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I was saved in 1976 and became extremely interested in Bible prophecy, being an ex war-correspondent and photographer. My calling and aim is to share the dramatic and all-important issues of prophecy relating to our day. This is a calling to unfold and share the wisdom of God as contained in His word. There is also much teaching in these pages for your heart. It’s not all prophecy! Please study these things further yourself and understand that the format is non-exhaustive. Please search the scriptures to “see if these be true.” This is a "watchman" and Bible prophecy teaching website.
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Edition 48. 10th August 2010
In this edition:
●The rapture and second coming compared?
The rapture and second coming compared.
The one huge big bottom line in all of this is that it's wise to be ready! If you believe a little differently, it's no big deal at the end of the Day, but what will make a difference is the condition of your heart at our Lords coming!
One in 25 verses in the New Testament refers either to the rapture or Second Coming. There are 1,845 references to the Second Coming in the Old Testament. There are 318 references to the Second Coming and the rapture in the New Testament. Overall, there are five times more references to the Second Coming than the first, in the Bible.
A literal view of both the rapture and the Second Coming is predominant with evangelical and Zionist Christians (Messianic). These are they that believe in the new birth through regeneration and the infilling of the Spirit. There are differences of beliefs within these, but they are not foundational. The ecumenical movement allegorise the scriptures. They are not born anew. There are no fruits of regeneration in them. The ecumenical movement is concerned with a universal religion by bringing many faiths together. They are on the road to hell.
The allegorical method of interpretation raises the interpreter above God, giving himself the authority to make the scriptures say whatever the interpreter wishes. It is inconsistent. 2 Peter 1:20 "Know this that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation."
There is much confusion, based on ignorance and incorrect teaching on this subject, but perhaps the biggest reason for the problems is that people simply can't imagine either the rapture or Second Coming. To them it's science fiction!
Others, especially those with young families, don't want to know anything about these things, fearing that the events will interfere with their long-term plans. Many people are completely ignorant of these things, because they are either not interested or have not been taught anything at all on the subject.
Many people only look at selected portions of scripture or their favourite "proof" verses and don't consider the overall, or complete picture and don't keep things in their context.
There is no single big resurrection of all people at the same time. 1 Corinthians 15:22-23 "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all will be made alive, but each one in his own order."
Both the rapture and the second coming will be magnificent events. Both will be followed with monumental, fearful judgements for all of the unsaved.
Some uniformed people say that the word rapture is not in the Bible and therefore they reject it. They are right the word is not there. BUT the word that is there is harpazo (grk) which means to be 'caught up' or 'taken by force'. In 1 Corinthians 50:51 it says that we will be caught up in a moment in a twinkling of an eye. The words used here are harpazo for 'caught up', and "atomo" (grk) for 'moment', which means an atomic instant. That settles it!
Some views are so far off the mark that they do not deserve any attention. I will just mention them here once: The Preterist view claims that all end time events were fulfilled by 70AD. The historicist view and a-millennium views claim that we are already in the fullness of the Kingdom. The Idealist view of spiritualism opposes materialism and all literal translations. These all use the allegorical method of interpretation, which removes the literal meanings.
My view is called the futurist, which gives prophecy literal interpretation, taking the Bible at face value. It rejects allegory except when blatantly obvious.
The teaching for the rapture is revealed only in the New Testament epistles, which is the primary teaching for the church. The Second Coming is found throughout the scriptures.
The rapture and the Second Coming are not the same event. There are vast differences. Some believe that although they're not the same event, they will both take place at the end of the soon coming, seven-year tribulation period. This again is not so.
