Signs: Concerning Mankind 03: Ushering In The End Of The Age?

Jack van Impe feature

Concerning Mankind

What role will mankind itself play in Ushering in the end of the age?

Signs 

In describing the attitude of mankind and the conditions that will prevail upon the earth at the time of Christ’s return, the Lord Jesus said: “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (Matthew 24:37-42).

In this portion of Scripture we discover that, upon Christ’s return, conditions on earth will be exactly as they were during Noah’s era: “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose…. And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence” (Genesis 6:1-2,5,11). Would you not agree this passage is as current as this morning’s headlines?

Sex Outside of Marriage

The first sign in this listing has to do with sex. “They took them wives” (Genesis 6:2). In doing this, they went against the lesson God had given them at creation. God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18).

What did God create? 

He did not create a man for a man. Instead, He created one woman for one man. This is God’s established order for the universe. Lust and sin have, however, kicked a dent in the Almighty’s program. Men and women today are running away from one another, leaving children destitute and homes broken.

Why? Because their number one concern is the satisfaction of their own flesh.

Someone compliments them, they become enamored, and suddenly they find themselves infatuated with the idea of love rather than the genuine article. Soon they go through a predictable pattern of adultery, divorce, and remarriage, only to discover that their second and third choices were not much better than the first. The trouble was not their first mate, but sin. Naturally, there are exceptions. Today, approximately half of all American marriages end up on the casualty list. The signs of Noah’s era are all around us. It is one more example that the Rapture is near.

Jesus further added that they were “giving in marriage.” Dr, M. R. DeHaan and other scholars render this as “exchanging mates” or “wife swapping.” Swingers are still the rage of the day-and in many communities where you might not expect such unsavory activity. Couples get together for a supper bash and end up exchanging their mates for a night of glorified orgies.

How low can humans go? 

The situation dominates modern society, and it has the curse of God upon it. We also see millions today shacking up and living together without a marriage license, and the pulpits remain silent.

Hebrews 13 states,

Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

Hebrews 13:4

Still, despite God’s warning, millions disobey His commandments.

They live life loosely and laugh off the consequences.

Sin, however; offers its own reward, and its wages are always death (Romans 6:23).

The day of sifting and judgment is coming.

Soon a sin-crazy, hell-bent generation will meet the God of holiness: The string will snap and the joke will end.

Gluttony and Drunkenness

Christ also mentioned gluttony and drunkenness as signs foreshadowing His return. He said, “They were eating and drinking . . . until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not [believed not] until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:38-39).

The fool’s motto has not changed over the centuries, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” Bars and nightclubs throughout the nation advertise a “happy hour,” or an “attitude-adjustment hour,” meaning that drinks go for half-price during a specified time.

But what does this really mean? 

That one can choose an eternity without Christ at discounted prices. Never have we had so many alcoholics and drug addicts. America’s combined total of addicts exceeds twenty million. Europe, Asia, and all the continents of the world are in the same dilemma. Satan’s brew is eye-enticing and nose-appealing. Millions have fallen victim to his seduction.

However, it will not last forever. The third and fourth seals of the Apocalypse picture shortages, poverty, hunger, and death.

Revelation 6 states,

And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

Revelation 6:7-8

When life ends, as it must for all mortals, because “it is appointed unto men once to die” (Hebrews 9:27), the sinner must enter a place where even water is unattainable.

Christ told of a lost sinner crying out from hell, saying, “Send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame” (Luke 16:24).

 Liquor is not worth such eternal thirst.

The Holy Spirit declares in 1 Corinthians 6,

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10

Galatians 5 mentions seventeen sins, and the sixteenth is listed asdrunkenness,” which brings eternal loss, for the conclusion of the text Galatians 5:19-21 states, “They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Do not let sin rob you of being caught up with Christ in that glorious day that is soon to come.

Is it my imagination, or are corruption and violence on the increase? What does this have to do with Christ’s return?

Corruption

Noah’s era was also one of corruption: “Every imagination of the thoughts of [mankind’s] heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). The result: “The earth also was corrupt before God” (Genesis 6:11). It takes no stretch of a person’s imagination to see a world of men filled with vile imaginations.

This is history’s worst hour. Filthy pornographic magazines and X-rated movies have brainwashed the depraved into submission. Vile, lewd, and licentious pornography floods the world. Savages are roaming the streets raping and sodomizing victims.

Since morality is the essence of God’s Ten Commandments, as well as the entire teaching of the Holy Bible, Christians should be crusaders in the battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil.

How does it make you feel to see pornographic bookstores within a few doors of gospel-preaching churches? Unfortunately, many believers are doing nothing to stop this intrusion on our morality. This is contrary to the Almighty God who demands that His servants “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1).

If we do not want kiddy porn and its sister, prostitution, to arrive in our communities, we must rid ourselves of obscenity at every level or eventually it will touch the innocent lives of our children. Even the Supreme Court has stated emphatically that the first amendment does not protect obscenity. The laws must be enforced at all levels: local, state, and federal.

