At least 91 casualties, including children, were reported after a record-breaking tornado swept through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, destroying hundreds of buildings and two schools. Meteorologists reported winds of up to 200mph.
At least 91 casualties, including children, were reported after a record-breaking tornado swept through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, destroying hundreds of buildings and two schools. Meteorologists reported winds of up to 200mph.
Ron Graham was called home on March 14, 2013. He began writing this commentary before his death and had asked me, Nathele Graham, to continue his service to our Lord by finishing what he began.
“And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear” (Luke 19:11).
As we read through this parable in Luke 19 we need to understand just where Jesus was heading. Soon the Feast of Passover would be celebrated and all able bodied men were required to celebrate that feast in Jerusalem. He was on His way there for a much higher purpose. He would be hailed as Messiah and then a few days later He would be crucified. He knew what was going to happen and needed to teach one more time about His reason for coming.
People, including His disciples, thought He would come in as the conquering King and save them from the oppression of the Romans…that He would fulfill their idea of Messiah. Was He giving this parable to the Jewish people who would be hailing Him as Messiah or to those who are the Ekklesia? Maybe both. The immediate reason was to show these people that He first had to go away in order to receive the Kingdom. But there are truths in here that cannot be ignored by the Ekklesia.
“He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come” (Luke 19:12-13).
Here, a certain nobleman had ten servants and that nobleman had distributed ten pounds among those ten servants along with the instruction to occupy (keep working) until he returned. Most translations use the word “mina” instead of “pound” and it was a substantial about of money in those days. One mina was equal to about on hundred day’s worth of wages for a common laborer.
While the master was away receiving his kingdom, the servants were expected to keep doing business for him─to use the resources that the master gave them to the utmost.
What a blessing the master of these servants had bestowed upon them. What trust he had in them to use the money: wisely. They were to occupy─stay faithful and invest the money─until the master returned.
We know that the nobleman in the parable is Jesus and He is about to “go away” in order to be made King. He would soon be crucified. He has trusted servants with whom He has left something of value and He expects it to be used wisely. He expects the servants to keep working and to occupy till He comes back. Jesus will return as King at His Second Coming, but before that happens the Ekklesia will be “caught up”.
“But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, we will not have this [man] to reign over us” (Luke 19:14).
The “citizens” are a different group. They are not the servants. The servants didn’t hate the master, but the citizens are another story. They hated him and didn’t want him to rule over them. How sad. The master had given so much to the servants, and presumably the citizens could have also been blessed. Rather than accepting his gifts, these citizens hated him.
As this parable unfolds, the master returns. Just as Jesus will return as Messiah after the Great Tribulation, this nobleman had received his kingdom and was now ready to judge the servants and how they invested that which had been left in their possession. Each one was called before the Master. The first servant had increased the pound from one pound to ten pounds, and the master was pleased. He gave that servant authority over ten cities. Notice the servant didn’t receive an all-expense paid vacation to the tropics for rest and relaxation!
His reward was more valuable than that…it was more trust from the Master. The next servant increased the one-pound to five and was rewarded with authority over five cities. The third servant didn’t do so well. He let unfounded fear stop him from increasing what was entrusted to him, so what he had been given was taken away and given to the servant who had the ten-pound increase. The one who brought no increase was not cast out, but he lost what was entrusted to him and received no reward.
“But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay [them] before me” (Luke 19:27).
Now the focus turns to those citizens who hated the master. Their life would be taken from them. So it will be at the very end when those who chose to reject Jesus must face the Great White Throne judgment.
Jesus gave this parable to drive home a point. He was going away to receive His kingdom. He was leaving servants in charge, but was not leaving them without resources. Each servant was given an equal share, but his rewards were based upon what he did with the pound given to each. Now, let’s take a look at how the Ekklesia can learn from this parable. Although it is about Christ’s Second Coming there is much for the Ekklesia to learn from it before the Harpazō─the catching away of the saints.
Jesus Christ is the Master. Before He departed He left His servants (that’s us) with His Gospel and the Holy Spirit.
“In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14).
Each of us is given the treasure of the Holy Spirit, which is sealed within us when we first believe. We are also given our marching orders, which many refer to as the Great Commission. Jesus was going away and yet He was leaving His Ekklesia here on earth to go about continuing the work He began. We are to make disciples of all nations. We are to invest our pound and continue in His stead, fighting the good fight and proclaiming the gospel to all peoples and tongues – and that includes those in our own neighborhood.
Certainly there are times when we feel it is difficult to continue, but we are never told to stop proclaiming the gospel even though the “citizens hated him” and no matter what the hardships may be. Paul is a great example to us. How many jailers do you suppose he converted when in prison? How many fellow prisoners did he share the gospel with? Sometimes we may wish to slack off but there will always be another lost soul who crosses our path who is seeking truth and needs to hear the Good News.
Some of these servants in the parable did well with the responsibilities they were afforded and the nobleman/master rewarded them accordingly. But then there was one who hid his pound.
“For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow” (Luke 19:21).
This is exactly where we see much of the Ekklesia today. Full of excuses for not investing: what has been given. Not understanding the nature of Jesus and fearing an imagined version of Him. How can we serve Him if we don’t know Him?
Invest the pound that the Master gave you in truly studying and spreading God’s Word. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).
“Others are better at witnessing than I am, let them do it.”
This is the wrong attitude to have and studying God’s Word will give you confidence and help you overcome your fear. Do you really know why you believe or even what you believe? Practice explaining the reason: For your hope. Practice explaining: Why Jesus came to save us and why: We cannot save ourselves. The reason begins in Genesis and is explained throughout the entire Bible. Too often witnessing never gets done because Christians lack biblical knowledge and are intimidated when confronted with what they think is a tough question. The pound Jesus gave them is wasted.
“But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us” (Luke 19:14).
This is the citizenry of earth as a whole who are not a part of the Ekklesia. They hate Jesus Christ and will have nothing to do with Him nor will they follow His precepts. The servants don’t hate the Master, but the citizens do. Notice that everyone is subject to the Master: whether they love Him or not. What if the servant who had hidden his pound had invested it in teaching the citizens about the Master? That may have made a big difference in the life of at least one citizen.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body, according to that he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
If you are a Christian you don’t need to be afraid of the phrase, “Judgment Seat of Christ”. Yes, we all will have to stand before Him and tell Him what we did with the pound He gave us. The Greek word “bema” is translated “judgment seat.” This is not a punishment judgment, but a rewards judgment. This is where everything we have done for Christ will be rewarded and all else (wood, hay, and stubble) will be burned up. Just as the servant who did not invest his pound was still a servant but received no reward, so it will be with those who do not invest their pound.
“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
There is another judgment, though. This is the one that the citizens who hate the Master and don’t want Him to reign over them will face.
“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written the books, according to their works” (Revelation 20:11-12).
This passage goes on and it is heartbreaking to read. This is where the citizens who did not want the King to reign over them are cast into the lake of fire. If we, the Ekklesia, would only share our gift from God─ the salvation Christ died on the cross to purchase for us─perhaps there would be very few who face this judgment.
Giving up on witnessing just because we perceive we are close to Christ’s soon return for His Church will only result in a loss not a gain. Those who give up at the end, especially when the going gets tough, will lose all they’ve gained as far as rewards are concerned.
“But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matthew 6:20).
What we do with our “pound” is how we lay up treasures in heaven while awaiting our departure from earth. These treasures are not corruptible nor will they perish, but our rewards can be taken from us and given to another because we refused to be faithful and occupy till He comes, because we don’t use the pound He gave us wisely.
All of Jesus’ parables drive home very potent messages. If given enough thought and study, this parable in particular will convince even the most fearful follower to get back on track. There is still a huge amount of work to do and precious little time. All those who reject the truth of the gospel are our missionary field. They are the citizens who hate Jesus and don’t want Him to reign over them. They are living in danger of facing the Great White Throne Judgment and eternal damnation.
Reaching the lost is not an impossible mission.
“But Jesus beheld them, …with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
All things are possible with God and the sooner we realize that fact and start investing our pound the sooner we will get back to performing His Great Commission, not even being distracted by the promise of the coming Harpazō.
