righteous (the "sheep" ...or Christians) will be given their "inheritance, the kingdom prepared [for them] since the creation of the world." This is the glorious and ultimate inheritance of eternity prepared for the saints. It is bigger and better than the millennium. That inheritance would not be the millennial kingdom itself, because the millennium will still be a time of service and struggle with sinful people and problems of rebellion here on earth ( see Zech. 14:16-19 ). There will be more rewards earned during the millennium, so, the final inheritance God has prepared must follow the millennium.
-- And then, in verse 46, we see that the outcome for the unrighteous (the goats) will be that they will be sent off to "eternal punishment." This does not fit with the idea of a lesser judgment right before the millennium, but rather, its ultimacy actually accords with the final judgment, when the lost are sent to their final and eternal punishment. The outcome of the "judgment of nations" reveals that it is the same thing as the "Great White Throne Judgment" described in Revelation 20:11-15.





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Zechariah 12:3,9:
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people; And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.



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Prophetic Signs of the End
and Christ's Second Coming


- by Rhett Totten, MDiv - (c) 2009



As we stand at the beginning of a new millennium, many wonder, "What will the future bring?" Though there are many voices claiming to be able to give the answer to that queston, there is one authoritative source which truly can give an accurate picture of the future : The true and living God ...and he has spoken to mankind through one written source : The Bible. The Bible is confirmed as being divinely authored and powerfully authoritative by its historical accuracy, and especially by its many fulfilled predictive prophecies.

The Last Days

We are living in unparalleled and exciting times. Important scriptures are now being fulfilled during our lifetimes, and so, many people sense that we are living in the last days before the glorious return of Christ to earth. The term "last days" indicates the time-period or "age" which started 50 days after the resurrection of Christ, where the Holy Spirit comes ( Acts 2:17 ) and indwells believers and baptizes them into Christ's body ( 1Cor.12:13 ), which is the Church. The age of the "last days" continues at the present time, and will carry right through the time of the "Great Tribulation." The Tribulation will be climaxed and ended by the glorious Second Coming of Christ personally from heaven to earth in power, glory and judgment (Mat.24) ...and that will be the "end of the age."

Signs of the Times

Now, in speaking about the nearness of the Second Coming, we should not be so unbiblical as to name a specific date for that event, as some have so foolishly presumed to do. For example, at the turn of the last millennium (1000 AD) many people exhibited wild frenzied behavior, ignoring the fact that the prophetic signs of Christ's return (listed below) were not present in their generation (and they are not all present for the year 2000 either). Such wild, speculative behavior is foolish, because Jesus said that "no one knows the day or the hour" of the end of the age, except God ( Mat.24:36 ).

However, short of knowing the specific "day or hour" of Christ's return, scripture indicates that we will be able to recognize the general time or "season" to a fairly close degree (perhaps several years), as the apostle Paul says, "you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, while people are saying 'Peace and safety', ...But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that the day should overtake you like a thief" ( 1Thes.5:2-4 ). The number one reason a Bible-believer is not in darkness, is because of the knowledge and guidance of God's Word of Truth, the Bible, which is "a light for my path" ( Psa.119:105 ).

Jesus adds to this picture by rebuking the religious officials who refused to recognize who he was as Messiah, and he said to them, "You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times" ( Mat.16:3 ). There were many prophecies fulfilled in the life and ministry of Jesus, which those officials should have recognized, but they were too blind to see. Similarly, there will be "signs of the times" which will occur right before the Second Coming of Christ ...and hopefully, you, dear reader, will not be too blind to see them. This article is for the purpose of helping you to recognize the main signs which will preceed the Second Coming of Christ ...and are even now beginning to happen.

The General Tone of the End

There are a number of prophecies which will indicate the nearing return of Christ, but they might seem somewhat less recognizable, because they will be the type of things that "have always been happening" down through the centuries (such as earthquakes) ---although, in the end of the last days, even these prophecies will be occurring with increasing frequency and strength, just as the birth-pains of childbirth do ( Mat.24:8 ). The overall atmosphere of end-times history will include increasingly frequent "wars and rumors of wars," along with ethnic groups rising up against ethnic group. There will be severe famines and earthquakes in various places around the world ( Mat.24:7 ), and there will be great plagues of disease ravaging various regions of the world ( Lk.21:11 ), as well as great environmental disasters. Jesus also brings out that in the end there will be a great persecution and martyrdom of believers in Christ (v.9). Still, Jesus even indicates that such signs as these do not necessarily and clearly indicate that the end is very near ( v.6,8 ), but such events will eventually get extremely severe near the end.