Many Christians think their children are safe because they are in a Christian school and church. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Our homes are being invaded by television filth from morning to night, with the afternoon “freak shows” walking away with the ratings! Yet, millions of American Christians have accepted the philosophy that there is no right or wrong.

The result of our inaction? 

Purveyors of smut capitalize on the opportunities that an uncaring public hands them on a silver platter. The present scene has become so nauseating that celebrities, professional counselors, and media executives themselves are speaking out. One famous comedian, Steve Alien, declared publicly that television has gotten too dirty and that the networks televise junk just to keep the ratings high.

A broadcasting executive asked his industry this probing question, “Have we sunk so low that we have sold our children to the dogs in order to make a dollar?

You’ve probably seen the popular armbands worn by many Christians-young and old alike. There are only four letters on the band: WWJD – a question and a reminder to the wearer:

What Would Jesus Do? 

Good question. “What would Jesus do? Well, I can tell you one thing He’s going to do:

He’s going to return in majesty and glory. He’s going to remove His church from the porn, the permissiveness, and the poverty of morality and arrange for His bride to meet Him in the air in a sky-splitting event known as the Rapture.

While we remain on planet earth, you and I must heed the apostle’s words, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). This bombardment of continual wickedness, implanting so much filth and false values in our collective minds, is presently reaping an abundant harvest morally, spiritually, and socially. Just as the degenerated values of society in Noah’s day filled the world with violence, so sin, crime, and fear stalk humanity as we come to the close of the twentieth century.

I’m confident this situation will continue to deteriorate because the sign will break forth in all its debauchery during the Tribulation Hour.

We are already observing the preview of coming events. Life will not be worth living during the Tribulation, because Satan will be cast out of the heavens and will be enthroned upon the earth. Because he knows that he has only a short time to perform his heinous acts, and because of his impending imprisonment for one thousand years (Revelation 20:3), he will unleash all of his brutality and uncleanness upon earth’s millions. That is why Revelation 12:12 states, “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.

Violence

Remember that Noah’s day was also one of violence (Genesis 6:11). Any person who watches television news today surely realizes that we are going through a period of unprecedented violence and terrorism throughout the world.

Information coming to the intelligence community is providing further evidence and new details on the operations of a worldwide international terrorist network, which has been functioning since 1969.

They are an organized alliance with roots in Asia, the Middle East, especially Iran, Western Europe, Latin America, and the United States. The network’s ideological cement is mixed from Marx and Mao, with proclaimed goals of “world revolution,” to be attained through a worldwide war of terror against the advanced states in attempts to undermine their normal way of life and institutions.

While the scope of the terrorist alliance now is attaining global proportions, the Middle East remains its main base and sanctuary area-backed by Russian arms and manipulation. It’s reported that terrorists believe that a larger number of casualties may now be necessary to generate the amount of publicity formerly evoked by less bloody operations.

The world is in a precarious position. But we’ve seen nothing yet. 

Violence will rear its ugly head in monstrous proportions as terrorists prepare for germ and biological warfare to hold major cities captive. Soon millions will die.

When it does occur, could it be the beginning of the Tribulation Hour? 

But fear not precious flock, Jesus said in Luke 21

When ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come” and then adds in verse 31, “When ye do see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom [return to earth] of God is nigh at hand [near].”

Luke 21:9

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

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

Signs: Concerning Mankind 01: the “Regathering” of Israel?

Jack van Impe feature

Some have said that Israel herself is a sign.

What does this mean?

What is the significance of the “regathering” of Israel?

 The Jew himself is God’s timepiece and the key that unlocks every door of prophecy.

This is because God has a special love for Israel. Deuteronomy 7:6-8 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. The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you.” God chose Israel “to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth” (Deuteronomy 14:2).

This is the first great insight I want you to grasp-that God chose the people of Israel simply because He loved them. No more, no less. David was so enraptured with the truth of God’s love for Israel that he exclaimed in 1 Chronicles 17:22, “For thy people Israel didst thou make thine own people for ever; and thou, LORD, becamest their God.” As we progress with this question, it will become abundantly clear why to this day Israel itself is a major sign of Christ’s imminent return.

The Lord God Jehovah told the people of Israel that their country was to be located “in the midst of the land” (Ezekiel 38:12), or more literally, in the “navel of the earth.” Its capital city, Jerusalem, was to be situated in the center of the nations (Ezekiel 5:5); and in that capital city the Lord was to put His name forever, and forever, declaring that His eye and His heart would be there perpetually (1 Kings 9:3).

There the Lord promised to establish the throne of David forever (2 Samuel 7:16) and finally to give that throne to His own divine and eternal Son. Luke 1:31-33 states, “Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Are you beginning to see how much God loved Israel and its people?

However, it was not all love, sweetness, and light.

God also warned the children of Israel of an imminent worldwide dispersion if they thumbed their noses at Him in disobedience. He went so far as to tell them that His Son would delay His rule if their hearts became wicked and hardened.

To see if God is a God of His word, let us look at the prophetical utterances to see if they really took place.

