Posted by: Nito | December 24, 2015

Rapture: Have You Missed It?

If you are a Bible prophecy fan like I am, you probably wondered what happened to all the talk about the blood moons, signs in the heavens, Shemitah years and the “scheduled” market crash, Rapture of the church in the Jubilee year and so on.

In the second half of 2015 there was a great number of programs (on Christian TV channels) about Bible prophecy, encouraging us to believe that Jesus is coming soon to take His bride (i.e. the church) home, which is marked as the event #2 on the end times timeline and is called the Rapture of the First Fruits (or the Rapture of the church).

I sincerely thought this is it, as Jesus said: “when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!” (Matthew 24:33, NKJV), but my wife was telling me “but of that day and hour no one knows” (Matthew  24:36, NKJV). Clearly, she was right. “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband” (Proverbs 12:4, NKJV) and “Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers, But a prudent wife is from the Lord” (Proverbs 19:14, NKJV).

So, if all this prophecy euphoria looks like a Y2K scenario to you; a lot of smoke but no fire, don’t discard it as yet. Us failing to pinpoint a place on God’s calendar just confirms that Bible is always right. We were trying to set a date: it’s the beginning of the Jubilee year, it’s the end of the blood moons, it’s the end of the Shemitah year and so on, but you cannot do that. Otherwise, God would be predictable and devil could use that to his own advantage.

If Jesus said “no one knows” then there will be a certain element of mystery to the events that will unfold, but if He also said “you can know” then we are expected to watch for the signs and be ready. So, this is one of those “Yes” answers, where both propositions are correct. Jesus is saying that we cannot know the exact date, but we can surely know the season. Hence, don’t set the dates, but be ready, or otherwise He will catch you off guard as a thief in the night (see Revelation 16:15).

Nevertheless, to the unbelievers the signs of Jesus’ second coming will not be so obvious.

And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed” (Luke 17:26-30).

We see that it will be a business as usual; people will go about their daily duties, will plan for the bright future (will marry and be given in marriage), will build their business empires (will buy and sell) and assume that nothing wrong will happen in their lives (will plant and build). This to me says that God’s signs will not be so obvious to the unbelievers and I think it is so because He doesn’t want to impose Himself.

If you want to believe, you have to do it by your own free will, even when it looks foolish to everybody else: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18, NKJV). We are not saved by works following a breadcrumb trail of scientific facts, but by grace through faith (see Ephesians 2:8). To have faith means that when God is not scientifically provable, you still believe in Him, regardless of the lack of the scientific evidence.

So, coming back to the topic of the end times and Jesus’ second coming, you might ask yourself “Are we there? Can I really know the season of His coming and prepare myself?” First, Jesus said we should always “be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:44, NKJV). Hence, first century Christians took this very seriously and were busy readying themselves for His return. They thought Jesus was coming back during their lifetimes (see, James 5:8 and Revelation 1:3). Even though 2000 years have elapsed since that time, we cannot assume that another 2000 years will go on uneventful—we have to be ready for His near return.

Second, it’s not that you could sin until you see the season of His coming and then you would repent, because the season is already here. The war at the river Euphrates (Revelation 9:14) have already started (marked as the event #1 on the end times timeline). Bible says that after this 6th trumpet war God will issue a declaration that “there will be no more delay” (Revelation 10:6) and “the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets,” (Revelation 10:7, NKJV) when the seventh angel (i.e. the 7th trumpet) “is about to sound.

Ok, so the “mystery of God” will be finished immediately before the blowing of the 7th trumpet (which is marked as the event #2 on the end times timeline) and there will be no more uncertainty about the end times—everybody, that has a little bit of the Bible prophecy knowledge, would know for sure that the end time countdown has started. The end time events would then unfold with the precision described in the Bible and people would be able to “calculate” when to expect Jesus’ second coming (the event #10 on the end times timeline), when He will establish His millennial kingdom on the earth.

So, what we are uncertain about is not the timing of Jesus’ second coming, but the timing of the 7th trumpet, which signifies the Rapture of the church according to the “pre-trib” view. For the comparison of the “pre-trib” view with other views refer to this article written by Dr. Chuck Missler (khouse.org). Btw, those other views could be associated with the events #7 (Jesus’ harvest) and #8 (Armageddon) on the end times timeline.