Such prophecies will be fulfilled as the end draws near, but of course, they are the sort of things that can be said to have "always" reoccurred down through the millennia, and thus, they are (by themselves) relatively weak indicators ("signs") of the end. Therefore, instead, we will now list a number of prophecies of a "higher caliber" :


Unprecedented Prophetic Signs of the End

The following prophecies are basically unique and unparalleled to such a degree that they cannot reasonably be construed as happening repeatedly down through the centuries (as earthquakes do) ---therefore they will be excellent sign-posts to indicate the nearing of the end and the Second Coming. What's more, these unprecedented prophesied events must eventually all be occurring together at the same time in history--- however, it appears that the first ones listed are beginning to happen first.


A List of "Unprecedented Signs of the End" :
1. The Re-Establishment of Israel as a Nation in The Holy Land
2. A United Europe will be the Supreme Super-Power of the World
3. A Jewish Temple will be Re-Built in Jerusalem ----with Animal-Sacrifices Resumed
4. Antichrist will Arise as the Virtual Dictator of the World
5. Two "Witnesses," Mighty Prophets, will Preach Jesus Christ to the World
6. The Gospel Message will be Preached to Every Ethnic Group in the World
7. Armageddon: Armies From All Nations will Gather Against Israel and God
8. There Will Be Great Portents (Signs) in the Sun, Moon and Stars



1. The Re-Establishment of Israel as a Nation in The Holy Land


Of all the peoples on earth, the activities of people of Israel are a major indicator of what God is doing in the world -----and the same will be true in these last days----- and God declares in prophecy in Ezekiel 36, "But you, O mountains of Israel, will produce branches and fruit for my people Israel, for they will soon come home. ... The towns will be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt. ... 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. And they will say, 'This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited.' " ( Ez.36:8, 10, 24, 35 ).

Now, some have suggested that these prophecies about Israel's dispersion and regathering were fulfilled by the Babylonian captivity and return in the sixth century B.C., ...However, the captivity spoken of in Ezekiel 36 was not a captivity to one nation, namely Babylon, but it was a captivity among multiple nations, and then Israel would be gathered from "all the countries." -----Whatsmore, in about 30 A.D., it was Jesus himself who foretold a future scattering of Israel "to all the nations," and he adds that "Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled"( Lk.21:24 ). Since Jesus predicted a scattering as being future, it cannot refer to the Babylonian captivity. So, not only does Jesus clearly predict this scattering of Israel to the nations, but also an end to that scattering, when the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Clearly, then, when God is done dealing with Gentiles with regard to salvation --and their time is "fulfilled"--, then the time will come when Jerusalem and Israel will no longer be "trampled on" and dominated by Gentiles, . . . and the people of Israel must return to the land God gave them.

The Scattering in History

The dispersion of Israel to the nations began in 70 A.D., when the Roman general Titus surrounded and overthrew Jerusalem, as prophecied in Lk.21:20-21. This began the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, as well as prophecies by Christ. Then, in about 133 A.D., while quashing one of several Jewish revolts, practically all the remaining Jews from Israel "were taken as prisoners to all the nations" (Lk.21:24). At this point, Israel was conclusively destroyed as a nation-state. It remained this way for almost two millennia, with the Jewish population in Israel hovering at very small numbers.

The Gathering and Re-Establishment of Israel

With the Jews scattered to basically every nation on earth, they still quite remarkably held onto their identity as Jews even though they were persecuted to varying degrees, and attempts at genocide were made, most infamously by Hitler's Nazis. But then, in 1948, an amazing thing occurred : The long non-existent nation of Israel was re-established in the Holy Land. Soon after this, the Jews also re-gained Jerusalem in the Six-Day War, which was a very unlikely outcome, since the Israelis were heavily outnumbered and outgunned in the whole situation.

Today, the number of Jews in Israel stands at more than 5 million ...and rising.