Scripture tells us that Israel was, in fact, driven out of its land and scattered among the nations of the earth because of its widespread disobedience. During this worldwide dispersion, God visited the Gentiles, “to take out of them a people for his name” (Acts 15:14).

In the meantime, Israel existed many days without a king, without a prince, without a sacrifice, without an image, without an ephod (a sacred garment of gold, blue, purple, scarlet, and fine twined linen worn by the priest), and without teraphim (Hosea 3:4).

Devout religious Jews cry vehemently at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem because they have been without all of these things for centuries-just as God declared they would be without them. Since all these prophecies have come to pass according to prophetical utterance, and since God has shown His mighty power in bringing each utterance to fulfillment, let us now consider the predictions in upcoming questions and answers to see if His coming is near.

The Regathering of Israel

The second part of the question is, “What is the significance of the ‘regathering’ of Israel?”

Scores of Bible passages clearly indicate that the reestablishment of Israel in its ancient homeland will take place when Messiah is ready to return to earth. The Messiah is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ of Luke 1:32.

Deuteronomy 30 states,

The LORD thy God will. . . return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.

Deuteronomy 30:3

In similar language, Isaiah 11 tells us,

And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

Isaiah 11:12

Again, Acts 15:16 declares, “After this.” After what? Look at verse 14: Goddid visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.

This has been occurring since Cornelius, the first Gentile convert, received Christ in Acts 10. God says, “After this [after the Gentiles have had their opportunity] I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up” (Acts 15:16).

An important historical note:

In A.D. 70, Titus the Roman general smashed Jerusalem and drove the Jews into their dispersion. This is called “the diaspora,” or worldwide dispersion of the Jews. From that hour until 1948, the Jews had no homeland to call their own. Instead, the nations of the world hated them, mistreated them, and labeled them, as we noted earlier, “wandering Jews.” God, however, said that He would bring His people back to their own land and that this regathering would happen near the time when Messiah would set up His kingdom on earth: “And I will plant [Israel] upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God” (Amos 9:15).

God has put the Jews in their land to stay forever.

Is it not interesting that the Arab nations refused to recognize Israel when it became a nation in 1948? The Arabs were determined to drive Israel into the sea and obliterate her memory from the face of the earth.

However, God had other-and better-plans and, in the end, God’s way always wins the day. He said in the verse just quoted that Israel would remain in its land forever after He planted the nation there.

Therefore, in 1974 the Egyptians, Syrians, and others negotiated with Israel, recognizing for the first time that Israel was indeed a nation and in its land to stay.

Have you studied the extraordinary message in Ezekiel 37, which alludes to this event, and which further describes the prophet’s vision of the dry bones?

Here is a portion of this amazing passage:

The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones. And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. Again he said unto me. Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind. Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them. Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves [Gentile nations], and cause you to come up out of your graves [the Gentile nations], and bring you into the land of Israel.

Ezekiel 37:1-12

There is no secret here.

Verse 11 proclaims: “These bones are the whole house of Israel.

In 1948, the Jews put up a flag-the six-pointed Star of David. After being scattered throughout the earth for nearly nineteen hundred years, they had finally become a nation!

The current population of Israel is more than five million-consisting of Jews who have returned from 120 nations of the world, speaking more than eighty-three languages.

While in Israel, I spoke to a Jew who had recently returned from Spanish Morocco.

As I sat with him on a bus going from Arab Israel to another part of the country, we talked about the black Jews who were just then returning to Israel from Ethiopia.

He quickly said, “Yes, we have come from all nations.”

When the Ethiopian Jews left Jerusalem nineteen hundred years ago, they said, “We will never go back to our homeland until it is time for Messiah to return.”

Today these Jews from Ethiopia-called Falashas-have returned in massive numbers.

They have also come from Russia and Ukraine-the final sign (see Jeremiah 3:17-18).

For these reasons alone, I can say with full conviction-and trust you can also-that Jesus Christ’s return to this earth is near, even at the door.

Jerusalem has always been under the heel of the

Gentiles. When will ownership of Jerusalem return to the Jews: And when will the Tribulation period ultimately fall on believers?

We find further dramatic signs of Christ’s return in Luke 21.

Jesus said:

And they 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. And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh

Luke 21:24-28

This portion of Scripture pinpoints the time of Christ’s statement in utmost simplicity.

In modern grammar, the Savior declares, “There is an hour coming when My people, the Jews, shall control Jerusalem. At this moment of time, there shall also be signs in space coupled with a trouble-filled world. When all of these events occur simultaneously, look up because My return to earth is very near.

Jerusalem had been under the heel of the Gentiles. In fact, the Gentiles controlled the city for twenty-five centuries, but in our lifetime a miracle happened. Jerusalem was captured by the Jews in a six-day war fought June 5-10, 1967-one of the most important signs ever concerning Christ’s return predicted in Luke 21:24.

But there’s more. Jesus added in verse 25 that signs would occur in the sun, moon, and stars. Think of this. Twenty-five months after Jerusalem was captured by the Jews, June of 1967, Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon in July of 1969. Coincidence? Hardly.