“Occupy ‘till I come,” means just that. We never stop, we never give up, and we never given in. The enemy of God would have us stop witnessing and hide our “pound” in a handkerchief. The decision we must make is whether we are going to give in to fear and/or complacency or are we going to persevere in the face of any and all the enemy’s roadblocks?
God’s plan is being laid out before our eyes and He’s only asking that we invest the pound He gave us rather than hide it in a handkerchief. We must share with others and not be afraid of the citizens who hate our Lord.
“Occupy till I come” is a command not a suggestion.
God bless you all,
All original scripture is: “theopneustos” (God breathed).
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This commentary was started by Ron Graham before his death on March 14, 2013 and completed by his wife, Nathele Graham.
The title of this article is a tragedy of all tragedies─because it is true. Apostate ministers, ignorance of God’s Word and a warm, fuzzy, make me “feel good” society, is providing information that is completely antithetical to the Truth.
I cannot begin to count the times that I have heard someone make a statement that basically states that their deceased loved one was with God because…. (You fill in the blank.) I would keep waiting for: “Because they believed in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and asked Him to be saved.” But that isn’t what is said. Sad, Sad, Sad!
The Bible says:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
These are only two verses among many more that make it very clear about what we all must do to be saved. It isn’t rocket science! A child can understand this! Jesus wrote it this simply, so we could all understand!
Then why do they say?
They were so good. They gave so much. She raised us well. He worked hard to support us. He was a good husband. She was a great wife. They loved everybody. They were so well liked. They always paid their bills. They belonged to the church. They were baptized. They walked the aisle. They headed up all these organizations. They donated to various organizations.
This list could go on and on and on infinitum, but only one thing is important at this point. Did they put their trust in Jesus Christ to save them? That’s it!
It amazes me that people will rest the eternal destiny of their soul upon what everybody says, except the One who gives them the correct information. That correct information is called the Truth.
The Bible says:
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
There you have it! Jesus will tell you the Truth. He even goes on to say that if you want to go to Heaven after you die, He is the only way to get there. We must go through Him by faith or we don’t go at all.
It certainly isn’t up to me, or you, to even attempt to determine if so-and-so is saved when we notice their actions. Christians can be “naughty” too, and the heavenly Father does discipline His children─unlike most earthly parents of today. Nevertheless, I have seen folks live for the devil and think that they’re okay. They think can live for the devil down here, and live for Jesus in heaven, I guess. Where did that idea come from? I don’t know where it came from, but it is widely practiced.
Okay, so I do know where it comes from. Notice this passage:
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Satan, the devil, is a roaring lion, and I can assure you he isn’t going hungry. Every day people are dying, good people, and going to hell, because they are being swept up in his lies. Satan says, “Live any way you want, there is no hell, your good deeds will out-weigh your bad deeds, there are many ways to God.” Blah, blah, blah… It is all a lie. Only Jesus will tell you the Truth. Listen to Him.
Jesus isn’t out to devour us. Satan is. Jesus is out to save as many as will come to Him. Satan is out to prevent it. One final thought: Are any of us really good? Notice what God has to say about that:
“As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Romans 3:10-12).
“And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God” (Mark 10:18).
We may think our loved one is now in heaven with God because they were “good” but that isn’t what God says. If they are now in heaven with God, it is because they believed in His Son Jesus and Jesus saved their soul.
What about Mark 10:18 above? I suppose someone is thinking, “Jesus wasn’t good either. He said so.”
That is not what Jesus said. He said:
“Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.”
Is He not God? Notice what He says in the book of John.
“My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one” (John 10:29-30, emphasis mine).
In Mark 10:18, Jesus was trying to get the young man to recognize who was standing right in front of him. He was telling him, “I am God; you must come to the Father through Me.”
If you will read the entire passage of Mark 10:18-22, you will find that this young man was a “good person.” That wasn’t enough, though. It didn’t count. Why did Jesus tell him to sell all he had and give to the poor?
Would that save him? No.
So why did Jesus tell him this? He told him this to change his heart. The young man was all caught up in his good works and possessions. He loved them more than anything else, and wasn’t ready to give Jesus first place in his life. A “good” person walked away from Jesus that day. I imagine that as Jesus watched him walk away, the young man got smaller and smaller as the distance between them became greater and greater, until he was out of sight.
A “good” person walked out into eternity lost.
Nice people go to hell, but they don’t have too.
Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com
Rapture Ready: http://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips.html
WHY DO WE TAKE JESUS’ WORDS ABOUT THE FIVE FOOLISH VIRGINS SO LIGHTLY? It is foolish for us to be so careless about the great “Catching Away” that may happen before this broadcast is over or before you read these words. Let’s not talk about those we consider unprepared, but about those the Bible leaves no question whom are ready. The Bible is a perfect book and the Lord is speaking excitedly about His Bride.
Here are things Jesus and the Bible says about His Bride being ready to go when he comes:
1. Jesus said the Wise Virgins had oil in their vessel, and fire in their lamps. “Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 25:7-13)
2. Malachi called her His “jewels.” “And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” (Malachi 3:17)
3. Isaiah says, “She comes out of the grave singing. “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” (Isaiah 26:19)
4. John the Revelator called her “overcomers” seven times. (Revelation Chapters 2 and 3)
5. Jesus said to His Bride, “Thou hast kept the word of my patience.” “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” (Revelation 3:10)
6. Peter said of the Bride, “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” (II Peter 3:12)
7. Apostle Paul said, “unto them that look for Him shall He appear…” (Hebrews 9:28)
8. Again Apostle Paul said, “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:27)
9. Jesus said, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” (St. Luke 21:36)
You can write it down in your heart that these dedicated Saints described above will go with Him in the twinkling of an eye. Why should anyone buy into the lazy theology of today’s church world, when the promises are so wonderful? The Marriage Supper is the grand celebration of the Lord of His Church and his Bride in waiting. A beautiful wedding is a grand occasion, when a couple is utterly in love and marrying for keeps. Jesus honored a wedding with His first miracle. He turned the water into wine to add the supernatural to the natural.
The Psalmist David described the “Marriage Supper,” in the grandest of fashions. He called it a “Good Matter” and spoke of the Bride in breathtaking terms. “My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.” (Psalms 45:1-2) He even described the bridegroom, the Christ, in His lofty position at the Father’s Right Hand. “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” (Psalms 45:6-7) The Bride at this heavenly wedding is no cheap matter. She is beautiful, pure and consumed with love for her suitor. “All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad. Kings’ daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.” (Psalms 45:8-9) David was writing perfect truth by the anointing of the Holy Ghost.
The great Kingdom story of Matthew Chapter 25, speaks clearly of the “Marriage Supper,” and there is only one such event. The wise virgins were not just virgins, but devoted members of the bride in waiting. There was no sense of an immediate summons, yet this company of saints were just as careful to be ready as if they had heard the cry. Because they were living in expectancy, they did not rest without ample oil for their vessels. No one could have convinced them that that very night might not be the time they would hear, “The Bridegroom cometh.” They could not sleep without an extra supply of oil.
God’s Holy Ghost, is the Spirit of Truth and He said, “They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.” (St. Matthew 25:3-9) Such language should build a fire in every soul.
We see John’s Vision of this event in the Book of Revelation. “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:6-10) The Marriage of the lamb should be a passion in the hearts of every saint of God.
This is the company of the Blood washed Saints that the splendor of “New Jerusalem” is prepared to welcome. The ultimate reward of Jesus Christ is for His Bride. These are the Blood washed and Cross-bearing that forsake everything and everyone to follow the Lord only. There is no sacrifice too great to win this ultimate prize. The Bridegroom will withhold no honor to heap on His Bride. The city of their dwelling is too priceless to value. The invitation has been extended and you can claim the prize if you are willing to surrender.
