ISIS sets date for open warfare

Raw Islam feature
ISIS Secret Dossier Blames Israel for Terrorism????

Intelligence officials are comparing a newly discovered secret Islamic State document to Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” as it blames Israel for the rise of the Islamic State and crowns U.S. President Barack Obama as the “Mule of the Jews.”

Found in Pakistan’s remote tribal region by American Media Institute (AMI), the 32-page Urdu language document promotes an “end of the world” battle as a final solution. It argues that the Islamic leader should be recognized as the sole ruler of the world’s 1 billion Muslims, under a religious empire called a “caliphate.”

“It reads like the caliphate’s own Mein Kampf,” said a U.S. intelligence official, who reviewed the document. “While the world is watching videos of beheadings and crucifixions in Iraq and Syria the Islamic State is moving into North Africa the Middle East, and now we see it has a strategy in South Asia. It’s a magician’s trick, watch this hand and you’ll never see what the other is doing.”

Retired U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency Director Gen. Michael Flynn and other U.S. intelligence officials confirmed the authenticity of the document based on its unique markings, specific language used to describe leaders and the writing style and religious wording that matched other Islamic State records.

Flynn said the undated document, “A Brief History of the Islamic State Caliphate (ISC), The Caliphate According to the Prophet,” is a campaign plan that “lays out their intent, their goals and objectives, a red flag to which we must pay attention.”

The document serves as a Nazi-like recruiting pitch that attempts to unite dozens of factions of the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban into a single army of terror.  It includes a never-before-seen history of the Islamic State, details chilling future battle plans and urges al-Qaeda to join Islamic State.

Its tone is direct: “Accept the fact that this caliphate will survive and prosper until it takes over the entire world and beheads every last person that rebels against Allah. This is the bitter truth, swallow it.”

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal center for human rights who heads Center’s Digital Terrorism and Hate Project, compares the Islamic State threats in the document to the rise of Nazism pre-World War II.

The brutal killing of a teacher and three children at the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse in 2012 by an Algerian Islamist was a major signal to the Jewish community that Europe was no longer safe and that not enough was being done to curtail the rise of anti-semitism, he said.

“It’s important to remember what our founder, Wiesenthal said, ‘it often starts with the Jews but it never ends with the Jews,” Cooper said. “As a matter fact [Islamic State] did not create anti-semitism but they are taking advantage of it, and they are building on it.”

The document advocates creating a new terrorist army in Afghanistan and Pakistan to trigger a war in India and provoke an Armageddon-like confrontation with the United States. It also details Islamic State’s plot to attack U.S. soldiers as they withdraw from Afghanistan and target America diplomats and Pakistani officials and blames the rise of jihadi organizations on the establishment of Israel.

“No sooner had the British government relinquished control of Israel, Ben-Gurion, the leader of the Jews, declared the independence of the State of Israel, triggering a global migration of Jews to the Jewish State, and launching the systematic persecution of Palestinian Muslims who had to abandon their homes and migrate,” the document states.

The document discloses the history of Islamic State dating back to the early 1990s and explains why in 2011 its leader, Abu Bakr al- Bagdhadi, unleashed car bombs to avenge Osama bin Laden’s death, and boasts about the suicide rates of American soldiers.

“Urban centers across Iraq exploded with car bombs and IED’s. The losses inflicted upon Americans, apostates, and heretics were unprecedented, as were the suicide rates amongst U.S soldiers,” the document states. “This state of affairs forced Mule of the Jews, U.S President Obama to announce an exit plan.”

The battle plan to “end the world” is described in six phases

rawislam--thumb

  • Phase 1 “Awakening” 2000-2003: Islamic State calls for “a major operation against the U.S. .. to provoke a crusade against Islam.”
  • Phase 2 “Shock and Awe” 2004 – 2006: Islamic State will lure U.S. into multiple theatres of war, including cyber-attacks and establish charities across the Muslim and Arab world to support terrorism.
  • Phase 3 “Self-reliance” 2007-2010: Islamic State will create “interference” with Iraq’s neighboring states with particular focus on Syria.
  • Phase 4 “Reaping/extortion/receiving” 2010-2013: Islamic State will attack “U.S and Western interests” to destroy their economy and replace the dollar with silver and gold and expose Muslim governments’ relations with Israel and the U.S.
  • Phase 5 Declaring the Caliphate 2013-2016: Not much details offered here. The document just says, “The Caliphate According to The Prophet.
  • Phase 6, Open Warfare 2017-2020:  Islamic State predicts faith will clash with non-believers and “Allah will grant victory to the believers after which peace will reign on earth.”

The document urges followers of al-Qaeda and the Taliban to join the Islamic State in overthrowing Arab governments who have relations with the U.S. and Israel, unlike al-Qaeda, which believed it was “important to weaken the U.S before launching an armed revolt in Arab states and establishing a caliphate.”

In response to the document, a senior ranking Israeli official said that in the Middle East the world faces two threats – from Islamic State and from Iran. “We need not strengthen one at the expense of the other. We need to weaken both and prevent the aggression and arming of both,” he warned.

Alistair Baskey, deputy spokesman for the White House’s National Security Council said Islamic State is being monitored “closely to see whether their emergence will have a meaningful impact on the threat environment in the region.”

The document builds on evidence that Islamic State is expanding into the region where the September 11 attacks were born. A united Taliban, backed by the hundreds of millions of dollars of Iraqi oil revenue now enjoyed by Islamic State, would be a “game-changer,” officials said.

The document warns that “preparations” for an attack in India are underway and predicts that an attack will provoke an apocalyptic confrontation with America: “Even if the U.S tries to attack with all its allies, which undoubtedly it will, the (entire global Muslim community) will be united, resulting in the final battle.”

A war in India would magnify Islamic State stature and threaten the stability of the region, said Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution who served more than 30 years in the CIA. “Attacking in India is the Holy Grail of South Asian jihadists.”

Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry denied the presence of Islamic State in the region, calling it only “a potential threat.”

Unlike al-Qaida, whose focus was the United States and other western nations, the document said Islamic State leaders believe that’s the wrong strategic goal. “Instead of wasting energy in a direct confrontation with the U.S., we should focus on an armed uprising in the Arab world for the establishment of the caliphate,” the document said.

The failure to target the radical Islamic ideas has given the group breathing room to spread throughout the world much like Hitler did.

“We did a lousy job predicting what Hitler was going to do in the 1920s, 1930s – honestly, we blew it,” Cooper said. “It’s hard to take seriously or believe that such hatred was real or would be possible. They made jokes about Jews, degraded Jews but nobody believed that they would be capable of what they were saying.  So now, when groups, like [Islamic State] come along and say they are going to do A B and C, you have to take them for their word.”

Source: ISIS Secret Dossier Blames Israel for Terrorism - Defense/Security - News - Arutz Sheva

Its-not-your-fault

Signs: Concerning Mankind 02: Will Russia Invade Israel?

Jack van Impe feature

Will Russia invade Israel?

If so, under what circumstances? Also, clarify the importance of the Israeli capture of Jerusalem in 1967.

One of the most significant prophecies about the Middle East and the Rapture of the Church concerns Russia’s imminent invasion of Israel. In the previous newsletter, we addressed the issue of Israel becoming a nation.

Why is that reality so vital to our discussion? 

Because eighteen times in Ezekiel 38-39, the prophet states that Russia will wage war against Israel. For nearly nineteen hundred years, there was no nation called Israel-thus

no government and no specific piece of Middle East real estate that the Jews of the diaspora could call their own.

Now you and I have lived to see Israel become a mighty nation, a people to be reckoned with in the commonwealth of nations.

Therefore, when God’s Word foretells a Russian invasion of Israel, and we know that such a nation now exists, we can only assume that the coming of the Lord must be near. Ezekiel 38:1-2 states, “And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him.

Since we will study these names in detail later, I will not spend time attempting to prove that this refers to Russia. I simply want you to see, for now, that this is a northern enemy, for they come from the north (see Ezekiel 38:15; Ezekiel 39:2).