Signs of Judgment by Fire

As we have already learned, the period of time that follows the Rapture and precedes Christ’s return to earth is called the Tribulation (Revelation 7:14).

The Rapture is described in Revelation 4:1 and the Revelation-Christ’s return to earth to receive His church in Revelation 19:11.

The chapters between the two events constitute the Tribulation Hour-a seven-year period of judgment.

Christ referred to this period in the statement, “As it was in the days of Lot…Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed” (Luke 17:28, 30).

The fire that burned Sodom and Gomorrah was all-consuming-the result of wickedness and of turning a deaf ear to the Almighty. Bad as it was for Sodom and Gomorrah, their fate is nothing compared to the coming human devastation that will afflict the people of earth during the Tribulation Hour.

• Jeremiah 30:7 declares, “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it.

• Daniel 12:1 states, “There shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation.

Jesus also declared 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.

Included in this horrendous portrayal is a world on fire- similar to the judgment of Lot’s day.

The Bible says,

• “The flaming flame shall not be quenched” (Ezekiel 20:47).

Again,

• “The whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy” (Zephaniah 1:18).

• “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven” (Malachi 4:1).

• “And the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up” (Revelation 8:7).

• “By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone” (Revelation 9:18).

A stockpile of nuclear explosives jams the weapons arsenals of the world today.

Reports indicate that the amount is equivalent to one ton of TNT for every person alive. Recently, India and Pakistan conducted nuclear explosions, and the world teeters on the brink of destruction.

Think of the mass devastation that shall be unleashed on this world during the Tribulation Hour!

But God’s people will escape this catastrophic judgment.

Revelation 3:10 declares, “I also will keep thee from [ek-out of] the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

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

Parousia: “Blessed Hope” (Return of Christ)

Jack van Impe feature

My friends do not believe in the “blessed hope” – the return of Christ to claim His own.

I need additional verses that speak specifically of the Rapture.

Also, what about the “signs pointing to Christ’s millennial reign”?

What does that mean?

Numerous other New Testament passages speak about Christ’s return. For instance, Titus 2:13; “Looking for that blessed hope [the Rapture], and the glorious appearing [the Revelation] of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” Hebrews 10:25 speaks about that great “approaching” day.

James mentions the hoarding of gold and silver in the last days: “Ye have heaped treasure [gold and silver] together for the last days” (5:3) and adds in verse 8, “the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” Likewise, Jude declares that, as the Lord returns with His saints, filthy dreamers or false prophets who have denied the Bible will be destroyed (see w. 14-15).

There are also signs in the New Testament that speak of the relationship between Jerusalem and the Gentiles. One group of signs deals specifically with Jerusalem’s role in world history as well as the role of the Gentiles. Luke 21:24 declares, “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

In modem English, Christ stated, “Jerusalem will be controlled by Gentile nations and powers until the time of My return.” Timothy’s grandmother, Lois, in 2 Timothy 1:5 may have mentioned this fantastic prophetical utterance to her grandson, but it did not occur in his lifetime.

Generations of Jewish grandmothers probably referred to this sign, but it never occurred in their day.

Enter the mockers of Scripture who throw their abusive insults: Where is the promise of this coming?

Since our grandparents’ departure, all things continue as they were. However, remember . . . God “cannot lie” (Titus 1:2).

Finally, after nineteen hundred years of waiting-after seventy-five to one hundred generations of grandparents had lived and died, it finally happened.

A six-day war was fought from June 5 to 10 in 1967.

During the battle, the Jews took Jerusalem-one of the most powerful signs of Christ’s return.

What about the six-day theory?

Second Peter 3:8-9 contains a tremendous mathematical formula: “Beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” For years, I have referred to this passage as a mathematical masterpiece. Let us review it together. The promise God keeps is found in 2 Peter 3:4.

It is the promise of His coming. Because God “cannot lie” (Titus 1:2), He will come again!

His heart of love toward sinners is filled with patience, but soon the day of grace will end.

His patience cannot go on eternally. His prearranged timetable must be fulfilled. What is this time frame?

Can we mortals know such secrets? Yes, we can! Jesus said, “When ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (Matthew 24:33).

Though we will never know the precise day or hour (Matthew 24:36), we can know God’s approximate schedule. How can this be? We read that a thousand years is as a day, and a day is as a thousand years. This is not as mysterious as it sounds. In fact, a few mental calisthenics give us the solution to this often-misunderstood equation.

God created the world in six days (Genesis 1:31) and rested on the seventh day (Genesis 2:2).

Since a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day, we have six days of labor, signifying six thousand years of burdensome toil for humanity, and a final seventh day of rest-the millennial reign of Christ-when they live and reign with Christ a thousand years (Revelation 20:4). The calendar on your wall or in your wallet or purse demonstrates that this timetable is practically fulfilled.

Chronologists such as Archbishop James Ussher have worked strenuously on historical timetables to produce the following information: From Adam’s creation to Christ’s birth, approximately 4,000 years passed.