PLEASE ORDER THE FREE GIFTS FOR THIS WEEK, “A booklet entitled, “THE TALE OF THREE CITIES, JERUSALEM, BABYLON AND ROME” (This is a Bible study you need to spend time with and teach it to others) AND A SCARLET CORD BOOK MARKER”. A NEW STUDY NOTEBOOK IS FINISHED, “THE COMFORTER HAS COME: THE SPIRIT OF JESUS CHRIST.” The theme is “A River Flowing From The Throne.” This STUDY NOTEBOOK is for every Believer who is hungry for a rich and powerful life in Jesus Christ. Whatever your Church background, this STUDY NOTEBOOK is for one purpose. We want you to discover the promises of Jesus Christ for a Spirit-filled walk in the Holy Bible. This is going to be a wonderful Bible study. Call (800) 33-TRUTH (800) 338 7884 or (704) 391 0588. E-mail us at email@example.com
Post by Hal Lindsey
Last January, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The committee was probing the attack on our diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the deaths of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others from the mission.
In a moment of frustration that has already returned to haunt Mrs. Clinton, the Secretary blurted out: “What difference, at this point in time, does it make?”
She was responding to combative questions about “who” the killers were – terrorists or a runaway mob protesting an obscure movie promo on the internet. Obviously straining hard to avoid truthfully answering the question and thus indicting herself and her boss, Mrs. Clinton almost screamed, “What difference… does it make?”
Two things disturb me about that question. First, if our Secretary of State honestly didn’t realize what difference it makes, then she should not have been Secretary of State (or even a Senator as she was previously), much less President (as she wants to be).
Second, if she did realize the difference it makes, then she was scrambling hard to cover up her and her boss’s culpability (and dishonesty) and she thought she could bully the Senators into submission.
Either conclusion is disturbing.
Fast forward to April 17. Present Secretary of State John Kerry appeared before a House committee hearing. During the questioning, the subject of Benghazi came up. When pressed about what he planned to do about rectifying the situation and finding the culprits responsible for the breakdown of security that caused the death of our Ambassador, Kerry also became a bit annoyed and dismissed the questioning with this statement: “We got a lot more important things to move on to and get done.”
Again, two things disturb me about that response. First, for a Secretary of State, who is personally responsible for the safety of the Ambassadors and personnel under his leadership, what could possibly be more important than discovering what went wrong in Benghazi, who was responsible, where the killers are now, and how we can prevent it from happening again?
Second, doesn’t anyone in the Democrat party remember the motto of one of their most respected past Presidents? Harry Truman famously displayed a slogan on his desk that was unequivocal. It read: “The buck stops here.”
Apparently this Administration thinks that slogan means “the male deer stops by here occasionally to graze the south lawn!” (Speaking of ducking responsibility, I see today that Nancy Pelosi is publicly blaming George W. Bush for the IRS scandal. See what I mean?)
I don’t know how anyone could have watched last week’s House hearings and not been incredulous at the way the Administration handled that crisis. How could you not be outraged that those same officials who stood by as our Ambassador and three others were brutally killed, then chose to cover up their incompetence (or worse, it could be their fear of offending Muslims or their fear of offending the American electorate) by lying to the American people for weeks after the tragedy.
On this week’s program, I’ll give you several reasons why I think Benghazi matters to America.
Wired magazine recently revealed that the new immigration bill currently wending its way through Congress may contain a little surprise. Within the 800-page bipartisan bill “is language mandating the creation of… ‘photo tool’, a massive federal database administered by the Department of Homeland Security and containing the names, ages, Social Security numbers and photographs of everyone in the country with a driver’s license or other state-issued photo ID.”
Requiring employers to search this database before hiring anyone, the idea is to stop employers from hiring illegal aliens. But this measure swats that fly with a sledgehammer!
Even the ACLU is uncomfortable with the idea of the government “keeping a record of all things.”
Hey, I know one guy who will be very appreciative if this system is in place when he finally rises to power. I don’t know his name yet, he’s not been revealed, but I’ll bet he’s watching to see what happens to this legislation.
Syria continues to spiral into chaos. I don’t recall there being a regional or national crisis as geopolitically confusing or sensitive as this one. There really aren’t any “good guys” in this civil war. Of course, Bashar al Assad is a brutal dictator (though not as decisively brutal as his father), but the rebels are led by none other than al Qaeda. And though the West doesn’t want Assad to remain in power, neither do we want the rebels to gain control of his chemical WMD arsenal. And, surprisingly, Israel would prefer to deal with the devil it knows (the self-preserving Assad), than the devil it doesn’t (the terrorist rebels with chemical weapons).
As a result, the New York Times is calling southern Syria “an ungoverned area.” Sounds like the Sinai peninsula, doesn’t it? Israel continues to be surrounded by a ring of enemies that are growing increasingly hostile: Lebanon (Hezbollah), Syria, the “rebels” in lawless southern Syria, Jordan (under increasing threat by the Palestinian majority), the jihadists in the lawless Sinai peninsula, Egypt, and Gaza (Hamas). Of course, beyond them are Iraq, Iran, and the other Arab/Muslim states that despise Israel; and within Israel are the Palestinians.
And the Syrian crisis is making for some strange bedfellows. Turkey’s fear of Syria is encouraging a rapprochement with Israel. Even Russia, which stands to lose its Mediterranean naval base at Tartus, is making unusual and disquieting diplomatic overtures to Israel.
Prophetically, we know that Syria will sooner or later fall into tremendous armed conflict. The prophet Isaiah predicts in the 17th chapter of his book that, overnight, Damascus will be utterly destroyed and rendered forever uninhabitable. We know that prophecy has yet to be fulfilled because Damascus is still standing today and is the world’s oldest inhabited city that has never been destroyed and rebuilt.
If nothing else, that unfulfilled prophecy alone should encourage all of us to be ready for Christ’s imminent return to rapture His Church before the awful events of the Great Tribulation begin.
And speaking of Christ’s church, it grieves me to say that I believe the “church” in America in these last days more closely resembles the church at Laodicea described by the Apostle John in Revelation 3. Jesus said that it was blind to its own failures and shortcomings and mistakenly thought it was successful because it was rich and needed nothing. Instead, Jesus said, it disgusted Him because it was “neither cold nor hot,” but “lukewarm.” And because it was lukewarm, He wanted to “spit you out of My mouth.”
Friends, as we rush headlong into the final days of the Church Age, let’s follow Christ’s own advice in the third chapter of Revelation. Humbly ask Him to make us “gold refined by fire” and provide us “white garments (His righteousness) so that you may clothe yourself” and “eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.” As never before, we believers need to be righteous and pure before God and clear-eyed to see the danger around us in these final days.
Do that today. Ask His forgiveness of your “lukewarmness.” Confess the sins you know about in your life and trust Him to forgive you (1 John 1:9). Then He’ll do more than that, He’ll cleanse you of “all unrighteousness,” which means the sins of which you are unaware, but guilty.
And if you’ve never accepted the free pardon that Jesus Christ purchased with His death on Calvary, you can do that right now, too. In fact, in Revelation 3:20, Jesus says that He stands outside the door of your heart and patiently knocks. He promises, “…if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”
As you read this, many of you “hear” Him knocking at the door of your heart. Don’t leave Him standing there. Open your heart to Jesus and, just as He promises, He will come in and fellowship with you.
Simply invite Him in. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins. Ask Him to become Lord of your life. Believe that He has done so and accept His free gift of pardon. Just like that, if you are sincere, you have become a part of God’s “forever family.” Now, you need not fear what waits for you after this life, you’ve just changed your destination reservation! You are bound for heaven!
Finally, now that you’ve joined God’s family, ask Him to guide you to a solid, Bible-believing church. As we near the end of this Age, the Apostle Paul warned that these would be “perilous times.” You will need the strength and encouragement that comes from fellowship with other sincere believers. And you need to continue to grow in the Word of God. So find a church or fellowship that believes, preaches, and trusts the whole Word of God, not just the “feel good” variety.
mail: HLMM, P.O. Box 470470, Tulsa, OK 74147
Was today’s technology foretold in the Bible?
By Nathan Jones
Evangelist & Web Minister
Welcome to the fourth “Bible Prophecy Insights” episode, where you get an awesome insight into God’s prophetic word — in just one minute!
These specially-produced, computer animated videos, hosted by yours truly here at Lamb & Lion Ministries, are designed to be shared all over the Internet, drawing people to the outright amazing promises God has for us all. Our hope is that you’ll learn from, enjoy, and pass these video messages on to family, friends and acquaintances so that they too may know the spiritual richness of Bible prophecy.