NOTE in 2005: It is disturbing, saddening and even enfuriating to note at the beginning of the year 2005, that the U.S. State Department reports a rise in anti-Semitism in Western Europe "in both frequency and severity" during the last 4 years --as evidenced by attacks on Jews and Jewish properties. These attacks are not only perpetrated by radical political types, but also more recently by a fairly sharp rise in the number of Muslims in Western Europe (many of them uneducated and poor). A similar upsurge in anti-semitic attacks is occurring in other parts of the world as well.
As shameful and frightening as this situation is, it seems to be another factor in convincing further large numbers of Jews to return to their homeland of Israel, just as God declared he would do.

May God bless and protect them as they return to their land.


REF: http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20050104/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/anti_semitism



The Importance

So, why is the re-gathering of Israel important just prior to the Second Coming of Christ? ...Because the Old Testament book of Zechariah (written after the Babylonian captivity) has a prophecy where God (YHWH) is speaking, and he states that the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem "will look on me, the one they have pierced" (12:10), which would be Jesus, whom they caused to die and be pierced on the cross ...and it adds that "the land will mourn, each clan by itself" (v.12), and the prophet lists and includes "all the rest of the clans" ( v.13,14 ). ----Therefore, in harmony with the previously mentioned prophecies, we find that all of Israel will be gathered to their home-land in preparation for the Second Coming of Messiah, ...Jesus Christ. -----And what will the result of their re-gathering before the Second Coming be? In Romans 11, the apostle Paul teaches that after the full number of Gentiles have come into salvation ( v.25 ), then "all Israel will be saved" (v.26). In harmony with Zechariah, they will look with mourning and repentance at their returning Messiah, and every living Jew will be saved, right at the very end.


2. A United Europe will be the Supreme Super-Power of the World


To give an overall prophetic framework for the course of human history, God showed the prophet Daniel ( in Dan. chapters 2, 7 and 8 ) that leading up to the coming of Messiah's kingdom, there would be four Gentile world-empires in the history that would be unopposed and supreme over all nations of mankind : The first empire would be Babylon, the second would be Medo-Persia, and the third one would be Greece. Babylon was in power at the time of Daniel's writing, but the fulfillment of Greece becoming the supreme world power was yet 200 years in the future from Daniel -----and it happened just as prophecied. Even thought the fourth empire was not specifically named, it was described as more powerful than all the earlier three, with iron legs and iron teeth that "crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left" ( Dan. 7:7 ). This is an apt description of the only unopposed empire to rule over all other nations since the time of the Greeks, and obviously it was : The Roman empire.

-----However, moving down the time-line pictured in the envisioned statue of Daniel chapter 2, we see that the ancient "iron empire" of Rome revives at a later date in second form (iron stuck together with mud, forming the statue's feet), and it comes into power just before the kingdom of God and Christ is established on the earth. This is what Bible scholars call the revived or re-constituted "Roman Empire" which is prophesied to be the supreme super-power of the world once again just before the time of Christ's Second Coming. Therefore, in considering that Rome included all of Europe and the Mediterranean region, it is expected that the re-constituted Roman empire will be based in Europe ...which is where we look for the final phase of that last Gentile world-dominating-empire to occur.

Historical Events

So, what has been happening? At a meeting in Rome the European Common Market came into being in 1957. In fulfillment of the statue's feet having "ten toes" in Daniel 2, when the headquarters for the Common Market was erected in Brussels, Belgium, ten flagpoles were placed in front. In 1979 the European Parliament held its first elections. By 1981 the European Union's ten members were: Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Luxembourg, Germany, England, Denmark, Ireland and Greece. In the intervening years, and as we look at the Europen Union (EU) today, it continues to grow in size and power, and if Europe continues to unite it will include 700 million people in the world's richest trading block. The EU presently deals in about 25% of the world's trade, as compared to 13% for the USA. In 1999 the EU began trading on world money markets with its new currency, the "European Currency Unit" (ECU), ...and if the oil-producing countries of the world adopt the ECU as the official purchasing currency, the US dollar will have lost world dominance. Although no individual European country has a super-power's world-class military, NATO now basically serves as the European military. And even though the USA is still seen as the world's super-power, we may not be far from needing to face the fact that the EU, "Rome Re-constituted," is the next world super-power -----and prophecy declares that in the years just before the Second Coming, a re-assembled European Empire will become the final Gentile's unmatched super-power over all the nations of the world.