From Christ’s birth to our day, 1,998 years have transpired.

This gives us a total of 5,998 years.

We are on the threshold of the final day!

The six-day theory is not my invention, but rather the theory of scores of church fathers in earlier centuries. With that in mind, I want you to consider the following from the amazing document titled the Epistle of Barnabas- missionary with the apostle Paul (see Acts chapters 13-15).

He said in A.D. 110-nineteen centuries ago: And God made in six days the works of his hands; and he finished them on the seventh day, and he rested the seventh day, and sanctified it.

Consider, my children, what that signifies, he finished them in six days.

The meaning of it is this; that in six thousand years the Lord God will bring all things to an end. For with him one day is a thousand years; as himself testifieth saying. Behold this day shall be as a thousand years.

Therefore, children, in six thousand years, shall all things be accomplished. And what is that he saith, And he rested the seventh day, he meaneth this; that when his Son shall come, and abolish the season of the Wicked One, and judge the ungodly; and shall change the sun and the moon and the stars; then he shall gloriously rest in that seventh day. (w. 3-6)

Other early Church writings confirm the “signs of a thousand years.” Irenaeus, an early church father who lived 1,850 years ago, wrote, “For in so many days as this world was made, in so many thousand years shall it be concluded… and God brought to a conclusion upon the sixth day the works he made.

The Jewish Talmud states, “The world is to stand 6,000 years, viz., 2,000 confusion and void, 2,000 with the law, and 2,000 the time of the Messiah.

The chronological tables could be off by as much as five to twelve years. However, we know that the time of the end is near, even at the doors, though we are not privy to the day or the hour.

One thing is certain: Only a few minutes remain before midnight. Closing time is upon us.

The Age of Grace is about to end, and believers are soon to rule and reign with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Will the Rapture of the Church bring both Blessing and sorrow?

Yes. Some will be ashamed (1 John 2:28), and some will be full of joy.

That is why, in 1 Thessalonians 2:19, Paul asks, “What is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing?” What is going to bring you and me a great crown? He then answers, “Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?” (v. 19).

Paul was saying, “I’m going to present you-those I’ve won to Christ from Rome to Corinth-before the Lord, and that is going to be my joy.” But think of the multitudes who will stand before the Lord empty-handed. These are people who have been saved for years, but have no record of service-none whatsoever. They have never won a single soul to Christ.

There will be no scales at the Great Judgment Day at the end of the world whereby one is admitted to heaven if his good works outweigh the bad and vice versa.

A person can be saved only by God’s grace (unmerited favor), not through works (Ephesians 2:8-9). Second Timothy 1:9 states: “[God] hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace.” However, there is a system of balances found in the Scriptures when it comes to rewards.

Remember that one is neither saved nor kept by works.

He is, however, to work because of the salvation he already possesses. Ephesians 2:10 gives clear evidence of this fact: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” The Christian’s works following salvation will be weighed on God’s scales and put through His judgmental fire. Thus, a system of addition and subtraction can be found at the judgment seat of Christ.

The Bible also plainly states that a Christian can accumulate rewards while he is on earth, and then lose them before his death, or before the Rapture, by foolish living. The Bible is clear that a Christian cannot live in sin without suffering the consequences-not the loss of his salvation, but of his rewards.

Remember 1 Corinthians 3:15, “He shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Now consider 2 John 8: “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

Consider also Revelation 3:11: “Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

In 1 Corinthians 9:27, Paul says, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” The Greek word for castaway means “disapproved” or “put on the shelf.”

Paul knew he could lose all his rewards for heroic service if he allowed his flesh to rule his life rather than the Holy Spirit. If this could happen to the man who had accumulated more “spiritual points” toward heavenly rewards than any servant of God, it can also happen to you and me.

Second Corinthians 11:23-26 lists Paul’s service record: “In labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep [clinging to life in the ocean]; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren.

Paul could have lost all of his rewards had he allowed his flesh to control him instead of the Lord.

But he didn’t. Hear him again-just before he paid the supreme sacrifice (his life)-in 2 Timothy 4:7-8: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day [the day of Christ’s “bema” or judgment seat investigation]: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

What a contrast to some Christians who find it easier to lie in bed rather than go to God’s house; who find it easier not to tithe, not to read the Bible, not to pray, not to win souls, not to live in the Spirit. Their reward will be nothing but ashes. Also to those who have allowed the flesh to take control of their lives, their rewards, earned through years of service, will have been lost because of a foolish unfulfilling habit, a beautiful, flirtatious face, or the desire to travel to heaven via worldly pathways.

I don’t know all that will be brought to light at that day, but I do know the first question God will ask is: “Did you bring people into My kingdom?”

It is also the last thing Jesus commanded us to do: “Ye shall be witnesses unto me . . . And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight” (Acts 1:8-9).

We will also be asked what we did with our finances. “He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6).

Who composes Christ’s bride?’

The bride of Christ is made up of every man, woman, and child who has been saved from the Day of Pentecost onward.