Remember, Russia is due north of Israel. 

If one draws a line northward from Israel, he passes directly through Moscow. As this great end-time invasion begins, they will come against the mountains of Israel (Ezekiel 38:8). Verse 161)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2038:16&version=NKJV says, “Thou shalt come up against my people of Israel.” Verse 192)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2038:19&version=NKJV: “Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel.” Ezekiel 39:2 says, “I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel.” Verse 43)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2039:4&version=NKJV: “Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel. ” Verse 124)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2039:12&version=NKJV: “And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them.

Let me repeat that Russia’s invasion of Israel could not occur until Israel became a nation.

There was no such nation, for two thousand years, until 1948.

Thus, this event could not have occurred in times past.

David Ben-Gurion declaring independence beneath a large portrait of Theodor Herzl, founder of modern Zionism

However, since Israel now exists as a viable, powerful nation (and has recaptured Jerusalem after twenty-five hundred years of dominance by Gentiles), and because Russia will move against Israel only when she is a nation, here is the thrilling scenario to follow-something that is already beginning to happen in front of our eyes today.

Follow me closely. Ezekiel 365)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2036&version=NKJV and 376)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2037&version=NKJV describe the Jew returning to his own land and setting up his government.

This occurred in 1948. In Ezekiel chapters 40-48,7)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2040-48&version=NKJV Messiah is back on earth-and that is when you and I have returned with Him to rule and reign for one thousand years (Revelation 20:4).

Between Israel’s becoming a nation-which you and I have lived to see-and Messiah’s return to earth, a war with Russia takes place in the Middle East (read Ezekiel 38 and 39).8)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2038-39&version=NKJV

The Jews are now home. 

Today Israel has its own government, monetary system, and well-fortified and -trained armed forces. Russia marches when Israel is a nation, followed by Messiah’s return. There is no doubt that we are living at the very edge of this hour when the sign concerning Russia’s march to the Middle East is about to be fulfilled. It could happen at any moment, followed by Christ’s return. This ancient Jewish teaching is found in Avoda Zara 3B.

 

The clock is ticking toward midnight.

Jesus is coming again, and the day of His return is at hand.

What Is the Importance of the Jews Finally Reclaiming Jerusalem?

Since 400 B.C. the city of Jerusalem has been handed over to one Gentile superpower after another.

Here are a few of those “transference” dates since A.D. 70 concerning Jerusalem:

A.D. 70, the Romans.

A.D. 614, the Persians.

A.D. 637, the Caliph Omar.

A.D. 1099, the Crusaders.

A.D. 1187, the Saladin.

A.D. 1250, the Egyptian Mamelukes.

A.D. 1517, the Turks.

A.D. 1917, the British.

and finally, in 1967, the Jews captured Jerusalem.

1967 June 5 to 10
The event took place during the Six-Day War,9)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six-Day_War from June 5 to 10 of that year, The Jewish control of Jerusalem is a most important sign because of Jesus’ statement in Luke 21:24.

The disciples had asked Him, “When are you going to return to this earth?

Jesus replied, “[Jerusalem] shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

What was the Savior saying? 

Simply that the Jews would be scattered throughout the world and the city of Jerusalem controlled by Gentile powers until the time of His return. All the various Gentile groups-the Romans, the Persians, the Crusaders, the Egyptians, the Turks, and the English-controlled Jerusalem from A.D. 70 until May 1967.

Then, in June 1967 the Jews took control of Jerusalem for the first time in more than nineteen hundred years.

When we tie this historical information to Ezekiel’s bones coming to life, the Jews returning from the Gentile nations, and the earlier prophecies already outlined, there can be only one conclusion: Christ must come to earth soon, primarily because during the third and final invasion of the Armageddon campaign, all nations come against Jerusalem to battle and to take it back from the Jews (Zechariah 14:2).

This would have been impossible before 1967 since the Jewish people did not possess Jerusalem until that Six-Day War fought June 5-10,1967.

Thus, when the final invasion during Armageddon occurs, Christ descends to the Mount of Olives to end the atrocities committed against Israel at Jerusalem and to then set up His kingdom (Zechariah 14:4).

What signs exist in Israel today that provide clues to a rapidly approaching Tribulation period?

Of the hundreds of questions I am asked, issues related to the Great Tribulation always seem to top the list.

To review, there is going to be a terrible period of tribulation. Jeremiah 30:7 says, “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it. ” Daniel 12:1 warns, “There shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation,” and Jesus Himself said in Matthew 24:21, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

Although this event will not be the end of the world, it will bring death to one-half of our planet’s inhabitants: By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone” (Revelation 9:18).

When one combines the cumulative facts and figures from the ‘Book of Revelation’ in Revelation 9:18 and Revelation 6:8, he discovers that nearly one-half of the earth’s population will be destroyed in the greatest fiery conflagration and pestilential judgment that have ever occurred in the history of mankind.

Again, however, let me remind you: 

This great war signals the coming of Jesus Christ to the earth, when He reveals Himself to the entire world and stops the carnage (Revelation 11:18). As we learned earlier, this event is called the Revelation, and it is the second phase of the Second Coming. We have also learned that prior to the Revelation, a Rapture-the evacuation of all saints, dead and living, from the earth-will occur (Revelation 4:1). Immediately following the Rapture, the Tribulation Hour, that period of seven years of unprecedented turmoil and trouble, begins. Then, at the end of the seven years, Jesus Christ comes back to the earth to set up His kingdom for a thousand years-called the Millennium.

Remember that all the signs of Matthew 24,10)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2024&version=NKJV Mark 13,11)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark%2013&version=NKJV and Luke 1712)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%2017&version=NKJV and 2113)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%2021&version=NKJV point directly to the second phase of the Second Coming, and not to the Rapture. If there were not one sign in existence anywhere at this moment, we could still go home to be with our Lord, because all the signs could occur during the seven-year period described in chapters 6-1814)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%206-18&version=NKJV of the Book of Revelation. 

However, since all the signs point to Christ’s return to the earth-not His coming in the clouds (Revelation 4:1) but His coming to the earth (Revelation 19:11), and since you and I as Christians return with Him to the earth-then every sign in Revelation 6-1815)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%206-18&version=NKJV points to our coming back to the earth as well. This glorious event must occur soon since all signs are already in place.

For many decades Orthodox Jewish rabbis said: When three signs appear in the Holy Land, it will be the hour for Messiah to return.

What are these three signs?

(1) Horseless carriages, or modern automobiles, running through the streets of Jerusalem.

(2) Jerusalem being defended by airplanes.

(3) The desert of Israel blossoming as a rose.

Have these things happened? I will leave the answers to you.

When my wife, Rexella, and I last visited the Holy Land, we had an opportunity to preach, teach, and spend time with Jewish Christians in Jerusalem. So what I am about to share with you regarding the “signs in Israel” is not theoretical. As I began to observe them, I said, “Rexella, these are the signs that point to our return with Jesus Christ.” Since they are already in progress and are now being fulfilled, Jesus must be coming soon for His church in that glorious event called the Rapture. Let’s investigate these three signs that the rabbis have so long awaited.

(1) Nahum 2 states,

The chariots shall be with flaming torches in the day of his [Messiah’s] preparation. . . .

The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall justle one against another [accidents] in the broad ways: they shall seem like torches [headlights and taillights], they shall run like the lightnings [the speed of these vehicles running through the streets of Jerusalem].”

This phenomenon is presently occurring!

Nahum 2:3-4

(2) Isaiah 31 tells us,

As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem.

Since A.D. 70 the much beleaguered city of Jerusalem has passed from one Gentile power to another.

In 1517, the Turks took control and maintained their authority for exactly four hundred years.

Then, in 1917, General Allenby of England marched into Jerusalem with his troops.

Isaiah 31:5

The British had just discovered airplanes, and as they flew overhead, the Turks, never having seen such machines, became frightened, dropped their guns, and fled the city.

Britain’s conquest of Jerusalem was one of the few battles in history won without weapons.