Believers meet Lord in air
1Thess 4:13-18 & 1Cor 15:50-54
Believers return with Lord to earth
Revelation 19:11-16 &Zech 14:4
|Believers taken||1 Thess 4:13-18||Unbelievers taken||Mathew 13:28-30, 24:40|
Act of deliverance
1Thess 5:9 & 4:17
Act of judgment
Occurs in instant
1 Cor 15:50-54
Matt 24:30, Acts 1:11
1 Cor 15:52
Seen by all
World carries on
Unknown exact date,
1Thess 5:4-6 Revelation 3:3
Zechariah 14:7 Dan 9:25 Revelation 12:6,14 13:4
|No signs before||1Thess 5:2||Many signs before||Matt 24:4-14, 29-30|
|Occurs as church age ends, before tribulation||Revelation 4:1||Occurs after tribulation||Revelation 6-18|
|He comes alone for the saints||2 Thess:2:1||Many saints return with Him||Revelation 17:14, 19:14|
|No relation to Armageddon||All of the above||Puts an end to Armageddon||Revelation 16:15-16, 17:14|
|Reveals antichrist||2 Thess 2:8||Reveals Christ||Colossians 3:3-4|
|Before wrath of God||Revelation 3:10, 1Thess 1:10, 5:9||Returns in full wrath||Revelation 19:11 Revelation 6-19|
|No geo-natural signs||Earth and skies erupt||Revelation 6:12-14|
There are many others verses that when compared make it obvious that the two events are not one and the same.
In summary: The rapture occurs in an instant, while our Lord returns at the Second Advent in the same manner that He left from the Mt. of Olives, which was a slow assent, being watched by many. At the rapture, our Lord does not return to the earth. He 'catches up' believers into the air and heaven, and doesn't do anything on earth, while at the Second Coming He puts an end to the greatest war ever and sets up His rule from the new temple on the mount in Jerusalem. At the rapture, the world carries on as normal afterwards, while at the second advent, all unbelievers are cast into hell as the Millennium begins. At the rapture our Lord comes for His saints, while at the Second Coming He comes with His saints. The rapture is an act of deliverance for believers out of the wrath of God, which is about to start. The Second Coming ends the time of wrath. At the rapture, believers are taken to heaven, while at the Second Coming unbelievers are taken from the earth to hell. The rapture occurs at the start of the tribulation at an unknown specific hour, while the Second Coming is right at the end of the tribulation, which has numerous verses of scripture numbering the days. (Some of these include two periods of 1260 days or two periods of three and a half years or one period of seven years.) These are Hebrew 350 day years.
It's glaringly obvious that the rapture and Second Coming are not the same event and are separated by a period of time. The controversy relates to how much time. We have three views. The pre-tribulation, mid- trib and post- trib rapture views. All three of these views are part of the futurist or literal interpretation.
The big question is how much time is there between the two events?
If you place the rapture at the end of the tribulation or even half way through, you will have many problems with many verses of scripture. You can of course just ignore the verses that don't suit your view. If you place the rapture at the start of the tribulation, everything falls into place like a jigsaw.
The church is not seen on earth in the Revelation after the close of chapter three (The messages to the seven churches) There are clearly many who are saved in the tribulation period, but they are not part of the church yet. The true church is seen in the Revelation, but in heaven.
I do agree and concede that this is not an easy subject. It requires an enormous amount of prayerful study...many years! I began studying the subject in the late 1970s. I am settled in my mind, but even after all this time I am quite happy to give others their view, without condemning them.
A common error is the teaching that the seventh "wrath" trumpet of Revelation 11:15 is the same as the rapture "last trump" of 1 Corinthians 15:52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16 They say then that because these are the same, we will go through the tribulation but not through the wrath of God, which is revealed in the Revelation seven trumpets. This argument is based on the use of the word 'last' in both events. 'Last' can mean one of two things: It can mean last in point of time or it can mean last in point of sequence. 'Last' may well be last which concludes a program, but is not necessarily the final last. The program for the church era differs from the program for Israel. Each may be terminated by the blowing of their own last trumpet.
The trumpet that calls the church is called the "trump of God", singular. while the seventh trumpet of Revelation is an angel's trumpet and the last in a succession. The trumpet closing the church era is of blessing, victory and glory, while the seventh trumpet of Revelation is one of judgement, horror, and destruction upon God's enemies.