This includes everyone who has received Christ until the Rapture occurs in 1 Thessalonians 4:16.

So from Pentecost to the Rapture, the bride of Christ is formed and evacuated. As we approach that blessed day, I’m often asked, “At what stage in God’s prophetic program does the Church, or Bride, presently find herself?”

According to Oriental marriage customs, we are now in the betrothal stage-promised to Jesus Christ.

This is why He wants His people to live holy lives. By doing so, we (the Church or Bride) can be presented as “a chaste virgin” to the Savior (or Bridegroom) as expressed in 2 Corinthians 11:2.1 believe we are about to be called into the heavenlies for that great marriage ceremony, because every sign leading to this long-prophesied event is already occurring.

Since every sign for Christ’s return to earth is already in progress (we’ll later look in some detail at contemporary events that prove this), this great wedding must occur soon. It will not be long before we hear the words, “Come up hither” (Revelation 4:1).

Then Revelation 19:7 says, “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.

Every bride anticipates the joys of a honeymoon. Therefore, the next logical question is, “How long will the honeymoon last for the bride of Christ?”

After we are taken up in the Rapture (Revelation 4), we return with Christ in Revelation 19:14: “And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses.” Jude verse 14 says, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints.” Revelation 20:4 says, “And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

The only ones coming back with Him are the Bride-to begin the honeymoon.

This does not include, however, the Old Testament saints. John 1:17 says, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace [the new dispensation, or covenant] and truth came by Jesus Christ.” Now, concerning the salvation of John the Baptist-he did not become a part of the Bride at Pentecost. He was saved before Pentecost. So Jesus called him a “friend of the bridegroom” (John 3:29).

John, then, is considered to be a friend of the Bridegroom but not part of the Bride.

The Church, or Bride, began to be formed on the Day of Pentecost and will be completed at the Rapture.

Hence, the Old Testament saints are not members of the Bride or Church. Also, since the Church is evacuated at the Rapture-before the Tribulation begins (Revelation 4:1)-one can clearly see that the Tribulation saints who are martyred during this horrendous period do not constitute part of the Bride or Church. The Bride is definitely that group of blood-washed believers beginning at Pentecost and completed at the Rapture.

Both the Old Testament and Tribulation saints are raised when Christ returns to earth, so they may be guests at the marriage supper of the Lamb on earth (see Daniel 12:2; Revelation 4-5).

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

Rapture 06: “Partial” Rapture

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Rapture: (rapturo) | A Snatching Away | Caught Up

Could there be a “partial” Rapture?

The simple answer is no.

Some teach that only the perfect will be evacuated during the Rapture, but this is contrary to the teaching of God’s Word. Many base this teaching on Hebrews 9:28-“Unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation”- saying that the Rapture is only for those who are watching. Such a premise is at odds with the rest of the Bible.

We must always keep the study of the Rapture in biblical context. It’s been wisely said that one cannot take a text out of context without creating a pretext. Every verse on the subject must be considered before a valid conclusion can be reached regarding a doctrine.

First John 2:28 tells the other side of the story: “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.” This verse begins with the terminology of His appearing and ends with the statement of His coming. It says that when He comes to snatch us into His presence in the twinkling of an eye, there will be many who are ashamed.

The conclusion is if they were perfect, they would not be ashamed. So the idea that one must lead a sinless life to be accepted as part of the Body or Bride for the Rapture does not agree with the rest of the Bible.

So let me repeat this important statement. One is not ashamed if he is perfect. Therefore, the imperfect are raptured. The Bible also reveals that there are persons who are saved by fire standing before the Lord (see 1 Corinthians 3:15). They made heaven “by the skin of their teeth,” so to speak. The only way any of us can stand in a perfected state before Jesus Christ in that hour is through the merits of His shed blood. Second Corinthians 5:21 declares, “For [God] hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

This is our only perfection. In addition, the Bible states that every believer is a member of the body of Christ. Should only those who meet a certain standard of spirituality be taken, the body of Jesus Christ would be dismembered and disfigured. This is impossible. First Corinthians 15:51-52 states that “we shall ALL be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump” (emphasis added).

The partial Rapture view, by definition, denies the teaching on the unity of Christ’s body. First Corinthians 12:12-13 says, “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” What is the message of this verse?

All believers are united together to form the entire body of Christ, who is the head. Perhaps most disturbing, however, is that the partial rapturist must place a segment of the body of Christ in the Tribulation period. We’ve already indicated in several places that this cannot happen. The Body of Christ will have no limbs or organs missing on the glorious day the Rapture occurs.

What relationship exists between the Rapture, the Revelation, and prophetic signs?

What relationship exists between the Rapture, the Revelation, and prophetic signs? Where do they fit into the schedule of events described in God’s Word? Many believers think the signs point to phase one, the Rapture, because they identify the snatching away as the Second Coming of Christ. As we noted earlier, doctrinally speaking, this cannot be so.

The actual Second Coming of Christ is the second phase, the Revelation, or the revealing of Christ to the inhabitants of earth. Since He came to earth at His first advent, He must come to earth at His second advent. The Rapture is not Christ’s appearance upon earth, but a meeting in the heavens-an intermediary evacuation of believers from earth before the storm. Seven years later, Christ comes to earth, touching down on the “mount of Olives” (Zechariah 14:4).

The prophetic signs, then, point to Christ’s return to earth with His saints at the close of the Tribulation Hour- not to the Rapture. Here is how you can be assured this interpretation is accurate. Take two Bibles and place them side by side. Open one to Revelation 6, where the signs begin to be fulfilled. Then open the other to Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 17 or 21, where Christ’s prophetic predictions are recorded.

The inescapable conclusion is that the signs are identical. The Church is taken in Revelation 4, and the signs take place two chapters later. The signs of Revelation 6 are identical to the predictions of Christ in the four Gospels, proving that the signs Jesus gave point to His revelation, the second phase of the Second Coming. Even if there were not a sign yet in existence, we believers could be called home any moment. This is true because each of the signs could occur during the seven-year period following the believers’ departure. Remember, the signs point to Christ’s Second Coming to earth (Revelation 19).

I believe we may go to be with our Lord at any moment because Jesus said, “When ye shall see all these things [signs-not one, not two, but all the signs occurring simultaneously], know that it is near, even at the doors” (Matthew 24:33).

What is near when a person sees all the signs occurring?

Christ’s return to earth, the Revelation, phase two.

When this happens, all believers will return with Him. All the signs pointing to the return of Christ with His saints- the return of the King with His armies-are already in their beginning stages. Thus, the signs say that we, too, are coming back with the Lord soon.

How can this be as long as we are still present on earth? There is but one logical conclusion. We must be removed soon through phase one, the Rapture, to return with Christ, via phase two, the Revelation.

What differences are there between the Rapture And the Revelation?

The Rapture

We referred to this earlier, but because it remains one of the most misunderstood areas of end-time teaching, I want to deal with it in depth, buttressed by key passages of scripture, to give you a clear distinction between the two events. Many believers are unaware that there are two stages or phases within the process of the Second Coming-the Rapture and the Revelation-and that these events are separated by a seven-year period.

I believe the Rapture is the next occurrence on God’s calendar. This Rapture is the literal, visible, and bodily return of Christ in the heavens. Acts 1:9-11 states: “And when he [Jesus] had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

Has Christ already returned?

Some cultists declare that He came in 1914 or 1918 as an invisible spirit. This is nonsense!

The Bible declares that Jesus shall return as He left. A person can easily know how He left by studying Luke 24:39. Christ, in His new, resurrected body, said, “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” He adds in verse 41, “Have ye here any meat?” The disciples gave Christ a piece of broiled fish and honeycomb, which He took and ate before them (w. 42-43).

The risen Savior had a body of flesh and bones-a body that could be seen, touched, and fed. This same Christ, in the same body, shall come in like manner from heaven. When He returns in the heavens, all believers, dead and living, will also be taken bodily to meet Him in the clouds. One day soon, the people of God will disappear from the earth in a blaze of glory.

As a new Christian, I painted a message on the glove compartment of my automobile. It said, “The driver of this car is awaiting the return of Christ. At His coming, Christians will disappear bodily from the earth. Should I suddenly vanish, take over the steering wheel!” I can still remember the look on the faces of hitchhikers as they read my startling message.

Some of them declared, “Hey, buddy, the next corner is as far as I go!

It was true then, and it is true today: The unsaved world has great difficulty accepting the glorious teaching of the Rapture. The Christian accepts by faith the declarations of the Word of God concerning this glorious subject.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 states, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Verse 14 declares that when Christ comes at the time of the Rapture, He will bring those who sleep (the dead) with Him.

At this point, someone may state, “Look here, I’ve found my first contradiction in the Bible.

How can Christ bring the dead with Him (v. 14) and come after the dead (v. 16)?”

There are no contradictions in the Word of God. Instead, it is the finite, limited intellect of human beings who are unable to grasp the infinite, unlimited mind of the omniscient God. If one is led by the Holy Spirit and studies under His direction, the so-called contradictions fade into obscurity.

How can Christ bring the dead with Him in verse 14 and come after the dead in verse 16?

Here is the solution: When a believer dies, his spirit and soul enter the presence of God, but the body goes into the grave. “To be absent from the body [is] to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). This soul, absent from the body, is with Christ until the great day when body, soul, and spirit are reunited at the coming of Jesus.

So, Christ brings the dead (the soul and spirit) with Him in verse 14 to come after the dead (the body) in verse 16. When “the dead rise first,” it is the body-only the body-that comes out of the grave to be reunited with the soul and spirit descending with Christ from heaven.

If the Lord comes to receive the bodies of the dead in Christ, will He leave the bodies of the living in Christ behind?

If this were the case, the wisest thing to do at the sound of the trumpet would be to commit suicide. This, however, is not the case.

The Bible declares, “The dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them [the dead] in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (w. 16-17). 

Thus, we see that the Rapture is a bodily resurrection for the dead and living who are in Christ, or who are born again.

1 Thessalonians 4:14-17

THE ENTIRE OCCURRENCE IS GOING TO TAKE PLACE IN HALF A BLINK:Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep [be dead], but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible [the dead] must put on incorruption, and this mortal [the living] must put on immortality

1 Corinthians 15:51-53

In this moment of time, we take upon ourselves immortality and are transformed to be like Jesus. First John 3:2 reports, “[When we see Jesus] we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” Philippians 3:21 verifies that our bodies will be changed as we enter into God’s presence in whirlwind style.

These verses remind us our citizenship is in heaven, where we also look for our Savior, the One who shall change our vile body and fashion it like unto His own glorious body.

There are still those who say, “I don’t believe in the Rapture, because the word rapture cannot be found in the Bible.” Matter of fact, the word Bible cannot be found in the Bible either, but this does not disprove the Book’s existence.

Terms are coined regularly to portray the experiences they picture, and, to review, the word rapture comes from the Latin word rapturo or rapio, which means “a snatching away.”

The passages above offer proof enough that the Bible teaches a snatching away.

Thus, since God tells us there shall be a snatching away, and since rapturo translated from Latin to English means “a snatching away,” only the willfully ignorant reject such a clear-cut term to describe the first phase of the Second Coming of Christ.

Here is an interesting sideline. Jerome, when creating the Catholic Latin Vulgate version, was the first to use the term rapturo1)Where did the term ‘rapture’ come from? for the snatching away of 1 Corinthians 15:52. Hence, the Catholic Church is literally responsible for this glorious term.

The Revelation

The second phase of the Second Coming, described as “the Revelation,” will take place seven years after the Rapture.

Again, the term revelation is a coined word, picturing the truth it depicts. Revelation comes from the word revealing.

When Christ returns to earth, He will reveal Himself to all inhabitants of the globe. Hence, this event is called the Revelation or revealing of Christ. Revelation 4:1 describes phase one of the return of Christ, while Revelation 19:11 depicts phase two.

Fix these two chapters firmly in your mind, and prophecy will become a stabilized blessing in your life.

The “come up hither” of Revelation 4:1 is the Rapture, the meeting in the air.

The appearance of the rider on the white horse and His armies in Revelation 19:11 is the revelation of Jesus Christ. Chapter 4 removes the believer from the judgments described in chapters 6-18, while chapter 19 restores him to his earthly sojourn after the judgments are completed.

Chapter 4, depicting the Rapture, occurs before the seven years of tribulation described in chapters 6-18, and chapter 19 describes the return of the King and His people, after the horrendous catastrophes of chapters 6-18 occur.

We know this to be true because the Book of Revelation is written chronologically, with the Tribulation Hour taking place in chapters 6-18. Four precedes six, and nineteen follows eighteen.

It’s that simple. The Church is removed in chapter 4, and the Tribulation follows in chapters 6-18.

Then the saints return at the conclusion of the Tribulation Hour in chapter 19.

In addition. Revelation 3:10 states, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from [not through (preservation) but from (the Greek-ek-OUT of)] the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

This will be the world’s most terrifying hour.

All the wars of the past will look like Sunday school picnics in comparison.

Jeremiah 30:7 says, “Alas, for that day is great, [there is none] like it.” Daniel 12:1: “There shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time.” Joel 2:1-2: “Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness … there hath [never] been … the like.

Jesus 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.

When it occurs, fiery incineration will engulf the globe:

The lord will come with fire” (Isaiah 66:15).

The flaming flame shall not be quenched” (Ezekiel 20:47).

A fire devoureth before them” (Joel 2:3). “The whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy” (Zephaniah 1:18).

Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth” (Zechariah 14:12).

The third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up” (Revelation 8:7).

By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone” (Revelation 9:18).

The Tribulation Hour lies just ahead for the human race.

The saved will be removed before it begins. They are described as taken in Revelation 4:1, and they experience the judgment seat of Christ before the chapter ends. In fact, we find them placing crowns (their rewards) at the feet of the Savior in verses 10 and 11-two chapters before the Tribulation period begins.

This is proof that the saved are safe and secure when the judgments begin in chapter 6. Then, when the blitzkrieg ends in chapter 18, the saved return with Christ as He appears to the inhabitants of the earth and becomes their King.

Revelations gives us a glimpse of the momentous event:

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 he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

Revelation 19:11-16

This is the revealing of Christ to the nations.

At His revelation, every eye will see His glory. “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him” (Revelation 1:7).

The armies following Him from heaven to earth are the saints who were removed from the earth in Revelation 4:1.

They were evacuated before the great holocaust began. They are the same crowd mentioned in Jude 1:14: “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints.

The Hebrews and Greeks had no terminology to describe millions, billions, trillions, quadrillions, etc. They simply said, “ten thousands.”

Thus, the innumerable company of saints following the Lord to earth are the redeemed.

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

References   [ + ]

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