Why? Because the Turks saw men flying as birds over Jerusalem.

This event was the beginning of the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. Today, as one stands anywhere in the Holy Land, he sees jets flying overhead daily.

There is no end to it. The prophecy is here. It is being fulfilled now!

(3) Isaiah 35 promises,

The desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.

During our first visit to the Holy Land in the late 1950s, Rexella and I noticed that everywhere we looked the ground was dry, arid, barren, rocky, and mountainous. Today, however, when one visits the Holy Land, it is anything but arid. It has been wondrously transformed into hundreds of square miles of fertile, blooming, productive land.

Truly, Isaiah’s promise has become a reality; the third major sign pointing to Messiah’s coming.

Isaiah 35:1

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

References   [ + ]

1. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2038:16&version=NKJV
2. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2038:19&version=NKJV
3. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2039:4&version=NKJV
4. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2039:12&version=NKJV
5. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2036&version=NKJV
6. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2037&version=NKJV
7. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2040-48&version=NKJV
8. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2038-39&version=NKJV
9. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six-Day_War
10. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2024&version=NKJV
11. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark%2013&version=NKJV
12. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%2017&version=NKJV
13. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%2021&version=NKJV
14, 15. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%206-18&version=NKJV

Rapture 08: Tribulation Judgments

Jack van Impe feature

What Tribulation judgments are specifically mentioned in the Bible? 

HOW DRASTIC ARE THEY?

The word judgment is a fearsome word. It speaks of finality-such as when the judge of an earthly proceeding delivers the sentence to the defendant in a court of law. A judgment is indicative of a period when time has run out. In a spiritual context, it is when the days and hours are no longer on the side of the person who denies God and refuses to accept His Son, Jesus Christ, as Savior. 

Taking a hard look at events occurring on today’s world scene, there is no doubt that we are approaching that time of final judgment. The signs are upon us if we have eyes to see. 


However, there are other critical judgments to reckon with prior to or during the judgments that occur during the Tribulation. Let’s look at them.

JUDGMENT OF THE BELIEVER’S SIN:

Without shedding of blood is no remission” of sin (Hebrews 9:22). More than nineteen hundred years ago, Christ came from heaven’s glory to shed His precious blood for a world of ungodly sinners. He did not die for His own sin, for He knew no sin, but became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). Through His substitutionary death, dying for mankind, all who receive this Christ can have the past, present, and future stains of sin forgiven and forgotten (Hebrews 8:12). “The blood of Jesus Christ [God’s] Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7; see Titus 3:5 and Romans 8:1).

JUDGMENT OF THE BELIEVER’S SERVICE:

The believer’s lifetime of works are judged at the bema seat (2 Corinthians 5:10). Some Christians do not take this judgment seriously. However, to do so is to refuse life in accordance with God’s plan. The life of a Christian will be judged, and God’s pronouncement of that verdict must not be taken lightly. If one fails God’s investigative judgment in that day, there will be no crowns to place before Christ on His throne (Revelation 4:10-11).

JUDGMENT OF ISRAEL:

When the armies of the world converge on the Middle East, culminating at Israel (Zechariah 14:2; Ezekiel 38, 39), this period of bloody devastation becomes the Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7). During this Tribulation period, the whole world will come into judgment. One in three will be consumed by fire, and one-half of all people will die during this time (Revelation 6:8; Revelation 9:18).

Numerous passages describe this time as the earth’s worst event (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 12:1; Joel 2:2). Jesus said, “Then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21). At this time they will “look on Him whom they have pierced.” Their response will cause them to repent and recognize Christ as Messiah.

JUDGMENT OF THE NATIONS:

Matthew 251)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2025&version=KJV pictures the glorious return of Christ to this earth. This correlates with Revelation 19:11-16 when Christ returns as King of kings and Lord of lords. After Armageddon-and before He establishes His millennial kingdom upon earth (Revelation 20:4) – Christ purges the earth of its rebels. The “sheep” nations are invited to enter the kingdom (Millennium) along with the “brethren,” the Jews. The goats-those who mistreated Jews and rejected Christ-are cast into the Lake of Fire (Matthew 25:41,46).

Twenty-One Special Judgments

There are a total of twenty-one special judgments that fall upon earth during the Tribulation period. 

They are in three series of sevens described as seals, trumpets, and vials (or bowls):

THE SEAL JUDGMENTS:

This is the beginning of the program of God to pour out judgments upon the earth. I encourage you to open your Bible and read each judgment carefully to understand the finality of God’s pronouncements.

These include:

The world’s

Greatest dictator (Revelation 6:1-2)

Greatest war (Revelation 6:3-4)

Greatest famine (Revelation 6:5-6)

Greatest death blow (Revelation 6:7-8)

Greatest persecution (Revelation 6:9-11)

Greatest ecological disaster (Revelation 6:12-17)

Greatest hour of fear … actually the lull before the storm (Revelation 8:1)

THE TRUMPET JUDGMENTS:

The trumpets of heaven sound an alarm throughout the world announcing the public judgments of God. Each blast ushers in an added judgment.

These include:

The world’s

Greatest fire (Revelation 8:7)

Greatest oceanic disturbance (Revelation 8:8-9)

Greatest pollution of water (Revelation 8:10-11)

Greatest darkness (Revelation 8:12-13)

Greatest pestilential invasion (Revelation 9:1-6)

Greatest army (Revelation 9:16)

Greatest storm (Revelation 11:15-19)

THE VIAL JUDGMENTS:

These include:

The world’s

Greatest epidemic (Revelation 16:2)

Greatest contamination by blood (Revelation 16:3-7)

Greatest contamination by blood, continued (Revelation 16:3-7)

Greatest scorching (Revelation 16:8-9)

Greatest plague (Revelation 16:10-11)

Greatest invasion (Revelation 16:12)

Greatest earthquake (Revelation 16:18)

These twenty-one judgments unleash unbelievable war, ecological disasters, and atomic catastrophe on our earth. Note this judgment in particular; Revelation 14:20 reads, “And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.” According to today’s calculations, that is a river of blood two hundred miles long-the exact length of the nation of Israel.

Think of it!

An entire nation saturated and soaked with blood. As believers, you and I can be grateful that the Rapture is coming, because it means we-the Church of Jesus Christ-will not be present to endure this terrible suffering.

The Bride will be at home, at the marriage ceremony, and afterward return for the supper (Revelation 19:7-16).

What is 

In Jeremiah 30:7-8 we read, “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him.” Jacob is Israel.

This is reconfirmed in Romans 11:26: “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” This period of time is also referred to as “Daniel’s Seventieth Week” (Daniel 9:24).

In biblical history, the first sixty-nine weeks refer exclusively to Israel and, as we’ve noted earlier, it follows logically that the seventieth or final week must also involve the nation of Israel. A careful survey of chapters 30 and 312)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah%2030-31&version=KJV of Jeremiah summarizes Israel’s endurance in the hour of Tribulation-a truth affirmed by all the Old Testament prophets.

In Ezekiel 38 and 39,3)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2038-39&version=KJV eighteen different passages mark Israel as the victim of Gog and Magog’s deadliest war. Jacob’s trouble is so named because of Jeremiah’s prophecy; “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble,” and Jacob is Israel (2 Kings 17:34). Here the prophet was speaking of the seven-year period known as the Tribulation when, after the removal of the Church, earth suddenly plunges into its most horrendous hour (Matthew 24:21).

A further word on the seventieth week of Daniel-a chapter on which a full understanding of the end times rests. This significant “week” will be a period of 7 years, 84 months, each having 360 days by the old Jewish calendar, for a total of 2,520 days. In Revelation 11:3 and Revelation 12:6, half of this period is recorded as 1,260 days. When that is doubled, it becomes 2,520 days. It is a time of unprecedented trouble. “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it” (Jeremiah 30:7).

This period is divided into three sections.

ONE: The first division comprised 7 weeks, or a period of 49 years, and had to do with the rebuilding of Jerusalem in troublesome times past (Daniel 9:25).