The two trumpets cannot be the same. They are vastly different in many areas.
Some teach that there will be a mid tribulation rapture, because this is when the wrath of God starts (to which we have not been appointed)
Some of the words describing the whole tribulation period are: wrath, judgement, indignation, punishment and others. These words describe the entire period and not a part of it. The wrath of God includes many incredible judgments falling on the whole earth during the whole time period. The temporary peace period is only political and only in Israel for the first half of the tribulation.
The pretribulation rapture rests on the literal method of interpretation and a dispensational view of God's dealings with man. The church and Israel are two distinct and separate groups., each with a divine plan. Some reject dispensations. Hebrews1:1 "God who in different dispensations and in in different ways, spoke in times past..."
This is very important: 2 Thessalonians 2:7 "The mystery of lawlessness is already at work, only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way and the lawless one is revealed." Who then is the 'He' who is restraining and preventing antichrist from being revealed? Some say it's the Holy Spirit and some say it's the church. Actually it's both. The restrainer is the Holy Spirit indwelling the true church. It can't be the Holy Spirit alone, because He is omnipresent and His work continues in the tribulation.
The true church is the temple of the Holy Spirit and is the 'He' restraining the full purposes of Satan breaking forth onto the world stage.
Daniel 9:27 speaks of the fact that the lawless one (antichrisrt) will be manifest at the beginning of the seven year tribulation. There are many other portions of scripture showing that the antichrist will be at work throughout the seven year period, although things will intensify in the second half.
The signing of the fateful seven year peace treaty will be between the person who will be revealed as the antichrist right then and Israel. This is the event that triggers the tribulation, the revealing of the antichrist and the rapture of the church.
There is absolutely no doubt that Satan, indwelling a particular man will be at work in an unrestrained manner for the entire seven year tribulation. There is also no doubt that 'He', the restrainer will be removed at the start of the period. There is also no doubt from numerous verses of scripture that the entire seven year period will be God's time and dealing primarily with Israel. The true church will not be here.
One left one taken: Mathew 25 Speaks of "one being taken and one left" Many use this as a rapture proof verse. This is what will happen at the rapture, but these verses are speaking of the Second Coming and not the rapture. At the Second Coming one will be taken into hell and one left on earth after being saved during the tribulation.
There are some verse of scripture that could refer to either the rapture or the Second Coming. Some are ambiguous, but this does no harm to the overall picture. In fact it simply gives us more reason to be watchful and always ready. The key is not to try and make any portion of scripture fit your own preconceived ideas. The best is to take things as literally as possible and leave the Word of God to speak what it will into your heart.
There are many views out there, some are so wrong, some outrageous and some are a result of an ongoing journey of discovery. When you encounter views that don't line up with yours, you are immediately in the spotlight!! There is no need to condemn and reject those that have a different view. How you handle disagreement is an insight into your own heart!
Examples in history:
Many people reject rapture teaching simply because they can't imagine it. Actually, we have examples in history. Hebrews 11:5 "By faith Enoch was translated so that he did not see death and was not found because God translated him." 2 Kings 2:11 "Elijah went up by whirlwind to heaven." Interestingly Moses died, but his dead body was taken. Deuteronomy 34:5 says that "He (God) buried Moses, but "he was was never found" Jude 9 speaks of the dispute between Michael and Satan over the body of Moses.
there is a marvellous type here of the dead in Christ, represented by Moses and those who are alive at the rapture, represented by Elijah, being taken to heaven.
2 Corinthians 12: 2 speaks of Paul being caught up to the third heaven. (Interestingly the word used here is 'harpazo' which is the same word used 1 Thessalonians for the rapture of the church.)
John was raptured or "caught up" into heaven to receive the many visions of the Revelation (4:1)
There are other examples as well, which we won't go into now.
Who will go in the rapture?