3. A Jewish Temple will be Re-Built in Jerusalem ...With Animal Sacrifices Resumed


Background

In Israel's worship of the living God, they were directed to set up a tabernacle or tent (1445 BC), as a sactuary or "dwelling place" for God's glorious presence among them ( Exodus chapters 25, 26, 29 ). The tabernacle served as a meeting place for God and his people, as well as a picture of entering into God's presence in heaven, which is accomplished through the work of Messiah (Christ).

After the reign of King David, his son King Solomon directed the building of the First Temple of God in Jerusalem (960 BC). The Temple replaced the tabernacle as the place where believers could cultivate their relationship to God through sacrifices (esp animals) and prayer. Eventually, because of Israel's turning away from God, in 586 BC, the Babylonians under King Nebuchadnezzar overthrew Jerusalem, and the whole city including the Temple was looted and burned ( 2Kings25 ), and many thousands of Judeans were deported to slavery in Babylon, which lasted for 70 years, just as the prophet Jeremiah had predicted ( Jer.25:11 & 29:10 ). When the 70 years of captivity in Babylon where completed, the Medo-Persian Empire overthrew Babylon (in 539 BC), and in about 457 BC, King Artaxerxes issued a decree that Israel could build another temple in Jerusalem, and in about 444 BC the Second Temple was completed, although it was not as splendid as the First.

During the reign of King Herod, a project was initiated in about 20 BC to remodel and improve the Second Temple and its courts, and even when Herod died in 4 BC the remodeling work wasn't fully completed until about 62 AD, -----and this was just eight years before the Second Temple was totally destroyed in 70 AD by the armies of Rome under General Titus ----fulfilling Jesus' prophecy of its destruction ( Mat.24:2 ).

The Prophecies

In the same teaching session, after Jesus got done declaring the destruction of the Second Temple, he went into an explanation of the end times, in which he foretold that before the end of this Gentile age, an abominable desecration of "the Holy Place" would occur just as Daniel had foretold ( Mat.24:15 ). Since the "Holy Place" is an inner section in a temple (but the Second Temple was to be destroyed) it is necessary that a Third Temple must be built just before the Second Coming of Christ. Jesus taught that there will be a "Great Tribulation" ( Mat.24:21,29 ) at the time of this Third Temple, so, we might call it the "Tribulation Temple."

A study of Daniel chapter 9:24-27, teaches that 69 heptads would elapse up until the time of the Messiah (a heptad is a 7-year period, also called a "week"). Then, after a gap of time, the 70th heptad ( or "week" ) would come, during which God would deal especially with the Jews. That 70th "week" of 7 years will begin with the Antichrist confirming (ratifying) a "covenant" (or treaty) evidently with Israel and probably other nations, -----however, in the middle of the heptad ( 7-year "week" ), the Antichrist will reverse his generous attitude towards Israel, and he will put a stop to all sacrifices (Dan.9:27). Now, it is clear that, for the Jews, no sacrifices ever take place outside of the Temple in Jerusalem ...therefore, this confirms the existence of the Tribulation Temple in the 7 years before the end of the age and the coming of Messiah. That Temple will be built before the Second Coming.

We go to the writing of the apostle Paul for a final confirmation on this Tribulation Temple : In 2Thessalonians chapter 2, Paul teaches that "the man of lawlessness" will be revealed in the time of the end. This will be a man who insists that he is God, as he "opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God" ( 2Th.2:4 ). This will occur at the mid-point of Daniel's 70th "week" (heptad), and from this point, the world will be embroiled in somewhat less than 3 1/2 years of "Great Tribulation". Therefore, clearly, since the Antichrist carries out this abominable desecration in "the temple" ( see 2Thess.2:8-9 ) then a Tribulation Temple must be constructed before the Second Coming can occur.