TWO: The second division of 62 weeks, or 434 years, signaled the time of Christ’s death after the rebuilding of Jerusalem. This prophecy was fulfilled exactly on schedule when Christ came and offered Himself to Israel, but was rejected and cut off (Daniel 9:26). This was the Crucifixion, after the completion of His offer as King. The rebuilding of Jerusalem began on March 14, 445 B.C., and Christ was cut off on schedule. Now Israel must pay the price for rejecting her King.

THREE: So a final week is coming when the Antichrist will confirm his peace covenant with many for one week, or seven years (Daniel 9:27). When the Antichrist usurps the throne that rightfully belongs to Christ, he shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; “and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined” (Daniel 9:26).

This is the time of Jacob’s (or Israel’s) trouble, resulting from the rejection of Christ. God’s chastisement then creates an attitude of acceptance for the true King-the Lord Jesus Christ-at the close of the seventieth week.

There is no doubt about it; Israel travails greatly before the King returns. Jeremiah’s prophecy proves it:

For, lo, the days come, saith the lord, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the lord; and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it. And these are the words that the lord spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah. For thus saith the lord; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble

Jeremiah 30:3-7

Daniel also describes the day of sorrow when a monstrous anti-Semite dictator, satanically energized, “shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High” (Daniel 7:25).

The Lord Jesus Himself stated in Matthew 24:9, 21-22, “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake…. 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 [Israel’s] sake those days shall be shortened.

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

References   [ + ]

1. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2025&version=KJV
2. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah%2030-31&version=KJV
3. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2038-39&version=KJV

Rapture 07: The Marriage & Marriage Supper of the Lamb

Jack van Impe feature

What is the marriage and marriage supper of the Lamb and where will they take place?

The marriage partners at this glorious event include the Lamb (Christ) (Ephesians 5:25-33) and His bride (the Church)-both of whom have been in heaven during the Tribulation Hour. While those on earth have suffered judgment, the Bride is being investigated in preparation for the wedding (Revelation 19:7).

For those who were unfaithful to Christ during the engagement period (their years of service upon earth), this will be a moment of humiliation (1 John 2:28) as every believer will be attired in the wedding garment he or she made while on earth. The material will be composed of their good deeds that remain after the judgment seat has taken place (Revelation 19:7-8). Righteousnesses rather than righteousness is the correct word in this text.

The first term has to do with our works, the second with the imputed righteousness bestowed upon believers through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The marriage itself takes place in heaven toward the end of the Tribulation period upon earth. The phrase, “the marriage of the Lamb is come” (Revelation 19:7), signifies that the Church’s union with Christ has been completed (1 Thessalonians 4:17). From this point on, wherever Christ goes, His beloved bride follows. After the marriage, heaven opens and Christ, mounted upon a white horse, begins His descent to earth for Armageddon followed by His bride, the armies clothed in white linen (Revelation 19:11-14). The place of the wedding reception (marriage supper) is upon earth.

After exhaustive study of this great event, I believe that immediately following the marriage in heaven, Christ returns to earth with His bride to begin His millennial reign. Old Testament and Tribulation saints are then raised in order that they may be guests at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 20:4).

 If an individual has heard the gospel and rejected Jesus Christ – and the Rapture occurs – will that person have another opportunity to accept Jesus as Lord during the Tribulation? 

In response to this question, most evangelicals turn to 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12, which states: “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth.

The reasoning among many is that anyone who has ever heard the gospel and rejected it will no longer have a chance to accept the Savior. I no longer believe that. Here’s why I do not hold this position. As I was studying Acts 2:17, which repeats the prophetic passage of Joel 2:28, the Holy Spirit revealed something to me. God says, “I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh.” There will be enlightenment as never before.

Then it hit me: This is in the midst of the horrific Tribulation Hour, but note what it says in Acts 2:

And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Acts 2:19-21

And this whosoever is identical to John 3:16 where all are invited to salvation. Thus, “whosoever” today is identical to “whosoever” during the Tribulation hour

However, here’s my word of encouragement to you. 

Do not be distraught or depressed. 

There is great hope for those whose hearts become softened as we approach the return of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.

God does not want any man, woman, or child to perish.

This is the nature of our heavenly Father (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). Nevertheless, things will get alarming as we approach the end of the age. That’s why Jesus said in Luke 21:9, “When ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass.” Who would dare question that these days are already upon us?

All the more reason for us to share our faith in Christ with those who heretofore have not believed. An added word of encouragement comes to us when our Lord provides the ultimate word of hope and encouragement in verse 31,1)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%2021:31&version=KJVWhen ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.” That is the glorious day we all await. Now is the time to share the good news, and in so doing, become part of God’s final plan for the ages as He pours out His Spirit on all flesh.

What is the Tribulation? 

This terrible period of history will be the most horrendous our world has ever seen-seven years of nonstop bombardment. In the midst of this fiery judgment there will be little expression of remorse: Hearts will not be bent toward repentance, with few seeking forgiveness for murder, drug abuse, fornication, sexual promiscuity, or theft (Revelation 9:21). The Tribulation, and the sequential judgments of God, will descend on mankind because of blatant sins committed by humanity. It will be a time of widespread apostasy, coupled with a blatant, wholesale denial of biblical truth, combined with moral chaos, an acceleration of spiritism, persecution, pestilence, and earthquakes. Terrible as all this will be.

1: To save and allow many Jews who enter the Millennium to experience the fulfillment of the kingdom promises to Israel made by God in the covenants;

2: To save a multitude of Gentiles who will then populate the millennial kingdom;

3: To pour out judgment on unbelieving mankind and nations. The final forty-two months or three-and-one-half-year period is so terrifying that it is called the Great Tribulation (Revelation 7:14).

There is good reason the first half of the Tribulation will be more peaceful. Because Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, is soon to return, Satan, the great counterfeiter and ultimate deceiver known as Antichrist, will first present himself as the peace-producing Messiah. Not only will he make himself known to the nations, but he will be universally accepted. Satan will enter the body of a man and proclaim himself as God (2 Thessalonians 2:4).

This Antichrist will come into prominence and power by presenting a “peace program” to the nations (Daniel 11:21-24).

The contracts will be signed and confirmed (Daniel 9:27).

However, in the middle of the seven-year period, the Antichrist dishonors his treaties and makes the last forty-two months the bloodiest in world history as he honors the god of forces (Daniel 11:38).

The Great Tribulation is a time of incomparable judgment.

(Daniel 12:1; Joel 2:2; Matthew 24:21)
fall upon the earth.

They constitute three series of seven each and are described as the seal, trumpet, and vial (or bowl) judgments (Revelation chapters 6, 8, 9,11,15,16).

This is the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. Revelation 8:7 and Revelation 9:18 clearly reveal a judgment of fire during the Tribulation.

This coincides with Psalm 97:3; Isaiah 66:15; Ezekiel 20:47; Zephaniah 1:18; Malachi 4:1, and numerous other passages of Scripture. Both Old and New Testaments agree on the coming of what seems to be a fiery, nuclear holocaust (Revelation 8:7; Revelation 9:18).

The unequivocal counsel of Scripture promises that the Church will be evacuated before the Tribulation judgment begins.

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

References   [ + ]

1. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%2021:31&version=KJV

Rapture 05: Prewrath Rapture

Jack van Impe feature

What validity, if any, should be given to the Prewrath Rapture theory?

In a book titled The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church by Marvin Rosenthal, this earlier reliable proponent of the pretrib position altered his view and suggested that the Rapture will take place twenty-one months after the time designated by the midtribulationists and five and a half years after the pretribulation position. In other words, the Church would be destined to face the terrors of the Tribulation before the period of God’s wrath occurs.

The problem with this view is that rather than the Church looking forward to the return of Christ, the focus now shifts to the fearful expectation of the coming of Antichrist. No longer is the Church safe from the Tribulation, but is now present during the first three-quarters of this most horrible period in history.