Your Bible Prophecy Insight
THE HUB OF THE ANTICHRIST KINGDOM FOR SEVEN YEARS WILL BE THE THREE CITIES, BABYLON, ROME AND JERUSALEM. IT’S AMAZING TO SEE EACH CITY PREPARING FOR THIS FATEFUL HOUR. Let’s study carefully these cities and then watch how each of them are finally part of the last days of Satan’s Seven Dark Years. The Seven Years of the Great Tribulation have been denied, attacked and mostly rejected. Satan is behind every untrue thing that has been taught or believed about this End Time truth. While the Church world is harrying on in their blindness, the truth moves at a Biblical pace.
The battle of these three cities will soon reach the point of perfect Biblical fulfillment. We think of cities as great metropolitan areas where political, economic, and social forces vie for control and dominance. We forget that the Creator Himself has an eternal city somewhere in the great cosmos and that cities have always been a part of the earthly battles between right and wrong, between God and Satan. When Nimrod sought to build a city, original Babylon, with a central tower to reach into the heavens, the Creator saw the threat to His influence and created the confusion of languages. Ur, a city south of Babylon, was a powerful city of incredible, modern type facilities that had turned wholly to paganism. God called Abraham out of that city and brought him to the Promised Land, where a new city would be chosen by God.
Jerusalem was later chosen to become the Heavenly city’s counterpart. God’s eternal city in the northern part of His great cosmos was the Heavenly type for His earthly city. After thousands of years, His earthly city, Jerusalem, is still His lasting choice. Every Bible believer on the face of this earth is commanded to pray for the “peace of Jerusalem”, and those prayers will soon be answered. Jerusalem has had many challengers, but these two challengers, Babylon and Rome, have lasted until the present time. From Nimrod to the present, Babylon has been Satan’s first choice to challenge Jerusalem. The Bible reflects that choice by Satan and calls Rome, “Mystery Babylon.” This ties Babylon and Rome together as twin cities with similar fates. They will soon be judged for their arrogance against God.
Heavenly Jerusalem! God’s Heavenly city has never been visited by anyone who returned to tell the story, except for Apostle Paul. John the Revelator had a vision of the New Jerusalem which presently would appear to be closely connected to the Heavenly city and will come down to the earth in the future. The Apostle Paul was so overwhelmed and inspired by the sights he saw that his eloquence was abated and he found it unlawful to tell the beauty he had beheld. His only words about this experience were extremely limited. “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” (2 Corinthians 12:2-4)
The great psalmist gave an anointed and eloquent expression of the Father’s eternal city. David penned these words, “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. God is known in her palaces for a refuge.” (Psalm 48:1-3)
After Calvary and the Resurrection the Son of God ascended back to Heavenly Jerusalem and was seated by the Father on His “Holy Hill” which without doubt is the location of His throne. Again, David received revelation of the prophetic fact long before the event of Christ in redemption. Look at this beautiful prophecy. “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” (Psalm 2:1-7) The Father said, “Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion.” The Lord Jesus is presently seated at the Father’s right hand in His city “on His Holy Hill” of Heavenly Jerusalem. He is attired in the Heavenly vestments of the High Priest of God and has full approach into the Holy of Holies of which the earthly counterpart was “O, so great” but only a type of the “most Holy of Holies.”
The great revelation of John, where he “in the Spirit, saw the reigning priest before the Father’s throne is the highlight of the book of Revelation. He said, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” (Revelation 1:10-18) God then said to John, “write,” and from this scene flows the entire last book of the Bible. The Book of Revelation must be held in uttermost importance because of this scene and all that follows.
God’s Heavenly Jerusalem has never been attacked but once and that was from a conspiracy within. Satan, named earlier with the name of Lucifer, was certainly a beautiful archangel. He appeared to be the chosen vessel of music and praise and probably led the host of angels in the praise of the Great God, our Creator and Sovereign. Out of his own heart arose pride and rebellion and he led an insurgency against God. Satan was apparently in the Garden of Eden when rebellion struck. Isaiah said, “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms.” (Isaiah 14:13-16) Jesus said, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” (Luke 10:18) His final judgment is not far away.
Babylon, Satan’s Choice! There is no question but that Babylon was Satan’s choice of a capital and palace. When Satan was cast out of Eden and Heaven, he set up his kingdom in the mid-air between earth and Heaven so he could constantly challenge everything that represents God and His world. Satan has never been stripped of his angelic powers so he can presently move in both directions. The best way I can describe Satan’s present authority is to say that he is out on bail. The victory of his defeat was settled at the cross and the tomb, but the charges are still pending on appeal. As saints, we are gathering evidence for the trial, and our witness against him must await our resurrection from the dead or by the Rapture. No wonder he hates the truth of the Pre-tribulation Rapture, because we will then become God’s Heavenly elders with authority to assist the Throne of God in final judgment. I tell you that I’m sitting on ready for that day.
In the meantime, Satan’s seat is in Babylon and the consort city of Mystery Babylon. The reason that the ancient city of Babylon has laid in ruins for centuries is because of Satan’s trickery. He moved his headquarters to Rome to hide himself behind the religious garb of an imitation pageantry of the false. We’ll further discuss this deception after we understand the ancient city.
The rebuilding of Babylon has been an effort of man to bring order out of chaos. In fact, the entire effort in Iraq to bring peace has been similar. It is happening, but only at great cost to human lives. It is now God’s timing for an uneasy peace to settle over the area to allow prophecy to be fulfilled. The sad truth is that the population of Iraq is like a pawn in the hands of eternal powers, and their suffering must touch our heartstrings. The ancient city will be rebuilt, but probably the major activities will only occur between the Rapture and the actual beginning of the seven years of the Great Tribulation. Prophetic events do not occur by human design. God is in control. Revelation makes it plain that this city will become the center of the Antichrist kingdom. While his political center will be Babylon, his religious center led by his “false prophet” or, as I call him, his “false spirit” or “false anointing,” will be “Mystery Babylon” or Rome.
Babylon already has a palace for the Antichrist to make his “living quarters.” I believe that Saddam Hussein built this for the Antichrist without knowing the significance. At the present time, the entire complex is a military zone and that itself will demand a multi-nation effort to finish rebuilding the city. Watch the news for such an announcement. Babylon has to become a great city again. The announcement in prophecy of its judgment demands its glory first. The Word of God said, “And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more.” (Revelation 18:2-3, 10-11)
Rome, Mystery Babylon! Between 300-600 A.D. while Babylon began its descent, Rome began its rise to become Mystery Babylon. It’s amazing to study the date that Babylon was forsaken and forgotten and Rome was becoming the center of Babylonian pageantry. This has to be the picture of Satan’s greatest historical accomplishment. Every pagan religion had its inception in Babylon. All the male gods or female goddesses can be traced to Babylon and the effort to replace the God of creation and holiness. Inanna became Isis, Ishtar, Ashtoreth, etc., and the American version, Gaia, the goddess of the earth. Babylon is the seat of Lucifer on earth, but Rome is his clever reproduction under a false name to deceive the world.
Everything that makes the Roman Catholic system unique, from her doctrines to her costumes, and on to all her pageantry, is Babylonian in essence. I have pictures of the mother goddess figurines dating back five thousand years from the museum in Baghdad. The entire idea of Mary, the mother of God, and the worship and prayers offered to her, plus her promise of protection and good luck charm, comes straight out of the pagan religion of Babylon. Anyone that prays to Mary, worships Mary, or visits her deceptive apparitions, is actually worshiping devils in disguise. Not one aspect of the Catholic doctrine concerning Mary comes from the Word of God. Look at the staff that was carried prominently by Pope John Paul II and see the crooked cross with an emaciated Christ, appearing more like a defeated specter instead of a victorious redeemer. That’s the Jesus that needed a co-redemptrix in his mother just like Nimrod of Babylon. Study the fourteen stations of the so-called Via Dolorosa path to the cross and you find much superstition instead of redemption. One station says he photographed his image onto a vial around the neck of a woman worshiper who offered Him water to drink. The story of the “Passion” film had Mary gathering His blood, hair, and pieces of flesh so she could penetrate His tomb with angels, prepare the body back to its original state, and help Jesus be resurrected. All of this is pagan, not Christian.