It's good to identify from the scriptures who is a Christian. I don't like the term, because it has become so polluted, but I'm using it here simply because it's the most common. By Christian I mean all true believers who have experienced a new birth and regeneration.
A big shock awaits many who think that they are Christians. Some think that because they are not Jews, they are Christians. Some think that because they go to a church once in a while they are Christians. Some think that because they were infant -sprinkled (baptised) they are Christians. Some think that because they are more good than evil, they are Christians. Some think that because they believe in Jesus they are Christians.
James 2:19 says that "even the demons believe and tremble." So being a "believer" in the superficial sense doesn't crack it! What is it that makes a true believer? Quite simply it is one who has, through an act of choice, become born again into the family of God. This results in a regeneration and a new identity and direction. There is a Sprit to spirit identity. The living God re-creates your spirit and He now takes up residence in your heart. Works and law of any description are not involved in salvation (they do have their place afterwards)
These are they who are the family of God and qualify for the Kingdom of God. This Kingdom can't be joined. Membership is not allowed. You can only be born into it. Only blood-family qualify.
Much of the professing church is not the true church at all.
Revelation 3: 15-16 addresses the Laodicea church and says: "Because you are neither hot nor cold and you are lukewarm, I will spit you out of My mouth." Revelation 2:20-22 Speaks of religious people in the church of Thyatira who are tolerant of occult practises and traditions. It says "I will cast them into great tribulation. Revelation 3:3 "If you will not repent and be watchful, I will come upon you as a thief and you will not know what hour I come upon you."
Much of the modern church is a runaway bride, or to be more accurate no bride at all, in fact a pure whore. A tree will ultimately be known by its fruit. The love of some will grow cold and they will desert and flee into the arms of Satan himself.
All of the professing unsaved church will be left behind and go into the tribulation period. They will have the opportunity to repent and get saved during the tribulation.
Many will mock and say things like "Where is the promise of His coming, everything is going to continue as normal." (2 Peter 3:4)
Many will be so trapped by the dead and futile traditions of their churches that they will be paralysed and will not be able to move forward in preparation.
Many will be led by their evil churches to come against God's plan for the Jews and Israel.
1 Chronicles 21:1 "Now Satan stood up against Israel."
You can't be part of the Bride of Christ and hate or come against Israel. You must chose Jerusalem or Babylon.
Hebrews 9:28 "To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time apart from sin for salvation."
The Second Coming:
The Second Coming occurs right at the end of the seven-year tribulation period as the armies of the world are gathered in the most horrific war in history called Armageddon. Israel will be the prime focus of this war, but at this time people know all about the coming of the Messiah. In fact they are gathered in perhaps the most futile act of any military forces in history. They have gathered to resist the coming of the Lord! Israel has by this time been awakened to Messiah and will in no way be resisting His coming.
The Second Coming sees the Lord return Jerusalem in the same manner as He left from the Mount of Olives. The exact sequence of events in the short time after His return are not clear. What is clear is that at this time, all enmity and resistance to Yeshua / Jesus will be destroyed.
The horror of the Second Coming:
Forget about "sweet, gentle Jesus meek and mild"!
At the Second Coming grace has run it's course and only a terrible judgment awaits. This event will involve many simultaneous supernatural events. Some include the instant lifting of the Adamic curse on nature, which will see environment restored to the way it was before the fall of man. At the same time, all unbelievers will be cast off the earth into hell, while longevity will be restored to those who go on into the Millennium in natural bodies (those who became believers during the tribulation)
John 3:16 may be an odd verse to use relating to the horror of the Second Coming! Let's have a look at what it really says. "For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already and this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil." (John 3:16-19)
Our Lord is simply saying that the reason for His first coming was not to condemn the world, because it is already condemned. (Right from the fall) His first coming was to offer salvation. But He says very clearly that if you reject this salvation offer, you are condemned already.