But, to be sure that Rapture is included in the above-quoted “mystery” of the Revelation 10:7, we need to find if Rapture is spoken of as a “mystery” in the Bible. And, we can find those verses in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (NKJV, underlining mine). 

That doesn’t actually use the word “rapture”, but this same event is also described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (NKJV,underlining mine).

In verse 17, the English phrase “caught up” translates the Greek word harpazo, which means “to seize upon with force” or “to snatch up.” The Latin translators of the Bible used the word “rapturo,” the root of the English term “Rapture.” At the Rapture, living believers will be “caught up” in the air, translated into the clouds, in a moment in time to join the Lord in the air. (this paragraph is taken from Dr. Chuck Missler’s article ‘The Great Snatch?‘).

But rapture isn’t the only “mystery” we can find in the Bible. As explained in Colossians 1:26 a mystery is a truth that “has been hidden from ages and from generations [i.e. the Old Testament believers], but now has been revealed to His saints [i.e. the New Testament believers]” (NKJV, brackets mine).

Until Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection, the following intentions of God were hidden and devil could not have guessed them (if he could, he would had never wanted Jesus’s death):

You might be familiar with the above, as that is applicable to you and me now and has been provided by Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, but did you know that there are two other mysteries (i.e. apart from the Rapture) revealed to Paul and he talks about them in his epistles?

The first mystery is the fact that “blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles” will come in (see Romans 11:25). This says that church has not replaced Israel as God’s chosen people and that Israel is still very important in God’s plan of redemption and is serving as His prophetic time clock. God’s warning to those who hate Israel, and His blessings to those who help her people still applies. For more details see this article from the web.

Israel’s rejection of Messiah Jesus is a blessing for the rest of us (Gentiles), but the 7th trumpet will mark a global awakening of the Jews to their (and our) Messiah. Hence, the end times timeline places Israel’s restoration to strength, as described in Joel 2:17-27, after the Rapture (event #2).

The second mystery, which was touched upon in ‘The Problem of Evil’ series (see part 3, ‘The End of All Evil’), is that Jesus’ sacrifice was to redeem the whole creation (Ephesians 1:9-10) and “gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth,” but also that “manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places” (see Ephesians 3:8-12).

This means that God’s decision to destroy devil and his minions (which was made back in the Garden of Eden) will start to execute with the sounding of the 7th trumpet. That’s the reason why the end times timeline also places the Revelation 12:7-9 war in heaven (when devil and his angels are banished from heaven to the earth) at the 7th trumpet. With the 7th trumpet blowing, the gathering of the evidence against the devil and his angels will be finished and he will be expelled from God’s presence.

Thus, all God intentions will be revealed at the 7th trumpet and all of His mysteries would be made known (i.e. “would be finished”). The final stages of the redemptive plan for the whole creation will start to execute a whole series of the end time events. There will be no doubt about it—the whole creation will know that the end has come. And once the end time actions start to happen, the final 7 years before Jesus’ second coming will commence.

We started this article wondering about when would the end times begin, but it seems that we are already deep within the season of Lord’s return. What is unknown is the exact timing of the 7th trumpet, but it seems that the 6th trumpet has been blown already, so get ready.

In the follow up article we will concentrate more on the Jewish feast days to see if we could pick up some clues about the Rapture from there. After all, God said “The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts” (Leviticus 23:2, NKJV, underlining mine), indicating that these are His appointed times, when we should come before Him expectant. Some people call them “dress rehearsals”, indicating these appointments are very important on God’s prophetic timeline.

But friend, if you are reading this and you don’t know Jesus or you don’t have a current relationship with Him (i.e. He doesn’t know you), you might be frightened by all this end time talk. Bible does warn us about the perilous times ahead: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (2 Timothy 3:1-5, NKJV).

However, if you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior you will find safety, as that is what His Hebrew name Yeshua (Y’shua) means (salvation, safety). So, if you would like to do so, just simply say the following words and mean them:

Lord Jesus, I repent of my sins. Come into my heart, I make you my Lord and Savior.

Merry Christmas

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Responses

  1. […] UPDATE 2015-12-24: The specific predictions about the stock market crash have failed. The hope of the rapture around the blood moons have disappeared, but that just proves that man cannot set the dates on God’s calendar—that’s our Father’s job. Read more in this follow up article. […]


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