Rome now claims to be the “eternal city,” but all of this is preposterous. I’m not sure when the claim of calling Rome the eternal city started, but the process certainly began seventeen hundred years ago. This will be part of the reason that the Antichrist will burn Rome to the ground. When the height of the Antichrist kingdom has spread to the world, he will have made Babylon his capital. The Catholic Church and the pope will be furious when Babylon once again becomes the seat of Satan, acting like God, and he calls Babylon the center of his world. The furor will be so hot that the Antichrist will have Rome torched and put out of business. There is no question that the pope and his kingdom of Catholicism truly believes that they are chosen of God. The truth will register only after the fire is lit and Rome goes up in smoke. The Great God is sick of this sham, and He will soon put it in the heart of the false christ to judge her for himself.
Jerusalem, God’s Eternal City. The only “eternal city” in God’s universe is Jerusalem. Our present Jerusalem is in bondage to sin and the denial of Jesus Christ as Messiah, but that is soon to change. As we await the finality of God’s action, we must follow the perfect word of God that is history written in advance. The reason Jerusalem is the eternal city is because it is a reflection of the Heavenly Jerusalem. No city on this earth has been destroyed and rebuilt so many times. The present city sits on ruins many feet deep. Each level of the ruins is a testimony to God’s choice of this city as His own. Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. to make way for Rome to claim supremacy. Nothing proves Jerusalem’s special status like the hatred of the world and, especially, every false religion or false empire. Leaders of other empires and religions seek to dominate or possess Jerusalem. If they can do neither, they seek to destroy her. The Catholic crusades were organized and paid for with great sums of money and human lives to take possession of Jerusalem. The Muslim religion has done the very same in its effort to claim Jerusalem. All three major religions, and several different branches of the Christian religion each have a slice of Jerusalem at this very moment.
The prophets of Israel spoke unquestionable truths concerning Jerusalem in the end of human history. They warned the Jewish people of their dark years of wandering over the world, which were forced on them by their persecutors and because of their own sins and rebellion. But, in the end they promised that God would not forget His chosen city or His chosen people. Zechariah prophesied, “The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness. And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God. In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” (Zechariah 12:1-5, 8-10)
When Israel has been redeemed and established in the Promised Land with Jerusalem as the capital, God will make this “Eternal City” a place of beauty for the whole earth. Jesus Christ will reign from Jerusalem, where He will be seated on the Throne of David. The Spirit said, “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light. And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.” (Zechariah 14:4-9)
The Lord Himself has chosen Jerusalem. Please read the article by this ministry entitled, “Jerusalem, The Eternal City.” Those that hate Jerusalem or fight against this chosen city do so at the peril of their own soul. The city of Babylon is the antithesis of Jerusalem and Rome is her bastard daughter. Both are soon to be judged and Jerusalem will become the light of the earth. Do not forget that “New Jerusalem” will descend to be fixed above the earthly city after the one thousand years of Christ’s Kingdom on earth. The Bride will possess New Jerusalem, the Jewish nation will possess Jerusalem and the Promised Land, and the saved of eternity will possess the earth.
As the “Seven Years of The Great Tribulation” come to the finishing line God will judge the wicked city of Babylon. “Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is thy judgment come.” (Revelation 18: 8-10) The Antichrist will be furious, burn Rome in his haste, and start for Jerusalem to get even with God. But that is when the fury of My Father comes up in His face.
Here is what the Holy Book says, “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” (Revelations 19: 11-15, 20) Rome and Babylon will be no more, but Jerusalem will be ready to become the Capitol of the entire world for a thousand years. And that is just the Beginning.
No event that has ever occurred will be more spectacular than the Rapture of the saints. On every front it will defy the wildest imagination of men. Most of this world laughs at the idea of the supernatural powers of God and discounts the possibility. The Book of Genesis’ account of creation has mostly been replaced with some form of natural evolution, even by the church world. But this glorious Rapture will occur and it will be shock and awe. The earth’s population at the time of this event will never forget the display of power and the change it will create.
Nature, as it is presently understood, will begin the process of being totally altered. The physical realm between heaven, the earth, and beneath the earth will be completely changed. Presently there is a gulf or separation between these separate entities, but that appears to vanish almost immediately. The many events during the Seven Years of the Great Tribulation will bring God’s world back to a form of openness similar to what we see in the Genesis picture of creation. The Spirit/spirit world, both from above and beneath, will be open on the earth.
Saints in Heaven will be directly involved in events on the earth. Evil spirits will arise out of the deep and do great harm to the wicked population. The evil characters which are portrayed in a growing number of films, books, and games are Satan’s preparation to make you comfortable with his “coming world order.”
Not only is the Rapture an incredible display of Holy Ghost power, it is a picture of nature as we now know it turned on its head. Of course, what really occurs is that even nature is going to be redeemed and the new natural world will be completely transformed to a pure and transcending one. The Rapture is actually the beginning of this exploding process. Isaiah saw this picture and prophesied of it occurring. Look at his words of hope, “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” (Isaiah 26:19-21)
When you consider that the natural results of sin is death and the complete decay of those dead bodies and then we look at the graves losing all power against the righteous dead, it presents a new day. The dust of decayed dead bodies appears to start singing while the resurrection is occurring. When you understand that our DNA, as now understood by scientists, has proven that each cell of a body has the entire code for that entire body, it is not hard to believe this Scripture.
We now see the earth as capturing the body of the dead and returning it to dust, but Isaiah saw the future when the earth “shall cast out the dead.” The whole earth was created to be a supernatural world, but sin reduced nature to be a slave to death. When that slavery is broken, even the earth will echo the praises of God just as Heaven now is filled with His praises. This prophecy by Isaiah is just a little picture of how all creation is going to become a source of His divine will instead of a cursed place. It begins at the Rapture, but will be completed by the end of the Tribulation Period when Jesus returns to set up His kingdom.
Isaiah’s prophecy shows clearly that the entire picture of sin will be changed during this period. People are able to hide sin for a season and appear to escape its consequences. Blood is often split and some people never get caught but that day ends at the Rapture. I repeat the words, “The earth also shall disclose her blood and shall no more cover her slain.” That’s breathtaking truth, my friends. When the “Lord comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants (the wicked) of the earth,” there will be no more hiding. It is said that even the natural earth will “no more cover her slain.” As earth experiences redemption, it will refuse to be a hiding place for the wicked. It was said concerning the wickedness which Israel faced when conquering the promise land “that the earth vomited out the inhabitants.”
This pure earth will become so delightful that “the reapers will overtake the sowers.” The curse with which our earth is presently defined, is already showing desperate signs of travail. Apostle Paul spoke of this to the Romans. “Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:21-23)
When you harmonize statesman Isaiah’s prophecy with Apostle Paul’s inspiration, you see an emerging picture of a new world. It is a world where sin is so unwelcome that even nature exposes its rebellion. The Scripture states clearly, “… the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:9) It also states that nature refuses rain for anyone that does not properly worship the King of Kings. (Zechariah 14:17) This old earth is very soon to be a praise to its Creator.
All Wicked Spirits will be exposed and judged. The world of fallen angels is soon to be utterly opened and revealed for this world to experience and witness as they are judged. The Rapture removes the saints that have been faithful overcomers and Godly in their lifestyle so the world can be exposed to God’s perfect wrath and judgment. The very central events of the seven years of wrath will be against Satan and his horde of wicked spirits. They must become visible for the world to see so their destruction can be plain and known to all.
Hell in the heart of the earth is presently a prison of the wicked, including demons bound for the past millenniums When the gates between the abode of these diabolical creatures and earth are flung wide, no one will doubt the depth in which Satan’s army has fallen. These creatures chose to leave their abode of righteousness and praise to the great God and to follow Satan in his pride and rebellion. There is no bottom to sin and this crowd will represent the worst of the evil one. As they are turned loose on this planet, they will cause the earth to be become a wasteland of immorality and brutality. The Rapture of the saints actually prepares the earth by removing the “Bride in waiting” and the restraining powers of the Holy Ghost. This removal opens the door for the revelation and the manifestation of the wicked one.