When first presented to the public, this end-time, theological bombshell resulted in enormous confusion and dismay in many theological quarters. While to date it has been largely dismissed as improbable and unbiblical, it is still important to recognize that this position is shot through with speculation and misinterpretation of Scripture-primarily because it tampers with key verses that for more than one hundred years have been the theological bedrock to the understanding of the Rapture and what has, for the most part, been a pretribulation view.

For the Christian, the pretrib position must remain paramount because it encourages us to look forward to that “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13)-that any-moment-return of “the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” The pretrib view promises that Christians will not endure the great terror of that day when Antichrist rules, when hordes of pestilences invade our world, when incurable diseases strike humankind with abandon, and when the atmosphere of earth as we know it deteriorates to where planet earth is unlivable and the air not fit to breathe.

The prewrath view puts Christians in the heat of battle. 

The brilliant scholar Dr. Gerald B. Stanton writes:Rosenthal contradicts himself on the extent of God’s wrath and the time of the Second Coming of Christ. While his sincerity may be beyond question, many of his definitions appear to be homemade and supporting evidence is completely inadequate. … Rosenthal is in serious error when he attempts to set the time of the Rapture three-fourths of the way through the seven years of judgment and wrath, some 1,890 days after the Antichrist makes his unparalleled covenant with Israel. . . . The Lord’s people should not be confused by vehement argumentation designed to set the day of His appearing.

If Rosenthal were correct in his assumptions, a prewrath Rapture would be the Christian’s ultimate nightmare, hardly the “blessed hope” promised in Scripture. Tim LaHaye makes the point:It would be a non-event, for there would be few if any Christians left to rapture at this time. Could any Christian take Antichrist’s mark and thus survive to be raptured? Indeed not. Revelation 14:9-10 makes it clear that ‘those who worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark’ will be consigned to hell.

Well said.

Since the publication of Rosenthal’s book, virtually every reviewer has brought its limitations and biblical inaccuracies to light-primary among them the issue of imminence.

The prewrath theory destroys the sense of expectation, demotivates the body of Christ, and puts the believer’s focus on evil rather than good. The only solace given to Christians in the prewrath theory is that they will be raptured before the great Battle of Armageddon-small comfort since the Church would have already endured the worst of the great Tribulation judgments. Fortunately, while disruptive in some circles over the years, Rosenthal’s theory has never gained ardent followers.

Posttribulationists (those who believe the Church of Jesus Christ will endure the terrible period of the Tribulation) like to use this verse -“Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:22) – saying this passage proves the Church will remain on earth because we are the “elect.” Nothing could be further from the truth. 

ELECT GROUPS

Many do not realize that God has two elect groups on earth. 

• The Church 

• The Jews

There is the Church (see Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:2), but that is not the group referred to in Matthew 24:22.

How do I know this?

Isaiah 42:1 speaks of the Jews as God’s elect. So does Isaiah 45:4; Isaiah 65:9; and Isaiah 65:22.

How does one know that the Jews are the elect for whom the days are being shortened in Matthew 24:22?

It’s important at all times to keep the biblical text in context, and this is especially true here.

First of all, this elect group is to flee from Judea to the mountains. Judea is the Holy Land, the area where Christ walked and ministered in human flesh (see Matthew 24:16). They are not to flee on the Sabbath day (shabbat) (Matthew 24:20). According to Exodus 31:13, the Sabbath day is to be eternally practiced by the Jews. In Mark 13:9, we find that they are beaten in the synagogues… not in the churches. We don’t meet in synagogues because we are the Church (see Acts 2:47).

Finally, all these events take place in the area of Jerusalem (see Luke 21:24). The elect, therefore, at this time in history, are Jews, God’s chosen people, the Israelites. Because of their history of rejecting Jesus Christ as Messiah (Savior), God, in His foreknowledge, has set up a different schedule for the Jews as a nation.

Because the true Church, all born-again believers, wholeheartedly accept Christ as Savior (John 1:11-12), they are called to heaven to escape the Tribulation period, or Time of Jacob’s Trouble.

During this time of disillusionment and despair, the Jews as a nation will finally recognize Jesus Christ as Messiah and King in the midst of their suffering (Romans 11:26). This clarifies Matthew 24:22  which states, “But for the elect’s sake [Israel, Deuteronomy 7:6-7] those days shall be shortened.

The judgment seat of Christ for the Church then occurs in the heavenlies as the Tribulation judgment hits the earth with massive force. Both elect groups are being prepared for the Millennium-one in heaven, the other upon earth. At the conclusion of this Time of Jacob’s Trouble, Christ returns with an army of believers and judges the nations on the basis of their rejection of Christ and their treatment of Israel (Matthew 25:31-46).

WHAT, WHEN, BEFORE or AFTER

What is their role in the great revival to come?

When will that revival take place?

Before or after the Rapture?

In one of the best books in print on the last days, Escape the Coming Night, by Dr. David Jeremiah, the author titles one of his chapters “Revival during Hell on Earth.” What an apt description of the Tribulation. It will indeed be hell on earth-something we have already described, but that we’ll continue to refer to throughout this book. Here’s how Dr. Jeremiah describes the Tribulation Hour judgment of a “groaning planet.

First, the white horse gallops onto the world scene carrying the man of deception, the coming world dictator; second, the red horse claws the air, abolishing any semblance of peace on earth; third, the black horse appears, creating hunger and economic disaster; fourth, the pale horse spreads deadly plague in its path.

The fifth seal reveals the martyrs of the Tribulation, and the sixth seal unleashes one of the most devastating earthquakes.

What a gloomy backdrop!

No wonder the question is asked, “Who is able to stand?”‘ Who indeed?

Monstrous catastrophes will afflict the earth and its people. But then, we see that God sends His angels to seal His people off from final judgment. A reprieve, it seems. Light at the end of a dark tunnel. Once again God protects His own-even as He spread His covering wings over Noah and his family, shielding them from extinction; Rahab the harlot, carried to safety by means of a sturdy scarlet rope; Daniel spared from a den of hungry lions; Moses swept to safety from the bulrushes of Egypt; Lot and his family rescued before the terrible fire fell on Sodom; and the protection of Israel’s children through a dabbing of blood on the doorposts of their Egyptian homes.

God has provided protection for His people-the children of Israel-throughout the annals of biblical and secular history. Now He promises to protect them once again-during the end times-giving them the opportunity to know the Messiah they so long rejected.

Who will be the minister of God’s salvation during this time? 

The Jews themselves-God’s chosen people.

Scripture gives ample proof that God can do anything at any time. I do not expect there will be a great revival before the Rapture because 2 Timothy 3:13 states, “Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” John also spoke about the latter-day Church in Revelation 3:15-16: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

Presently some of our churches are so cold that we could have signs above the doors stating: First Church of the Deep Freeze, Dr. Jack Frost, Pastor. However, there is going to be a great revival.

It will occur during the seven-year Tribulation period when 144,000 Jews (Revelation 7:4-8) will circle the globe, preaching the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 24:14), declaring the good news: The King is coming! At that time, the Bible says, “All Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:26). That means Jews.

A GREAT MULTITUDE

But when one gets to Revelation 7 it is a “great multitude.” 

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,

Who are they?

Revelation 7:9

These are the ones who emerged from the Great Tribulation

and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb

Revelation 7:14

They have trusted in the blood of the Lamb.

They have been cleansed.

Both Jews and Gentiles are saved during the greatest revival in history, because at that time, God says, “I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh” (Joel 2:28).

Yes, there will be a great revival, and it will occur after the Rapture.

In all probability, the Rapture will convince many that all these things they heard about Jesus and the Bible are, in fact, true, persuading them to want to know the Lord before it is too late.

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

Rapture 04: Pre-Tribulational Rapture

Jack van Impe feature

Why:

We want to continue in our study of why I believe in the pretribulational rapture.