At the Second Coming time is up! There will be no more grace or mercy. Only a fearful expectation of judgement resulting in being condemned to hell. The Second Coming will end the climatic events known as the wrath of God, the wrath of man and the wrath of devil all running simultaneously.
There will be a great revival with masses being saved during the tribulation period. Many will also reject salvation and will endure untold suffering, before their journey to hell.
Revelation 6:16 "Let the mountains and rocks fall upon us and hide us from the face of Him that sits on the throne and from the wrath of the lamb."
The entire seven year tribulation period will see monumental judgements and disasters. The first three and a half years will see a temporary false peace, but this will only be on the socio-political front and a result of the peace pact signed between Israel and the person who will become the antichrist. But the four riders of the apocalypse ride throughout the entire seven year period. The upheavals of nature will run throughout the time period. They will intensify in the second half and be joined by total socio-political anarchy, war and turmoil.
Be careful of getting caught up in all the things to come and missing WHO is to come! On the other hand if all of this is not an integral part of your faith, prayer and study...you are in grave danger.
We need to set and make time to study these things out ourselves and not just swallow everything that comes dressed in religiosity. No person ever became wise by chance! It takes time and diligence. I'm not talking about pure head knowledge either. Wisdom's seat is in the heart!
The rapture and the Second Coming have never been popular, but to the true believer with a heart after our Lord. Today its both a hated and loved subject.
They say that the only certain things in life are death and taxes. That's a lot of hogwash! Do you know that there is one generation that will not see physical death. Isn't that exciting and totally revolutionary! It is this generation. What a wonderful hope...to cheat the undertaker (and the taxman)!
The King is coming. He's not coming for your little denomination or church, cut off from others. He's coming for all those in His Kingdom.
Our Lord who was born in humility, shame and rejection, is coming very soon in spectacular earth-shattering magnificence and glory. He is coming for His own and will destroy forever all enmity. He will make us just like Him. We will be just like He is now in His glorious eternal resurrection state.
The brightness of our Lords soon coming will reveal the true character of those who say that they are His. His glorious light will shine into all darkness of character and secret ulterior motives. He will make us more alive than we ever have been. He will clean us all up with pure glory.
If you, like many, have secret fears of rejection or fears of insufficiency or incompetence or incompleteness, hang on a little while. Our Messiah, King of the universe is about to re-create you in His likeness and totally and completely fulfil every inch of your being as you come into resurrection-glory.
We will be caught up and be with the Lord forever. "Comfort one another with these words"...1Thesselonians 4:18
This is the "blessed hope"
Thy will be done!
Dr. Dwight Pentacost "Things to come" (This is a monumental 700 page, exhaustive work first written in 1958. It is published by Zondervan) Dr. John Walvoord- many books. Dr. Derek Price- many books, audio and video teachings.
Psalm 96:13 For He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in His faithfulness."
Revelation 1:7 Behold He is coming with the clouds and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. Even so amen."
2 Timothy 4:8 "There is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but to all that have loved His appearing."
Heaven or hell:
Rabbi at the remains of the temple wall, do you know that your Messiah is coming very soon to again inhabit a new temple built right on that mount? Are you ready for Him? Do you even know what His name is? You look very sincere to me, but you may be sincerely wrong and that may cost you dearly! Don't wait until the tribulation judgements. Your soon coming Messiah is a Jew just like you. His name is Yeshua, the one the Christians call Jesus. But you don't need to become a Christian or call Him Jesus, but you do need to believe in Him to be saved.
Howzit right very reverend. I see that is your title. Do you know the Jewish Messiah? Have you been born again of the Spirit, and been baptised by full immersion as an adult? Wouldn't you be shocked when our King and saviour raptures the church and you're left behind? That would wipe the smirk off your face and you'd have to change your title to very wrong reverend. Are you teaching and leading others into all truth as a disciple of the Lord needs to do? Do you teach your flock on eschatology? I hope so.
Here is a representation of war by Marc Chagall.
Kind regards and many blessings...Shalom and grow in grace!