Apostle Paul describes this preparation for wickedness. “That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” (II Thessalonians 2:2-8)
We must tell the world of these wicked days that cannot be far in the future; in fact, they could begin any day. The only lack of preparation for this horde of evil beings to invade this earth is the “removal of the saints and the resurrection of the righteous dead.” The earth cannot be stripped of the embedded powers of wickedness until the Godly saints that have died are removed out of her grip.
Satan and his fallen angels are a lot more involved in natural phenomena than most people imagine. Nature was created perfect and every act of nature was designed to enhance the lives of mankind. The travail and natural catastrophes of all nature are the results of sin. Satan alone kills, steals, and destroys. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above…” (James 1:17) After the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, the natural earth will see the ultimate acts of a system turned loose to manifest its final throbs of death. “So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.” (Acts 19:20) This is our God intervening to cleanse and purify the physical systems that were created as part of His earth.
The Antichrist will have such control prior to the Father’s intervention that He causes fire to come down upon the earth. Note the words of John the Revelator, “And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And, he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” (Revelation 13:12-15) It appears that for a brief time Satan will have almost complete control of earth’s natural powers and will use them to try and make himself “god.” He certainly has been cast out of Heaven at this time, but will still have paranormal powers to use nature for his evil design. As great as deception is present, it will be much greater in this final episode.
The Evil Spirits Will Be Loosed for a Season
Revelation chapter nine is a final picture of these diabolical beings turned loose. Please understand that the natural world is presently preserved with a clear limitation imposed on these dark creatures. The entire picture of the “Restrainer” that holds wickedness at bay so that it cannot overrun the earth is a present reality. As dark as Satan’s powers are presently, they are restrained. But, the glorious Rapture changes all of this truth. The “Restrainer” cannot be anyone but the Holy Ghost. This has been one of his offices for all of human existence. Isaiah clearly describes this office. “So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.” (Isaiah 59:19)
When the Restrainer is removed at the Rapture, then nature will experience an upheaval. The enemy has longed for a day in which he can be the god of the world with a free hand. He is already the “god of this world,” but he does not have a free hand. In his end time vision John saw this evil serpent, Satan, as he is cast down to this earth for this short period. “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” (Rev. 12:10-12)
I wish I could paint a picture to show these hordes of spirits arising out of hell on this earth. I’m preaching a sermon on the title, “The Rapture: Turning Hell Loose on This Earth.” Look at this picture as described in Revelation. “And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.” (Rev. 9:1-6)
These creatures, which are described as “locusts,” are given in the language of types. The locust insect is a type because of the utter destruction they cause. They strip whatever they attack and leave nothing behind. The Scripture states clearly that these spirits from hell are turned loose to attack the Antichrist kingdom. An amazing thing is that Satan’s activities become his own destruction. This has always been true, but now we see it in the final form. There will be servants of God that have washed themselves in the blood of the Lamb and they will have the seal of God in their forehead. While they cannot be attacked by these locust demons, they will certainly be terrorized by a world in which such action is commonplace.
The entire Tribulation Period is so horrible that Jesus Christ warned us to be careful and diligent to escape this dark day. He stated that if not for the shortening of these days no one would escape. “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matthew 24:21-22)
Luke recorded his words of warning that we might escape. “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” (Luke 21:34-36) Listen to the apostate crowd that says going in the Rapture is a piece of cake if you want to be careless but only at your peril.
This old earth is running down. Its depletion is clearly causing travail in nature, weather patterns, and certainly in the dire warning you hear by the environmentalist crowd. It is impossible not to feel the sense of looming crisis and trouble. Nature is still in God’s ultimate control but He is allowing warning to suggest the coming change. It’s the best of times for the saints and the worse of times for the careless and the godless.
Lift up your heads if you are ready and quickly surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ if you are not ready. It is very clear in Scripture that He is coming for the saintly that have forsaken all to follow Him. Apostle Paul said it best. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27) The Bride will be the great company of people who rejected the appeals of the world and were faithful to Him alone.
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“I wish I could believe there is a Rapture in the Bible, because that would be something really great to look forward to. Sadly, the rapture theory was first spoken of by a sickly woman in 1830 and the ministers at that time just ran with it as prophecy.” – Mariano, New York
If I were to receive a dollar for every time somebody told me there is no mention of a rapture in the Bible and that the concept is a fairly modern day invention, I’d have enough money to pound a considerable dent into the federal deficit (depending on the Administration, that is).
Can the Rapture, separate and apart from the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, be found anywhere in the Bible? How does looking forward to the Rapture bring us hope? And, is the Rapture as a whole too new of an idea to be true? Get ready to give me that dollar, Mariano!
The Bible does indeed teach about the Rapture of the Church. First Thessalonians 4:17 in particular speaks of an event called “the Rapture,” derived from the Latin word rapio which was translated from the original Greek word harpazo. Rapio means “to catch up, to snatch away, or to take out,” and that’s how it’s often written out, as in that verse which reads, “After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”
The Apostle Paul states that the Rapture is meant to encourage believers during this age (1 Thessalonians 4:18). And yet, what encouragement could the Rapture bring to any believer who thinks they will have to endure all the horrors of the coming 7-year Tribulation? What would be the point of the Rapture then? It wouldn’t really be as Mariano has stated, “something really great to look forward to.”
True encouragement and hope comes from the Bible’s teaching of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture. We know that the Rapture will happen before the Tribulation because according to the Bible the Church isn’t destined to endure God’s judgment on the world. God has promised the Church a rescue beforehand. For example in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 we are told “to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.” (See also 1 Thessalonians 5:9; Romans 5:9; Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 3:4 and Revelation 3:10).
Evidences of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture also come from Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 who comforted the Church of Thessalonica when he wrote, “Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come.” The church there was concerned that they had missed the Rapture and were living in the Tribulation. Paul assures them in verse 3, “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for (that day will not come) until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.” In other words, they’d know if they were living in the Tribulation.
The only hope that could comfort the Church Age Saint staring into the face of the horrors of the Tribulation is that they will not have to endure it. These words from Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:18 provide that very encouragement and hope of the Lord rapturing the Church beforehand.
Those who argue that the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view is just “too new” to be considered viable point to John Nelson Darby (1800-1882) as its originator, and they claim he took the idea from a 15 year old girl named Margaret MacDonald. But, is that assessment historically accurate? Indeed, it is not.
The Early Church fathers’ such as Barnabas (ca.100-105), Papias (ca. 60-130), Justin Martyr (110-195), Irenaeus (120-202), Tertullian (145-220), Hippolytus (ca. 185-236), Cyprian (200-250), and Lactantius (260-330) wrote on the imminent return of Jesus Christ, the central argument for the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view.
When Augustine (354-430) began spiritualizing the Bible, his view of a non-literal interpretation took hold of the Church until the Renaissance, obliterating the Premillennial and Pre-Tribulation Rapture views in favor of Amillennialism. But, some Medieval writers such as Ephraem of Nisibis (306-373), Abbot Ceolfrid (c. 642-716), and Brother Dolcino (d. 1307) wrote statements that distinguished the Rapture from the Second Coming.
When the chains of allegorical interpretation began to fall off, beginning with the Reformation in the 1400′s and 1500′s, writers such as Joseph Mede (1586-1638), Increase Mather (1639-1723), Peter Jurieu (1637-1713), Philip Doddridge (1702- 1751), John Gill (1697-1771), James Macknight (1721-1800), Thomas Scott (1747-1821) and Morgan Edwards (1722-1795) all wrote concerning the Rapture occurring separate from the Second Coming. Even in the more modern church, those like William Witherby, who wrote about the Rapture in 1818, were precursors to John Darby in support of the Rapture.
The Rapture is indeed then not only biblical, but supported throughout Church history. And, Mariano is absolutely right in one respect, for the Rapture sure is “something really great to look forward to.” It’s our “blessed hope” (Titus. 2:13).
Frequently I am asked to explain or defend the end-time view of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church. For that topic, lots of Bible verses, readings and references rattle around in my skull. I can extract each like a Powerball out of an air machine and present it to the inquiring mind, but never in a linear, comprehensive manner in which I particularly appreciate. And so, this article is my attempt to organize my brain on the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view. You’re welcome to come along on the journey!
My belief that there will be a Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church stands on the bedrock of the following foundational tenets:
A) The Bible is the Word of God
The 66-book canon called the Bible is God’s inerrant, infallible message to mankind, explaining His purposes and plans for the ages (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21). No other document can be reliably trusted, nor remotely reach the bar for the requirements of authentication that the Bible attains to so easily.
B) The Bible is to be Interpreted Literally
God means what He says and says what He means. God wants His creations to know His will plainly. While God does indulge in picturesque descriptions and parables, an explanation almost always follows or context is provided for explanation. Spiritualization of text, therefore, has no proper place in interpreting Scriptures. Any eschatological viewpoint must then be thrown out if it is based on the reader’s desire to spiritualize the Bible into whatever ethereal meaning they desire. Take the Bible for its plain sense meaning.
C) The Church and Israel Are Separate Entities
Israel is not the Church and the Church is not Israel. A believer in Christ becomes a member of the Church, whether Jew or Gentile (Rom. 1:16), but a member of the Church does not become a form of spiritual Israel. God’s promises to Israel as a people and nation (see next tenet) are not the same as for the Bride of Christ, the Church.
D) A Literal 1000-Year Millennium
The Bible describes a future, literal 1000-year time period. The Greek word “chilias” for “one thousand” appears six times in Revelation 20, clearly marking the time period as having 1000 literal years. The purpose of this time period is for Jesus Christ to have an earthly kingdom from which to base His rule and to fulfill His promises (Gen. 13:14-17; 15:5,18-21; 2 Sam. 7:16-19; Isa. 10:21-22; 11:1-2; Jer. 23:5-8; 30:22; 31:31-34; Ezek. 11:18-20; 34:24; 36:24-28; Mic. 7:19-20; Hos. 3:5; Rom. 11:26-29).
E) A Literal 7-Year Tribulation
An upcoming time period has been set aside for God to pour out His wrath upon the evil of the world, to regather Israel back into its land, to force Israel to acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah, and for the Messiah to return and fight for His believing remnant (Deut. 4:26-31; Isa. 13:6-13; 17:4-11; Jer. 30:4-11; Ezek. 20:33-38; Dan. 9:27; 12:1; Zech. 14:1-4; Matt. 24:9-31). This time period begins with a covenant between Israel and the Antichrist (Dan. 9:27). The length of the Tribulation is seven years long, described in a variety of ways as “one seven” year block (Dan. 9:27), consisting of two “times, time and half a time” (two years + 1 year + half a year; Rev. 12:14), or two “1260 days” periods (Rev. 11:3), or two “42 month” periods (Rev. 11:2; 13:5).
F) Jesus Will Return Again to Earth
The Bible says Jesus will physically return again to earth (Zech. 14:1-21; Matt. 24:29-31; Mk. 13:24-27; Lk. 21:25-27; Rev. 19). Jesus returns is to defeat His enemies, set up His throne, restore Israel, rule with “a rod of iron” and share His authority with those who overcame in Him (Mat. 19:28; 25:31; Acts 1:3-6; Rev. 2:26-27; 3:21).
G) The Bible Teaches About a Rapture
1 Thessalonians 4:17 speaks of an event called “the Rapture”, Latin “rapio,” Greek “harpazo,” which means “to catch up, to snatch away, or to take out.” “After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” Paul states that the concept of the Rapture is meant to encourage believers during this Age (1 Thes. 4:18). Other references on the Rapture are Jn. 14:1-14; I Cor. 15:51-58; and 1 Thes. 4:13-18.
These bedrock statements about the Bible and its interpretation provide the foundation in which to analyze the followig reasons for why I believe the Bible teaches a Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church.
The Bible must see the Rapture (Jn. 14:1-4; I Cor. 15:51-58; 1 Thes. 4:13-18) and the Second Coming (Zech. 14:1-21; Matt. 24:29-31; Mk. 13:24-27; Lk. 21:25-27; Rev. 19) as separate events, because when the verses are compared they describe two very different scenarios:
Since the Rapture and Second Coming clearly are different events that do not occur at the same time, this would rule out a Post-Tribulation Rapture scenario.
Jesus stated in Matthew 24:42,44 to “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come… So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” Not only do believers in Christ not know when to expect Him, but the Father Himself seems to have left Jesus out on the exact time His Son is to return. As Jesus stated in Matthew 24:36, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” These and other verses (Mat. 24:36,42,44,50; 25:13; 1 Thes. 4:18; Tit. 2:13; 1 Jn. 2:28; 3:2-3) indicate that Jesus’ arrival will come when nobody expects it.
The Second Coming, on the other hand, is preceded by many events, such as the rise of the Antichrist (Rev. 12:13-17; Zech; 13:7-9), a treaty with Israel (Dan. 9:27), the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple (Mat. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:3-4; Rev. 11:1-2), as well as plagues and judgments and persecutions destroying most of the world’s population (Rev. 6-18). The Book of Revelation reports these events as occurring during the 7-year Tribulation, which Revelation reveals precede the Second Coming.
Because the Rapture could happen at any moment and without warning and the Second Coming is preceded by so many signs, then the Rapture and Second Coming must be different events. The Rapture has to occur before the seven years’ worth of signs, because Christians are called to look for the Lord’s return rather than signs such as the Antichrist’s arrival. Once the signs begin, then the seven year countdown begins towards its end with Christ’s return at the Second Coming.
Jesus’ imminent return dismisses any of the other viewpoints related to a rapture that occur within or at the end of the Tribulation.
In 2 Thessalonians, the church at Thessalonica was afraid due to a false report that they had entered the Day of the Lord (Tribulation) and had somehow missed the Rapture. The Apostle Paul assured them that the Antichrist would not be revealed until a restraining force would be taken away so that the Man of Lawlessness could be revealed.
Because the revealing of the Antichrist coincides with the beginning of the 7-year Tribulation starting with his peace treaty with Israel (Dan. 9:27), then the Restrainer has to be removed before the Tribulation. As the Holy Spirit also works in salvation (Jn. 16:8-11; 1 Jn. 5:7) during the Tribulation, then it is the Church that must be the Restrainer that is removed. Therefore, the Rapture and the removal of the Church must coincide, and at the beginning of the seven years.
Jeremiah 30:7 describes the Tribulation as the “time of Jacob’s trouble” — “How awful that day will be! None will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it.”
In the Book of Matthew, whose primary audience is the Jews, Jesus explains to his Jewish followers what life will be like during the Tribulation. Also, Revelation 12 describes picturesquely a woman who gives birth and has to flee due to persecution during the Tribulation. The context shows the woman is Israel. And again, the Battle of Armageddon is the world against Israel. Two-thirds of the Jewish people will be killed from these battles. These texts and others show that the Tribulation is meant for the redemption of the Jewish people.
Why are the Jews the object of persecution during the Tribulation? For one, Satan hates the Jewish people for giving the world the Scriptures and the Messiah, as well as he wishes to thwart God’s promises to the Jews (see Bedrock #4). Secondly, the Jews have to be so desperately brought low that they finally call out to their Messiah “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” (Mat. 23:39; Lk. 13:35). The Tribulation, then, is used for Israel’s redemption which also results in the punishment of the wicked. The Church does not fit into this scenario, and are left out of the purposes of the Tribulation. They would need to be removed — caught up — before the Tribulation begins.
The Tribulation is God’s wrath upon the unbelieving world, and not for those who are saved from Christ’s resurrection to the Rapture — called the Church. Yes believers have suffered all throughout human history, but there is a special time (just like the Flood) set apart called the Day of the Lord for God’s wrath. Christians suffering and the Tribulation/Day of the Lord are different.
True believers in Christ during the Church Age, represented by the Church of Philadelphia, are promised in Revelation 3:10, “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.” Paul states in 1 Thessalonians 1:10, “and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.” He also states in 1 Thessalonians 5:9, “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:9 states, “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” Ephesians 5:6 states, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.” Colossians 3:4 states, “When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Again and again, Scripture states the Church is not meant to endure God’s wrath.