 

The Tribulation is called “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble.” This prophet, in chapters 30 and 31,1)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah%2030-31&version=KJV summarizes Israel’s endurance in the Tribulation Hour and depicts it as Jacob’s, or Israel’s, trouble. (Jacob’s name was changed to Israel in 2 Kings 17:34.) In Ezekiel chapters 38 and 392)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2038-39&version=KJV the northern army or Russian bear comes out of the north against Israel. Eighteen different passages mark Israel as the victim. Ezekiel says, “And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel” (Ezekiel 38:16).

Daniel described this horrible period of Tribulation: And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered” (12:1).3)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel%2012:1&version=KJV Daniel’s seventy weeks, of which the Tribulation period is the closing segment, has to do with Israel: “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy” (Daniel 9:24).

The sixty-nine weeks totaling 483 years-already past-had to do with Israel.

Why would God change His method of operation for the seventieth week-the Tribulation Hour?

The simple conclusion is that there will be no change.

God will return to His original program for the final week. 

This is again the reason that Satan, upon being cast to earth during the Tribulation Hour, goes after the woman (Israel) who brought forth the man-child (Christ) in Revelation 12:12-14. The voice out of heaven cries: “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. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child [Christ]. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

Here we see God’s loving protection for His covenant people for a time-one year, and times-two years, and for half a time or one-half year. This totals three and one-half years or forty-two months-exactly one-half of the Tribulation period. Verse 174)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%2012:17&version=NKJV farther corroborates the fact that Israel is the persecuted one, not the Church, for “the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed [Israelites].”

Only antiliteralists and antidispensationalists confuse the issue. 

They allegorize, spiritualize, and pulverize the truth into mass confusion. They make Jews of all the redeemed or relegate the title of “Israelites” to Americans, Canadians, and other Anglo-Saxons. Little do they realize that there can be no harmony of the Scriptures when one does not rightly divide the word of truth (see 2 Timothy 2:15).

It is that God has two elect groups of individuals on this earth-Israel and the Church. Israel is the wife of Jehovah forever (Jeremiah 3:14; Hosea 2:19).

The Church is the bride of Christ (Revelation 19:7).

Romans 9 through 115)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%209-11&version=NKJV depict Israel’s past (chapter 9),6)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%209&version=NKJV Israel’s present (chapter 10),7)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%2010&version=NKJV and Israel’s future (chapter 11).8)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%2011&version=NKJV

During the Tribulation Hour, all Israel shall be saved see Romans 11:26.

The 144,000 Jewish evangelists (see Revelation 7:4-8) will proclaim the gospel of the kingdom to all the world (Matthew 24:14), and all Israel will accept Messiah (Christ) as Savior and King. Now these Israelites are the elect: “As touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes” (Romans 11:28). This solves the problem of Matthew 24:22, which states, “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake [Israelites] those days shall be shortened.

Posttribulationists vehemently cry: 
 You see, the elect are present for the judgments of the Tribulation Hour.

Not so!

The fact is that Jehovah chose or elected Israel to be His wife, and Christ chose or elected His people to be His bride, and it is the Father’s elect wife experiencing the judgments mentioned in Revelation chapters 6-18.9)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%206-18&version=NKJV

Concerning Israel, Deuteronomy 7:6 declares, “For thou art an holy people unto the lord thy God: the lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.” This promise is perpetual. “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance [or change of mind]” (Romans 11:29). This is the reason that all Israel is going to be saved (v. 26).10)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%2011:26&version=NKJV God keeps His covenants (v. 27),11)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%2011:27&version=NKJV and Israelites are still the Father’s “election” (see v. 28).12)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%2011:28&version=NKJV

To the Christians, Christ says, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you” (John 15:16). We were chosen “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4), and our choosing is eternal. Now there is no difficulty whatsoever when men see both elections, but confusion reigns when the two are intermingled, spiritualized, allegorized, and symbolized.

Take God for what He states-literally-and the problems vanish.

Deliverance from wrath (Luke 17:26-32).

The reason this hope is blessed or happy is that the Church escapes the turmoil of earth’s most devastating hour. This fact is confirmed by the teaching of Jesus. He said that the days of the Son of man would be like the days of Noah and Lot (see Luke 17:26-32). In Noah’s day, Enoch, a type of the Church, was evacuated before the judgment of the Flood, while Noah, a type of Israel, was preserved through it. Lot, in his removal to Zoar before the fires fell, is also a type of the escaping Church before atomic incineration begins.

Upon examining the story of Lot in Genesis 18:23-32, we discover that God informed Abraham that He would destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham immediately began bargaining with the Lord: “Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:23-25).

Abraham finally got the figure down to ten righteous people, but there were not even ten who were undefiled.

Therefore, God had to destroy the cities. Lot and his family, however; survived because God had another plan-the great escape. The angels removed Lot and his family from the city and took them to Zoar. Now listen to this surprising statement from God in Genesis 19:22: “I cannot do any thing till [Lot] be come thither.” God had to remove His people before He rained judgment upon the world of the ungodly. Then, and only then, did the Lord rain “upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the lord out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground” (Genesis 19:24-25).

As it was in the days of Lot, so shall it be in the day of the Son of man, or when the Son of man returns. Whether it is the great escape for the Church or the preservation of the Israelites through the Tribulation, God’s promises cannot fail.

The day of great wrath (see Revelation 6:17) will be meted out to sinners who store up, treasure up, or accumulate “wrath against the day of wrath” (Romans 2:5). But this wrath will be only for the wicked. Paul wrote, “[God] delivered us [Christians] from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10), and again: “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

This salvation from wrath cannot be the eternal deliverance from hell because the Christian already has that without Christ’s return. The moment a person believes, he is delivered from condemnation and “is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24). Because of it, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). The deliverance from wrath in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 has to do with Christ’s return because the text states, “[We] wait for his Son from heaven… which delivered us from the wrath to come.” It does not take the return of Christ to deliver us from the wrath of hell-salvation instantaneously accomplished this. But the coming of Christ delivers us from the wrath of the coming Tribulation Hour. This is how God will “keep [us] from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world” (Revelation 3:10).

The Church-the body and the bride (Ephesians 5:30).

Now let’s look at Christ’s church-His body and His bride. Will the Church go through the administration of God’s wrath upon the earth? I believe not. Millions of believers are already in heaven. All who have died “in Christ” during the past two thousand years are already with Christ. Paul said, “To be absent from the body [is] to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Why should a handful of believers experience God’s wrath while millions who lived and died during the last two thousand years enjoy the blessings of heaven during the Tribulation?

For God to have 99 percent of His church with Him while 1 percent suffer untold agonies would be inconsistent.

Since the Greek word ecclesia, translated “church” in English, means “a called out assembly,” could not this definition extend to the very hour when the final “called out assembly” meets the other 99 percent of the Church already in glory?

Why should a minority suffer God’s vengeance while the others watch from heavenly places?

We are also members of Christ’s body. “We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones” (Ephesians 5:30).

Should 99 percent of His body in heaven rejoice while the remaining 1 percent upon earth suffer?

Perish the thought. In fact, since Christ is the head of the Body, He would actually be administering wrath to His own body if He left part of that body on earth for the Tribulation period. Believers are also Christ’s bride.

Should 1 percent of the believers (constituting the Bride) languish in anguish while 99 percent abide at His side?

Let’s be consistent in our thinking! Love demands that all the remaining 1 percent join the 99 percent already in His presence, completing the Church, the Body, and the Bride. This same Church, Body, and Bride must go through a time of examination called the Judgment Seat of Christ. The Bride also experiences the marriage supper of the Lamb before returning with Christ to the earth.

The posttribulation adherents teach a ” yo-yo theory“-up and down, going to meet Christ and returning instantly-and have no time interval for this judgment-seat examination or the marriage. It takes time to investigate God’s people. 2 Corinthians 5:10 states, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body.” This is an impossibility in the posttribulation arrangement of events because millions cannot be investigated in less than one second or “the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52). The “bob up to meet Him and bob down to reign” theory, if true, wipes out the intervals of time demanded for the judgment seat of Christ and the marriage.