Current Historical Developments

At the present time, Israel has not built their Third Temple ...however, there is alot of talk about it, and many Traditionalist Jews hope to rebuild it in their life-times. One huge problem is, that the same rectangular tract of land (the temple-mount, called Moriah) has also been Islam's second holiest sight (after Mecca), with the Al Aqsa Mosque at the southern end of the temple-mount, and the Dome of the Rock in the middle ...probably in the exact place where the Jews would have to build the Third Temple. This is a very sensitive and possibly explosive situation, and thus, may well be why the Antichrist's confirmed "covenant" or "treaty" will be necessary, allowing Israel to build their Temple. Since Messiah is thought by the Jews to be the one who rebuilds the Temple, when Antichrist accomplishes such a feat, he will probably be proclaimed by the Jews to be the Messiah (after he first deceives them into thinking he is a Jew).

----But no matter how it finally works out, several Israeli religious organizations are now making preparations for the Temple's construction. A Time Magazine article ( Oct.16,'89 ) explains that : Conferences of "Temple Research" have been held ; Two schools of the Talmud, located not far from the Temple Mount ( & the "Wailing Wall" ), are teaching approximately 200 priesthood students the elaborate details of Temple service ; Some groups are researching the family genealogical lines of priests who are the only people permitted to conduct animal sacrifices ; Research is being done (including excavations underneath the Temple Mount) to determine the exact location of the Holy of Holies in the Temple ; An organization called "The Temple Institute" has reconstructed almost all of the ritual implements for the Temple, including furniture, vessels and utensils ; In addition, things such as priestly vestments, trumpets, lots and lyres are being fashioned for the priesthood ; And since the priests and other sacred Temple items must be "purified" with the ashes of a totally red heifer before entering the Temple, the search is on, worldwide, for perfectly red heifers (which have been located, according to new reports). ----Almost everything is ready, except for the Temple itself ...but it will surely come at the right time. Every day, traditional Jews pray, "May it be Thy will that the Temple be speedily rebuilt in our days." -----Amen. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.


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Prophetic Signs of the End
and Christ's Second Coming


- by Rhett Totten, MDiv - (c) 2009




[ continued ]

4. Antichrist will Arise as the Virtual Dictator of the World


"Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour" ( 1Jn.2:18 ). Although anyone who opposes Jesus Christ (and supplants Jesus' authority) is one of "many antichrists", there will come an individual person who is "the antichrist."

-----The title of "Antichrist" is found only five times in the New Testament : two times in the above verse, and three more times in John's letters ( in 1Jn.1:22 ; 1Jn.4:3 ; & 2Jn.2:7 ). We then learn more about this individual when he's spoken of under other titles in both the Old and New Testaments. In Daniel 7:8 he's the "little horn"; in Daniel 9:26 he's the "ruler (prince) who is to come"; in Mat.24:15 he is "the abomination that causes desolation"; in 2Thes.2:3 Paul calls him the "man of sin (lawlessness)" and the "son of destruction"; and also, in Rev.13 he is the first "beast."

What will the Antichrist be like? Some have imagined that he will be a person actually fathered by the devil ...but there is no Scripture to verify such a notion. Rather, the Antichrist will be a human being, because Rev.13:18 says his number is that of "a man." Though he will be a man, the devil will give authority and spiritual power to him ( Rev.13:1-4 ). He will be a "stern-faced" individual, with great and "boastful" speaking skills, with which he will blaspheme the one true God. Rev.13:3 seems to indicate that he will apparently rise miraculously from a mortal wound. At that time, the leader of a new world-wide religion will rally virtually all of mankind to worship the Antichrist. Christians, however, will refuse to worship him, and he will wage war against them and murder them by the millions. He will command such military power, that no human force on earth will imagine that they could go up against him. He will establish his political power-base in the part of the world which is the revived Roman Empire, and which we now call the "European Union." Under Antichrist's world dictatorship there will be a world economic system based on a number-system built around the number "666", and no one will be permitted to buy or sell anything unless they have the mark (his number or name) of Antichrist tatooed either on his right hand or his forehead.

Where are we at today? Of course, we do not yet know who the Antichrist is, but Europe is stepping into center-stage in the world, and NATO is becoming the military arm of this growing political colossus. As all the corporations of the world are merging and consolidating, we are witnessing and ever-tighter one-world economy. This economy is driven by international computer networks, and retail sales of goods functions with the use of UPC bar-codes which are scanned into computers. It is highly interesting, that the first, middle and last pairs of bars in the bar-code (which extend down longer than the rest of the UPC symbol) ...those three bars stand for the number : "666". Of course we don't know for sure, but as we near the end, it seems highly probable that the control of the masses will be connected with the tatooing of some such computer-coding on people, and the Antichrist will attempt to control all of mankind using this system. ----The technology is out there now.


5. Two "Witnesses," Mighty Prophets, will Preach Jesus Christ to the World


In Revelation chapter 11, we read about the two "witnesses." They will prophesy and preach Christ, and perform powerful miracles, during the last 3 1/2 years before the Second Coming. They will be supernaturally protected from harm (until the very end of their ministries), and their tremendous signs and wonders will dwarf those done by Antichrist and the False Prophet and their cohorts. The nature of their deeds causes Bible scholars to speculate that the two witnesses will be ministering in the spirit and power of Elijah and possibly Moses (we don't know their names for sure). They will be the mouthpiece of God as various judgments and plagues ravage the earth, as the apostle John puts it : "These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want" (Rev.11:6). At the end of the Great Tribulation, the Antichrist (empowered by the devil) will overpower them and kill them, but three and a half days later, they will rise up and stand on their feet, and be caught up into heaven a little while before the time of Christ's Second Coming, which occurs at "the Seventh Trumpet" ( Rev.11:15 ). When the ministry of the two witnesses occurs, it will be an unmistakable indication that Christ's Second Coming is a little more than 3 1/2 years away.



6. The Gospel Message will be Preached to Every Ethnic Group in the World


Jesus prophetically predicted : "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" (Mat.24:14). In that verse, the word "nations," is a translation of the Greek word "ethnos", which is where we get our word "ethnic" groups of people. Therefore, the prophecy is clear, that on the day when every last ethnic group on earth has had their chance to hear the message of the good news (or "gospel") about the work of Christ to die for the sins of people who truly trust in him, then, the end will come.

So, today, how close are we to this goal? -----Missions experts now indicate that with further technological advancements (such as the internet), and with dramatic missionary pushes from Christians in parts of the world such as Africa and Asia, this prophecy of presenting the gospel message to every people-group (or ethnic-group) on earth, is possibly about 12 to 15 years away. Helping in this effort, the network of Christian gospel radio stations around the world, have now covered about 98% of the population of the earth. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association states that Christians "have the manpower and ability through use of modern technology to reach the entire world ...in the next decade" ( BGrahamEvAssn. Newsletter, Nov.,1999 ).
---Speeding this process up, it is now estimated that one language in the world is disappearing about every two weeks, and in addition, it is estimated that almost half the world's languages will go extinct within 50 years (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_endangered_languages ) ... thus, the overall task is quickly diminishing.

---Beyond that, according to world religious statistics, Christianity is the largest religion on earth, with 2 billion adherents, making it about twice as big as the runner-up (Islam). As a result, with a growth-rate of about 2.6% per year, Christianity is adding about 52 Million new adherents per year, and this could easily accelerate ( it's up to God ). -- There is serious work to do, however, since the world's population is adding about 110 million new people per year... HOWEVER, with the dramatic advancement in world communications and travel, all of mankind will fairly soon be in touch with one another.

Still, remember that it is not God's plan to convert or "christianize" all the people on earth, but only to give every group of people the opportunity to accept or reject Christ's offer of salvation through his taking the death-penalty for their sins ...and then the end will come.

But success still seems to be approaching, because 200 years ago only 0.7 percent of the world's evangelical Christians were found outside the Western countries, but now 58 percent are found in non-Western countries ...and Evangelical Christianity is growing 3.5 times faster than the rate of the world's population growth. (References: Click on this link to Global Statistics ...AND... Religion Today News, and "The Church Around the World", 1995, Tyndale House, Publ.) ---Amen! Come Quickly, Lord Jesus!



7. Armageddon: Armies From All Nations will Gather Against Israel and God


Although it is popularly thought that the Battle of Armageddon will be the greatest-ever World-War between the nations of the earth, this is an inaccurate image of it. Rather, as the Bible portrays it, Armageddon is a huge battle which will be instigated by the Antichrist along with all the armies of godless and deceived mankind, who will think that they have a chance to destroy Jerusalem, and then perhaps even defeat Christ himself at the Second Coming. Revelation 16:12-16 brings out that rulers from the whole world will gather their armies to Armageddon to do battle. Zechariah 14:1-3 tells of the same thing, adding that the nations will gather to fight against Jerusalem, and for a while they will be partially successful, capturing and ransacking the city, and taking half the population prisoner. But then the Lord himself "will go out and fight against those nations" ( v.3 ) .