The view that the Rapture will occur at the mid-point of the Tribulation is based upon 1 Corinthians 15:52 which states that the Rapture will occur at the blowing of “the last trumpet.” This Mid-Tribulation Rapture view then declares this trumpet to be the last of the seven trumpets in Revelation 11 that is blown at the mid-point of the Tribulation. Why of the 114 references to trumpets in the Bible these two are identified as one and the same only defies sound Bible study. The context clearly shows the last trumpet of 1 Corinthians 15 is blown for believers whereas the seven trumpets of Revelation 8, 9 and 11 are sounded for unbelievers. The Revelation trumpets therefore can have no relevance for the Church.
The Pre-Wrath Rapture view has the Church raptured just before the bowl judgments (Revelation 16) that occur during the last quarter of the Tribulation. The bowl judgments are the only judgments this view considers to be the wrath of God, leaving the Seal and Trumpet judgments as wrath from man and Satan. But, isn’t it Jesus Himself who breaks the seals that launch each of the Revelation 6 seal judgments which occur at the beginning of the Tribulation? Also, the seven angels who blow the trumpets that initiate each of the trumpet judgments are given their trumpets at the throne of God (Revelation 8:2). And, Revelation 15:1 states that the bowl judgments at the end of the Tribulation finish the wrath of God, not begin His wrath.
Because these judgments are initiated by Jesus Himself at the beginning of the Tribulation, the whole Tribulation must be God’s wrath, which the Church is exempt from.
The focus of the Tribulation — to pour out God’s wrath on the earth just like the Flood (Isa. 24:22; Zeph. 3:8; 1 Thes. 5:3; 2 Thes. 2:12) and to bring the Jewish people to accept Jesus as Messiah (Mat. 23:39; Lk. 13:35) — is addressed by the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation to the unbelievers and the Jewish people. In any biblical content concerning the Tribulation/Day of the Lord, the Church cannot be found.
The whole concept of the Church was a mystery to the Old Testament prophets. They focused on the nation of Israel. The Book of Matthew is written to the Jewish people, whom Jesus is addressing in Matthew 24. In the Book of Revelation, chapters 2 and 3 cover the Church Age, but then there is no mention of the Church until after the Tribulation/Day of the Lord chapters 6-18. In Chapter 19, the Church returns to the texts and can be found, not suffering, but celebrating with Christ at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and preparing to return with Jesus to earth.
While the 7-year Tribulation is occurring, the Bible records the Church will be busy with three events. None of the three have to do with suffering on a world being destroyed.
The first event the raptured Church will participate in is a judgment by God — the Judgment of the Just. This judgment on works is not to determine eternal destiny, but to determine degrees of reward (2 Cor. 5:10; Rev. 19:6-9).
The second event is the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. This feast celebrates the spiritual marriage of Christ’s Bride — the Church — to her Savior. Revelation 19:7-9 shares this wonderful celebration, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) Then the angel said to me, ‘Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ And he added, ‘These are the true words of God.’”
The third event follows the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and is the Church’s preparation to follow the King of Kings into the Battle of Armageddon at the conclusion of the Tribulation. This event is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Zech. 14:1-21; Matt. 24:29-31; Mk. 13:24-27; Lk. 21:25-27; Rev. 19:11-21). Revelation 19:14 identifies the Church in their “fine linen, white and clean,” which was given to them during the first event — the Judgment of the Just. The Church and angelic forces follow the King of Kings into His Second Coming to the earth, but only Jesus Himself will engage in battle and with mere words defeats the nations in siege against Jerusalem.
If the Church is raptured at the end of the Tribulation, receives their glorified bodies, and then immediately u-turns back with Christ for the Second Coming as the Post-Tribulation Rapture view holds, then what believer in Christ will be available for the Sheep and Goats Judgment of Matthew 25? The only people left on earth would be unbelievers, called goats. No believer — sheep — would be available for God to put into the sheep category.
Since those who are in glorified bodies will be like the angels in that they aren’t given in marriage or reproduce (Matt. 22:30; Mk. 12:25), then a believing, unglorified, human remnant must make it into the sheep category and go on to produce the nations during the Millennial reign of Christ (Ezek. 43:13-27; Isa. 19:21; Isa. 65:20-22; Rev. 20:7-10). This would mean that people would need to come to Christ during the Tribulation yet after the Rapture to produce this Millennial population.
Being a Christian means having to endure suffering and trials at the hand of man (Jn. 16:33; Phil. 1:27; 1 Thes. 3:3; 1 Pet. 4:12-13). But, the Bible has many examples of those who put their faith in God are exempt from God’s wrath. Noah and his family were removed from the Flood waters that in God’s wrath were used to judge and cleanse the earth. Lot and his wife and two daughters were made to leave Sodom and Gomorrah before God burned the towns up with fire and sulfur. Rahab’s family was set apart when Joshua’s army invaded Jericho.
Could believers be miraculously protected during the Tribulation, like the Israelites were during the plagues on Egypt? Yes, the 144,000 Jewish evangelists from Revelation 7 and 14, for instance, will be divinely protected. But, the slaughter of believers during the Tribulation will be so massive that they are certainly not under any special protection (Rev. 7:9-17; 20:4).
Some will argue that the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view is just “too new” to be considered viable. Critics will point to the origin of the modern Pre-Tribulation view and credit John Nelson Darby (1800-1882) with its founding. But, is that assessment historically accurate? Indeed, it is not.
The Early Church fathers’ such as Barnabas (ca.100-105), Papias (ca. 60-130), Justin Martyr (110-195), Irenaeus (120-202), Tertullian (145-220), Hippolytus (ca. 185-236), Cyprian (200-250), and Lactantius (260-330) wrote on the imminent return of Jesus Christ, the central argument for the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view.
Biblical truth is determined by Scripture, and not how that teaching has been perceived at different times during history. When Augustine began spiritualizing the Bible, his view of a non-literal interpretation took hold of the church until the Renaissance, obliterating the Premillennial and Pre-Tribulation Rapture views in favor of Amillennialism. But, some Medieval writers such as Ephraem of Nisibis (306-373), Abbot Ceolfrid’s Latin Codex Amiatinus (ca. 690-716), and Brother Dolcino wrote statements that distinguish the Rapture from the Second Coming.
When the chains of allegorical interpretation began to fall off beginning with the Reformation in the 1400 and 1500s, writers such as Joseph Mede (1586-1638), Increase Mather (1639-1723), Peter Jurieu (1687), Philip Doddridge (1738), John Gill (1748), James Macknight (1763), Thomas Scott (1792) and Morgan Edwards (1722-1795) all wrote concerning the Rapture occurring separate from the Second Coming. Even in the more modern church, those like William Witherby (1818) were precursors to John Darby in support of the view. The Pre-Tribulation Rapture view is indeed then not only biblical, but supported throughout Church history.
I thank you for coming down this mental journey with me concerning why I believe in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church. Hopefully it has confirmed or challenged some of your eschatological ideas. Bear in mind, though, that one’s end-time views have no bearing on the doctrine of salvation. What is to be celebrated is that our salvation will one day lead us upwards to be with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ forever and ever.
Please prepare now for the escalating economic and social unrest! Good Day!
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Striving for Truth and Fidelity
Revealing Truths from the Word of God
Sergey Nespeshny | Blog
Official website of author Chris Martin
Christian Author/Prophecy News
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Enlightening All Merchants on payment processing and technology
Syrian Christians are in need of your help.
C.I.P. A great school to learn ESL
Stop calling your Congressmen. They don't listen! Shut It Down
Promoting Reliable Seed Supply for African Farmers.
the Islamization of America
Welcome ... Have a sit, listen and enjoy yourself
an accidental Occidental Oriental
End times prophecy end of days Eschatology resources
life is always sweeter and yummier through a lens. https://www.facebook.com/BunnyandPorkBelly https://twitter.com/BunnyNPorkBelly
and the truth shall set you free!
2017 second advent using "The Balfour Century" generation ethos
Fighting for the Day, Dying for the Morrow!
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Learning to Walk with Jesus