I believe it is logically and abundantly clear that there will be a Rapture and that it must come before the Tribulation period. Common sense demands it; confusion reigns without it. Soon the Lord will break through the clouds. His church, body, and bride will be united with members already in His presence, for “them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him” (1 Thessalonians 4:14). Then all the Church is investigated and prepared “as a chaste virgin to Christ ” (2 Corinthians 11:2) to enjoy the marriage supper and honeymoon.

The Most Powerful Argument for a Pretribulation Rapture

The final and greatest argument for a pretribulation Rapture is based on Matthew 25:31-46. In this text Christ returns to earth and judges the nations. At this point of time there are two groups present-the saved and the lost. The lost are condemned to everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:41, 46), whereas the saved are invited to enter the kingdom for the thousand-year reign with Christ (Matthew 25:34; Revelation 20:4).

Now, supposing the Rapture occurred at this juncture as postmillennialists teach, who would then be left to reign with Christ upon earth?

At the Rapture believers receive glorified bodies (1 Corinthians 15:51-54; Philippians 3:21; 1 John 3:2-3).

These bodies, as Christ returns to earth, remain in the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, hovering above the earth for the entire one thousand years (Revelation 21:9-22:5). That being the case, no one would be left to rule on earth if all the saved were raptured and translated, receiving their eternal spiritual bodies at the hour Christ returns to earth. In fact, there could be no Millennium if this theory were followed to its ultimate conclusion. I repeat-if posttribbers are correct, the saved are translated into spiritual bodies while the lost are sent into eternal punishment.

This leaves no one to rule and reign with Christ for the one thousand years.

On the other hand, if the Rapture occurs before the Tribulation period begins, the riddle is solved.

Here’s why.

There will be multitudes, yes millions upon millions converted during earth’s most horrendous hour because this is the time when God’s spirit is poured out upon all flesh (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17), and the greatest revival in history occurs. Revelation 7:9 states: “A great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.” When asked who these tens of millions are, the answer is: These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (v. 14).13)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%207:14&version=NKJV

These are the millions who go into the kingdom in earthly bodies for Christ’s millennial reign (Matthew 25:34; Revelation 20:4). This is the only position that makes sense and fits the situation of a coming Millennium composed of believers ruling and reigning with Christ in earthly bodies.

MID TRIBULATION VIEW

According to this view, Christian’s would pass through the first half of the Tribulation but be raptured at the seventh trumpet judgment. This position, however, does not hold up since it ignores the biblical teaching of imminence-a view that asserts the return of Christ will occur unannounced, at any given moment. This theory is so unpopular today that little space is needed to cover the subject-just enough to describe the viewpoint.

POST TRIBULATION VIEW

This view does not look for Christ to come for His own until after the Tribulation. According to this theory, the Church should not be looking for the blessed hope of the return of Christ, but rather to the appearance of the Antichrist and the indescribable judgments and horrors of the Tribulation period.

Surely no reasonable, rational thinker will disagree with the facts presented thus far concerning the pretribulation Rapture.

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

References   [ + ]

1. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah%2030-31&version=KJV
2. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2038-39&version=KJV
3. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel%2012:1&version=KJV
4. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%2012:17&version=NKJV
5. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%209-11&version=NKJV
6. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%209&version=NKJV
7. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%2010&version=NKJV
8. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%2011&version=NKJV
9. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%206-18&version=NKJV
10. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%2011:26&version=NKJV
11. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%2011:27&version=NKJV
12. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%2011:28&version=NKJV
13. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%207:14&version=NKJV

Rapture 03: Pre, Mid or Post Tribulation

Jack van Impe feature

Which is correct? 

Pre, Mid or Post….

The Bible is truth, it provides peace to troubled souls living in a chaotic world. Because it is a two-edged sword, it cuts through the insignificant and points to what is authentic. Because it is sheer, raw power, it has the dynamic to move the tallest mountains of unbelief. It is a compendium of truth by which we must live and is nothing short of majestic. Yet, there are many interpretations of holy writ. Great controversy continues to surround the subject of the return of Christ for His church-as far as a timetable is concerned.

There are essentially three points of view. 

Pre-, Mid-, or Post    TRIBULATIONAL VIEW.   

The pretribulation position, on which this book is based, reflects the following seven Scriptural arguments. We will consider the first three this week and the remaining next week.

The promise to the church in Philadelphia (Revelation 3:10). The Book of Revelation is written chronologically. It sets forth the believer’s deliverance from wrath in a beautiful way. Revelation 1:19 states, “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be.” Presently, the twentieth century finds us in Revelation, chapter 3.1)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%203&version=KJV John sees the great escape or evacuation of believers in chapter 4, verse 1.2)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%204:1&version=KJV He says, “I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

I believe this to be the Rapture because the twenty-four elders, picturing the saints of all ages-Old and New Testament believers-are already crowned and casting their rewards at Christ’s feet in verses 10 and 11,3)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%204:10-11&version=KJV and believers cannot be crowned until the resurrection of the just occurs (Luke 14:14). Thus, the Rapture has already taken place, the rewards have been distributed, and all is well as the chapter ends.

Then the Tribulation Hour, depicted in Revelation 6,4)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%206&version=KJV will continue until the Battle of Armageddon, when Christ returns as King of kings and Lord of lords (see Revelation 19:11-16). The crowning of the saints in chapter 4,5)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%204&version=KJV plus the fact that the Church is conspicuously absent and not even mentioned after chapter 4,6)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%204&version=KJV is certainly meaningful.

The seven churches of Revelation 27)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%202&version=KJV and 38)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%203&version=KJV represent the professing Church in seven successive eras from the Day of Pentecost to the time of the Lord’s return. Each church fits chronologically into its respective place in history. The sixth church, Philadelphia, escapes the Tribulation Hour, but the seventh, Laodicea, is rejected by Christ. True believers, possessing Christ, are kept from the hour of temptation that immerses our entire planet: “I also will keep thee from [not through] the hour of temptation” (Revelation 3:10). Also, “God hath not appointed us to wrath” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

The case of the twenty-four elders (Revelation 4:1). Now let’s consider another great pretribulational truth-the twenty-four elders. After the “Come up hither” of Revelation 4:1, twenty-four elders are casting crowns at Christ’s feet in verses 10 and 11.9)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%204:10-11&version=KJV Then a throne is set up. Around God’s throne are twenty-four thrones on which sit twenty-four elders, “clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold” (Revelation 4:4).

Who are the twenty-four elders? 

This is of extreme importance for pretribulation proponents: The twenty-four elders are the representatives of God’s people in both Testaments- the saints of all ages. The Book of Revelation unites the representative groups often. For instance, in describing the Holy City in Revelation 21:12-14, the names of the twelve tribes of Israel are posted on the gates, while the names of the twelve apostles are inscribed upon the city’s foundation. Now twelve plus twelve equals twenty-four.

In chapter 5, verses 8 through 10,10)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%205:8-10&version=KJV these twenty-four elders do something that is spine-tingling: “[They fall] down before the Lamb [Jesus], having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they [sing] a new song, saying, Thou art worthy [Christ] to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people
, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

Here we witness the praise session of the ages-Old and New Testament believers, represented by twenty-four elders, praising the Lamb of God for shedding His blood. Someone says, “Old Testament believers were not saved by the blood.

No one-but no one-gets to heaven without the shed blood of Jesus! This is why Acts 10:43 declares, “To [Jesus] give all the [Old Testament] prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

Therefore, Old and New Testament believers, pictured by the twenty-four elders, are singing about the blood in Revelation 5:9 before the seal judgments begin in chapter 611)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%206&version=KJV (the beginning of the Tribulation Hour). The Jews of old looked ahead to Calvary’s shed blood as they offered their animal sacrifices while the Church looks back to the Cross as the communion or memorial supper is conducted. Either way, “It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11).