Here's the way Revelation 19:11-16 describes Jesus Christ as he goes to war in the Battle of Armageddon : "I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS." According to Zechariah chapter 14, the Lord will decimate the armies of the world by causing their flesh to "rot while they are still standing on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths" ( v.12 ) ...then, those forces will be struck with such a panic that they will attack each other. In Revelation 14:14-20, we see that the judgment and wrath of Christ against the ungodly will cause their blood to flow as high as the horses' bridles for a distance of 300 kilometers.

Thus, the Battle of Armageddon occurs at the time of the Second Coming of Christ, where Jesus is the prime combatant, and he will be devastatingly victorious.



8. There Will Be Great Portents (Signs) in the Sun, Moon and Stars


Just a short while ----maybe a day, or even hours---- before the Second Coming of Christ, Jesus said the following cosmic sign will occur :

"Immediately after the stress (tribulation) of those days, 'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.' At that time the sign of the Son of Man [Jesus] will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect [true Christians] from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other" ( Mat.24:29-31 ).

By the time those heavenly portents happen in the sun and moon and stars, there will be almost no time left, so, this would be the very last sign before the end.



Of course, it makes no sense at all to think you could wait to give your life to Christ because you would have these signs to warn you of what is coming ----rather, you should surrender your life to Jesus today, because none of us knows for sure that we will be alive one week from now. As the Scripture says, "now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation" ( 2Cor.6:2 ).


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Zechariah 12:3,9:
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people; And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.



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Disclaimer: Rapture Bible Prophecy Forum, ( http://www.rapturebibleprophecyforum.com ) does not necessarily endorse or agree with every opinion expressed in every article posted on this site. We do however, encourage a healthy and friendly debate on the issues of our day. Whether you agree or disagree, we encourage you to post your feedback by using the reply button.

If you are new to this site and would like to post articles, opinions, youtube videos that are appropriate for this site just e mail me at

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The Biblical Defense for the Prewrath Rapture of the Church part 1 of 3




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The Biblical Defense for the Prewrath Rapture of the Church 2 of 3



The Biblical Defense for the Prewrath Rapture of the Church 3 of 3








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Zechariah 12:3,9:
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people; And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.



++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Disclaimer: Rapture Bible Prophecy Forum, ( http://www.rapturebibleprophecyforum.com ) does not necessarily endorse or agree with every opinion expressed in every article posted on this site. We do however, encourage a healthy and friendly debate on the issues of our day. Whether you agree or disagree, we encourage you to post your feedback by using the reply button.

If you are new to this site and would like to post articles, opinions, youtube videos that are appropriate for this site just e mail me at

stevensandiego@ymail.com

I will send you a PASSWORD

Ybic

Steven


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Re: The Church, Tribulation and the Rapture



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http://www.fivedoves.com/letters/apr2012/brucew420-2.htm



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Bruce Warner (20 Apr 2012)

"SCRIPTURE IS 'PRE-WRATH' BECAUSE IT SAYS THE CHURCH/BRIDE DOES NOT SUFFER THE 'WRATH OF GOD' OR THE 'WRATH OF SATAN'........."



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Dear Doves,



The Scriptures speak both of the 'wrath of God' and the 'wrath of Satan'. But none the Scriptures that speak to us about the wrath to come differentiate between the 'wrath of God' or the 'wrath of Satan' when telling us that we are not appointed to wrath. This means that we do not suffer any kind of wrath to come which means we are raptured pre-wrath.



Romans 5:9

"Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be SAVED FROM WRATH through Him." (pre-wrath)



1 Thessalonians 1:10

"and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who DELIVERS US FROM THE WRATH to come." (pre-wrath)



1 Thessalonians 5:9

"For God DID NOT APPOINT US TO WRATH, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ." (pre-wrath)



Revelation 6:17

"For the GREAT DAY OF HIS WRATH has come, and who is able to stand ? " (This is the pre-wrath sixth seal rapture, and only His Church/bride is able to stand.)



Revelation 12:12

"Therefore rejoice O heavens, and you ( His Church/bride) who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you (the left-behind), HAVING GREAT WRATH, because he knows that he has a short time (1,260 days/42 months)."



The Church/bride is raptured to heaven by Jesus on the 'Day of the Lord' which is the same day Satan is cast down to earth. That Day will be 1,260 days before the Second Coming of the Lord. The day Satan is cast out of heaven he gives his authority to the anti-Christ for forty-two months (1,260 days) until the Second Coming of the Lord.



Luke 21:23

"But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in THOSE DAYS! For there will be great tribulation in the land (of Israel) and (God's) wrath upon this people (of Israel)."



God focuses His wrath ONLY ON ISRAEL during "those days" of the shortened 30-day great tribulation of Israel that will end on the Day of the Lord rapture. Thus "these are they who have come out of the great tribulation." AFTER the rapture, the wrath of God and the wrath of Satan then spread to the whole world for forty-two months (1,260 days) which is the 'hour of trial' that tests those who dwell on the earth.





Come Lord Jesus!



Bruce Warner

























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Zechariah 12:3,9:

And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people; And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.






++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++



Disclaimer: Rapture Bible Prophecy Forum, ( http://www.rapturebibleprophecyforum.com ) does not necessarily endorse or agree with every opinion expressed in every article posted on this site. We do however, encourage a healthy and friendly debate on the issues of our day. Whether you agree or disagree, we encourage you to post your feedback by using the reply button.



If you are new to this site and would like to post articles, opinions, youtube videos that are appropriate for this site just e mail me at



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Ybic



Steven





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Re: The Church, Tribulation and the Rapture

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Please remember:

I post a lot of different articles, videos and commentaries in order to encourage, edify and exhort you to read your own bible and pray for the Holy Spirit to teach you all things.

Pray that you are not deceived in these last days as many will follow false doctrines in the last days.

Remember:
The bible is the inerrant WORD of God.
Yahusha is God's Son (Yahusha is God )
The Holy Spirit will teach you all things
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

I am a follower of Jesus Christ / Yahusha ONLY

I do not belong to any denomination

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The Rapture and the Deception Part 1
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++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Zechariah 12:3,9:
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people; And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Disclaimer: Rapture Bible Prophecy Forum, ( http://www.rapturebibleprophecyforum.com ) does not necessarily endorse or agree with every opinion expressed in every article posted on this site. We do however, encourage a healthy and friendly debate on the issues of our day. Whether you agree or disagree, we encourage you to post your feedback by using the reply button.

If you are new to this site and would like to post articles, opinions, youtube videos that are appropriate for this site just e mail me at

stevensandiego@ymail.com
I will send you a PASSWORD

Ybic
Steven



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Re: The Church, Tribulation and the Rapture

For Fair Use Discussion and Educational Purposes
Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jym5RGFXog&t=3304s
Note: Before commenting on any posts please make sure you either watch or read each post in it’s entirety.

Thank you for visiting Rapture Bible Prophecy Forum!

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Please remember:

I post a lot of different articles, videos and commentaries in order to encourage, edify and exhort you to read your own bible and pray for the Holy Spirit to teach you all things.

Pray that you are not deceived in these last days as many will follow false doctrines.
Remember:
The bible is the inerrant WORD of God.
Yahusha is God's Son (Yahusha is God )
The Holy Spirit will teach you all things
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

I am a follower of Jesus Christ / Yahusha ONLY

I do not belong to any denomination

=======================================================



SAN DIEGO PASTOR EXPOSES THE VATICAN CHURCH AND THE PRE TRIBULATION RAPURE LIES

CLASSIC COMPARET SHOW 57 THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH

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++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Zechariah 12:3,9:
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people; And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Disclaimer: Rapture Bible Prophecy Forum, ( http://www.rapturebibleprophecyforum.com ) does not necessarily endorse or agree with every opinion expressed in every article posted on this site. We do however, encourage a healthy and friendly debate on the issues of our day. Whether you agree or disagree, we encourage you to post your feedback by using the reply button.

If you are new to this site and would like to post articles, opinions, youtube videos that are appropriate for this site just e mail me at

stevensandiego@ymail.com
I will send you a PASSWORD

Ybic
Steven



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