Since the elders are already crowned-and since no one can be crowned until he is either resurrected if dead, or translated if living-it is obvious that the Resurrection has occurred by the time we reach Revelation 4:10. First Thessalonians 4:16 has transpired. We conclude, then, that the scene in Revelation 4 and 512)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%204-5&version=KJV is the direct result of the Rapture, the great escape before the judgments begin in chapter 6.13)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%206&version=KJV

The Holy Spirit, the hinderer, is taken out of the way (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8). Another truth concerning the pre-tribulation Rapture that needs to be considered has to do with the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Jesus, before departing from earth to heaven, said, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:7-8). It is evident that the work of the Holy Spirit is to convict us and restrain us from sin. The Spirit of God does this through those whose bodies He indwells.

First Corinthians 6:19 states, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” Every child of God is indwelt by His Spirit: “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Romans 8:9). Spirit-indwelt believers have a purifying effect upon the world. They are the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-14). Salt prevents spoilage, and light dispels darkness. Think of the corruption and darkness that will prevail when the salt of the earth and light of the world are removed at the Rapture. No wonder Jesus said, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time” (Matthew 24:21).

Does the Bible teach such an evacuation of believers? Is there really a great escape before the Tribulation begins? Definitely! 

The second epistle to the Thessalonians proves this fact. In the first century, some posttribulationists were already sowing seeds of dissent. They said that the Church was already undergoing the trials of the Tribulation. They even produced a falsified letter, forging Paul’s name, that stated the Church was in the hour of trial. Recent posttribulational writers have almost gone as far in falsifying facts. They even print names of people who adopted their viewpoint, and the people “quoted” wonder how they arrived at such a conclusion.

Paul settled the mess by stating in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8: “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him. 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 exaketh 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 [“hinders”] will let [“hinder”], 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.

Paul, deeply perturbed by the forged letter, stated in effect, I understand someone produced a letter, supposedly written by me, stating that the Church is presently experiencing the pangs of the Tribulation Hour. Don’t believe that lying prattle. Don’t be both
ered, bewildered, or shaken over such a distortion of facts. I could not and would not write such a letter, simply because the Tribulation cannot begin until two things occur. First, there must be a falling away, and second, the man of sin must be revealed
(paraphrased).

Scholars of the past rendered the phrase “falling away” as “a catching away.” They talked about a time when the law of gravitation would be broken and men would “fall away” via the Rapture to meet the Lord in the clouds.

Other scholars believed that the Greek word apostaias meant that an apostasized departure from the faith would occur.

The important point to consider is that either must happen before the man of sin-the lawless one, the beast of the seventieth week-is revealed. This introduction of the Antichrist to the world will inaugurate the Tribulation Hour.

This means that the “day of the Lord” or the Tribulation period cannot begin until this monstrous maniac is identified to earth’s citizens. Yet he cannot be revealed until the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit is removed: “He who now letteth [“hinders”] will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8).

This does not mean that the Holy Spirit must be removed from the earth. 

This is impossible because He, as God, is omnipresent, everywhere at all times (see Psalm 139:7-11). So it means that His hindering or restraining power over sin-that keeps the Antichrist from mounting the throne- will be removed. This will happen as the Holy Spirit’s temples-believers’ bodies (see 1 Corinthians 6:19)-are taken from the earth to heaven.

Then the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” will be removed. This immediately will produce corruption and darkness on an unprecedented scale, allowing the world dictator to come to power. This will begin the Tribulation Hour. Then the “beast” of the ages will rule during earth’s bloodiest hour, proclaiming himself as God, the Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:4). He will rule until Christ returns to earth at the conclusion of the seven years. Then “the Lord shall consume [him] with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy [him] with the brightness of his coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:8).

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

References   [ + ]

1, 8. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%203&version=KJV
2. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%204:1&version=KJV
3, 9. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%204:10-11&version=KJV
4, 11, 13. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%206&version=KJV
5, 6. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%204&version=KJV
7. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%202&version=KJV
10. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%205:8-10&version=KJV
12. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%204-5&version=KJV

Rapture 01: The Next Event on God’s Prophetic Clock

Jack van Impe feature

The next event on God’s prophetic clock:
Is the Rapture, a word that is derived from the Latin word rapturo, meaning, “a snatching away.” The Rapture is that dramatic moment when the Lord Jesus Christ comes in clouds of glory to remove from this world all who have died in Christ along with the living from the Day of Pentecost until Christ comes to “snatch” His children upward and home in the twinkling of an eye. I Thessalonians 4:16-18 teaches: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

This event will occur at breakneck speed in the “twinkling of an eye.” Scientists have measured the twinkling in a human being’s eye, and it amounts to eleven-one hundredths of a second. Those left on the earth will not know what hit them. A business colleague will suddenly be gone. A schoolteacher will no longer stand before his or her desk as the chalk falls to the floor. A doctor will not show up for his rounds.

There will be no nurses at many hospitals to administer medicine, take pulses, or follow doctors’ orders. Dirty dishes will be left in the sink as a housewife disappears from the view of her stunned family. The Rapture will precipitate the greatest traffic jams in history as cars suddenly become driver-less and pedestrians run for cover. It will be that moment in history, when, without warning, the Lord says, “Come up hither” (Revelation 4:1). It will be the greatest escape in the history of the world.

There are those who say that the pretribulational viewpoint began in 1830 and was propagated by Edward Irving, J. N. Darby, and Margaret McDonald, a retarded girl. But as we shall see, that is not so.

St. Victorinus, the bishop of Pettau, wrote a commentary on the book of Revelation in AD 270. he said he saw another great and wonderful sign: “Seven angels having the last seven plagues, for in them is completed the indignation of God. And these shall be in the last time when the church shall have gone out of the midst.” St. Victorinus was talking about the Rapture.

Here is more powerful documentation on a pretrib Rapture. The early Christian writer and poet Ephraem the Syrian (who lived from AD 306 to 373) was a major theologian of the early Byzantine Eastern Church. To this day, his hymns and homilies are used in the liturgy of the Greek Orthodox and Middle Eastern Nestorian Churches. He also wrote a large number of commentaries that have never been translated in English. Concerning a pretrib Rapture he stated: “All the saints and Elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins.

Thus, this teaching is not a present-day innovation but a doctrinal statement dating back seventeen centuries to St. Victorinus, and twenty centuries back to Jesus and Paul. However, there is more. In the sixteenth century there were also those who expressed absolute assurance of the Rapture. Hugh Latimer, burned at the stake for his faith in 1555, said, “It may come in my days, old as I am, or in my children’s days, the saints shall be taken up to meet Christ in the air and so shall come down with him again.” Joseph Mede, the great sixteenth-century literalist, understood I Thessalonians 4:13-18 to teach the catching up of the saints and even used the word Rapture. This was also 250 years before Irving, Darby, and McDonald.

While the Rapture is not taught in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, you will find it mentioned twice in the Gospel of John. This is important to remember: Any other time you read about Christ’s return in the Gospels, it is not referring to the Rapture. Instead, these are references to the second phase of Christ’s return, when He physically comes back to earth to rule over the earth after a seven-year tribulation period.

Where are the two Rapture texts found in the Gospel of John? John 14:1-3: “Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

This is not His coming to the earth, but a time when Jesus receives us unto Himself at the great Rapture – the snatching away – to be with Him in heaven as the seven years of torment play out their unbridled fury on the earth.

The second reference to the Rapture is in John 11:25-26. I must confess that I quoted the passage for years and did not really understand it. Christ said: “I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

Jesus is contrasting those who experience death and live again (“the dead in Christ shall rise first” 1 Thessalonians 4:16) with those who never experience death (because “we which are alive and remain” are caught up without dying, 1 Thessalonians 4:17).

In the upcoming weeks, we will direct our attention to those events that are leading up to the Rapture, the Rapture itself, and what happens once God’s chosen are caught away to be with the Lord.

The good news for the person who is prepared is – when the Rapture comes, believers will go home to be with the Lord and evade earth’s horrendous seven years of Tribulation. The believer in the Lord Jesus Christ will, at long last, be the recipient of that blessed hope.

There will be no more tears, no more suffering, and no more dying for those who have received their new, glorified bodies without sin or sickness for all eternity. It is from this perspective – the pretribulation point of view – that I approach this subject with godly reverence.

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE